Cleveland State enjoying underdog role heading into NCAA tournament

Dennis Gates questions Torrey Patton

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Cleveland State knows it has a big challenge against Houston Friday in round 1 of the NCAA tournament and head coach Dennis Gates is fine with that.

The 15th-seeded Vikings meet #2 seed Houston in Bloomington, Ind., and are 18-point underdogs.

“Kelvin Sampson, 660 wins, that’s what sticks out to me,” Gates said Tuesday in a media zoom call. “I don’t worry about wins or losses, I worry about minutes, and we’re only as good as our next minute on Friday night.”

Gates first met Sampson years ago as a graduate assistant.

Gates also heaped praise on his former boss, Leonard Hamilton of Florida State.

“I hope I’m making him proud,” Gates said. “I stand on his shoulders.”

This is CSU’s 3rd trip to the NCAA tourney and first since 2009.

Gates, in his 2nd season, is the reigning MAC co-coach of the year.

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