April 30th

CU moves down, but remains ranked even without Andre Roberson

ESPN has put out a revised college basketball preseason top 25, taking into account players who declared before the Sunday deadline.

CU was ranked 16th in the same poll April 9th (see below), and the concern was that, without Andre Roberson, the Buffs would drop out of the preseason poll.  Instead, though, the Buffs still made the list, coming in at No. 22.

Here’s what ESPN had to say about the Buffs:

22. Colorado Buffaloes: The Buffaloes took a huge hit Sunday when Andre Roberson, who averaged 11.2 rebounds last season, entered the NBA draft despite being projected as a second-rounder. With Roberson, Colorado could’ve been the one team to challenge Arizona in the Pac-12. This should still be an excellent team. Tad Boyle’s squad boasts one of the country’s most underrated backcourts in Askia Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie, who led the team in points (15.3) and assists (3.0). And freshman forwards Josh Scott and Xavier Johnson — who combined to average 19.1 points — should make significant strides as sophomores. Colorado needs to improve its maturity and consistency when it comes to effort and focus. Too many good wins were followed by head-scratching losses. That’s the sign of a young team. The Buffaloes won’t be able to use that as an excuse next season.

Other teams of note … Arizona No. 4; Kansas (coming to Boulder this December) No. 21; UCLA No. 24; “on the cusp” – Arizona State; Stanford.

The above was the take of ESPN analyst Jason King.

ESPN’s Andy Katz has his own take on the preseason top 25, with Arizona No. 4; Kansas No. 20; Colorado No. 24; and UCLA unranked. Katz also has Arizona State and Stanford amongst his “others to watch”.

April 28th

Roberson opts to go pro

Roberson’s statement … “After much consideration and counsel from my family and Coach Boyle, I have decided to forego my senior season and enter the NBA draft. I am proud to have been a member of Colorado Basketball and want to thank Coach Boyle and his staff, the administration, the fans, and the University for this incredible experience.

“It has been an honor and privilege to make Buffalo history with my fellow teammates over the past three seasons. Additionally, I want to express my appreciation to my friends and family for all their support during this process. I look forward to continued development as I embark upon the next steps in my journey of fulfilling my dream of playing in the NBA.”

From cubuffs.com … Junior Andre Roberson has decided to forgo his final season of eligibility at the University of Colorado and make himself eligible for the 2013 NBA Draft.

Roberson, a 6-7 forward who was on the verge of becoming CU’s career rebounding leader, made his decision about midday Sunday and notified CU Coach Tad Boyle.

Roberson was scheduled to announce his intentions at a Friday morning news conference at the Coors Events Center, but he and his family canceled the conference because Roberson apparently was torn between leaving school and turning pro.

He had until 9:59 p.m. MDT Sunday to declare himself eligible for the NBA Draft, which will be conducted on June 27 at the Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets.

“We support Andre and want what’s best for him and his family,” Boyle said Sunday afternoon. “We wish him the best.”

Roberson leaves CU with most of the school’s rebounding records within his reach and a legitimate chance to likely have put some of those marks out of reach for any future Buff.

The odds favored Roberson becoming CU’s top career rebounder in the first game of what would have been his senior year; he needed 10 rebounds, which would have given him 1,055 – one more than Stephane Pelle (1999-03) – with the remainder of his final season ahead of him.

Nonetheless, in three seasons Roberson left his mark. He was the only CU player with 1,000 points (1,012) and rebounds (1,045), 150 blocks (150) and steals (164), and 100 assists (119). He also was the first Buffs player to lead the team in rebounding, blocked shots and steals for three consecutive seasons.

April 26th

Andre Roberson press conference cancelled

From cubuffs.com …

This morning’s press conference with head coach Tad Boyle and junior forward Andre Roberson, at which time Roberson would publicly announce his future plans of either entering the 2013 NBA Draft or returning for his senior year with the Buffaloes next season, is CANCELLED.

There is currently no plans at this time to reschedule.

Note … The deadline for underclassmen to declare themselves eligible for the NBA draft is Sunday, April 28th …

April 25th

Andre Roberson press conference scheduled

From cubuffs.com … On Friday morning, April 26, the University of Colorado will hold a press conference with head coach Tad Boyle and junior forward Andre Roberson, at which time Roberson will publicly announce his future plans of either entering the 2013 NBA Draft or returning for his senior year with the Buffaloes next season.

The press conference will take place on the second floor of the Coors Events Center at 9 a.m.

The press conference will also be aired live on Pac-12 Digital. The link to watch live is http://pac-12.com/live/cubuffs.aspx

April 15th

All three Buff recruits for 2013 make Rivals top 150

The final Rivals 150 list of men’s basketball recruits is out – link here – and all three of CU’s signees made the list.

Guard Jaron Hopkins (6’5″, 190-pounds) from Mesa, Arizona, is No. 119 on the list.

Forward Tre’shaun Fletcher (6’5″, 195-pounds) from Tacoma, Washington, is No. 143 on the list.

Forward Dustin Thomas (6’7″, 210-pounds) from Texarkana, Texas, is No. 150 on the list.

That makes six players on the roster for next fall – including Spencer Dinwiddie from two years ago, and Xavier Johnson and Josh Scott from last year – who have come to Boulder as top 150 players.

CU is already enjoying the best stretch in school history in men’s basketball, and, from every appearance, that streak is not likely to end anytime soon …

April 11th

Tad Boyle press conference quotes

Opening statements … “Obviously, finished with year three of our coaching staff as we started three years ago, and good things have happened. This year was an exciting year, it was a good year. We have talked as a staff a couple times of how you define good years, great years, very good years, but I think this was a good year for Colorado basketball. It was the first time going to back to back [NCAA] Tournament’s in 50 years, it was the first time we have kept all the coaches in place for the straight years ever. So, a lot of firsts and seconds that we are pretty proud of. Our team is young, was young, and were going to be young next year as well, but just as I told the guys after the (NCAA Tournament) game vs. Illinois: just because you are going to be a year older, does not mean you are going to be a year better; there is obviously a lot of room to grow and develop. But if I look at the players that are returning, I look at the players that are sitting out –Wesley Gordon, and Chris Jenkins –and then I look at the players we have coming in and I couldn’t be more excited about Colorado basketball and the direction we’re headed.”

On depth … “Depth will be much improved, our athleticism will be much improved. I look at Chris Jenkins and Wesley Gordon, both are long and athletic players. Then Tre’Shaun Fletcher, Dustin Thomas, and Jaron Hopkins are all 6 foot 5, 6 foot 6, 6 foot 7 and are athletes who can move their feet and can jump and they have skills, so, I think we will be a more skilled team. We have to become a better half court offensive team. We got together as a coaching staff and that was priority number one in the off season and then priority number two is that we want to use that depth and athleticism and length on the defensive side of the ball. So, you can look for us to extend our defenses more, press a little bit more, and then jump and try to get the game going up and down, a high possession game.

On being ranked in preseason polls, and its affect on recruiting … “It helps, you know it helps. I think anytime you start seeing yourself in top 20 polls, whether it’s pre-season or regular season, I think it is a sign of respect, it is a sign that people recognize that you have talented guys in your program. But with that comes a lot of expectations and a lot of responsibility to live up to those expectations. You guys know I’m always trying to minimize them and down play them as much as possible but when you progress as a program –again going to three straight post seasons and back to back NCAA’s – just the natural progression is to be bigger and better. We think we have the opportunity next year with the personal in place to have a great year. At the end of the day the (rankings) don’t mean anything except the amount of attention you’re getting. Recruiting is about sales, and building trust, and it depends on where your program is and what you’ve done, up until this point we’ve talked about the challenge of coming in and making your mark on a program, and now the pitch is, ‘hey, we’ve proven we can do it here at Colorado when they said we couldn’t do it, and now you can help us take it to the next level’. We’ve gone to the NCAA Tournament and won a game, we’ve gone to the NCAA Tournament and were a one and done, and now we want to go deeper and that is the challenge to the guys we are recruiting.”

On scheduling non-conference games in Boulder now that CU is a tough out … “I asked John Calipari, we were trying to get a game with Kentucky, that was on the docket, but the deal breaker was them coming to Boulder, that was not going to happen, at least not while he is the coach there. So, he kind of laughed me off but that is one example, we’re working on a schedule and we’re probably going to have to go with some neutral court games because that is kind of a happy medium. But it is harder and harder to get people to come here, and we’ll get somebody, it’s just a matter of some you have to pay to come here and that is always a fun negotiation. Scheduling right now, and recruiting are at the forefront of what we’re doing. The one thing we won’t have (in the schedule) is the Charleston Classic with three neutral court games and that is one reason we are looking for neutral court games, one on the west coast and one on the east coast just to get our team some exposure back east and get true neutral court games. So, that is in the works, it is hard for me to comment on that, that’s what we’re working on and we would still love to get another name program to come in. But, Colorado State and Air Force are on the road next year, and then Wyoming is at home, KU is at home, and then we know that we have Arizona and UCLA coming so I think from a fan’s standpoint we will still have some good home games in the non conference it just isn’t as many as we would like.”

On Andre Roberson’s decision whether or not to declare for the NBA draft … “Andre knows that we are going to have a good team next year, I don’t think the polls are going to have an effect, we’re going to be good next year whether Andre comes back or we’re ranked or not and those things don’t mean a lot other than the attention they bring and the recruiting benefit that you might get out of it. I’ve told Andre and I’ve told his parents, we want what is best for him, bottom line, that’s what this thing is about. If he leaves early, I want him in the NBA, I want him getting paid, if he leaves early and he’s not in the NBA and he is not getting paid then it is a disappointing decision on his end and they know that. But, we’ve prepared in the fall with our signing class, we’ve prepared for Andre leaving. We’re going to be good next year with or without him. Obviously, we are a better team with him but it is not going to be a make or break decision for Colorado basketball. One of the things I talked to Andre about is that you are going to develop next year as a basketball player, the question is: where you want to develop? Do you want to develop in college, do you want to develop in the D League, do you want to develop overseas, do you want to develop on an NBA bench where you are working out with an assistant coach getting better, where do you see yourself, where would you be most comfortable, where would you be most happy, and that is really the decision he has to make. He is going to develop as a player next year, wherever he is, so it is just kind of where he wants to be and that is a personal choice that I can’t make for him.”

April 9th

CU given a great deal of 2014 preseason love

The Colorado football team hasn’t been ranked in the preseason AP poll since 2002.

The Colorado men’s basketball team hasn’t been ranked in the preseason AP poll since … 1969.

The one and only time a CU men’s basketball team received preseason allocades came in the 1969-70 season, when the Buffs started the season ranked 10th (finishing unranked).

Preseason ranking No. 2 could very well come this fall, if the way too early pundits are correct.

Colorado is ranked No. 16 in the ESPN preseason 2014 poll. The entire poll can be found here, but here is what ESPN had to say about Colorado:

16. Colorado Buffaloes: The Buffaloes could be the one team to challenge Arizona in the Pac-12. Tad Boyle’s squad boasts one of the country’s most underrated backcourts in Askia Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie, who led the team in points (15.3) and assists (3.0). Andre Roberson was among the national leaders in rebounding with 11.2 boards per contest. And freshman forwards Josh Scott and Xavier Johnson — who combined to average 19.1 points — should both make glaring strides as sophomores. Colorado needs to improve its maturity and consistency when it comes to effort and focus. Too many good wins were followed up by head-scratching losses. That’s the sign of a young team. The Buffaloes won’t be able to use that as an excuse next season.

At CBSSportsline, the news is even better. The CBS poll puts Colorado at No. 12 in the country for the 2013-14 season. Here is that poll, and here

Postseason: Lost to Illinois in the round of 64 Notable players definitely gone: Sabatino Chen Others expected to leave: None Notable players expected to return: Spencer Dinwiddie, Askia Booker, Andre Roberson, Josh Scott, Xavier Johnson Notable newcomers: Tre’shaun Fletcher, Dustin Thomas, Jaron Hopkins

Arizona is ranked 4th in the preseason polls at both ESPN and CBS.  UCLA checks in at No. 15 in the CBS poll, while Stanford checks in at No. 24 in the ESPN poll.

It is also worthy of note that Kansas is ranked behind Colorado in both preseason polls – coming in at No. 20 in both polls. Kansas leads the all-time series between the two schools, 123-39, including a 90-56 drubbing in Lawrences last December. The Jayhawks will make a return visit to Boulder this December … Get your tickets early for that one!

April 4th

Jeremy Adams leaving early … opens up scholarship (in case Andre Roberson decides to stay)

From the Daily Camera … One of Tad Boyle’s players has announced that he will be departing Colorado a year early.

And this decision had nothing to do with the NBA draft.

Junior shooting guard Jeremy Adams, who averaged 2.6 points and 1.4 rebounds in 30 games off the bench for the Buffs, will transfer and play his senior season somewhere else.

Adams, who will graduate at the end of the semester with a degree in psychology, said the reason he is leaving CU is because the university doesn’t offer the specific graduate program (industrial organizational psychology) he wants to pursue a master’s degree in.

“When I think about Jeremy Adams, it’s a testament to what college athletics can do for a young man,” Boyle said during a phone interview with the Camera from Atlanta, where the CU head coach is attending the Final Four. “Coming out of high school, like a lot of talented players, he had dreams of playing in the NBA. At some point he realized, ‘That’s not going to happen.’

“And that realization for Jeremy came at Colorado. So he made the decision to use basketball to maximize his educational opportunities.”

With Adams moving on, CU now has enough scholarships for all of the other returning players and the three incoming freshmen.

Adams will graduate in May along with teammates Sabatino Chen and Shane Harris-Tunks. CU will welcome a three-man recruiting class (Tre’shaun Fletcher, Jaron Hopkins, Dustin Thomas) to campus for workouts in June.

“Jeremy is a terrific young man,” Boyle said. “The fact that he has graduated in four years after attending three different schools speaks to his work ethic. He’s a guy that has overcome a lot. We will always support him.”

Ed Rush resigns as coordinator of Pac-12 Men’s basketball officiating

From the Pac-12 … Pac-12 Coordinator of Men’s Basketball Officiating Ed Rush has announced his resignation, effective immediately, the Conference announced today.

After serving as a consultant to the Pac-12 men’s basketball officiating program since 2007, Rush was named the Coordinator of Men’s Basketball Officiating in May 2012. This followed a position in the NBA league office and 32 seasons as an NBA official, including serving as Director of Officiating for the NBA from 1998 to 2003.

In accepting Rush’s resignation, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said, “I want to express my appreciation for the great contribution Ed made to basketball officiating for the Conference during his tenure, particularly in the area of training and the cultivation of new officiating talent. All of us at the Conference thank him for his years of hard work, and we wish him well.”

“I would like to thank the Pac-12 for giving me the opportunity to lead a group of officials who are working so hard to make the Pac-12 the best officiated conference in college basketball,” said Rush. “My first and highest concerns have always been the integrity of the game of basketball and the honor of the craft of officiating. While I am proud of what we have accomplished, my decision to resign reflects my strong desire to see the Pac-12 officiating program continue to grow and thrive,” concluded Rush.

Scott said a process to select a new officiating coordinator will be part of the overall program review that had already been scheduled for after the college basketball season.

Roberson still undecided about going pro

Full story at the Daily Camera … Andre Roberson has not made up his mind yet whether to return to Colorado or turn pro.

“Right now he’s still undecided. We’re really checking in on a lot of factors,” John Roberson, Andre’s father, told the Camera on Wednesday. “We have to weigh the benefits and see if (the NBA) is a good fit or if he should go back to school.”

Roberson said he would consult with his dad and meet with CU head coach Tad Boyle before making a decision. Boyle and athletic director Mike Bohn met with Roberson’s parents on Wednesday at the family home in San Antonio.

Boyle has applied for an evaluation of Roberson’s draft stock by the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee, which consists of general managers, assistant general managers and player personnel executives who have extensively scouted college games.

The results of the evaluation should be provided to Roberson by no later than April 15, one day before the NCAA deadline for early-entry candidates to withdraw from the NBA draft.

April 2nd

USC hires Florida Gulf Coast coach Andy Enfield

From ESPN … Southern California hired Andy Enfield as men’s basketball coach on Monday night after he took Florida Gulf Coast to the round of 16 of the NCAA tournament.

Athletic director Pat Haden said Enfield has reached an agreement with the Pac-12 school. He will be introduced on Wednesday.

A source told ESPN.com’s Andy Katz Enfield’s deal is for six years.

Enfield was earning $157,000 a year at Florida Gulf Coast, but according to a source with direct knowledge, the USC deal will pay him “well over $1 million a year.”

“Those in the basketball world have known of his abilities for a while,” Haden said.

He said Enfield’s success at FGCU wasn’t a flash in the pan and that his up-tempo style and stingy defense will be fun for both the Trojans players and fans.

“In meeting with Pat Haden, I was very impressed with his vision for the men’s basketball program,” Enfield said in a statement. “I am looking forward to bringing an exciting, up-tempo style of play to USC and building the men’s basketball brand into one that the fans and basketball community will enjoy and respect.”

The 43-year-old coach was 41-28 in his only two seasons as a head coach at FGCU in Fort Myers, Fla. He led the Eagles to a school-record 26 wins this season, including upsets of No. 2 seed Georgetown and No. 7 seed San Diego State as a 15th-seed in the NCAA tourney. They lost to Florida last Friday.

March 31st

Reaction to Alford’s hiring at UCLA

From the LATimes … He has a rock-star image with an opening-act resume.

He was once Hoosiers, but, in the last decade, Gene Hackman has led the exact same number of teams to the Sweet 16.

He prides himself on playing Ivy League-smart basketball, which was pretty cool until a couple of weeks ago when his team was knocked out of the NCAA tournament in the first round by, um, Harvard.

Of course, regarding Saturday’s hiring of Steve Alford as the  UCLA basketball coach, there is only one question that matters.

What does Bill Walton think?

Seriously, plucking Alford’s fallen star from the wilds of New Mexico and placing it in the middle of Hollywood feels more like a casting decision than a coaching decision.

Hey, John Wooden’s school is now being led by a guy whose basketball roots are in Wooden’s small-town Indiana! Look, an undisciplined program is now being led by a disciple of Bobby Knight! And, oh my, look at that hair!

The reality is that Alford, 48, hasn’t been a serious top coaching prospect for several years. He was unable to inspire either Iowa or New Mexico out of the first weekend of the NCAA tournament in his 14 seasons at those two big programs. His sideline presence sold tickets and inspired confidence until it came time to win big games.

Witness this month, when he signed a 10-year extension at New Mexico shortly before his team entered the record books by becoming the first squad in NCAA tourney history to lose to Harvard. His tourney reputation is about as strong as that contract, which he quickly tore up to come to a place that he perhaps believes will have the power to heal and restore …

From Jon Wilner at the San Jose Mercury News … So let’s get this straight …

The Bruins replaced a coach who hasn’t been to the Sweet 16 in five years with a coach who hasn’t been to the Sweet 16 this century …

They hired a guy whose mentor, Bob Knight, is the most outspoken critic of John Wooden …

They hired a guy who is a Hoosier hero but was passed over for the Indiana job once twice three times

They hired a guy who pledged his commitment to New Mexico, then proceeded to break that commitment 10 days later …

They hired a guy who just lost to Harvard in the round of 64 …

All of which makes Steve Alford-to-UCLA a surprising hire, an interesting hire, a wait-and-see hire … but not necessarily a bad hire.

First off: Alford is a good coach.

His teams are disciplined, they play defense, they play hard, they move the ball, they grind — hence their consistent success during the regular season.

(What they don’t do: Score. The Lobos ranked 174th in points per game this season.)

Is Alford a better coach than Ben Howland? No, he’s not.

Give them both the same 12-man roster and Howland’s team beats Alford’s team 7 or 8 times out of 10.

But there’s obviously much more to the situations (Howland’s dismissal and Alford’s arrival).

I’m not here to argue that the Bruins should have kept Howland. I covered UCLA for five years. I’ve interviewed John Wooden in his living room. I get the culture of UCLA basketball.

And from that vantage point, five years without a Sweet 16 appearance — much less a berth in the Elite Eight or Final Four — was reason enough for AD Dan Guerrero and the powers-that-be to dismiss Howland, especially with all the player attrition and trouble recruiting the Southern California AAU circuit.

(That was a mistake in the first place: Howland’s best teams were built without the AAU pipeline. It was only when he went that direction, following the 2008 Final Four loss to Memphis, that the situation began to unravel.)

The expectations in Westwood are no different than in Lawrence or Chapel Hill or Lexington.

Right or wrong, realistic or not, that’s the way it is: UCLA shouldn’t apologize for it, and Howland knew exactly what he was getting into when he took the gig a decade ago …

From ESPN … Alford can come across as arrogant. MWC coaches hated it when he would cut down the net after winning a league title and drape it around his neck for the postgame news conference. But that type of exuberance and fire is also infectious to both fans and players. It gives him a presence and has made him successful.

“You’re not going to find anyone more competitive or driven,” Alford said.

The same people who dislike Alford would probably say they would love to have him on their side. He is exactly what UCLA needs.

Smart has done a tremendous job with a VCU program he led to the Final Four in 2011. But would the top-20-caliber recruits he would be expected to sign at UCLA — guys that would be in school for only a year or two — really want to play Smart’s full-court, Havoc defense? And does Smart have the same sort of West Coast recruiting ties as Alford? Of course not. Neither does Stevens, who would probably be more suited for a job in the Midwest if he ever left Butler. Stevens and Smart would seem out of place amid the bright lights of Los Angeles. They’re not Hollywood enough.

Again, it’s not just about finding the right coach. It’s about hiring the right fit.

The one knock on Alford — and it’s a legitimate one — is his lack of success in the NCAA tournament. He guided Southwest Missouri State to the Sweet 16 in 1999 but hasn’t reached the second weekend of the event since. This year’s New Mexico team received a No. 3 seed after winning 29 games and the outright MWC title. The Lobos were upset by No. 14 seed Harvard in their opening game.

I’ve never been one to judge a coach based solely how he finishes in the NCAA tournament. The Lobos’ loss to Harvard doesn’t change the fact that New Mexico was one of the best, most consistent teams in basketball this season. The lack of a Final Four appearance on Alford’s résumé doesn’t make me think any less of him as a coach.

Alford will have access to better players at UCLA than he has in his entire career. Alford is 48. His ceiling is still high.

He’ll reach it at UCLA.

March 30th

New Mexico’s Steve Alford hired by UCLA

From ESPN … UCLA hired New Mexico head coach Steve Alford on Saturday to replace Ben Howland, ending a process that had rapidly changed direction several times over the past few days.

Alford will be introduced as the Bruins’ coach at a news conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday, according to the school. New Mexico will make Alford available to the media in a news conference later Saturday.

UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero said in a conference call that Alford will receive a seven-year, $18.2 million contract. Guerrero said Alford will be paid $2.6 million a year plus a $200,000 signing bonus and that Alford would have to pay a buyout to New Mexico but that UCLA would work with him.

“Anyone suited for a pressure job like this it’s Steve,” Guerrero said. “He grew up dealing with pressure. Anything about Indiana basketball is pressure. In addition, the state of New Mexico and University of New Mexico takes their basketball seriously. He’s not the kind of guy who will shy away from what expectations are about at UCLA. He’ll handle this with dignity, class and he’s ready for this.”

Alford replaces Howland, who was fired at UCLA last week after the Bruins lost to Minnesota in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Howland coached the Bruins the past 10 years.

“I have been so fortunate and blessed in my life, and an opportunity to lead the one of the greatest programs in college basketball history is once in a lifetime,” Alford said in a statement released by the school. “It is an honor to be the head coach at UCLA, yet it is also a responsibility to ensure that our former, current and future players and fans are proud to be Bruins. I am grateful to chancellor Gene Block and Dan Guerrero for this amazing opportunity and I can’t wait to get started.”

UCLA tried to make a run at VCU’s Shaka Smart and Butler’s Brad Stevens since firing Howland and had entertained the thought of an NBA coach, too.

Guerrero made it clear that he wanted to have a coach who played an exciting style, would help fill the seats at Pauley Pavilion and represented the university and student-athletes well. Alford has a good chance to make all of that happen if he coaches in a similar fashion at UCLA as he did at New Mexico.

“Steve is the perfect fit for UCLA,” Guerrero said. “He is part of the storied history of the game of college basketball and understands the tradition and uniqueness of UCLA. Yet he also connects with a new generation of players and brings an up-tempo and team-oriented brand of basketball to Westwood. We welcome Steve, his wife Tanya, and children Kory, Bryce and Kayla to the Bruin family and look forward to many years of success.”

March 27th

Andre Roberson projected as a second round pick in NBA draft

The Daily Camera has an article reporting that Buff junior forward Andre Roberson is not likely to be a lottery pick in this June’s NBA draft … and that Roberson as a result may be well advised to stick around for his senior year.

In several mock drafts, Roberson is not only a lottery option, but is not likely to go in the first round.

Here is a sampling of mock drafts, and Roberson’s projected positions:

At CBSSports.com, Roberson is projected as a late second round pick, No. 52 overall.

At NBAdraft.net, Roberson does not make the two round draft projections.

At ESPN, Roberson is no better than 54th overall.

At Hoopsworld.com, Roberson is listed as going as the third pick in the second round, 33rd overall.

At draftexpress.com, Roberson is the 48th overall pick, No. 18 in the second round.

March 26th

Former CU head coach Jeff Bzdelik to return as head coach at Wake Forest

From ESPN … Wake Forest athletic director Ron Wellman says basketball coach Jeff Bzdelik will be back for a fourth season.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Wellman re-affirmed his support for Bzdelik and said he is “very encouraged about the future of our program.”

The Demon Deacons have had three straight losing seasons and no postseason tournament appearances under Bzdelik. He is 34-60 overall and 11-42 against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents.

This year’s young team went 13-18 with upset wins over No. 2 Miami and No. 18 North Carolina State with a roster that had only three available non-freshmen on scholarship.

More than 60 percent of the team’s minutes were played by freshmen and Wellman says the Demon Deacons “are going to reap the benefits of that foundation.”

Rumors on Ben Howland replacement search

UCLA is one of the prestige programs in college basketball. True, Ben Howland “only” went to four Final Fours in his ten years in Westwood, but the history of the program still carries some cache.

Is Tad Boyle a candidate to replace Howland? One rumor is that UCLA has – or will – ask the CU athletic director Mike Bohn for permission to talk with Boyle.

Plus, here is a link to a list of candidates from the UCLA Rivals website, which does include Tad Boyle.

Other lists, though, make no mention of the CU head basketball coach …

In addtion to the list from CBS (see report, below), there are other lists for possible replacements, lists which do not include Boyle.

TheLinemakers” at The Sporting News have published their list:

Here are our mock odds to become UCLA’s next basketball coach

1. Shaka Smart (VCU) 3-1

2. Mark Few (Gonzaga) 5-1

3. Brad Stevens (Butler) 8-1

4. Billy Donovan (Florida) 12-1

5. Bill Self (Kansas) 15-1

6. Sean Miller (Arizona) 20-1

7. Buzz Williams (Marquette) 25-1

8. Field 2-1

Here is another guess list, from syracuse.com:

Odds as to who will be hired as the next UCLA coach:

Shaka Smart: 3-1 Josh Pastner: 5-1 Mick Cronin: 6-1 Jay Wright: 7-1 Jeff Van Gundy: 9-1 Rick Pitino: 10-1 Billy Donovan: 10-1 Mike Brown: 12-1 Brad Stevens: 15-1

… Stay tuned …

March 24th

Report: Tad Boyle not considered a candidate for open positions at UCLA and USC

Despite the early exit from the NCAA tournament last weekend, the future for Colorado basketball appears bright.

Perhaps the only event which could derail the Buffs’ bright future would be if head coach Tad Boyle were to leave for another program. Money could be an issue, as well as prestige.

UCLA has both.

Fortunately, at least for now, it does not appear that Tad Boyle is on the short list to replace Ben Howland, fired this weekend by UCLA.

Here is a link to a CBSportline.com article with a list of possible candidates for both the UCLA and USC head basketball coaching positions.

March 23rd – NCAA tournament          No. 12 Kansas 67, No. 5 Colorado 52

The CU women’s team played all season knowing that, if they played well enough, they would not only get into the NCAA tournament, but that a ticket to the Sweet Sixteen would go through the Buffs’ home court.

The CU women’s team did all it had to, losing only six games all season, all to ranked teams, five of those to teams ranked in the top ten in the nation.

All that stood between the CU women’s team and a Sweet Sixteen berths were two home victories.

Instead, the No. 19 CU women’s team folllowed the men’s team … one-and-done in the NCAA tournament.

From cubuffs.com … Scoring the fifth fewest points of the season while allowing the second most was not a formula for success for the Colorado women’s basketball team, as five Kansas players scored in double figures to lead the Jayhawks to a 67-52 upset over the host Buffaloes in an NCAA Women’s Tournament first round game here Saturday.

Seniors Carolyn Davis and Angel Goodrich led the scored 14 points apiece for Kansas (19-13, the 12th seed in the Norfolk Region), which basically limped into the tournament after losing six of its last eight games (and 11 of 18). But the Jayhawks, after falling behind by 10 early, played the like the team that opened the year with seven straight wins on their way to an 11-2 start.

Colorado (25-7, seeded No. 5), was playing in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in a decade, but had to make a go of it without starting center Rachel Hargis, who suffered a knee injury in practice a week ago Friday. It’s safe to say CU missed the junior’s 6-foot-4 presence inside, not only her rebounding but her ability to alter shots.

Colorado started out 6-of-7 from the field in building an early 14-4 edge, but then went cold the rest of the way in the first half (5-of-27) and missed its first seven shots of the second half before a Brittany Wilson layup at 14:02 ended the drought. Meanwhile, KU shot 50 percent in the first half (15-of-30), closing with 11 makes in 18 tries; the Jayhawks made 5-of-6 to open the second for a 16-of-24 performance while turning a 15-9 deficit into a 49-29 lead, the first of two 20-point advantages it had in the game (the other coming at 56-36).

It all added up to a whopping 45-15 comeback after Colorado recorded that early lead.

If the Buffaloes were going to get back in it, they needed a quick start in the second half. But the Jayhawks were not to be denied, scoring the first six points to extend their 10-point intermission lead to 43-27. The margin hovered between 14 points, the closest the Buffs would get on three different occasions, and 18 the remainder of the game.

March 22nd – NCAA tournament          No. 7 Illinois 57, 10 Colorado 49

This just in … you usually can’t go seven and a half minutes without scoring in an NCAA tournament game and have much expectation of victory.

You certainly can’t do it twice.

When Andre Roberson made a layup with 7:26 to play in the first half, the scoreboard in Austin read: No. 7 Illinois 24, No. 10 Colorado 21.

The rest of the first half? A 13-0 run by the Illini, stretching the lead to 37-21 at halftime.

At the break, the Buffs were led by Roberson, who had seven points … but only two rebounds (he needed 14 to retake the lead as the nation’s No. 1 rebounder).

Then … the second half

Askia Booker hit two three-pointers in the first three minutes of the second half, keying a 19-2 run by the Buffs to storm back and take the lead at 40-39 with 10:40 to play.

By the time Illinois made its first basket of the second half, the scoreboard clock was down to 8:36 left in the game.

But the Buffs couldn’t sustain the momentum, and finished the second half much the way they did the first half. After taking a 44-39 lead with 9:30 left to play, the Buffs had only one more basket until the final minute of the game, a jumper by Spencer Dinwiddie (notably, his first basket of the game), with 5:51 left to play.

The next basket by the Buffs came on a three-pointer by Xavier Johnson, coming with 18 seconds left to play and the game well in hand for the Illini.

Final score: Illinois 57, Colorado 49.

Askia Booker led the Buffs with 14 points, but, as Booker went, so went the Buffs. Booker hit two three-pointers to get the Buffs back into the game, but missed several three pointers in the last ten minutes when points were hard to come by for both teams.

The Buffs’ big men both fell just short of double-doubles. Freshman Josh Scott had eight points, but pulled down 15 rebounds. Junior Andre Roberson, playing in perhaps his final game as a Buff, had nine points and eight rebounds.

Note: Roberson finished the season with 347 rebounds in 31 games, or an average of 11.19 rebounds per game. Siena’s O.D. Anosike is also done for the year, finishing his season with 364 rebounds in 32 games, or an average of 11.375 rebounds per game. Roberson finished No. 3 in the nation in rebounds last year; No. 2 this year.

Spencer Dinwiddie, who led the team in scoring most nights this season, had only six points. Dinwiddie made 4-5 free throws, but was only 1-for-8 from the field, and was hit with his fourth foul with 11:56 to play, further limiting his participation.

Illinois was led by Brandon Paul, who had 17 points. The Buffs made the star guard work for it, though, as Paul was only 3-of-12 from the field, and only 2-of-8 from behind the arc.

Game story … From cubuffs.com … Colorado caught Illinois with a furious second-half comeback here Friday, but the Buffaloes couldn’t make their inspired run – or their stay in the NCAA Tournament – last.

The seventh-seeded Illini withstood the Buffs’ rally then staged one of their own, eliminating No. 10 seed CU 57-49. Illinois (23-12) advances to play second-seed Miami, a runaway 78-49 winner over No. 15 seed Pacific earlier Friday, in Sunday’s third round.

“I told our team I’m proud of what they’ve done this year, with a young group,” said CU coach Tad Boyle. “We’ve put Colorado basketball on the map, but we’ve got a lot of work we need to do . . . I’m proud of what Colorado basketball is in the process of becoming.”

The Buffs posted their third consecutive 20-win season (21-12) and earned back-to-back NCAA Tournament trips for the first time in 50 years. But they left the Erwin Center believing this season ended prematurely.

CU trailed by 16 points (37-21) at halftime, but opened the second half with a 23-2 run and went up 44-39 with just under 10 minutes to play. The Buffs held the Illini without a second-half field goal until 8:33 remained in the game, but a 13-2 run gave Illinois a 52-46 lead with under a minute to play and CU couldn’t catch up again.

After finally overtaking the Illini, the Buffs got only two field goals in the last 5:40. And as CU came up with its string of empty possessions, senior guard Brandon Paul was hitting six of six free throws in the final minute to give Illinois the bare amount of offense it needed.

Boyle said his players showed “extreme heart” in coming back, but “we just didn’t have enough of what it took in key possessions of the game, some offensive and some defensive, to finish this thing off. Illinois made more plays down the stretch than we did.”

Paul led the Illini with 17 points, while D.J. Richardson had 14. Askia Booker topped CU with 14 points and was the only CU player in double figures. Josh Scott contributed a game-high 14 rebounds. Andre Roberson, the nation’s No. 2 rebounder entering the tournament, was limited to nine points and eight boards.

In catching the Illini and taking the lead in the second half, Booker said the Buffs “were getting stop after stop and pushing it down their throats. And coach made some great calls for certain plays to be run and we executed very well . . . we felt like had the momentum in our hands.

“But give credit to Illinois for finding the open man and knocking down the shots; that’s something they do very well.”

Game Quotes

“Well, obviously we’re extremely disappointed in the result,” said Tad Boyle. “But I thought our players in the second half showed extreme heart coming back from a 16 point halftime deficit to take the lead. We just didn’t have enough of what it took in key possessions of the game, some offensive and some defensive to finish this thing off. Illinois made more plays down the stretch than we did. We weren’t able to get to the free throw line like we normally do. It’s a big part of our offense and when we aren’t getting to the free throw line we have got to make some shots”.

Game Notes

– With the loss, CU falls to 10-14 all-time in the NCAA tournament; 6-6 in the first game of a tournament;

– Xavier Johnson and Josh Scott were in the opening lineup, the first time CU has started two freshmen in an NCAA tournament game;

– As part of its 23-2 run to open the second half, the Buffs ran off 21 consecutive points. The run was the second longest in school history (24 v. Valpraraiso in 1989);

– Askia Booker attempted a career-high ten three-pointers, matching a career-high in makes with four;

– Josh Scott’s 15 rebounds were a career high;

– Andre Roberson finished the season with 1,049 career rebounds, five shy of the school record of 1,054 set by Stephane Pelle (1999-2003).

—-

March 21st

Colorado v. Illinois – Buffs game plan to limit Illini three-pointers

From cubuffs.com …  Illinois’ strength is the long ball, Colorado’s antidote is long limbs.

The Buffaloes believe the physical length of 6-7 Andre Roberson and 6-6 Spencer Dinwiddie will deter the long-range marksmanship of the Illini’s Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson in Friday’s second round of the NCAA Tournament at the Erwin Center (2:40 MDT, TNT).

Roberson, the Pac-12 Conference’s Defensive Player of The Year, will match up first with the gifted Paul, a 6-4 senior who leads Illinois in scoring (16.6 ppg). Dinwiddie will check the 6-3 Richardson, who leads his team in three-pointers attempted (237) and made (78). But Dinwiddie also likely will take a turn or two on Paul.

The Illini are wild about the three-pointer, and Paul and Richardson are the wildest of the gunners. Illinois’ 815 trey attempts this season were the most in the Big Ten Conference, and Paul (223) and Richardson (237) accounted for more than half of those.

The Illini made 265 of their trey attempts, slotting them at No. 9 in the conference in three-point field percentage (32.5). But their 7.8 made treys per game tops the conference, and they’ve hit 10 or more treys in 10 games.

Roberson’s defensive plan for Paul is simple and straightforward: “Try not to give him any breathing room, dictate where he goes – not where he wants to go,” ‘Dre’ said at Thursday’s news conference. “Try not to let him get shots off because he’s a dangerous player and he likes the three ball.”

Paul’s rebuttal for Roberson: “I know he’s real athletic, so it’s going to be a challenge. But we put ourselves in position to be successful. And I know my teammates are going to do a good job of getting me in positions to score.”

Dinwiddie, who has proven his defensive value time and again this season, said when Illinois is mentioned he instantly thinks “three-point shooting and Brandon Paul. Those are the two things that come to your mind instantly. The third thing would be D.J. Richardson. Those are the three things you want to stop.”

For CU coach Tad Boyle, who unknowingly took on a new identity in Thursday’s news conference quote transcript (Coach Thomason), the critical issue for Roberson, Dinwiddie and whoever else in checking Paul is to never lose touch with him.

“You have to be there when he catches it,” Boyle said. “He’s got deep range, he’s got the green light. He’ll let it fly when he catches it . . . the one thing Andre’s got is great length, he’s got great athleticism.”

But Boyle knows Roberson’s athleticism won’t be enough by itself. Toughness in fighting through screens is a must. “He’s going to have to get through a lot of screens,” Boyle cautioned. “He’ll have some bumps and bruises tomorrow, but using his length and athleticism to be there on the catch and play Brandon’s shot high is the key.”

Paul, a third-team All-Big Ten selection, said he and his teammates were not “real concerned” about the overall length of Roberson and his CU teammates. “We’re a pretty athletic team,” Paul said. “We got guys, (even) if our guys are smaller, they make up with the athleticism. (CU) is a team that has a lot of balanced scoring and a lot of size. But as long as we play our game, I think we’ll be in good shape.”

While the Roberson-Paul matchup might be pivotal, first-year Illinois coach John Groce said he wanted to “make one thing crystal clear: It’s not Roberson versus Paul (Friday), it’s Illinois versus Colorado. I think Brandon, as our oldest player, understands that. Obviously he’s an important part of what we do, just like Roberson is an important part of what Colorado does. So we’ll take that for what it’s worth.”

March 19th

CU starting center Rachel Hargis injured

From the Daily Camera … All season, Rachel Hargis has been a rock in the middle of the lineup for the Colorado women’s basketball team.

Now, the Buffaloes might have to play without her.

A 6-foot-4 junior center from Robinson, Texas, Hargis tore the medial collateral ligament (MCL) in her right knee during practice on Friday.

CU did not reveal whether it was a full or partial tear, and as of Tuesday, it was unknown whether Hargis will be able to play on Saturday when the 19th-ranked Buffs (25-6) take on Kansas (18-13) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Boulder.

“We’re just taking it a day at a time,” Buffs head coach Linda Lappe said. “We don’t know anything yet. It depends on how fast she can feel stable, basically.

“She’s progressing, for sure. She’s looking good so far.”

Hargis is the only player on the team to have started all 31 games for the Buffaloes this season. She averages 4.3 points and 3.1 rebounds per game and has been one of CU’s best defensive players. She earned honorable mention from Pac-12 coaches for the league’s All-Defense team.

If Hargis can’t play, it seems likely that freshman Jamee Swan would take her spot in the lineup. In recent weeks, Swan has seen increased playing time in games where Hargis has gotten into foul trouble.

The Buffs could also give more minutes to sophomore forward Jen Reese or senior forward Meagan Malcolm-Peck.

“We’ll have a plan for sure,” Lappe said. “The good thing about our team, injuries haven’t bothered us yet.”

Preview – Colorado v. Illinois – NCAA Second round

Game info – No. 10 seed Colorado (21-11, 10-8) takes on No. 7 seed Illinois (22-12, 8-10). Tip-off Friday, March 22nd, approx. 2:40 p.m. (MT), Austin, Texas (TNT coverage, with Tim Brando and Mike Gminski). The winner will take on the winner of the Miami/Pacific game on Sunday afternoon (TBA).

Series – Illinois leads the all-time series, 3-1, with the last game being played in 1987.

Common opponent – Both teams have played USC, both winning at home (Illinois, 94-64; Colorado 66-60).

CU on neutral courts – The Buffs are 4-1 on neutral courts in 2012-13 (3-0 in Charleston Classice; 1-1 in Pac-12 tournament); 13-7 on neutral courts under Tad Boyle.

Scouting Illinois … Two numbers to watch on Friday – rebounding and three-point percentages.

Rebounding – Illinois’ top board man is 6-11 Nanna Egu, who checks in at 4.6 rebounds a game. The Illini are averaging 33.5 rebounds a game, 10th in the Big Ten Conference, the Buffs and Andre Roberson are second in the Pac-12 (37.2) in rebounding offense and fourth (+3.4) in rebounding margin. (For those watching the game within the game, Roberson needs 14 rebounds to retake the lead as the nation’s top rebounder. With 18 rebounds, Roberson would become CU’s all-time leader in rebounds). “We’ve got the best rebounder in the nation in Andre and two freshmen – me and Josh (Scott) – and Spencer (Dinwiddie) can get any board he wants,” said Xavier Johnson. “We’re a tall team; we’ll be good on the boards.” (Roberson is 6-7, Scott 6-10, Johnson 6-6, Dinwiddie is a 6-6 guard.)

Three-point shooting – Compared to the Buffs’ 498 trey attempts (173 made, 34.5 percent), the Illini attempted 815 (265 made, 32.5 percent). Illinois leads the Big Ten in threes made per game (7.8), but is eighth in three-point field goal percentage. Boyle’s take: “We’ve got to guard the three-point line and guard the ball as well. We always talk defensively about not giving up layups, that’s going to be important. But in addition to that, we have to guard them at the three-point line. They’re very capable. If they get hot . . . they remind me a lot of UNLV last year. They shoot a lot of threes and if they’re making them, boy, you’re in a tussle. If they’re not, we’ve got to get the rebound and make them work a little bit.”

The name to keep an eye on … Brandon Paul, Illinois’ leading scorer (16.6 ppg, fourth in Big Ten). Trailing him in scoring in a three-guard offense are D.J. Richardson (12.4 ppg) and Tracy Abrams (10.4 ppg). If Paul gets hot, the Illini can score in bunches. If Spencer Dinwiddie can keep Paul in check … it could be a good afternoon for the Buffs.

CU in the NCAA tournament

– This weekend marks the Buffs’ 12th appearance in the NCAA tournament. The Buffs are 10-13 all-time, including two appearances in the Final Four (1942; 1955).

– This appearance marks the 50th anniversary of the last time CU made back-to-back appearances in the tournament (1962 & ’63).

– The most points ever scored by a Buff in an NCAA tournament game was 32, posted by Cliff Meely against Colorado State in 1969.

– Colorado is 2-1 against Big Ten teams in the tournament, with wins over Indiana and Iowa, and a loss to Michigan State.

Shane Harris-Tunks not cleared to return to play

From cubuffs.com … If 6-11 junior Shane Harris-Tunks hasn’t been cleared from a concussion suffered against Arizona, 7-0 junior Ben Mills likely will get minutes off the bench in relief of Scott. Mills logged five first-half minutes against Arizona, making one of two free throws and grabbing two rebounds.

As to Josh Scott, who has returned to the lineup after suffering a concussion against Arizona State … After missing two games with a concussion suffered against Arizona State on Feb. 16, Scott returned to the lineup for the final three regular-season games and the pair of Pac-12 tourney games.

His self-assessment since his return: “I’m pretty hard on myself. I’d say that defensively and rebounding, I think I’ve done a pretty good job. But offensively, I’m just trying to find the rhythm ever since that happened. It’s been frustrating, but I’m working through it.”

In the five games since returning, he’s averaged 4.3 points and 7.3 rebounds.

March 18th

CU women seeded 5th – will play Kansas at home on Saturday

The NCAA women’s basketball tournament bracket is out, and the No. 19 CU women will play at home this Saturday as the No. 5 seed against No. 12 seed Kansas.

The Buffs will play around 4:30 Saturday afternoon, after the conclusion of the battle between No. 4 seed South Carolina and No. 13 seed South Dakota State (tip time 2:10 p.m.). The game is slated as one of the games which may be shown on ESPN2 that afternoon.

If the Buffs advance to the Elite Eight by beating Kansas (and likely South Carolina, with that game to be played on Monday night), they will then likely face No. 1 seed Notre Dame, with the game to be played in Norfolk, Virginia, next weekend.

Colorado serves as a first- and second-round host for the 10th time and first since 2003. The Buffaloes are 12-3 all-time at home in the NCAA Tournament and have won six straight.

CU has a losing record, 33-35, in the all-time series with Kansas, with an 18-11 record at home. The Buffs have lost five straight to the Jayhawks, including a 75-41 thrashing in the 2011 Big 12 tournament, the last game the Buffs played as a member of the conference.

This season, though, while Colorado was compiling a 25-6 record, Kansas went 18-13, 8-10 in Big 12 play. The Jayhawks went 2-6 against ranked teams this past season, including an 88-79 loss to Cal from the Pac-12 conference in December.

South Carolina, if the Buffs are lucky enough to advance to the Round of 32, is very comparable to Colorado. The Gamecocks are ranked No. 17 in the nation, with a 24-7 overall record, 11-5 in SEC play. South Carolina also played a Pac-12 team, falling at home to Stanford, 53-49 (a team which beat Colorado three times this season). Colorado has never played South Carolina, and has a 1-1 all-time record against No. 13 seed South Dakota State, the other team heading to Boulder this weekend.

The Buffs are very fortunate that the University of Colorado was previously selected to host two first round games, as two other 5th seeded teams will have to win road games to advance past this weekend. No. 5 Iowa State will be playing on the home court of No. 12 seed Gonzaga, while another No. 5 seed, Michigan State, will play home team Maryland, the No. 4 seed, if the Spartans win their first round game.

The Cal Bears from the Pac-12 are also on the road. Cal is a No. 2 seed, and will face No. 15 Fresno State in their first round game. If the Bears advance, though, they will likely face No. 7 Texas Tech … with the game to be played in Lubbock.

Other teams which could face a lower seed on the home court of the lower seeded team  in the second round … No. 3 Penn State at No. 6 LSU … No. 2 Kentucky at No. 10 St. Johns … No. 3 North Carolina at No. 6 Delaware … and even No. 1 seed Notre Dame at No. 9 Iowa.

Other than Cal, the other two teams from the Pac-12 who made the tournament are No. 1 seeded Stanford, which will play at home against Tulsa, and UCLA, which earned a No. 3 seed (but still has to travel to Columbus, Ohio, for their first two rounds).

The bid is the 13th in CU women’s history, but the first since 2004.

CU No. 36 on Selection Committee’s seed list

Here is a link to the seed list used by the Selection Committee. Colorado came in at No. 36, with Friday’s opponent, Illinois, No. 28.

Other schools of note … Miami – 5; Arizona – 21; UCLA – 25; Colorado State – 30; Cal – 42; Oregon – 43.

Boyle: “Quite frankly, I was hoping for a ten or eleven more than an eight or a nine”

Full story at cubuffs.com … “This is a hard tournament to get into,” Boyle said. “We can’t ever take this for granted. This is the first back-to-back NCAA Tournaments (for CU) since the early ’60s – a long, long time ago . . . so in the modern era, the first back-to-back. We don’t want it to be the last. I think it’s a great step forward for our program to get an at-large bid. Obviously we’d rather win the Pac-12 Tournament, but the fact we didn’t and we got in shows some respect (by the Selection Committee).”

That respect didn’t show itself for what seemed a painfully long time Sunday afternoon. The CBS Selection Show went through a pair of 15-minute segments in announcing the Midwest and South brackets before “Colorado” flashed on the screen opposite Illinois in the East.

During their half-hour wait, Boyle and his upperclassmen were flashing back to two years ago in the same room, when a festive Selection Sunday watch party turned funereal when the Buffs were spurned. Angst built on this Sunday when Pac-12 champ Oregon, which had defeated Oregon less than 24 hours earlier, was relegated to a No. 12 seed in the Midwest.

“I was sitting next to Andre (Roberson, junior forward) and we were both getting nervous,” Boyle recalled. “All the guys who were here two years ago . . . the rest of the guys don’t have any idea, but those guys do.”

The younger guys, however, were not sitting at ease. “I don’t know if I can even describe it,” sophomore guard Askia Booker said. “Your ears get hot, sweat starts coming down your head . . . you’re looking at teammates and they’re trying to keep themselves composed. It’s hard, nerve-wracking. But once you’re in, it’s all joy.”

Boyle’s nerves had everything to do with Selection Sunday 2011, but he added, “The fortunate thing was this was a new year, new team . . . a whole new deal. Logically – and I’m a pretty logical person – it shouldn’t have had anything to do with it. But emotionally, it’s human nature. You know how it works. We’re all scarred and sometimes you’re afraid of reopening those old wounds.”

They stayed closed and when the Buffs were in, with their opponent, date and destination, the Boyle den erupted in cheers.

“I’m happy for Andre getting to go back to Texas (he’s from San Antonio),” Boyle said. “Austin is a great place to go this time of year, heck, anytime of year for that matter. We’re very fortunate, and we’re playing a team from one of the toughest conferences in the country.”

Roberson, the nation’s leading rebounder who showed few effects at the Pac-12 tournament from a viral illness that sidelined him for the previous two games, called returning to his home state “definitely great. It’s a double for me. This is a great feeling, especially after what happened two years ago. We’re going to go and show everybody why we’re one of the best.”

One of Roberson’s personal goals this season is to advance to at least the Sweet Sixteen, and he believes “we can do that this year with the team we’ve got and the talent we have . . . I won’t say we overachieved, but we had a lot of young guys. We started to rebuild and I definitely feel we did a great job this year.”

Being seeded 10th was in the neighborhood where Boyle believed the Buffs might land – and he likes that spot.

“Quite frankly, I was hoping for a ten or eleven more than an eight or a nine,” he said. “You face usually a No. 1 seed (if you win the first game) and sometimes that No. 1 seed, they try and keep them close to home. They really put a lot of stock in those No. 1 seeds and once it starts going down from there, the part of the country is less important.

“So I thought certainly with a ten or eleven seed, your first-round opponent is maybe a little bit better, but your second-round opponent – now, they’re still going to be good, Miami is a No. 2 seed and won the ACC and the ACC Tournament – but you never know what’s going to happen in this thing. That’s what makes this tournament so special – the upsets. If a ten seed like Colorado beats a seven seed like Illinois, it’s not really considered an upset. But if a fifteen (seed) beats a two, it’s a major upset. Those eight-nine games are flips of the coin. We’re just elated to be a part of it.”

March 17th

CU dancing! Buffs a No. 10 seed, will play No. 7 seed Illinois in Austin

Game time set … Colorado will play Illinois at approximately 2:40 MT Friday, and will be televised on TNT. The Buffs game against the Illini will follow the Miami/Pacific game, which tips off at 12:10 p.m. MT.

“When I saw Oregon as a No. 12 seed and UCLA as a No. 6 seed, I said, ‘whoa, anything can happen here,'” Tad Boyle said after Colorado was announced as a No. 10 seed. “I am glad we [got selected] in that third segment of the CBS show. If it would’ve been the fourth, whew, I was sweating”.

Illinois went 22-12 this season, with an 8-10 record in Big Ten play. The Illini defeated Minnesota, 51-49, in the first round of the Big Ten tournament, before falling, 80-64, to Indiana in the quarterfinals.

Illinois opened the season with a 12-0 record, including a road 85-74 win over then No. 10 Gonzaga on December 8th. The Illini reached as high as No. 10 in the polls before losing their only other non-conference game against a ranked opponent. On December 22nd, Illinois lost its rivalry game against a No. 12 Missouri team, 82-73.

In Big Ten play, Illinois went 3-6 against ranked teams, including wins over Ohio State when the Buckeyes were ranked No. 8, a 74-72 over then No. 1 Indiana on February 7th, and 57-53 win over then No. 18 Minnesota on the road three days later.

Like Colorado, Illinois opened with a 1-4 in conference play, with a five game winning streak in February bringing the Illini back to .500 at 7-7. Illinois then lost three of their last four games to close out the regular season before going 1-1 in the Big Ten tournament.

Colorado and Illinois have met just four times, with the Illini holding a 3-1 edge in the series. The two last played in 1987, with Illinois winning in Champaign, 69-65, on Jan. 31, 1987, and later that year, 86-68 in the return game on Dec. 30, which was played in Denver as part of a doubleheader in the Mile High Classic at McNichols Sports Arena.

Colorado (21-11, 10-8 Pac-12, fifth) and Illinois (22-12, 8-10 Big 10, seventh) had one common opponent this year – Southern California. Illinois beat them 94-64 in Champaign in December, the Buffs beat them 66-60 in Boulder in January. The Illini were 2-1 against NCAA teams in non-conference play, while the Buffaloes were 1-1.

Illinois is led by guard Brandon Paul, who is averaging 16.6 points per game. Two other players are averaging double figures – D.J. Richardson at 12.4 points per game, and Tracy Abrams, at 10.6 points per game.

From ESPN … “Our main goal throughout the season was just to get better every day, putting 100 percent,” Illinois senior guard Brandon Paul said. “3-19-13 (first day of the NCAA tournament) was on our wrist bands, and when we finally saw our name called it was pretty much a blessing. We were excited about it, and we were excited about the challenge ahead.”

“They had that (tournament) goal from the very beginning when I met with (them),” Illinois’ first-year coach John Groce said. “They really solidified that as something they wanted to do in the fall when we first got together and talked in particular to our seniors. To see that come to fruition in a way they had to grind it out and be really tough at different parts of the season when maybe others doubted them, but I think it’s a great life lesson for our guys. Certainly not satisfied because we have work to do, but I’m a proud for those guys.”

Groce said after Friday’s loss to Indiana in the Big Ten tournament he was happy with the way his team was playing headed into the NCAA tournament.

“I would like to play two complete halves defensively and offensively. But I like our mindset,” Groce said. “I like our body language. I like our passion. I thought we really competed in this tournament both days. I thought we really played hard. I thought we played for one another. I think the guys are playing the game right way. Hopefully, we can continue to move forward here in the next few days and figure out how we can put together two halves when we’re defending and playing good offense. I think that’s the next step.”

Illinois did not appear in the NCAA Tournament last season and has been selected twice in the previous five years. The Illini haven’t been to the Sweet 16 since 2005.

Team comparison … Illinois is averaging 69.1 points per game. Until Arizona went for 79 in the Pac-12 quarterfinals, CU had held 11 straight opponents under 70 points … Neither team is good at producing assists. Illinois 317th in the nation in assists, Colorado is 328th … Colorado should have the advantage on the boards, with the Buffs 60th in the nation in rebounds, while Illinois is 218th in the nation.

If Colorado can get past Illinois, the Buffs will likely play Miami. CU has played Miami, Fla., just one time (a 73-66 win at Miami on Jan. 3, 1957). The Buffs have not played the other team on that side of the bracket, Pacific.

The rest of the Pac-12 … Arizona and UCLA both earned No. 6 seeds, with Cal and Oregon being tabbed as No. 12 seeds. Oregon, which won the Pac-12 tournament, was actually a No. 11 seed in the rankings, but due to moves by the selection committee to avoid pre-selection rules (like not having teams from the same conference matchup early), the Ducks were moved down to a No. 12 seed.

Oregon will play No. 5 Oklahoma State in an advantageous location, San Jose. Also in San Jose is No. 12 Cal, which will play basically a home game against No. 5 UNLV.

The two No. 6 seeds from the Pac-12 are Arizona and UCLA. The Wildcats will take on Belmont in Salt Lake City, while UCLA will join the Buffs in Austin, taking on No. 11 Minnesota.

Last season, only two Pac-12 teams – Colorado and Cal – made it into the NCAA tournament.

Pac-12 in the NIT … In addition to getting five teams into the NCAA tournament, three more Pac-12 teams will continue playing in the NIT. Arizona State will play at home as a No. 3 seed, facing Detroit. The Sun Devils, though, will have to get past Baylor (No. 2 seed) and Kentucky (No. 1 seed) to get to New York. Stanford, the defending NIT champion, will play at home in the first round, but will have to take on No. 1 seed Alabama in the second round. The third team from the Pac-12 team in the NIT will be Washington, which will head to Provo to take on No. 3 seed BYU.

March 16th

Bracketology update … Colorado, two days removed from playing its last game, continues to move up and down the bracketologists boards.

The Buffs were a No. 9 seed under both the ESPN and CBS brackets after the Buffs lost to Arizona in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament.

Saturday, the Buffs moved down a spot, to a No. 10 seed (against Memphis in Dayton) in the ESPN bracket, but moved up a spot to a No. 8 seed in the CBS bracket (against Cincinnati in Salt Lake).

While having the chance to avoid a No. 1 seed in Round two of the tournament would be great, getting to play in Salt Lake City would be a huge boost for attendance for the Buffs, who would, if the CBS bracket holds, play Gonzaga in the second round. Meanwhile, in the ESPN bracket, if the Buffs could get past the Memphis Tigers, their second round matchup is projected to be Ohio State, playing a home game in the state of Ohio.

I guess we’ll know soon enough …

March 15th

Roberson has some work to do to claim NCAA rebounding title

Andre Roberson had 11 rebounds in the Buffs’ loss to Arizona Thursday, right about his yearly average.

But it wasn’t above his yearly average, which keeps him in second place in the race for the NCAA rebounding title.

Roberson now has 339 rebounds in 30 games, or an average of 11.30 rebounds per game. Siena’s O.D. Anosike is done for the year, finishing his season with 364 rebounds in 32 games, or an average of 11.375 rebounds per game.

If Colorado is “one and done” in the post-season (heaven forbid!), Roberson would need to pull down 14 rebounds to win the title. If CU has two more games to play, the math is even easier. Two more games would give Roberson the same number of games played as Anosike, who has 364. Roberson would need a total of 26 rebounds to overtake Anosike’s lead.

Career rebound title watch … With 18 rebounds in the Pac-12 tournament, Roberson now has 1,037 rebounds, 17 rebounds behind the only other Buff in school history with over 1,000 career rebounds, Stephane Pelle (1,054, 1999-2003).

Countdown to 1,000 over … Roberson did pass one milestone this weekend. Roberson scored 27 points in Las Vegas, giving him 1,003 for his career, only the 29th player in CU history with over 1,000 career points.

Bracketology

Sure, it makes sense …

Just over a week ago, Colorado, after losing to Cal on March 2nd, was dropped by ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi from a No. 10 seed to a No. 11 seed.

After a big win over No. 19 Oregon, the Buffs … stayed as a No. 11 seed.

Then, after losing at home to last place Oregon State in the regular season finale … the Buffs moved back up to a No. 10 seed.

Colorado remained a No. 10 seed until Friday morning, when, after losing to Arizona in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament, the Buffs … moved up to a No. 9 seed.

Yes, I understand about the “curve” when placing team, and the issues of not placing teams from the same conference in the same side of brackets. And yes, I understand that other teams losing their conference games can have an effect on the Buffs’ seeding.

But really, this is hard to take.

Let’s get to Sunday, and see a picture of Ralphie up on the CBS tournament boards …

March 14th – Pac-12 Tournament          No. 18 Arizona 79, Colorado 69

At one point in the first half, Arizona had a better shooting percentage from the three-point line than Colorado had from the free throw line.

Not a great recipe for taking out the No. 18 team in the nation.

Still, the Buffs did fight back in the second half, cutting a 14-point deficit to two points with a minute to play, before Arizona scored the last eight points of the game, pulling away for a 79-69 victory.

Now the 21-11 Buffs must wait for Sunday afternoon, when the NCAA tournament brackets will be announced. Two seasons ago, the Buffs seemed to be a lock for the tournament, but were left to sit stunned before the television cameras at Tad Boyle’s home while the 68-team field was announced without them.

As noted below, the win over Oregon State likely punched the Buffs’ ticket to the Big Dance, but there will still be a few nervous days ahead …

Game Story from cubuffs.com … Arizona took control early then withstood a gutsy Colorado comeback to eliminate the Buffaloes 79-69 in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Conference Tournament before a record crowd of 12,915 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

The fourth-seeded Wildcats (25-6) play top-seeded UCLA (24-8) in Friday’s semifinals. No. 5 seed CU (21-11) now begins its NCAA Tournament vigil, hoping for an at-large berth on Selection Sunday.

After trailing by 14 points with 12:24 to play, CU closed to within two (71-69) in the final 1:03 on a pair of Andre Roberson free throws. But Arizona’s Nick Johnson scored at the other end to push the Wildcats up four and two free throws by Mark Lyons with 23.6 seconds left gave Arizona a comfortable six-point advantage.

The No. 18 Wildcats added four more free throws in the final 14.2 seconds.

CU, which defeated Arizona 53-51 last season for the inaugural Pac-12 championship in Los Angeles, was led by Spencer Dinwiddie with 18 points. Roberson added the 37th double-double of his career – 15 points, 11 rebounds – while Askia Booker contributed 12 and Xavier Johnson 11 for the Buffs.

Arizona had three players in double figures, topped by Johnson’s 18.

The Buffs took their only lead of the game on the first possession, getting a dunk from Dinwiddie on a baseline drive. From there, the afternoon looked as if it belonged to Arizona.

The Wildcats led 39-28 at halftime, with the half’s last half minute providing a snapshot of the Buffs’ early deficiencies. After closing to within eight (36-28) on a put-back by Roberson, CU forced a turnover and had possession with 23.8 seconds left before the break.

But Sabatino Chen couldn’t in-bound the ball in the allotted five seconds and Arizona regained possession. The Wildcats worked the clock to five seconds before Solomon drove the lane for a layup. Roberson fouled him and Hill converted the three-point play, saddling CU with its second-worst (11 points) halftime deficit of the season.

The worst was 19 at Kansas, and that game didn’t end well for CU – a 90-54 smack down.

The Buffs didn’t do much particularly well in Thursday’s first 20 minutes. Their 10 turnovers led to 15 Wildcats points. They hit five of 12 free throws. They were out-rebounded 17-16 and they allowed Arizona to shoot 45.2 percent from the field.

Plus, CU’s bench, which was outscored 18-4 in the first half, took a hit when 6-11 Shane Harris-Tunks was hit in the head with 12:45 left before the break. He went to the locker room for evaluation and was not cleared to play in the second half.Harris-Tunks’ departure and two early fouls on 6-10 freshman Josh Scott resulted in five rare first-half minutes for 7-0 junior Ben Mills, who had one point and two rebounds in that time.

Neither team had a player in double figures in the first half, but eight of nine Arizona players scored. Roberson led CU with eight points and six boards.

To atone for their shoddy first 20 minutes, the Buffs clearly needed an energized, efficient start to the last 20. They got it, but the Wildcats matched it.

After CU outscored Arizona 6-2 in the first three minutes to cut the deficit to seven (41-34), the Wildcats answered with Johnson’s trey and conventional three-point play to restore an 11-point lead. It went to 13 (49-36) on a layup by Lyons with 16:45 to play.

The Buffs’ uphill trek was getting steeper. Back-to-back baskets by Roberson and Booker brought CU to 49-40, but time was trickling away and the Buffs’ offensive flow wasn’t improving.

With 12:24 remaining, a three-pointer from the left corner by Jordin Mayes pushed the Wildcats ahead 54-40. If the Buffs couldn’t see trouble ahead, they weren’t looking. But maybe that was a good thing.

Down by 14 after Mayes’ trey, Dinwiddie hit a pair of free throws, Xavier Talton scored a layup on a fast break, and Dinwiddie knocked down a three in transition.

Suddenly, Arizona’s 14-point led had been cut in half (56-47) with 10 minutes to play. But CU’s momentum withered on a put-back by 7-footer Kaleb Tarczewski and a trey by Kevin Parrom that restored a 12-point (59-47) Arizona lead.

But the Buffs weren’t done. They pulled to within four three times in the final 3:13, the last time on a Booker three with 1:50 remaining. After an Arizona turnover 30 seconds later, CU coach Tad Boyle – his team trailing 71-67 – called a timeout.

Roberson’s two foul shots made it a two-point game, but that was as close as the Buffs could get.

ESPN: Colorado now a “lock” for NCAA tournament

The Buffs have been in the “Teams that should be in” in the ESPN Bubble Watch for some time now, but has now been moved into the “lock” category.

From ESPN … We’re moving Colorado into the lock field Wednesday night. It’s not because CU’s six-point first-round win over Oregon State was especially impressive, because, you know, it’s Oregon State. But by avoiding that bad loss, the Buffaloes have advanced to a second-round matchup with Arizona, which is a no-lose proposition. If the Buffs win, they’re obviously in. If they lose, well, so what? It’s a loss to Arizona, which would be a No. 4 seed (or so) in the bracket were we to seed the field today. So the Buffaloes — who are in great shape RPI and schedule-wise, more on which below — move up.

Cal, which doesn’t play its first Pac-12 tournament game until today, also moved into the “lock” category, along with Arizona and UCLA.

Oregon, which plays Washington tonight, remains in the “Teams that should be in” category, while Arizona State, which must face No. 1 seed UCLA this afternoon, is in the “Work left to do” category.

All other teams from the Pac-12, in ESPN’s estimation, are either done for the year, heading for the NIT, or must win the Pac-12 tournament to go dancing this Sunday.

Preview – Colorado v. No. 18 Arizona – (3:30 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks)

– The Buffs hold an 11-7 all-time lead in the series, with the teams splitting their games this season (yes, yes. It should read “sweep by Colorado”). In games played in neutral sites, Colorado holds a 2-1 advantage, including a win in the Pac-12 tournament last season.

– Colorado is 4-2 over ranked teams this season, including the 71-59 home win over then No. 9 Arizona.

– CU is now 4-0 this season in games played on neutral courts, and 9-1 over the past two seasons.

– The Buffs have 21 wins this season, only the fifth time in school history the Buffs have won at least 21 games, including each of the past three seasons.

– It was close, but the 74-68 win over Oregon State gave CU its 11th-consecutive game holding conference opponents under 70 points.

– With only seven rebounds against Oregon State, Andre Roberson dropped to second place in the race for the NCAA rebounding title (assuming tournament games count). Roberson now has 328 rebounds in 29 games, or an average of 11.31 rebounds per game. Siena’s O.D. Anosike is done for the year, finishing his season with 364 rebounds in 32 games, or an average of 11.375 rebounds per game.

March 13th – Pac-12 Tournament          Colorado 74, Oregon State 68

Game Quotes

– Opening statement – “Sometimes in tournament basketball you’ve got to win ugly” said Tad Boyle. “And today, offensively, we didn’t have our best game. I’m not sure I remember the last time we shot better from behind the arc than we did inside the arc. But we shot 39 percent for the game and 43 percent from the field. And we made just enough free throws to put it away. Not our best performance offensively, but I told these guys in the locker room, our program is predicated on defensive rebounding and the reason it is, is for games like this. You’ve got to be able to grind them out. Whether it’s early in March or early in November, and these guys have, for the most part, done that this year.”

– On the return of Andre Roberson – “Andre brings a lot to our team. There is no question about it. He was a little rusty today. But in terms of his defense and clogging up the lane and changing shots, Andre was terrific. It wasn’t his best outing, but we’re certainly a better team with him than we are without him. So I think he’s got a lot of respect around the league, obviously, with being named Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-Conference, so it’s good to have him back.”

– On a developing rivalry with Arizona – “Absolutely. I think there is a lot of mutual respect between the programs, and I respect their coach and their coaching staff. I respect their players and their program, what it means to college basketball in the Pac-12. I think what we did last year, and this year and these young men sitting here beside me, I think we’ve earned some respect as well. So I look for a heck of a game. They’re talented. We’re talented. Again, they’re very solid defensively. When you prepare for Arizona in terms of ball screen defense and their philosophical approach to the game is much like ours, so that helps in preparation. And we’ve played them twice. They’ve played us twice, that helps. Familiarity helps, for sure.”

Additional locker room quotes, including quotes from Spencer Dinwiddie and Xavier Johnson.

Buffs avenge loss to Oregon State

It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t pretty, but CU advanced to the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament with a 74-68 win over Oregon State.

Spencer Dinwiddie had 20 points to lead the Buffs, connecting on only 4-of-11 field goals, but 9-of-11 free throws to help keep the Beavers at bay down the stretch. Xavier Johnson scored 16 points (though only 4-of-9 from the free throw line), while Andre Roberson, playing his first game in almost two weeks, had 12 points but only seven rebounds.

The Buffs advance to play No. 4 seed Arizona (3:30 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks) on Thursday afternoon.

Game story from cubuffs.com … Payback came quickly for the Colorado Buffaloes and they didn’t let the opportunity pass.

Beaten and embarrassed last weekend on their home court by lowly Oregon State, the Buffs regrouped and disposed of the Beavers 74-68 on Wednesday in the first round of the Pac-12 Conference Tournament.

No. 5 seeded CU (21-10) advances to face No. 4 seed Arizona (24-6) Thursday (3:30 p.m. MDT, Pac-12 Network) in the second round. The Buffs and Wildcats split their two regular-season meetings, each team winning at home.

Sophomore guard Spencer Dinwiddie led the Buffs with 20 points, including eight straight after the Beavers (14-18) had pulled to within a point early in the second half. Freshman forward Xavier Johnson added 16 points and seven rebounds for the Buffs, who out-boarded the Beavs 43-30.

Junior forward Andre Roberson, the Pac-12’s Defensive Player of The Year, made his return for CU after missing the previous two games. He scored 12 points, including a three-pointer followed by a pair of free throws that gave the Buffs a 12-point lead (61-49) with 2:43 remaining. It was CU’s largest advantage of the afternoon.

Oregon State pulled to within five points in the final two minutes, but CU hit 11 of 16 throws to advance against No. 18 Arizona.

After a back-and-forth half, the Buffs took 32-26 lead at intermission – and they did it dramatically. After a Beavers turnover with 1.1 seconds remaining, Sabatino Chen tossed the ball inbounded the ball just across the mid-court line Dinwiddie, who cleared himself to shoot with two dribbles and let his shot fly.

The horn sounded with the ball in the air – and CU had its fourth (and longest) three-pointer of the first half in 11 attempts.

Prior to that six-point advantage, the Buffs had led by as many as seven before the Beavs regrouped and tied the score at 23-23 with a 7-0 run. They made it a 10-2 spurt and went up 26-25 before CU closed out the half with a short jumper by Josh Scott, a pair of free throws by Chen and Dinwiddie’s half-court swish.

CU had three players – Dinwiddie, Johnson and Jeremy Adams off the bench – with eight first-half points. And Scott collected eight of the Buffs’ 23 first-half rebounds, giving him a seasonal board best for one half.

At tip-off all CU eyes were on Roberson, who had missed the previous two games (viral illness) but was cleared to play in the tournament on Tuesday morning. Roberson started, took a break at the 14:23 mark, then reentered the game with 12:13 remaining.

But less than three minutes later, with 10:47 left before intermission, Roberson picked up his second personal foul and went to the bench for the remainder of the half. If he needed rest, he hadn’t figured on getting it this way. He finished the half with two points and one rebound in seven minutes.

Oregon State outshot CU in the first half, hitting 41.7 percent (50 percent from beyond the arc) to CU’s 38.2 percent. But the Buffs forged a 23-13 rebound advantage and led 11-2 in second-chance points.

CU opened the second half with a basket by Roberson and took its largest lead – 34-26 – of the afternoon. OSU trimmed it to one (38-37), before Dinwiddie answered with a trey from the left wing and three free throws when he fouled attempting a straightaway three-pointer.

Those six points put the Buffs up 44-37 with 12:38 to play, but the Beavers wouldn’t go quietly. A three-point play by Roberto Nelson pulled OSU to within 44-40 with 10:19 remaining, but that was it.

Dinwiddie added another pair of free throws and Xavier Johnson was awarded a basket on an OSU goal tend, sending CU up 48-40 with just over eight minutes to play. The Buffs extended their lead to 11 (53-42) on layup by Johnson – Dinwiddie assisted – with just over six minutes left.

Oregon State, which defeated CU 64-58 last Saturday, crept to within 53-46 before Askia Booker hit a triple to put the Buffs back in front by double-digits (56-46). Booker had been scoreless (0-8 from the field) until that basket.

But the Beavers were intent on making it a close game. When Ahmad Starks drained a three with 1:54 to play, his team trailed by only 63-57, and a trey by Eric Moreland made it a five-point game (65-60) with 1:35 left.

A three-point play by Nelson pulled the Beavs to 72-68 in the final 10 seconds, but Dinwiddie’s final pair of free throws with 6.5 left sealed it and sent the Buffs into Thursday’s second round.

 

March 12th

Update – Andre Roberson has been cleared to play against Oregon State, and will start the game Wednesday afternoon.

From cubuffs.com … Forward Andre Roberson has been cleared to play and will start Wednesday in Colorado’s first-round Pac-12 Conference Tournament game, coach Tad Boyle said Tuesday afternoon.

Roberson, the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year, has missed the Buffaloes’ last two games with a viral illness. Boyle said the 6-7 junior was cleared to play Tuesday before the team left Boulder.

No. 5 seed CU faces No. 12 seed Oregon State at 3:30 p.m. MST at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The Beavers defeated the Buffs 64-58 last Saturday in the Coors Events Center.

After landing here Tuesday, the Buffs went immediately to practice at the Impact Academy, and Roberson was a full participant. “He looked good, he looked energetic (and had) fresh legs, live legs,” Boyle said. “It’s great to have him back.”

On the team’s charter flight to Las Vegas, Roberson, the nation’s leading rebounder at 11.5 boards a game, said he “feels good” and gave a thumbs up about his physical condition. CU was 1-1 in the games he missed, defeating then-No. 19 Oregon 76-53 on Thursday night before losing to OSU.

After their near-45 minute workout upon arriving, the Buffs went to the Garden Arena for a mandatory shoot-around, after which Boyle briefly met with the media.

Asked how much Roberson would play on Wednesday, Boyle answered, “We’ll start him, absolutely. We’ll watch him obviously and ask him how he’s feeling and watch his wind. He’s probably not in tip-top shape. But it hasn’t been too long.”

He said Roberson’s presence on the floor would give the Buffs an emotional lift: “I think so. Our guys know how important Andre is to us and they know how good of a player he is on the floor. We worked a little bit of zone offense just in the half hour on the floor and he got two or three offensive rebounds, which is the one thing he brings.”

Roberson and Dinwiddie pick up more awards

From cubuffs.com … University of Colorado junior forward Andre Roberson and sophomore guard Spencer Dinwiddie have been named to the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) 2012-13 men’s all-district team for District VIII, announced Tuesday.

This is the second consecutive year Roberson has been named to the all-district team, while it is the first time Dinwiddie has been selected. Tuesday’s district honor comes on the heels of the Pac-12 Conference awards as both Dinwiddie and Roberson were named to the first team. Roberson was also selected as the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.

In addition, Roberson was also named the District’s Player of the Year. The San Antonio, Texas native has been a dominating force for the Buffaloes all season, averaging a double-double (10.8 ppg, 11.5 rpg) in 28 games played.

Roberson is the only player in the country averaging a double-double with more rebounds than points this year. His 11.5 rebounds a game leads the country, while he also ranks in the top-25 of steals per game (2.3).

At CU, it is the third consecutive season Roberson has led the team in rebounds, steals, and blocked shots (1.4). In 10 different games this year Roberson has accumulated at least 10 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocked shots; twice as many as any other Division I player.

Roberson is more than invaluable to CU, this season he has accounted for 15 percent of the teams scoring, nearly 30% of rebounds and steals, and 40 percent of the team’s blocks.

Dinwiddie, a product of Woodland Hills, Calif., joins Roberson as the second Buff selected to the all-district team. He led the Buffs in scoring this season with 15.4 points per game as he was the leading scorer in 13 different games.

He also leads CU in assists with 91 on the season (3.0 apg), and in free throw percentage (82.2). There are few players in the country that get to the free throw line as often as Dinwiddie, as he ranks in the top five of field goal-to-free throw shots differential.

Preview – Colorado v. Oregon State  (Wednesday, March 13th, 3:30 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks)

The bracketologists state that, at this time of the season, teams wanting to make the tournament need to avoid “bad losses”. Well, a loss, at home, to the last-place team in the Pac-12 Conference, constituted a “bad loss”. Even worse would be consecutive bad losses to the last-place team in the Pac-12 Conference, which the Buffs will try to avoid Wednesday afternoon in Las Vegas.

A win over Oregon State would send Colorado into the quarterfinals against No. 4 seed Arizona, with the game to be played at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday.

A loss to Oregon State would leave the Buffs with four very anxious days, awaiting their fate on Sunday afternoon selection show.

Other First Round Pac-12 tournament games (all televised on Pac-12 Networks) …

– No. 8 Stanford v. No. 9 Arizona State, 12:00 p.m. Wednesday, the winner to play No. 1 seed UCLA

– No. 7 USC v. No. 10 Utah, 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, the winner to play No. 2 seed California

– No. 6 Washington v. No. 11 Washington State, 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, the winner to play No. 3 seed Oregon

Buffs v. Beavers

– Colorado still leads the series, 8-4, after suffering its first-ever loss to Oregon State at home (6-1).

– This will be the first time the teams have met on a neutral court. CU is 3-0 on neutral courts this season, having taken the Charleston Classic in November.

– The last time the Buffs played a team in back-to-back games to finish the regular season came in 2009-10, when the Buffs beat Texas Tech at home to close out the regular season, only to fall to the Red Raiders a few days later in the first round of the Big 12 tournament. The tournament loss ended the Buffs’ season at 15-16.

– The loss last Saturday to Oregon State came with the second-worst shooting performance of the season (21-of-60, 35%)

Buff Bits

– Colorado’s 20 wins in the regular season has only happened twice before in school history. The 1996-97 team won 21 games in the regular season, while the 1968-69 also won 20.

– CU’s home attendance this season broke all existing records. The Buffs set new standards for season attendance (155,884 in 15 games. The previous record was 140,284, set two seasons ago – and taht was with 20 home games), season average (10,392. The best previous was last season, at 7,804), conference total (94,371, compared to 82,442 last season), and conference average (10,486 v. 9,809 in 2010-11).

Stat to watch … If you are too nervous to watch the game, or want to know the outcome without looking at the score, here’s a stat for you. When Colorado shoots a higher percentage than the opponent, the Buffs are 19-2. When the opponent has a better shooting percentage? 3-5.

March 11th

Boyle: “It’s not our opponent, it’s us”

Full story at the Daily Camera … “We have to figure out a way to score against the zone, we have to figure out how to guard them better than we did in the second half, we’ve got to out-rebound them,” Boyle said. “On paper, Oregon is a better offensive rebounding team than Oregon State. But Oregon State came in here and got 14 offensive rebounds, Oregon got nine.

“So it’s not our opponent, it’s us. One of the things we talk about a lot is if you as a basketball team don’t take care of the problems you have on the court, your opponents will take care of those problems for you. That’s what happened today. Our opponent took care of our problems — not boxing out, not getting stops, they took care of it for us.”

Oregon State has to enter the tournament with a much greater level of confidence than it otherwise would have coming off a win over its first-round opponent on its home floor. Several Oregon State players said they welcome the challenge of trying to beat CU a second time in five days.

OSU forward Eric Moreland had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds Saturday.

“Regardless of who we play, we have to go hard because we’re last in the Pac-12,” Moreland said. “We have to go in and people can’t sleep on us.”

Roberson Defensive Player-of-the-Year; Dinwiddie & Roberson First Team All-Pac-12

From the Pac-12 … In a vote of the 12 Conference coaches, CALIFORNIA junior guard Allen Crabbe has been named the 2012-13 Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Player of the Year; ARIZONA STATE guard Jahii Carson and UCLA guard Shabazz Muhammad have been named Pac-12 Co-Freshman of the Year; COLORADO junior forward André Roberson has been named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year; STANFORD junior forward Dwight Powell has been named Pac-12 Most Improved Player of the Year; and Dana Altman of OREGON is the John Wooden Coach of the Year, Commissioner Larry Scott announced today.

ROBERSON was key on defense for Colorado this year, as the Buffs limited their opponents to a Pac-12 best 62.2 points per game in league play. He led the league with 11.5 rebounds per game and 2.3 steals per game, while also contributing with 1.4 block shots per game (8th in the Pac-12). His 1,019 career rebounds are second all-time at Colorado.

Name School Pos Yr Ht Wt Hometown (Last School)

Jahii Carson      ASU G Fr. 5-10 160 Mesa, Ariz. (Mesa HS)

Allen Crabbe      CAL G Jr. 6-6 205 Los Angeles, Calif. (Price HS)

Spencer Dinwiddie      COLO G So. 6-6 190 Woodland Hills, Calif. (Taft HS)

Larry Drew II      UCLA G Sr. 6-2 180 Encino, Calif. (North Carolina)

Solomon Hill      ARIZ F Sr. 6-7 220 Los Angeles, Calif. (Fairfax HS)

Mark Lyons       ARIZ G Sr. 6-1 200 Schenectady, N.Y. (Xavier)

Shabazz Muhammad      UCLA G/F Fr. 6-6 225 Las Vegas, Nev. (Bishop Gorman HS)

Dwight Powell      STAN F Jr. 6-9 225 Toronto, Ontario, Canada (IMG Academy)

André Roberson      COLO F Jr. 6-7 210 San Antonio, Texas (Wagner HS)

E.J. Singler      ORE F Sr. 6-6 215 Medford, Ore. (South Medford HS)

Josh Scott named to All-Freshman Team

Name School Pos Ht Wt Hometown (Last School)

Kyle Anderson     UCLA G 6-9 235 Fairview, N.J. (St. Anthony HS)

Jahii Carson      ASU G 5-10 160 Mesa, Ariz. (Mesa HS)

Damyean Dotson      ORE G 6-5 200 Houston, Texas (Yates HS)

Shabazz Muhammad      UCLA G/F 6-6 225 Las Vegas, Nev. (Bishop Gorman HS)

Josh Scott      COLO F 6-10 215 Monument, Colo. (Lewis-Palmer HS)

March 10th

Andre Roberson remains in the lead for the rebounding title

Andre Roberson has missed the last two games, and remains “day-to-day” as the Pac-12 tournament looms. While Roberson is likely to return to play before the end of the 2012-13 season, his principal rival for the top spot, Siena’s O.D. Anosike, is done for the season. The Siena Saints finished their season with a 74-62 loss to Niagra in the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament.

Anosike finished his season with 364 rebounds in 32 games, or an average of 11.375 rebounds per game. Andre Roberson, who has played in 28 of CU’s 30 games, has 321 rebounds, or 11.464 rebounds per game.

So, if Roberson – heaven forbid – was done for the season, he would likely win the rebounding title (he finished 3rd last year).

Also still in the running … Jerelle Benimon of Towson, who has 346 rebounds in 31 games, or 11.161 rebounds per game. (Towson is 18-13, and still has games to play) … and Mike Muscala of Bucknell, who has 357 rebounds in 32 games, or 11.156 rebounds per game. (Bucknell is 27-5, and is a likely NCAA tournament team).

Stay tuned …

March 9th – Pac-12 tournament          No. 4 Stanford 61, No. 18 Colorado 47

From cubuffs.com … For just over a half Saturday night, the Colorado Buffaloes showed they could stay with powerful Stanford. Staying with Chiney Ogwumike and remaining in touch with their game proved to be much more difficult for the Buffs.

Behind Ogwumike’s 25 points and 19 rebounds, the top-seeded Cardinal finally pulled away from the fourth-seeded Buffs for a 61-47 win and advanced to Sunday’s Pac-12 Conference Tournament championship game at KeyArena.

The fourth-ranked Cardinal (30-2) plays No. 3 seed UCLA (25-6), which upset No. 5 seed California 70-58 in Saturday night’s first semifinal.

“I’m proud of how we played; we played hard the whole game,” CU coach Linda Lappe said. “I liked how intense we were for about 30 minutes and then I thought our missed shots began to affect our demeanor . . .

“Stanford is a good team for a reason; they execute when they need to execute. We’ve got to understand that teams that are good are going to make runs and not beat themselves. We have to go get it. As you get in the NCAA Tournament you understand it’s one-and-done . . . I have no doubt we’ll be ready to go.”

Losing for the first time in 11 games, the No. 18 Buffs (25-6) now will wait until Selection Sunday to see their NCAA future – and it should be bright. CU hosts first- and second-round NCAA Women’s Tournament games at the Coors Events Center on March 23-25. Chances appear good that the Buffs will open the tournament on their home court.

The Buffs held a 28-27 halftime lead Saturday night, with their defense to thank. The Cardinal shot just 28.1 percent (9-for-32) in the first 20 minutes, and had it not been for Ogwumike, Stanford would have been deep in the woods with no way out.

March 9th – Boulder         Oregon State 64, Colorado 58

From the Daily Camera … Senior Day speeches usually don’t begin with an apology.

Tad Boyle tried to take the blame for Colorado’s deflating 64-58 loss to Oregon State before handing the postgame microphone to Sabatino Chen and Shane Harris-Tunks on Saturday after their final games in front of a crowd of 10,105 at the Coors Events Center.

“This loss is on me as a head coach. Our team wasn’t ready to play today — emotionally or mentally or physically. We laid an egg. It’s unfortunate but it’s reality, and we’ve got to live with it,” Boyle said. “I don’t feel sorry for myself, I don’t feel sorry for anybody in that locker room except for Shane Harris-Tunks and Sabatino Chen because they deserved more than what they got out of today.

“I told them both they’re going to get over this because they’re both quality young men, but they’ll never forget it. Their coach and their teammates let them down.”

CU’s third home loss of the season came less than 48 hours after the team’s impressive 76-53 romp over No. 19 Oregon.

This time the Buffs clearly missed Andre Roberson, the nation’s leading rebounder, who sat out his second consecutive game with a viral illness.

Oregon State forward Eric Moreland scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds with center Joe Burton adding 10 points and 10 rebounds.

“Roberson is a special player,” Burton said. “To be honest, I always watch him play because I kind of learn stuff from him, like getting in there, how he uses his body. With him out, he’s like the leader on the court.

“Losing him is like losing a leg.”

The Buffs (20-10, 10-8) will be the No. 5 seed at the Pac-12 Tournament and will get a rematch with the No. 12 Beavers (14-17, 4-14) Wednesday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas (3:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network).

Will Roberson be back to give the Buffs a much-needed boost?

“I don’t have the answer to that question,” Boyle said. “I don’t know, I’m not going to pretend to know. I expect him back. Andre would have played today if he could have.”

Without the dynamic 6-7 forward, CU struggled in the paint (34-26 scoring disadvantage) and on the glass (38-32 rebounding disadvantage).

Pregame Buff Bits

– Andre Roberson remains “day-to-day”, and is very unlikely to play against Oregon State. He has not been ruled out, however, for the Pac-12 tournament next week.

– The Oregon State game has been designated as a “Gold Rush” game, with outgoing senior Sabatino Chen and junior Shane Harris-Tunks (who is graduating, and returning to Australia) being honored by the Buffs.

– Colorado leads the all-time series against Oregona State 8-3, with a 6-0 record in games played in Boulder.

– The Beavers are 3-14 in Pac-12 play, and come to Boulder on a five-game losing streak. It is not inconceivable that, depending on how this weekend’s games play out, that Colorado could play Oregon State against next weekend in the Pac-12 tournament.

– While Oregon State is 13-17 overall, 15 of their 17 losses have been by ten points or less, so a blowout is not a given against the Beavers.

– CU has now won 20 games in each of Tad Boyles’s three seasons. In 109 seasons of basketball before Tad Boyle, the program had four 20-win seasons (granted, over half of those seasons the Buffs didn’t even play 20 games, but still … ).

– The Oregon State player to keep an eye on is 6’3″ guard Roberto Nelson, who is averaging 17.8 ppg, (19.3 ppg. in Pac-12 play).

More on Sabatino Chen … Sabatino Chen has established himself as Colorado men’s basketball’s “glue guy.” Someone who makes his teammates better and thus helps to bind everybody together to form a team. Whether it’s diving for a loose ball,taking a charge, crashing the boards, or occasional made 3-pointer, Sabatinois playing his last home game at the Coors Events Center today. ‘Sab’ has also helped the Buffs establish one of the best home court advantages with his play on both  ends of the floor. He was one of CU’s key reserves that helped the Buffs win the Pac-12 Conference Tournament championship a year ago winning four games in four days at Staples Center in Los Angeles, and a member of CU’s NCAA Tournament team that advanced to the third round. Playing in his 30th game of the season and 65th career as a Buff, Sabatino is 4th on the teamin steals and assists; and 6th in scoring and rebounding.

March 8th – Pac-12 tournament         No. 18 Colorado 70, Washington 59

From cubuffs.com … Once they settled in, the Colorado Buffaloes could think about moving on. But that process took a while and required nearly every player on the roster Friday night in the second round of the Pac-12 Conference Women’s Tournament.

Overcoming a first half of near and sometimes bad misses, fourth-seeded CU finally took control in the final 20 minutes and ousted fifth-seeded Washington 70-59 at KeyArena. It was the Buffs’ 10th consecutive victory.

No. 18 CU (25-5) earned a Saturday night date with top-seeded Stanford (29-2) in the Pac-12 semifinals. The No. 4-ranked Cardinal, which defeated the Buffs twice during regular-season play, advanced by disposing of Washington State 79-60 in Friday night’s first game.

No. 2 seed California (28-2) and No. 3 seed UCLA (24-6) play in Saturday night’s first semifinal game. The CU-Stanford tip is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. MST (Pac-12 Network).

“There’s only one way to look at a matchup with Stanford, and that’s as an opportunity,” said CU coach Linda Lappe. “We’re going to look at it that way.”

Stanford’s two wins against CU were by 17 points (57-40) in Boulder on the opening weekend of Pac-12 play, then by 13 (69-56) at Stanford on January’s last weekend. The Buffs believed they had improved from the first to the second meeting, and they believe they’re even better now.

They’ll probably need a better start than they had Friday night, when they were forced to overcome a first half that saw them miss 13 of their first 16 field goal attempts and go to their locker room to ponder their 28.9 percent (13-for-45) shooting.

“We knew we had to settle down, quit missing easy shots and quit fouling,” said senior guard Chucky Jeffery, who scored 12 of her game-high 19 points in the second half. “Now we know how the floor feels, the jitters are gone and the first (game) is out of the way. Now it’s about quick memory loss and going on to the next one – and it’s a big one. We want to come out and play better Saturday.”

 

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