BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – The University of Colorado Buffaloes basketball team is heading to Florida for the Big Dance, and the team ended up being seeded higher than many expected.
The Buffs didn’t have to wait long as they were the third team announced when the pairings came out. This will be CU’s third straight trip to the tournament and it’s become the norm rather than the exception.
While many expected them to be a No. 10 seed, they were at the home of coach Tad Boyle when they heard they’re No. 8. They’ll play No. 9 Pittsburgh Thursday at 11:40 a.m. in Orlando, even without a star player.
CU has played some good teams this year and they want to prove they’ve learned from it and want to play some big time basketball themselves.
Boyle says he’s gone through an evolution when it comes to Selection Sunday. Two years ago he was excited when CU was announced. Last year it was a combination of excitement and relief. This year it was just relief when Colorado’s name was announced.
“A huge relief, excitement, unlike last year when we had to wait a little bit. It was nice to see it right off the bat who we were going to play, it was fun,” center Josh Scott said.
The main objective for Boyle now is to find out more about Pittsburgh.
“You don’t know their style, you don’t know their personnel, but we’ll find that out in a pretty short period of time,” Boyle said. “They don’t know much about us either, but that’s what makes this tournament great, is that you’re playing teams from different parts of the country, different conferences, and that’s why there are a lot of upsets.”
That’s what CU wants to avoid – an early exit. They were bounced in the first round last year by Illinois and they don’t want to let it happen again.
“Especially the guys who have been here, you know, the freshmen might not know as much, but the guys who have been here like myself … those guys are going to take it very seriously,” guard Askia Booker said. “I don’t want to get knocked out in the first round.”
“All our returning players – Josh Scott, Xavier Johnson – need to let our freshmen know how short-lived this thing can be, because you can be coming home as quickly as you went,” Boyle said.
If CU does play well in the tournament they think a lot of the credit should go to Arizona.
“I give big credit to Arizona – playing against them every year – I think a team that could win it all possibly,” forward Xavier Johnson said. “Us playing against them in the regular season helps us get better throughout the year.”
One would think making the tournament would be bittersweet for star Spencer Dinwiddie, who was lost for the season with an injury against Washington in January. But he says he’ll just contribute in another way.
“I’ve already gone through that whole phase of wanting to play, so I understand what it is and my job is different now,” Dinwiddie said. “I’m a big cheerleader now and I have points that I want to give to the team that I feel are important.”
Boyle and his coaching staff already have been busy looking at video of the Pittsburgh team that beat North Carolina in the ACC tournament quarterfinals.