Colorado Basketball – March, 2022

March 20th

… CU in the Arena … 

Pat Rooney: Evan Battey’s impact will be long remembered

Related .. CU at the Game NIL Podcast Interview with Evan Battey

Related … “Evan Battey: Mayor of Boulder” …

From the Daily Camera … Of course there were hugs.

With Evan Battey set to exit the building for the final time, there wasn’t going to be another way. Bear hugs all around.

During the opening introductions, it was clear there was a different vibe around Colorado’s beloved big man. Before taking his place alongside his teammates for Tuesday’s NIT first-round game at the CU Events Center, Battey made certain to savor the moment.

There were pre-introduction hugs for the team managers and strength and conditioning coach Steve Englehart. He took the floor amid chants of his name, a common refrain at home throughout the season. Given a bonus home game in the NIT, Battey dished out those hugs like a point guard, spreading the final acts of goodwill from his CU playing career among his teammates, fans and, yes, even the media afterward.

It was an unfortunate end to Battey’s career, yet the harsh reality of college basketball is that it almost always ends for everyone with some sort of bitter loss. In CU’s case, it was a 76-68 defeat against St. Bonaventure that shoved the Buffs out of the postseason and sent Battey into whatever comes next in his playing career.

The future remains optimistic for the program, but for the first time in nearly five years it will be a program without Battey.  Others have left as significant a mark in the CU record book as Battey. Few have combined his production with the leadership witnessed on the floor and across campus.

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March 18th – Game Day!

… CU in the Arena … 

CU women fall in first round of NCAA tournament, losing 84-74 to Creighton

From … The Colorado women’s basketball team fought hard until the end, but came up short Friday afternoon in a 84-74 loss to the Creighton Bluejays at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Colorado was led by Jaylyn Sherrod who dropped a career-high 27 points in her March Madness debut and also had a team-high five assists.

“I just came out and played my game,” said Sherrod. “Mya (Hollingshed) and the coaches talked to me before the game and just told me to enjoy the moment, so that’s what I did.”

Mya Hollingshed tacked on 15 points of her own while Peanut Tuitele brought down nine boards to lead the rebounding category.

Colorado started the game hot, opening up with an 11-2 lead early in the first quarter. Creighton fought back to make it a four-point game at the end of the first, and in the second period, three Colorado players, Quay Miller, Sherrod, and Hollingshed all picked up their second fouls as Creighton ended the half on a 9-0 run. The Buffs didn’t go away though, and came back to tie the game at 41-41 three minutes into the second half. Creighton, however, was on fire from behind the arc and were solid from the line, going 18-for-20 from the stripe on the day to help them take a 61-53 lead at the end of the third quarter. Despite a valiant fourth quarter comeback effort from the Buffs that included eight points from Sherrod, Creighton was able to hold them off the rest of the way and move on to the next round.

“We’re not defined by one game,” Payne exclaimed. “Even though the outcome of this game was was very disappointing and we wanted to win and believed we could win and wanted a chance to play Sunday and continue to keep going – our backs were up against the wall in must win situations for six weeks and we continued to answer the bell every single time. That’s very difficult to do when you think about everything that these young ladies are working through being full time students and crushing it in the classroom. It’s a lot and it’s very difficult. For them to have continued to answer the bell over and over and over again, was pretty incredible, and I was very proud of them for that.”

The Buffs put a cap on an incredible season in which they totaled 22 wins – the most under head coach JR Payne and the most since the 2012-13 season (25-7). The Buffs ripped off 13 straight wins to open the year and were the last undefeated men’s or women’s Division I squad left standing. Colorado spent three weeks in the AP Top 25, topping at No. 22 and pulled off a season sweep of UCLA and USC for the first time while picking up ranked wins over No. 25 Oregon and No. 14 Arizona. Colorado will also say farewell to four amazing seniors, Lesila FinauAubrey Knight, Tutitele, and Hollingshed.

“I’m very proud of Mya (Hollingshed), Peanut (Tuitele), Lesila (Finau) and Aubrey (Knight),” said Payne. “All four of those young ladies have had a huge impact on our program. Their impact will be felt years from now. Freshmen will come to Colorado and they will know about those four – their work ethic, loyalty and their dedication to making something special happen at CU. For that, I’m very proud of all of them.”

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Neill Woelk: Big off-season ahead for Tad Boyle’s Buffs

From … In the wake of Colorado’s season-ending loss to St. Bonaventure  in the first round of the NIT — “wake” being the operative word — Buffaloes coach Tad Boyle provided a succinct description of CU’s season.

“Good but not great.”

Good because the year produced the Buffaloes’ ninth 20-win season under his direction, out of 13 in program history. Good because the Buffs advanced to the conference tournament semifinals for the sixth time in his tenure, helping CU to its 10th postseason appearance in his 12 years in Boulder.

And good because the very young Buffs overcame a number of obstacles to make a late-season run that included a win over No. 2 Arizona and a conference tournament victory over Oregon.

But not great.

“Great” requires at least meeting the baseline standards the Buffs have established over the last dozen years.

Those standards begin with an NCAA Tournament berth, something CU has accomplished five times in the 11 years possible in Boyle’s tenure. They continue with the ability to protect their home floor, and they include a team built on every-night defense and every-possession rebounding.

The Buffs were 0-for-the field in those departments.

The result?

As Boyle bluntly pointed out, his players were making spring break plans Thursday, a day when the college basketball world was settling in for the first full day of the NCAA tourney.

“When you have spring break as a college basketball player, then it’s been a disappointing year,” he said. “You want to be playing during your spring break.”

The numbers that will leave Boyle with a bad taste in his mouth the entire offseason — and will hopefully have the same effect on his players — are those that played a major role in the Buffs being on the outside looking in when the NCAA party commenced.

Start with CU’s 12-6 record at home, the most losses in the CU Events Center in Boyle’s 12 seasons in Boulder and matching the total number of home losses in the Buffs’ previous three seasons combined.

“That’s unacceptable,” Boyle said. “We have to look internally as a staff. Every player that’s returning has to look internally because we did not meet the standards of Colorado basketball that we’ve set for ourselves.”

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CU women ready for first NCAA tournament game since 2013 (11:30 a.m., MT, ESPNews)

Related … “Creighton brings plenty of outside shooting into Friday’s matchup” … from the Daily Camera 

From … Selection Sunday was a celebration of the Colorado women’s basketball team.

Since then, it has been all business for the Buffaloes, who are preparing for their first NCAA Tournament game since 2013. Colorado (22-8), the No. 7 seed in the Greensboro Region takes on 10th seeded Creighton (20-9) in opening round action on Friday (11:30 a.m. MT, ESPNEWS).

“We are thrilled to be here,” head coach JR Payne said to the media before Thursday’s practice. “We are thrilled to be in Iowa City. Thrilled to be in the NCAA Tournament and have the opportunity to play a team like Creighton. We’re really excited to be a part of it.

“Our team is ready,” Payne continued. “We feel like it’s time to get going. It’s time to play.”

The Buffs’ last game-action came back on Mar. 4, in the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament. Since then the team, which felt comfortable in its NCAA Tournament status, has been practicing without the knowledge of an opponent. That changed last Sunday when Colorado drew Creighton on ESPN’s selections show.

“This is a unique experience for our ballclub,” Payne added. “To all of a sudden have to learn an entirely new team [Creighton], an entirely new conference [BIG EAST] and an entirely new style of play. It’s all very different than what we’re used to. We have been very cerebral and locked in on trying to learn and understand who is Creighton? We’ve taken a very businesslike approach to our preparation. It’s been a great couple days of practice and we’re zeroing in our focus on where it needs to be.”

The Buffs and Bluejays have faced off four times in series history. Both teams have two wins apiece with the Buffs taking the last meeting, 52-49, in 2011. Both of CU’s wins over Creighton have come on a neutral court. But with no recent history, Coach Payne said the best Pac-12 comparison that fits Creighton is Utah.

“Creighton is a very unique team,” Payne explained. “I think across the country they’re a unique team and they’re really good at what they do. They’re different than the teams we play in our conference with the closest similarity being Utah because they also shoot the ball well and have a lot of versatility in their lineup. Our preparation has been very detail-oriented. To guard Creighton, you have to be excellent in your fundamentals.”

No players on the CU roster have experienced the NCAA Tournament before this season. Last year the Buffs made a run in the WNIT, giving Colorado a taste of postseason basketball. For the Buffs’ senior leaders, this season is the culmination of a vision they’ve been working towards for four or five years.

“It’s been a very long journey,” senior Peanut Tuitele stated. “It wasn’t easy. We all went through a lot of adversity together. We were probably Coach J’s and their staff’s first-class coming in. They did a wonderful job of building us from the ground up and I think Mya [Hollingshed] and all us veterans have worked hard together to grow the culture and grow the program. I wouldn’t replace this journey with anybody else. I wouldn’t want to go through it with anybody else.”

For Mya HollingshedFriday’s game is the payoff to gamble made at the end of last season. Hollingshed, playing her fifth season in Boulder, passed on the WNBA draft to pursue “unfinished business.”

“We wanted to put Colorado back on the map,” Hollingshed added. “This is what kids dream about, playing basketball, coming to the NCAA Tournament, just doing this. It’s our first step and a great first step for future Buffs that follow us after we leave and graduate.”

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March 16th

… CU in the Arena … 

Jabari Walker: Should he stay or should he go?

Don’t forget to join the CU at the Game NCAA Tournament Bracket Challenge! Join for free here!

From the Daily Camera … It wasn’t a great game in what turned into the finale of the 2021-22 season for Colorado’s Jabari Walker. St. Bonaventure’s highly-decorated defensive star, Osun Osunniyi, was a big reason why.

Walker was limited to just six points and eight rebounds during a stunning 76-68 defeat against the Bonnies  on Tuesday night that ended the Buffaloes’ season in the first round of the NIT. Walker finished just 2-for-10 from the field with an 0-for-3 mark on 3-pointers, and much of that defensive damage can be attributed to Osunniyi.

A 6-foot-10 senior forward, Osunniyi is a three-time all-defensive team selection in the Atlantic 10 Conference and has won the league’s defensive player of the award the past two seasons. If Walker, who will mull a decision about possibly entering the NBA draft, has played his final game, Osunniyi’s 10 rebounds and four blocked shots will leave a sour final taste for Walker in a Buffs uniform.

“(Osunniyi) is a great shot blocker. We knew that coming into the game,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “We talked about it. Jabari didn’t have his best game. He had six points, which is not him. Two for 10 is not Jabari. He wasn’t his best tonight. But listen, the kid’s been consistent all year long with 17 double-doubles. And the reason I emphasize defense and rebounding so much is for nights when Jabari goes 2-for-10. Because there’s going to be nights like that, and unfortunately it was tonight.”

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March 15th – Game Day!

… CU in the Arena … 

CU’s season comes to an abrupt end with first round NIT loss to St. Bonaventure

Related … “Season over: CU Buffs can’t slow St. Bonaventure in stunning NIT first round loss” … from the Daily Camera

From … Colorado’s postseason came to a disappointing and abrupt end Tuesday night, as the Buffaloes dropped a 76-68 decision to St. Bonaventure in the opening round of the NIT at the CU Events Center.

Tad Boyle‘s Buffs finished the year at 21-12 while the Bonnies improved to 21-9 and will face Oklahoma in the second round.

CU led by three at intermission and by 10 early in the second half, but could not sustain the margin as the Bonnies came back by shooting nearly 56 percent from the floor in the final 20 minutes.

The game was tied at 68-68 with just more than two minutes to play, but the Buffs were outscored 8-0 over the final two minutes.

Keeshawn Barthelemy scored 15 points for Colorado while senior Evan Battey had 14 points in his final game in a Buff uniform and Tristan da Silva added 13.

Jalen Adaway led five Bonnies in double figures with 17 points.

CU’s defense never found an answer for St. Bonaventure’s balance, as the Bonnies shot 53 percent for the game (29-for-55), including 10-for-20 from 3-point range. The Buffs, meanwhile, were just 25-for-58 from the floor, including a 7-for-25 effort from beyond the arc.

“They were the better team, they were the tougher team and it showed from the get-go,” said Boyle, whose team lost six games at home this year — the most in his 12 years in Boulder. “We couldn’t stop them. I thought our guys wanted to play, wanted to extend the season, but St. Bonaventure wanted to extend their season more than we did. A really disappointing loss.”

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Scouting the Bonnies

From the Daily Camera … Nate Tomlinson hasn’t lost his sense of humor.

Contacted on Monday by a familiar reporter from his old job hoping to pick Tomlinson’s brain a little regarding St. Bonaventure, the former Colorado guard took a deep breath and replied in an even tone:

“Well, before I go on, as I told Tad when he called, my allegiance to the Atlantic 10 now outweighs my allegiance to the Buffs.” There was a dramatic pause. “Nah, I’m just kidding. How you doing, mate?”

Tomlinson, also a former staff member at CU under head coach Tad Boyle, just completed his first season as an assistant at George Mason alongside first-year head coach Kim English, a former Buffs assistant. The Patriots are league rivals with St. Bonaventure, which visits the CU Events Center for a first-round game in the NIT on Tuesday night (9 p.m., ESPN2).

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Game Notes: Buffs v. Bonnies 


NIT POSTSEASON FACTS: Colorado makes its 12th National Invitation Tournament (NIT) appearance and first since 2019. The Buffaloes are a No. 4 seed in one of four eight-team regions.

The Buffaloes are 13-10 all-time in the NIT, winning the title in 1940. Colorado also has a runner-up finish in 1938, a third place showing in 1991 and a semifinal appearance in 2011.

Overall, this will be Colorado’s 28th postseason tournament past the conference level. Head coach Tad Boyle leads the Buffaloes into their 10th national-level postseason appearance 11 possible seasons (no postseason in 2020 due to covid). Included in that span is a school-record seven-straight appearances from 2011 to 2017. Prior to that seven-year run, no Colorado team had participated in the postseason more than two consecutive years. Colorado is 54-73 in all-time postseason play, including conference tournaments; 25-28 on the national level (NCAA, NIT, CBI).

20 WINS: Colorado has 13 20-win seasons in program history, nine of which have come under head coach Tad Boyle. The Buffaloes have won at least 20 games the last four seasons, a feat equaled by only teams of 2010-14 – Boyle’s first four seasons.

The Buffaloes have won 20 games by the close of the regular season eight times and three in a row (1968-69, ‘96-97, 2012-13, ‘13-14, ‘15-16, ‘19-20, ‘20-21 & ‘21-22). Boyle coached teams own the top five and six of the top seven single-season win totals in team history.

ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 21-11 overall after its semifinal appearance at the Pac-12 Tournament. The Buffaloes finished in sole possession of fourth place in the Pac-12 Conference regular season standings at 12-8.

Colorado is averaging 71.2 points per game while shooting 44.3 percent from the field. The Buffaloes lead the Pac-12 in 3-point accuracy (.370) and rank second in free throw percentage (.753). Colorado’s numbers rose in both categories during conference play, leading the Pac-12 at 38.9 percent from 3-point range and 76.9 percent from the free throw line.

Defensively, the Buffaloes have allowed 67.1 points per game. The Buffaloes are the second-best rebounding defense team (32.3 rpg) in the Pac-12 and rank fourth in rebound margin (+5.0). The Buffaloes have fared well in tight contests. Fourteen of Colorado’s games have been within six points – or two possessions – with four minutes or less remaining in the game. The Buffaloes are 10-5 in those contests.

ABOUT THE BONNIES: St. Bonaventure is 20-9 overall and placed fourth in the Atlantic 10 Conference at 12-5. The Bonnies ended the regular season having won eight of nine before falling to Saint Louis in the quarterfinals of the A10 Tournament. St. Bonaventure averages 70.1 points per game while shooting 45 percent from the field. Defensively, the Bonnies allow 66.3 points per game while opponents shoot 42 percent. St. Bonaventure commits just 13.3 fouls per game, the fifth-best average in NCAA Division I this season.

Jalen Adaway leads St. Bonaventure at 16.0 points per game and ranks second on the team in rebounds at 6.4. Jaren Holmes is second on the team in scoring (13.2 ppg) and assists (3.7 apg). Kyle Lofton leads the Bonnies in assists (5.7 apg) while pitching in 12.8 points an outing.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the second meeting between Colorado and St. Bonaventure. Colorado claimed a 52-28 decision in Buffalo, N.Y., on New Years Day 1942.

FOUR-YEAR HISTORIC NUMBERS: Colorado has 88 wins since the beginning of the 2018-19 season, the second most in any fouryear span in team history. The 88 wins trails only the 92 recorded from 2010-14, Tad Boyle’s first four seasons on the CU bench which included three NCAA Tournaments, the 2012 Pac-12 Tournament title and the 2011 NIT semifinals. Colorado’s win at Stanford put this four-year group ahead of the previous four years, 2017-21, that had won 84.

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March 14th

… CU in the Arena … 

Will the Buffs be motivated for St. Bonaventure?

From the Daily Camera … The NIT can be a tricky sort of consolation prize in college basketball.

In many cases, a strong NIT run, particularly from a young team, can set the stage for bigger things the following season. That has happened twice for the Colorado Buffaloes during head coach Tad Boyle’s tenure. And CU can look to their neighbors to the north for a more recent example, as Colorado State backed a run to the Final Four in last year’s NIT with an NCAA Tournament season this year.

Yet there is another side to this equation as well. Often veteran teams relegated to the NIT after harboring NCAA Tournament aspirations sleepwalk through their first round game and meet an early exit.

The Buffs have experienced both sides of this reality in their past three NIT appearances. Given the youthful rotation and an impressive late-season surge, Boyle is confident his club’s focus and approach won’t be an issue when CU hosts St. Bonaventure in an NIT first-round game on Tuesday night.

“They really enjoy each other’s company. They’re very close,” Boyle said. “They really love playing together. We’ve just got great synergy on this team. You can’t force that as a coach. I wish there was a way you can create that. There just isn’t. At least that not I’m aware of, to get a group to genuinely come together and just enjoys each other.”

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Patience in JR Payne paying off – Rick George: “We knew we were going to get to this point”

From the Daily Camera … Never a doubt.

JR Payne never doubted the trajectory of the Colorado women’s basketball team. Even when that trajectory remained stuck in the mud and mired in mediocrity.

Same with Rick George. When some athletic directors might have gotten sick of the losing and felt compelled to try a new direction, George opted to stay the course.

That faith, from Payne and her boss, paid off this season in general and on Sunday in particular when the Buffaloes landed their first invitation to the women’s NCAA Tournament since 2013, and only the second since 2004, with a first-round date set against Creighton on Friday.

There were times along the way since Payne’s hiring when it was easy to wonder if the Buffs would ever return to this sort of pinnacle. That skepticism, though, was reserved for fans and, yes, the media as well. Within the program and athletic department, that confidence never wavered. And George deserves credit for believing in Payne for the long haul.

“There was never a time I thought otherwise,” Payne said. “And that’s not because I’m positive. It’s because I believe in our staff. I believe in the types of players we’re recruiting. There aren’t too many people that know what a challenge it was when we arrived, and how long it would take to make sure we were doing it the right way with the right people. It definitely was a formidable task when we set to the job, and we knew it would be, but we always believed in ourselves and knew, culturally, we just had to bring in the right people.”

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Join the CU at the Game Tournament Group Challenge

It’s back … the CU at the Game men’s tournament challenge is up and ready for your brackets.

The ESPN page with the CU at the Game group can be found here.

Just fill out your bracket(s), and “join the group” – it’s free and easy.


March 13th

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs to play St. Bonaventure in NIT (Tuesday, 9:00 p.m., MT, ESPN2); CU women earn No. 7 seed in NCAA tournament

Press release from … The University of Colorado has accepted a bid to the 2022 National Invitation Tournament (NIT) and will host St. Bonaventure in a first-round game on Tuesday, March 15, at the CU Events Center.

The Buffaloes are the No. 4 seed in one of four eight-team regions and host the No. 5 Bonnies for a 9 p.m. MT tip on ESPN2. The winner of Tuesday’s will play the winner of top-seeded Oklahoma and eighth-seeded Missouri State in the second round, to be announced, March 19-20.

Second round games and the regional finals (March 22-23) will be played on campus sites at the highest seeded team barring any institutional conflicts. The NIT semifinals will take place on Tuesday, March 29, at Madison Square Garden in New York, with the championship game on Thursday, March 31.

“We’re excited to be playing this time of year and we’re going to embrace this opportunity,” Colorado head coach Tad Boyle said. “This will be the last tournament that this team is going to be in together and experience together and we want to make it last as long as we can.”

The NIT returns to the iconic New York City arena for the first time since 2019. The 2020 event was canceled due to covid and the 2021 tournament was played in Frisco, Texas.

St. Bonaventure is 20-9 overall and finished fourth in the Atlantic-10 Conference with a 12-5 record. The Bonnies fell to Saint Louis in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic-10 Tournament. The Buffaloes and Bonnies have met once, New Years Day 1942, Colorado took a 52-28 decision in St. Bonaventure, N.Y.

Colorado makes its 12th NIT appearance and first since 2019, when the Buffaloes made a run to the quarterfinals. Colorado is 13-10 all-time in the NIT, winning the title in 1940. The Buffaloes also have a runner-up finish in 1938, a third place showing in 1991 and a semifinal appearance in 2011.

Overall, this will be Colorado’s 28th postseason tournament past the conference level.

Colorado is 21-11 overall and finished fourth in the Pac-12 Conference at 12-8. The Buffaloes advanced to the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals before falling to top seed Arizona. Colorado claimed its 13th 20-win season in team history and ninth under head coach Tad Boyle.

Ticket information will be available soon at or call 303-49BUFFS for more information. Season ticket holders will have until 5 p.m. on Monday to purchase their seat locations.

Press release from … The Colorado women’s basketball team will enter the 2022 NCAA Tournament as a No. 7 seed in the Greensboro Region. The Buffaloes will play the No. 10 seed Creighton Bluejays on Friday, Mar. 18 in Iowa City, Iowa.

“All week we felt like we did what we needed to do to have our name called,” head coach JR Payne said of CU’s selection. “There is really nothing that compares to seeing your name actually pop up. I think the black and gold kind of shook everybody for a second, but we’re really honored and excited for the opportunity.”

The Buffs draw the No. 7 seed for the third time in what is now 14 trips to the NCAA Tournament. It is CU’s first time in the NCAA Tournament since hosting the first and second rounds in 2013.

“We honestly were just excited to be in the field,” Payne exclaimed. “We didn’t really necessarily know or care what seed we were or who we were going to play. We were just excited to be part of it. I think [the seeding] speaks to the way we’re playing right now, winning eight of 10 games and the only two losses coming against the No. 2 team in the country. We’re playing really good basketball and it’s great for our team to be recognized in that way.”

Colorado (22-8) is enjoying its best season since the 2012-13 campaign. The Buffs opened the season 13-0 and was the last undefeated DI men’s or women’s team in the country. CU cracked the AP top 25 three times, peaking at No. 22., before suffering its first loss.

Fifth-year senior Mya Hollingshed earned her second All-Pac-12 honor and led CU’s offensive efforts with 14.1 ppg this season. The addition of Washington transfer Quay Miller was felt throughout the season as she was named the Pac-12’s Sixth Player of the Year and honorable mention Pac-12. Kindyll Wetta made her mark this season, becoming the first player since the Pac-10 became the Pac-12 to earn All-Freshman and All-Defensive accolades.

“This is always why I came back,” Hollingshed said about using her fifth year. “This experience. This moment with my teammates. With my sisters. Lesila [Finau], Peanut [Tuitele], Aubrey [Knight] who hasn’t been able to play—but just for them to experience that so we can actually go to the Dance and everything we’re talking about, this is what basketball is all about.”

The Buffs picked up their first Pac-12 Tournament win since 2018 last week with an opening-round win over Washington. CU turned around and beat No. 14 Arizona 45-43 in a defensive struggle before bowing out to eventual Pac-12 champion Stanford in the semifinals.

“A little girl’s dream came true [today],” senior Peanut Tuitele said after Colorado’s selection was announced. “I know a lot of my teammates probably felt the same. I’m just happy. The excitement is just so real at this moment. You can’t even replace it with anything else. It’s so awesome.”

The postseason trip will be CU’s second in a row. Last season the Buffs made a run into the third round of the WNIT. The last time CU had back-to-back postseason berths was the 2013 NCAA Tournament and the 2014 WNIT.

Colorado is 17-13 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and has advanced to the Elite Eight three times, the last coming in 2002. CU’s last NCAA Tournament win came in the second round of the 2003 tournament against North Carolina (86-67) in Boulder. The Buffs are 1-2 all-time as a No. 7 seed, beating Eastern Illinois in 1988. CU was also a No. 7 seed in 1992.

Creighton (20-9) finished third in the Big East this season. It will be the first meeting between the two schools since 2011. Each team has won two games apiece in the series, dating back to 1987.

The Pac-12 landed six teams in the field of 68. Stanford earned a No. 1 seeding in the Spokane Region, while Arizona got slotted as the No. 4 seed in the Greensboro Region. Utah (7) joins Stanford in the Spokane Region, while Oregon (5) represents the conference in the Wichita Region. Washington State (8) will play out of the Bridgeport Region.

Ticket information will be released as it becomes available.


March 12th

… CU in the Arena … 

NIT Bracketology: CU a No. 3 seed (Oregon and Washington State also in)

From … For the hardcore college basketball fan, we have now introduced bracketology for the NIT tournament (otherwise known as NITology). The NIT takes the next 32 best teams that did not make the NCAA tournament.

All regular season champions that did not win their conference tournament automatically qualify for the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). It is important to note that early predictions will be flawed because of this rule. Typically, there are about seven to nine teams that win their conference in the regular season but don’t win their conference tournament and end up in the NIT. So, in early predictions, if your team is a seven or eight seed, then it is likely they won’t make the tournament because of these auto qualifiers.

From the Pac-12 … 

NCAA tournament … Arizona: No. 1 seed … UCLA: No. 4 seed … USC: No. 7 seed

NIT tournament … Colorado: No. 3 seed … Oregon: No. 4 seed … Washington State: No. 7 seed

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Tad Boyle questions officiating calls in Arizona game

From the Daily Camera … Unlike his sermon the previous night bemoaning Colorado’s lack of NCAA Tournament consideration, Tad Boyle took a more reasoned approach to the free throw disparity that played a huge role in ending the Buffaloes’ run at the Pac-12 Conference tournament.

Others at CU weren’t quite as diplomatic.

Following the Buffs’ 82-72 loss against top-seeded Arizona in the conference semifinals, sources from CU’s athletic department told BuffZone the university will ask the Pac-12 to conduct an official review of the officiating Friday night at T-Mobile Arena.

Despite connecting on a season-high 16 3-pointers, the Buffs never led again after the midpoint of the first half in large part because of the Wildcats’ continuous trips to the free throw line. CU was charged with 21 fouls overall against just 14 for Arizona. The Wildcats certainly took advantage, going 24-for-25 at the line while the Buffs managed an 8-for-10 mark.

The foul issues did no favors to the Buffs’ interior defense, as starting forwards Jabari Walker and Evan Battey both were saddled with four fouls with more than 10 minutes remaining. Handcuffed from being too aggressive on the inside, CU was outrebounded 36-27 while Arizona posted a dominant 30-14 advantage on points in the paint.

Much of that paint damage was done by Wildcats forward Azuolas Tubelis, who went 9-for-14 with a game-high 20 points.

For his part, Boyle credited the formidable Arizona frontcourt, and not the free throw disparity, for the Buffs’ elimination from the tournament.

“They’re very well balanced. They’ve got a lot of weapons, so they don’t rely on any one guy,” Boyle said. “(Oumar) Ballo and (Christian) Koloko, when they’re in the middle of the lane and they are posting up, and we’re trying to front and we’re not allowed to get around and the fouls are called on us, you can’t guard them. There’s no way to guard them in the low post when they’re allowed to do that.

“We did not lose this game because of officiating. We lost maybe because of free throw shooting, but it wasn’t officiating. It was a totally different game officiating-wise today than it was in Boulder (against UA).”

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March 11th – Game Day!

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs fall to No. 2 Arizona, 82-72, in Pac-12 semi-finals

From … Colorado’s bid for a Pac-12 tournament title game berth came up short Friday, as the fourth-seeded Buffaloes fell 82-72 to top seed Arizona in the tourney semifinals at T-Mobile Arena.

The loss dropped Tad Boyle‘s Buffs to 21-11, and the Buffs will now await the NCAA and NIT bracket announcements on Sunday to see if their season continues.

Arizona improved to 30-3 and is expected to be among the top-level seeds when the NCAA bracket is announced.

The Buffs trailed by 11 early in the second half, but used a 12-2 run to pull within one, 51-50, less than four minutes in and stayed within striking range for much of the rest of the half. But foul trouble plagued the Buffs over the final 10 minutes and Arizona slowly pulled away to take control down the stretch.

Jabari Walker led the Buffs with 19 points, including five 3-pointers, as CU finished with 16 treys, a program-best in Pac-12 tourney play and tied for the third-most in CU history. Keeshawn Barthelemy scored 12 points for CU and Evan Battey added 10.

Arizona was led by Azuolas Tubelis’ 20 points, as the Wildcats posted a 30-14 edge on points in the paint.

The Buffs finished the game shooting just 39 percent (24-for-62), but hit 16 of their 32 3-point tries — meaning they were 8-for-30 on two-point attempts. Arizona shot 52 percent (26-for-50) and also had a 36-27 edge on the boards, along with a 30-14 advantage in the paint. CU also shot just 10 free throws — the third-fewest attempts of the season — and made eight.

“Arizona was terrific tonight,” Boyle said. “They played like a No. 1 seed and a top-five team in the country. I’m really proud of our guys for the way we fought and competed …  What this team has done in terms of grown from November and December — I couldn’t be more proud of a group of young men.”

HOW IT HAPPENED: Colorado trailed by nine at intermission and Arizona pushed its lead to 11 in the opening seconds of the second half.

But the Buffs regained their composure to put together a 12-2 run, getting two 3-pointers from Battey and one each from Nique Clifford and Julian Hammond III. That cut Arizona’s lead to just one, 51-50, less than four minutes into the half.

Colorado then stayed within striking range over the next six minutes, with a Barthelemy 3-pointer pulling CU to within one again, 58-57, with 11:19 to play.

“One thing you can say about our guys, they’re not afraid,” Boyle said. “Our guys came tonight ready to compete and they had their hardhats on.”

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CU v. No. 2 Arizona: “They’ll be ready to play the Buffs” 

From the Daily Camera … The teams split their regular season series, with Arizona blowing open a four-point game at halftime with a 17-6 run to start the second half in a 76-55 Wildcats win in Tucson on Jan. 13. With a berth in Saturday’s conference title game at hand and the sting of that loss in Boulder still fresh, the Buffs are bracing for an Arizona team likely to be eager for a little payback.

“They’ll be ready to play the Buffs,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “They’ll be emotionally ready. They’ll be mentally ready. I know Tommy Lloyd, he’s a competitive dude and they have competitive players. We’re going to be ready too. That’s what makes this time of year so fun.”

It will be the first game between CU and Arizona in the Pac-12 tournament since 2018, but up until that point the Buffs faced the Wildcats six times in their first seven appearances in the Pac-12 tourney. CU won the first one in memorable fashion in the 2012 title game, but Arizona won each of the next five.

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Tad Boyle: “If you don’t think we’re one of the top 68 teams in the country, you’re sorely mistaken”

From the Daily Camera … The Colorado men’s basketball team is trying to crash the party at the Big Dance.

Head coach Tad Boyle is frustrated the Buffaloes aren’t a little closer to a formal invitation.

Following his team’s 80-69 win against Oregon in the Pac-12 Conference quarterfinals on Thursday, Boyle expressed some frustration over his own streaking team’s status on the outside of the tournament bubble, as well as what he perceives as a lack of respect for the Pac-12 in general.

“I’m a little disappointed finishing fourth in a Power 5 league and we’re not even in the conversation,” Boyle said. “The only way to get there is to win the next game. That’s what we’ve got to do.”

… Now if the Buffs want to play in the Big Dance, they have to play their way in.

“Quite frankly, I think there’s a big bias with the East Coast. And, quite frankly, ESPN,” Boyle said. “They’re talking about Virginia Tech. They’re squarely on the bubble. We’re not even in the conversation. I hope the committee is smarter than the people that are putting that thing together. But I can’t sit here and pound the table for Colorado because we lost to Southern Illinois. We had 10 losses. But we have a young team. And if you look at the Colorado team today relative to where we were in November or December, if you don’t think we’re one of the top 68 teams in the country, you’re sorely mistaken.”

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March 10th – Game Day!

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs take charge against the Ducks, advance to semifinals with 80-69 win over Oregon

Related … “CU Buffs top Oregon to advance to Pac-12 semifinals” … from the Daily Camera

Related … “Colorado reaches semis again, beats Oregon in Pac-12 tourney” … from ESPN

From … Colorado made a statement Thursday in the Pac-12 tournament.

Now, the Buffaloes hope the NCAA Selection Committee is paying attention after Evan Battey and Jabari Walker each recorded double-doubles to lead the Buffaloes to an 80-69 Pac-12 quarterfinal win over Oregon at T-Mobile Arena.

Tad Boyle‘s fourth-seeded Buffs, who improved to 21-10 with the win, will face top-seeded and nationally second-ranked Arizona in a 7 p.m. semifinal Friday at T-Mobile.

The Buffs trailed by seven midway through the first half, but used a 12-0 run to take a 36-30 halftime lead and they never trailed again en route to posting their eighth win in their last nine games.

Walker finished with 18 points and 16 rebounds for his 17th double-double of the year while Battey recorded his first of the season, finishing with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Freshman K.J. Simpson had 11 points, seven rebounds, six assists and a pair of steals and Tristan da Silva chipped in 12 points.

Quincy Guerrier had 25 points for the fifth seed Ducks, who fell to 19-14 on the season.

Colorado’s defense was stellar for most of 40 minutes. CU held Oregon to 34 percent shooting (24-for-70), including a critical 1-for-13 effort by the Ducks in the final 7:42 of the first half. The Buffs shot just 40.5 percent (30-for-74), but had a dominant 55-42 edge on the boards, giving Colorado a season-high in rebounds. CU’s rebound total included 17 on the offensive end that produced 15 second-chance points.

Colorado also had a 25-10 edge in points off the bench.

“We beat a really good program that’s won a lot of games and is very, very well-coached,” Boyle said. “We knew this wasn’t going to be easy and it wasn’t. I’m proud of our guys because we really struggled offensively out of the chute … We missed some shots but it didn’t affect us on the other end and we hung in there. We found a way to break it open and beat a good team, and now we live to see another day.”

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Buffs v. Ducks in Pac-12 Quarterfinals 

Related … “Go time: CU Buffs ready for Oregon at Pac-12 Tournament” … from the Daily Camera


ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 20-10 overall and finished in sole possession of fourth place in the Pac-12 Conference regular season standings at 12-8. The Buffaloes clinched that honor by defeating Utah, 84-71, on Mar. 5. Colorado ended the regular season winning its last two and seven of eight down the stretch.

20 WINS: Colorado has 13 20-win seasons in program history, nine of which have come under head coach Tad Boyle. The Buffaloes have won at least 20 games the last four seasons, a feat equaled by only teams of 2010-14 – Boyle’s first four seasons.

The Buffaloes have won 20 games by the close of the regular season eight times and three in a row (1968-69, ’96-97, 2012-13, ’13-14, ’15-16, ’19-20, ’20-21 & ’21-22).  Boyle coached teams own the top five and six of the top seven single-season win totals in team history.

Most Wins In One Season:

1.   24 – 2011-12                    22 – 1996-97

24 – 2010-11               8.  21 – 2019-20

3.  23 – 2020-21                    21 – 2012-13

23 – 2018-19                    21 – 1968-69

     23 – 2013-14               11. 20 – 2021-22

6.   22 – 2015-16                    20 – 2005-06

20 – 2002-23

The Buffaloes will finish above .500 for the 11th time in Boyle’s 12 seasons. Colorado finished with a .500 or better conference record for the fourth-straight year and ninth time in his 12 seasons (eight Pac-12, one Big 12).

Against Utah, Boyle picked up win No. 253 at Colorado, leaving him eight from Sox Walseth’s program record of 261. Boyle has 110 Pac-12 regular season wins, tying California’s Ben Braun (1997-08) for 19th in conference history.

Overall, Colorado has won 43 of 62 (43-19) dating back to the beginning of the 2020-21 season.

Colorado is averaging 70.8 points per game while shooting 44.6 percent from the field. The Buffaloes lead the Pac-12 in 3-point accuracy (.365) and rank second in free throw percentage (.755). Colorado’s numbers rose in both categories during conference play, leading the Pac-12 at 38.9 percent from 3-point range and 76.9 percent from the free throw line.

Defensively, the Buffaloes have allowed 66.6 points per game. The Buffaloes are the second-best rebounding defense team (31.8 rpg) in the Pac-12 and rank fourth in rebound margin (+5.2).

The Buffaloes have fared well in tight contests. Fourteen of Colorado’s  games have been within six points – or two possessions – with four minutes or less remaining in the game. The Buffaloes are 10-4 in those contests.

ABOUT THE DUCKS: Oregon is 18-13 overall and finished in a three-way tie for fifth place in the Pac-12 at 11-9. The Ducks enter the Pac-12 Tournament having lost three straight and six of their last eight. Oregon averages 72.1 points while shooting 45.2 percent, the third-best mark in the Pac-12. Senior guard Will Richardson leads Oregon at 14.1 points and 3.6 assists per game.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 26th meeting between Colorado and Oregon with the Buffaloes holding a 14-11 series lead. The teams split the regular season series, with the road team winning both games. Prior to this season, the home team in this series had won 13 in a row. The teams have split their two meetings in the Pac-12 Tournament. No. 6 Colorado defeated No. 3 Oregon, 63-62, in the 2012 Quarterfinals. No. 2 Oregon defeated No. 10 Colorado, 73-60, in the 2015 Quarterfinals.

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March 9th

… CU in the Arena … 

CU Pac-12 Postseason numbers: Buffs 8-2 as the higher seeded team (15-10 overall)

From … Colorado enters its 11th Pac-12 Tournament, holding an overall record of 15-9 in the championship. The Buffaloes are the No. 4 seed, earning their second-straight first round bye. Colorado was a program-best No. 3 seed in 2021. The Buffaloes were never higher than No. 5 their first nine seasons in the conference.

Colorado has two Pac-12 Tournament championship game appearances, winning the inaugural Pac-12 Tournament title in 2012, as the No. 6 seed, winning four games in four days in Los Angeles. The Buffaloes were the runner up last season. Colorado has four Pac-12 semifinal round appearances, including two of the last three.

Colorado is 8-2 in the championship as the higher seeded team, 7-7 as the lower seed. Five of Colorado’s nine Pac-12 Tournament losses have come to the top two seeds.

The Buffaloes were the last Pac-12 program to walk away from the annual event without a win. Colorado had won eight-straight first round games before falling to Washington State in 2020, just hours before the rest of the Pac-12 Tournament, and NCAA Tournament, was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Colorado is 28-44 all-time in conference postseason tournaments. The Buffaloes were 4-20 in the Big Eight Tournament between 1977-96 and 9-15 in the Big 12 Championship between 1997-2011.

Head coach Tad Boyle owns more than half of Colorado’s all-time conference tournament wins. He is 17-10 in conference tournament action, including a 2-1 mark in Colorado’s final year of the Big 12.

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March 8th

… CU in the Arena … 

Bracketology: CU a No. 3 seed (in the NIT)


Current NIT Bracket

Last NCAA Teams (In Order Safest to Least): Miami FL, Memphis, SMU, Wake Forest, Rutgers, VCU, Notre Dame
NIT Bracket (bubble teams in italics, AUTOMATIC BIDS in CAPS):
1. Indiana
4. Saint Louis
5. Florida St.
3. Belmont
6. Richmond
2. Virginia Tech
1. Wyoming
4. South Carolina
5. St. John’s
3. Oregon
6. Santa Clara
2. Oklahoma
1. Florida
8. Missouri St.
4. Virginia
5. Drake
3. Colorado
6. Vanderbilt
2. Dayton
1. BYU
8. Washington St.
4. UAB
5. Mississippi St.
3. St. Bonaventure
6. UCF
2. Texas A&M
7. Utah St.
Note: Washington State’s true seed line is a 7, but I swapped them with Towson for geographic consistency. (It was too logical not to.)

CU to participate in the Myrtle Beach Invitational in November

Press release from … The University of Colorado men’s basketball team is scheduled to participate in the fourth annual Myrtle Beach Invitational, Nov. 17-18 and 20, 2022, at the HTC Center on the campus of Costal Carolina University in Conway, S.C.

Joining Colorado in the Myrtle Beach Invitational field will be Texas A&M, Loyola Chicago, Boise State, Charlotte, Tulsa and UMass. An eighth team will be added to the field at a later date.

Colorado has had success in the state of South Carolina. The Buffaloes won the Charleston Classic during the 2012-13 season which culminated in a 21-12 record and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

All games will be televised across the ESPN networks during Feast Week. Past Myrtle Beach Invitational champions include UCF (2018), Baylor (2019) and Utah State (2021).

Owned and operated by ESPN Events, tickets will be available for purchase this summer following the announcement of the complete tournament schedule. In the meantime, fans can secure up to $25 off each all-tournament ticket by signing up for the pre-sale at

Jabari Walker (1st team); Evan Battey (2nd team); KJ Simpson (All-Freshman) earn All-Pac-12 honors 

Press release from the Pac-12 …


Terrell Brown Jr.WashingtonGGr.Seattle, Wash.
Tyger Campbell**UCLAGR-Jr.Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Jaime Jaquez Jr.UCLAG/FJr.Camarillo, Calif.
Johnny JuzangUCLAGJr.Tarzana, Calif.
Christian KolokoArizonaCJr.Douala, Cameroon
Bennedict MathurinArizonaG/FSo.Montreal, Canada
Isaiah MobleyUSCFSr.Murrieta, Calif.
Drew PetersonUSCGSr.Libertyville, Ill.
Ąžuolas TubelisArizonaFSo.Vilnius, Lithuania
Jabari WalkerColoradoFSo.Inglewood, Calif.


Evan BatteyColoradoFSr.Los Angeles, Calif.
Branden CarlsonUtahCSr.South Jordan, Utah
Michael FlowersWashington StateG5thSouthfield, Mich.
Jalen GrahamArizona StateFJr.Phoenix, Ariz.
Will RichardsonOregonGSr.Hinesville, Ga.

HONORABLE MENTION (receiving at least three votes): Boogie Ellis, USC; Harrison Ingram, STAN; Spencer Jones, STAN; Andre Kelly, CAL; Jordan Shepherd, CAL; Dalen Terry, ARIZ.

** two-time All-Pac-12 First Team honoree

Mouhamed GueyeWashington StateFDakar, Senegal
Harrison IngramStanfordFDallas, Texas
K.J. SimpsonColoradoGWest Hills, Calif.
Lazar StefanovicUtahGBelgrade, Serbia
Glenn Taylor Jr.Oregon StateFLas Vegas, Nev.

HONORABLE MENTION (receiving at least three votes): Sam Alajiki, CAL; Peyton Watson, UCLA.

Jaylen ClarkUCLAGSo.Riverside, Calif.
Jaime Jaquez Jr.**UCLAG/FJr.Camarillo, Calif.
Myles JohnsonUCLACR-Sr.Long Beach, Calif.
Christian KolokoArizonaCSo.Douala, Cameroon
Dalen TerryArizonaGSo.Phoenix, Ariz.

HONORABLE MENTION (receiving at least three votes): Efe Abogidi, WSU; Evan Battey, COLO; Marreon Jackson, ASU; Spencer Jones, STAN; Franck Kepnang, ORE; Isaiah Mobley, USC.

** two-time All-Defensive Team honoree


Plausible upsets might help clear a path for CU to get to the Pac-12 finals

From the Daily Camera … The best path to the Pac-12 Conference Tournament title game for Colorado might not be incumbent on pulling a second upset against Arizona within two weeks, if the teams collided in Friday’s semifinals in Las Vegas.

CU might pull for Arizona State in the Sun Devils’ opener in Wednesday’s first round. A quarterfinal-round matchup between the surging Sun Devils and their top-seeded rivals from Tucson would be the most intriguing pairing of the league tournament’s first two days.

Like Colorado, Arizona State finished the regular season with wins in seven of eight games, the only defeat coming in a Monday night game at UCLA. A month ago the Sun Devils appeared destined for a bottom-third finish in the league but instead will be the eighth seed for a first-round matchup against reeling Stanford on Wednesday at T-Mobile Arena.

The teams just played on Saturday in the regular season finale, with ASU’s 65-56 home win sending the Cardinal to its fifth consecutive loss and its seventh defeat in eight games. If ASU can take care of Stanford, it will set up a quarterfinal-round rivalry battle on Thursday against top-seeded Arizona.

ASU was swept by the Wildcats during the regular season, though the Sun Devils kept it close both times. In a 67-56 Arizona win in Tucson on Jan. 29, the game was tied at halftime. In a 91-71 Wildcats win in Tempe in the rematch on Feb. 7, ASU jumped to a 14-1 lead before Arizona stormed back.

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March 7th

… CU in the Arena … 

CBS Sports: Could CU replicate Oregon State’s 2021 run?

From CBS SportsBreakdown: Last season’s Pac-12 Tournament produced one of March’s unexpected surprises, as Oregon State ran through the league tournament and then reached the Elite Eight after entering the month squarely on the wrong side of the NCAA Tournament bubble. Does the conference have another Cinderella in store this season? No. 4 seed Colorado could fit the bill. The Buffs have won seven of their last eight, including a 16-point win over No. 1 seed Arizona on Feb. 26. They will likely need to win the league tournament in order to reach the Big Dance since the top-seeded Wildcats, No. 2 seed UCLA and No. 3 seed USC are the only Pac-12 teams on track for automatic bids. No. 5 seed Oregon also has the talent to make a run, but the Ducks have lost five of their last six.

Odds to win Pac-12 Tournament

Arizona Wildcats-135
UCLA Bruins+190
USC Trojans+900
Oregon Ducks+1200
Colorado Buffaloes+3000
Washington State Cougars+3000
Arizona State Sun Devils+6000
Washington Huskies+6500
Utah Utes+20000
Stanford Cardinal+20000
Oregon State Beavers+25000
California Golden Bears+30000

KenPom gives CU a 2.9% chance of winning the Pac-12 championship (10% chance of getting there)

From KenPom

Record: 20-10 | 12-8 Pac-12
Tournament seed: 4
Leading scorer: Jabari Walker | 14.7 ppg
Chances to reach semifinals: 56%
Chances to reach finals: 10%
Chances to win Pac-12 Tournament: 2.9%

Quotable: “We saw some growing pains, and we felt them, and these guys just kept coming, and they’re learning they were coachable, and I’ve coached them hard at times, and I’ve tried to be patient,” Tad Boyle said after Colorado secured another 20-win season. “I’m not always good at that.”



March 6th

… CU in the Arena … 

Even as the No. 4 seed, CU gets no respect from Wilner

From the San Jose Mercury News

What we learned on the final weekend of the regular season …

Oregon missed its chance

As a classic NCAA Tournament bubble-sitter — a team with several premium wins and a slew of abysmal losses — the Ducks could not afford to lose to either Washington or Washington State.

And they didn’t lose to either of them. They lost to both of them.

The 11-point loss in Seattle and the 20-point wipeout in Pullman pushed the Ducks to the brink of elimination from the at-large pool.

We rarely say never when it comes to decisions on NCAA bids, but the forecast for Selection Sunday in Eugene is bleak with a chance of awful.

Oregon dropped to No. 74 in the NET rankings following the lost weekend in Washington — one spot ahead of Colorado and one below a relevant benchmark:

The worst NET ranking to make the NCAA at-large field is No. 73 (St. John’s in 2019).

In that regard, No. 58 Washington State is better positioned than Oregon. But the Cougars are without a single Quadrant I victory, which stands as a massive blemish on their resume.

… The opening round and quarterfinal matchups at T-Mobile Arena are as follows:

No. 8 ASU vs. No. 9 Stanford; winner plays No. 1 Arizona
No. 5 Oregon vs. No. 12 Oregon State; winner plays No. 4 Colorado
No. 7 WSU vs. No. 10 Cal; winner plays No. 2 UCLA
No. 6 Washington vs. No. 11 Utah; winner plays No. 3 USC

Three thoughts:

— Nothing has gone right for Oregon State this season, but the Beavers surely love their matchup against Oregon in the opening round. Perhaps the Ducks will regroup prior to Wednesday. They could also roll over, especially if point guard Will Richardson is unable to play because of injury.

Looking for an upset in the quarterfinals that isn’t No. 5 Oregon over No. 4 Colorado (because that wouldn’t be much of an upset). Consider picking the Washington-Utah winner over USC. The Trojans typically play to the level of their competition, suggesting a tight matchup.

— The potential quarterfinal collision of Arizona and ASU is intriguing. The Sun Devils are playing as well as anyone and gave the Wildcats trouble in the first meeting. This much is sure: ASU won’t lack for belief.

… Embarrassment looms

If we assume one of the favorites claims the trophy in Las Vegas and there are no surprises with the at-large bids, the Pac-12 will send three teams to the NCAAs for the third time in four years.

Three bids would be bad, but this would be even worse: If both the Mountain West and the West Coast Conference get four.

It’s entirely possible.

From the MW: Boise State and Colorado State are locks, while San Diego State and Wyoming are in solid shape.

From the WCC: Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s are locks, with USF and Brigham Young on the bubble.

Sending fewer teams to March Madness than both neighboring leagues (with vastly smaller budgets) would be close to the ultimate indignity for the Pac-12.

Like going 0-5 against BYU on the football field.

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March 5th – Game Day!

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs roll over Utah, 84-71, for 20th win and a first round Pac-12 tournament bye

… Here we go again … Causation or correlation? Just as KJ Simpson went on a hot streak after his CU at the Game podcast interview, now Evan Battey goes for a career-high 27 points days after his CU at the Game podcast interview … I think we’re on to something here …

From … Colorado jumped out to a big early lead Saturday and the Buffaloes cruised to an 84-71 win over Utah at the Huntsman Center, giving CU its fourth straight 20-win season and the fourth seed in next week’s Pac-12 tournament.

Tad Boyle‘s Buffaloes improved to 20-10 overall and 12-8 in conference play while the Utes fell to 11-19, 4-16.

The Buffs will open play in the conference tournament Thursday with a 3:30 p.m. (MT) game against the winner of Wednesday’s Oregon-Oregon State game.

The win marked only the second time in CU history that the Buffs have won at least 20 games four years in a row, matching Boyle’s 2010-2014 teams. It is the 13th 20-win season overall in CU history and the ninth in Boyle’s 12 years in Boulder, and Colorado’s 6-4 finish on the road is also the Buffs’ first winning road record for a season since the 1968-69 season.

Colorado jumped out to a 23-9 lead eight minutes in and held a 50-29 edge at intermission, thanks in large part to 9-for-13 shooting from 3-point range. The Buffs extended the lead to as much as 29 early in the second half and the Utes never came closer than 13 again.

The Buffs were hot from the beginning, led by a career-high 27 points from senior Evan Battey, who also had a career-high six 3-pointers on 6-for-9 shooting from long distance. Sophomore Jabari Walker recorded his 16th double-double of the year with 27 points and 12 rebounds, and Nique Clifford chipped in 11 points.

David Jenkins led Utah with 18 points.

CU shot 51 percent from the floor (30-for-59), including 14-for-23 from long distance, while holding the Utes to 44 percent (24-for-54). Colorado also had a comfortable 36-30 edge on the boards and finished with 18 assists and just nine turnovers.

“A good win for us,” Boyle said. “We could have let down (after last week’s win over No. 2 Arizona), but we didn’t. This is the first time in 53 years a Colorado team has had a winning record on the road. I challenged them with that and they rose to the challenge.”

NOTEWORTHY: The win marked the eighth time in CU history that the Buffs collected 20 wins in the regular season (before conference tournament) and the sixth time in the Boyle era … CU finished 6-4 in conference road games, the first time with a winning record on the road in league play since 1963-64. It is also the first time since 1968-69 that the Buffs had a winning road record for the season … The victory also marked CU’s fourth straight win on the road, the best since the 1996-97 season.

NEXT UP: The Buffs will be the No. 4 seed in next week’s Pac-12 tournament at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. CU will open play Thursday with a 3:30 p.m. (MT) game against the winner of Wednesday’s game between No. 5 Oregon and No. 12 Oregon State. If the Buffs win, they will play again Friday at 7 p.m.

Continue reading story here

Buffs can secure a first round bye in next weekend’s Pac-12 tournament with a win at Utah

From the Daily Camera … Asked this week just how much importance he puts on gaining a top-four seed at the Pac-12 Conference tournament, Colorado head coach Tad Boyle could see the positives on both sides of the ledger.

Certainly it was a pragmatic answer, as the Buffaloes go into their regular season finale on Saturday night at Utah in line for either the fourth seed or fifth seed next week in Las Vegas. It’s one or the other, and that’s it. Yet the response also was borne from experience, as his Buffs have enjoyed memorable conference tournament runs on both sides of that first-round bye cutoff line.

“To win the tournament, (the bye) matters. To get to the championship game, it matters,” Boyle said. “But there is a benefit to that five seed in that the next night, when you’re playing the four seed, your players have kind of gotten the butterflies out. They’re used to the floor. They’re used to the walk from the hotel to the arena. They’re more comfortable. So there’s a little bit more pressure on the four seed than there is the five seed.

“So that’s the benefit of that. But if you’re fortunate enough to move on and now you’re in the semifinals, now it’s your third game in three days. Now if you’re fortunate enough to get into the finals, it’s your fourth and you’re basically going on adrenaline. For winning the tournament, the fourth seed is critical. For advancing to the semis, you can make an argument that the fifth seed is better. That being said, I’d rather be the fourth seed. The higher the better.”

Continue reading story here

Game Notes … CU at Utah … 7:30 p.m., ESPNU


ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 19-10 overall and tied with Oregon for fourth place in the Pac-12 Conference at 11-8. The Buffaloes are coming off a home split against the Arizona schools last week that took highs and lows to the extreme. Colorado saw a five-game winning streak end with an 82-65 setback to Arizona State on Feb. 24. The Buffaloes rebounded, to say the least, by knocking off No. 2/2 ranked Arizona, 79-63, on Senior Night, matching the highest ranked opponent defeated in team history (No. 2 Oklahoma State in 1992).

With a win Saturday, Colorado would clinch the No. 4 seed, and a first round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament, March 9-12, in Las Vegas. Colorado could still slide into the No. 4 seed without a win if Washington State defeats Oregon on Saturday. The Buffaloes would be the No. 5 seed with a loss to Utah and an Oregon win over the Cougars in Pullman. Colorado wins tiebreakers over Oregon, Washington State and Washington by virtue of its win over regular season league champion Arizona.

20 WINS: Colorado will be looking for its 13th 20-win season in program history, and ninth in head coach Tad Boyle‘s 12th season. One more win would clinch the Buffaloes’ fourth-straight 20-win season, a feat that would equal only the 2010-14 teams – Boyle’s first four seasons.

The Buffaloes have won 20 games by the close of the regular season seven times (1968-69, ’96-97, 2012-13, ’13-14, ’15-16, ’19-20 & ’20-21).  Boyle coached teams own the top five and six of the top seven single-season win totals in team history.

Most Wins In One Season:
1.   24 – 2011-12                    22 – 1996-97
24 – 2010-11               8.  21 – 2019-20
3.  23 – 2020-21                    21 – 2012-13
23 – 2018-19                    21 – 1968-69
23 – 2013-14               11. 20 – 2005-06
6.   22 – 2015-16                    20 – 2002-03

The Buffaloes will finish above .500 for the 11th time in Boyle’s 12 seasons. Colorado has also cemented a .500 or better conference record for the fourth-straight year and ninth time in his 12 seasons (eight Pac-12, one Big 12).

Against Arizona, Boyle picked up win No. 252 at Colorado, leaving him nine from Sox Walseth’s program record of 261. Boyle has 109 Pac-12 regular season wins, ranking 20th in conference history.

ABOUT THE UTES: Utah is 11-18 overall and in 11th place in the Pac-12 at 4-15. The Utes are an even 3-3 over their last six; highlighted by a road sweep of the Bay Area schools Feb. 17-19. Utah averages 69.7 points while shooting 42 percent from the field. The Utes are 16th in the nation in free throw shooting at 77.5 percent. Defensively, Utah allows 70.0 points while opponents shoot 43 percent from the field.

Branden Carlson leads Utah at 13.4 points per game while shooting 51 percent from the field and 85 percent from the free throw line. Both Gach is second on the team at 9.3 points per game, primarily coming off the bench. Marco Anthony is Utah’s top rebounder at 7.4 per game while averaging 9.1 points an outing. Rollie Worster paces Utah in assists (90) while averaging 7.9 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 57th meeting between Colorado and Utah with the Buffaloes holding a 31-25 edge. The Buffaloes have won four of the last six including their 81-76 decision over the Utes on Feb. 12 in Boulder. Utah holds a 17-9 lead in Salt Lake City. Colorado snapped an eight-game skid at the Huntsman Center in the last meeting there, a 65-58 decision on Jan. 11, 2021.

FOUR-YEAR HISTORIC NUMBERS: Colorado has 86 wins since the beginning of the 2018-19 season, the second most in any four-year span in team history. The 86 wins trails only the 92 recorded from 2010-14, Tad Boyle‘s first four seasons on the CU bench which included three NCAA Tournaments, the 2012 Pac-12 Tournament title and the 2011 NIT semifinals. Colorado’s win at Stanford put this four-year group ahead of the previous four years, 2017-21, that had won 84.

Evan Battey is the only one of the four-year seniors (Elijah Parquet and Benan Ersek the others) to have been on the floor for all 86 games, giving him the title of playing in the most wins in team history. The 2010-14 run had only one four-year player, Ben Mills, who appeared in 58 games in his career.

Battey has also appeared in more conference games in team history with 75, passing former teammate D’Shawn Schwartz who played in 74 from 2017-21.

HISTORIC ROAD SWEEP: Colorado won three-straight true road games, on the same road trip, for the first time as the Buffaloes defeated Oregon State, 90-64, on Feb. 15 in a makeup game from Jan. 1, and from there swept the Bay Area schools for the first time, knocking off California, 70-62, on Feb. 17 and Stanford, 70-53 on Feb. 19.

Colorado has its first three-game conference road win streak since 2013 and second since 2002. It’s the 21st time in school history that a CU team has won three or more straight league road games, and just the fourth time since 1964.

In addition, the California Stanford sweep is Colorado’s third “travel partner” sweep in the Pac-12 era joining Oregon-Oregon State in 2012-13 and USC-UCLA in 2018-19.

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March 4th – Game Day!

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs fall in Pac-12 semi-finals to No. 1 (and 2nd-ranked) Stanford

From … All good things come to an end. And for the Colorado Buffaloes, that run came to an end in the semifinals of the Pac-12 Tournament at the hands of top-seed and No. 2 Stanford, 71-45 here Friday night.

“I’m not too sure what to say,” head coach JR Payne said after the loss. “Disappointed about the outcome of the game, proud of how we battled on the boards. We had a hard time scoring when we turned it over. Too many turnovers against a team that makes you pay for pretty much every mistake you make. But Stanford’s a great team. I think we’re also a great team, very competitive game. And we just didn’t score the ball the way we needed to win today.”

Kindyll Wetta led the way for the Buffs with 12 points off the bench and added four rebounds. Jaylyn Sherrod added 10 points and shot 8-of-10 from the line. Mya Hollingshed had a game-high 10 rebounds and added seven points.

Stanford was led by the trio of Haley Jones, who scored a game-high 17 points, while Cameron Brink scored 14 points and had nine rebounds and Anna Wilson scored 12 points, helping Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer to her 1,000th win at Stanford.

The Buffs shot 30.6 percent on the day and was just 4-for-21 (19%) from 3-point range. CU finished the tournament shooting 33.3 percent.

“I don’t think it’s a single thing [shooting struggles],” Sherrod explained. “I think we’ve just got to stay confident, shoot the ball with confidence and do what we do. I think we just didn’t come out and shoot the ball well, and that’s just the end of that.”

HOW IT HAPPENED: The first quarter was a back-and-forth affair with six lead changes and the Cardinal coming out with a slim 11-10 lead. Wetta led the Buffs with four points and had the only Colorado points over the last seven minutes of the quarter.

The second quarter remained low scoring and after a tussle between Hollingshed and Brink, it sparked the Cardinal to a 12-5 run to open up a 26-15 lead with four minutes left in the half. The Cardinal also scored five quick points in the final 35 seconds of the half to open up a 33-18 advantage at the break.

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March 3rd – Game Day!

… CU in the Arena … 

CU women upset 14th-ranked (and No. 4 seed) Arizona, 45-43

… Buffs will play No. 1 seed (and 2nd-ranked) Stanford on Friday in the Pac-12 semi-finals … 

From … A late Frida Formann 3-pointer proved to be the final dagger that helped Colorado narrowly escape the fourth-seeded and 14th ranked Arizona Wildcats, 45-43, in Thursday’s Pac-12 quarterfinal.

Colorado (22-7) outlasted a late Arizona run that saw the Wildcats score 10 points in 56 seconds and take a 41-38 lead. The Buffs’ defense batten down the hatches in the final six minutes of play, holding the surging Wildcats to an 0-for-9 finish.

I looked at it [box score] and said, Okay, we out-rebounded them, we turned it over, and we played defense, and I think that about sums up the game,” head coach JR Payne said after the win. “I’m proud of our team for how we played, how we battled. We were up. We were down. We came back up, came back down, definitely a defensive effort from both teams as we knew it would be. In the end, I think we just handled our business. We talk about everything’s a business trip and everyone has a job to do and we were able to do that tonight.”

Formann got the starting nod to replace the injured Tameiya Sadler. She scored five of her eight points in key situations down the stretch for the Buffs.

“Frida is someone that we all trust to take a big shot and knock it down,” Payne added. “She comes from a family of basketball players, her entire family has played, she grew up with a ball in her hands, she’s comfortable and confident with the game on the line and it was a very big shot. I would say that all of us expected that shot to go in as soon as it left her hand.”

Senior Mya Hollingshed led the Buffs with 12 points and just missed out on a second consecutive double-double with nine rebounds. Jaylyn Sherrod contributed eight points and handed out three of CU’s 10 assists. Kindyll Wetta put in six points to go with a season-high eight rebounds, four assists and three steals.

CU led for all but three minutes in the second half, only relinquishing the lead in Arizona’s final effort. The Buffs weathered multiple Arizona runs throughout the contests, each time finding an answer.

“We talked about how we’ve been in this situation before and we needed to learn from the previous games and slow it down,” Hollingshed explained. “Coach talked about not catching it in the deep corner to set ourselves up to be trapped. We reiterated that in the huddles and timeouts and I think once we figured that out and we just kind of simplified it and not have everyone in the backcourt and kind of push a few people in the frontcourt, it eliminated a few more defenders and allowed us to have more room to just clear out and get the ball up the floor.”

The Buffs finished the afternoon with a 38-31 advantage on the glass and won the turnover battle 21-15. Arizona’s 43 points matched the fewest Colorado has allowed this season.


Jabari Walker on leaving early for NBA: “It would be an easier decision if I didn’t love this program so much”

From the Daily Camera … Not surprisingly, Jabari Walker doesn’t plan to make a decision regarding his basketball future until after the season.

Yet just in case, Colorado Buffaloes fans might be wise to make certain they watch Walker in action while they still can in what remains of the 2021-22 season. With the Buffs preparing for the regular season finale on Saturday at Utah (7:30 p.m. MT, ESPNU), Walker’s play of late has perhaps made the lure of the NBA a little stronger than it was at the start of 2022.

Walker’s focus remains on the Buffs’ pursuit of a top-four finish in the Pac-12, yet he also admitted the looming decision is an almost daily conversation between the sophomore forward and his parents. That, of course, includes his father, former 10-year NBA veteran Samaki Walker.

“I talk about it with my parents pretty much every day now,” Walker said. “It would be an easier decision if I didn’t love this program so much. I love the fans so much, and this team is my brothers. Because it’s this program, who doesn’t want to stay? Who doesn’t want to produce something else for the program and give back even more to what they’ve meant to me?

“To be honest, I don’t know. I’ll know more after the season. I’ll talk with my parents more and I’ll get more to the yes or no.”

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March 2nd – Game Day!

… CU in the Arena … 

No. 5 CU women pull away late from No. 12 Washington, winning 64-52

Related … “CU Buffs women knock off Washington, advance in Pac-12 Tournament” .. from the Daily Camera

From … The Colorado women’s basketball team advanced to the second round of the Pac-12 Tournament for the first time since the 2018 tournament in Seattle on Wednesday. The Buffaloes survived the pesky Washington Huskies, walking away with a 64-52 win at Michelob Ultra Arena.

Colorado (21-7) used a 24-point fourth quarter to separate from the No. 12-seeded Huskies, avoiding a first-round upset.

The Buffs were paced by senior Peanut Tuitele and her season-high 16 points. Fifth-year senior Mya Hollingshed scored 13 of her 15 points in the second half and added 12 rebounds for her ninth double-double of the season. Junior Quay Miller, a UW transfer, totaled nine points and seven boards.

“[I’m]really proud of our ball club tonight,” head coach JR Payne said after the win. “We knew that it wouldn’t be the prettiest game. Going in we knew that and expected that. Just a lot of jitters and post-season play and all of those things. But I’m unbelievably proud of our resiliency and how we were able to really stick together and find a way to win the basketball game.”

The game took a somber turn late in the fourth quarter when Colorado guard Tameiya Sadler fell to the court. She was taken off by stretcher with 2:41 to play. Colorado held a 54-51 lead at the time and outscored UW 10-1 when play resumed to close out the victory.

I think it [the delay] just kind of allowed us to settle into the game more than when we should have,” Hollingshed explained. “We were trying to do that early on in the game, we really just hadn’t, and I think when that moment happened we just all came together. And I know a couple of us were like we’re just going to finish this game and finish it for Tam.”

The Buffs shot 50% from the field in the second half after a lethargic 25% first half. CU’s defense forced 13 UW turnovers and held the Huskies to 35.8 percent shooting on the day.

Washington (13-12) was led by Lauren Schwartz and Nancy Mulkey with 11 points apiece.

Tourney Time: CU women take on Washington in opening round of Pac-12 Tournament

… No. 5 CU v. No. 12 Washington, 1:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … 

Preview from … The fifth-seeded Buffaloes will match up with 12th seeded Washington in the first game of the Pac-12 Tournament on Wednesday.

Colorado (20-7, 9-7 Pac-12) secured its first 20-win season since the 2012-13 season with its 60-45 win over Oregon State to close out the regular season. The fifth seed for the Buffs is the second-highest seed CU has held in the Pac-12 Tournament.

The Buffs hopes their luck in Vegas turns around. CU is 0-3 in the tournament since it moved to Sin City. Colorado’s last Pac-12 Tournament win came in the last tournament that was held in Seattle in 2018.

The game is a rematch of sorts from last season’s tournament, where the Huskies, led by current CU players Miller and Tameiya Sadler upset the Buffs in the first round.

Both teams have different looks to them this season, but the loss to UW in Las Vegas last year has been the burning inspiration for the Buffs’ entire 2021-22 season.

“This year’s team is a really different team as far as the number of seniors and veterans [we have],” Payne explained. “What we went through last year, without even talking about it [this season] has had an impact on everything we’ve done this year. Last year’s loss weighed so heavy on everyone and the impact of that loss was felt so strongly by everyone that it’s impacted our entire season – in a good way. It’s kept us focused. It’s kept us together knowing that the smallest amount of slippage can end up costing you. I think as a group, we’re just focused on doing our job. We talked about this being a business trip. It’s a fun business trip but we have a job to do. We’re really dialed into that.”

The Buffs held Washington to an opponent season-low of 43 points in the lone meeting between the two schools in Boulder earlier this season. The Huskies made just 15 baskets the entire afternoon and turned the ball over 21 times in the 23-point decision. Hollingshed had her way offensively, posting 20 points and converting four shots from behind the arc. Miller enjoyed her day against her former team, totaling 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting.

Washington (7-15, 2-12 Pac-12) has improved as the season has gone on. The Huskies have won two of their last three and took No. 2 Stanford to the wire in the regular-season finale. Nancy Mulkey was Washington’s lone Pac-12 All-Conference selection, earning honorable mention with 10.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game.

“I think anytime you have a new coaching staff and new players, you continue to get better and better as the season goes on,” Payne explained. “I think they’re in a really good rhythm. They’re shooting the ball really well right now.”

Tammy Blackburn and Ann Schatz will call the game on the Pac-12 Network at 1 p.m. MT. Cory Lopez and CU Hall of Famer Shelley Sheetz will be on the Colorado Radio Network and 630 KHOW locally, starting with pregame coverage at 12:30 p.m.


March 1st

… CU in the Arena … 

Three CU women earn All-Pac-12 honors

From … Three Colorado women’s basketball players picked up five Pac-12 postseason honors to kick off Pac-12 Tournament week on Tuesday.

Quay Miller was voted the conference’s Sixth Player of the Year and All-Pac-12 honorable mention by the league coaches, while Mya Hollingshed earned her second consecutive All-Pac-12 honor and Kindyll Wetta was named to the All-Defensive and All-Freshman teams.

“It means a lot for anyone to be recognized with any type of All-Conference award in the Pac-12,” head coach JR Payne noted. “It’s a big deal in the Pac-12 because the conference is so strong and the talent is so deep. I think it’s a really big deal for any recognition. To have multiple people recognized is even better. It speaks to the amount of hard work that every player has poured in [this year].”

Miller, a transfer from Washington, had no problem fitting into the Buffs’ rotation in her first season at CU. She has appeared in all 27 games this season, averaging 20.4 minutes per game off the bench. Miller scored 20 points twice this season and scored in double-figures 15 times. Her lone double-double came in CU’s Pac-12 opening win over USC, totaling 13 points and 10 rebounds. Miller has scored a career-best 304 points this season and is averaging 11.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. She’s also eighth in the Pac-12, shooting 51.8 percent this season.

Hollingshed, in her fifth season at CU, is the only player in the Pac-12 to lead her team in points (14.4), rebounds (7.2) and 3-point% (38.8). She is currently fourth in the conference in total points (388) and eighth in points per game. Hollingshed is tied for second in the Pac-12 with eight double-doubles this season and moved into sixth in CU history with 24 in her career. She has scored in double-digits in all but five games this season, including the last 11. She has career-highs in 3-point field goals (45), assists (55) and blocks (27) this year and has led the Buffs in rebounding 19 times this season.

Wetta becomes the first Pac-12 player to earn both All-Defensive and All-Freshman honors in the same season since Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike in 2010-11. Her 57 steals are second in the Pac-12 and the 11th most by a freshman in the NCAA this season. They are also the most by a CU freshman since Chucky Jeffery’s 58 in 2009-10. Wetta is third in the conference with 2.11 steals per game and has averaged 2.1 in Pac-12 play. She set the CU record for steals in a quarter with six in the second quarter at Arizona State. Wetta finished the game with a season-high eight steals, ranking tied for 14th most in the NCAA this season. She’s got an assist/turnover ratio of 2.2 with 78 assists to 36 turnovers.

Buffs Open Pac-12 Tournament Against Washington   

The fifth-seeded Buffaloes will match up with 12th seeded Washington in the first game of the Pac-12 Tournament on Wednesday.

Colorado (20-7, 9-7 Pac-12) secured its first 20-win season since the 2012-13 season with its 60-45 win over Oregon State to close out the regular season. The fifth seed for the Buffs is the second-highest seed CU has held in the Pac-12 Tournament.

The Buffs hopes their luck in Vegas turns around. CU is 0-3 in the tournament since it moved to Sin City. Colorado’s last Pac-12 Tournament win came in the last tournament that was held in Seattle in 2018.

The game is a rematch of sorts from last season’s tournament, where the Huskies, led by current CU players Miller and Tameiya Sadler upset the Buffs in the first round.

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**Video: “The Mayor” Evan Battey addresses his constituents**

From BuffsTV …


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