Buffs hope to parlay magical March into big encore

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 01, 2012
If there's a target on the Colorado Buffaloes' backs to go with the trophy they hoisted for winning the Pac-12 basketball tournament title last March, coach Tad Boyle doesn't see it. ''I don't know if we are being pursued yet,'' Boyle said. ''We had a great four-game run at the end of the year, but the reality is we finished fifth in the league last year, and we had a good run at the end, and we won an NCAA tournament game.'' While that's a far cry from their days as the dregs of the Big 12, the Buffaloes - younger and more athletic - have to build on that senior-driven success of last season in order to challenge for another NCAA tournament berth. ''Right now all we've done is open some eyes. People aren't going to fear Colorado basketball for what we've done,'' Boyle insisted. ''They're going to be more aware of us. We might have their attention now. We might not sneak up on people, but we've got more to do to get that bull's eye on our back. We don't have it yet.'' Indeed, the Buffs were picked to finish in the middle of the pack by media members who cover Pac-12 men's hoops, behind Arizona, UCLA, Cal, NIT champion Stanford and reigning regular season conference champion Washington. ''We just have to go out there and prove them wrong again,'' junior Andre' Roberson said. ''Just gain their respect nationally, as well. That's one thing Coach Boyle and the team talked about. That's one thing we're going to try to do and work on. We'll use it as fuel.'' Sophomore Spencer Dinwiddie said, ''We like that we ... have a little bit of respect. But we feel that we still don't have enough. You want to be one of the top teams. I understand that UCLA and Arizona having the top two classes in the country, whatever, we feel like we should be considered for that third spot at least.'' After bolting the Big 12, the Buffs had a solid season and a magical March that included four wins in four nights to win the Pac-12 tournament title in their first year in the expanded league. They beat UNLV in their NCAA tournament opener but ran into an old nemesis, the Baylor Bears, who used a 19-3 game-ending run to turn a close contest into an 80-63 rout in Albuquerque, N.M. By game's end, the Bears' fans - quiet when it was 61-60 with 7:46 left - were deliriously chanting, ''Big 12 rejects'' at their former conference brethren. While seniors Nate Tomlinson, Carlon Brown, Austin Default and Trey Eckloff set the tone for that run eight months ago, it was the young nucleus of freshmen Askia Booker and Dinwiddie and sophomore Roberson that sparked the Buffs (24-12) and gave Colorado hope that this NCAA tournament trip was just the beginning. The Buffs' future looks bright. They seem much more comfortable and competitive playing out West and they're 10-3 in the postseason in Boyle's two years in Boulder. Now, Booker, Dinwiddie and Roberson are joined by a fantastic freshmen class that includes forwards Josh Scott and Xavier Johnson, along with returning big men Ben Mills and Shane Harris-Tunks and guard Sabatino Chen, the lone senior on the roster. ''We're younger, less experienced,'' Booker said, ''but I think we have a little more talent. A little more athleticism.'' With that exodus of senior leadership come new challenges for Colorado. ''This year you're probably going to see more blocked shots, more highlight plays,'' Dinwiddie said. ''We're going to be more athletic and we're definitely going to get up and down more. But our defense is probably a step back from where it was last year.'' --- Follow Arnie Stapleton on Facebook and on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Nationals minor league team will give out ‘Ode to Tommy John’ figurines

Blazers post hilarious tweets after acquiring cash from Rockets

Chip Kelly defends Kaepernick: He was not a distraction

Steve Smith faces suspension should he unretire

Report: Chris Paul ‘despises’ Doc Rivers, had issues with treatment of son Austin

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Drew Brees trying to 'save the game' with flag football

Report: Jackson ‘laughing with confidants’ about fleecing Dolan

Report: Blake Griffin may still return to Clippers despite Chris Paul exit

Report: Eight teams already interested in Zach Orr

What to expect from the USMNT in the Gold Cup

Bryce Harper fuels Cubs speculation with Instagram post

The 'You get a steal! You get a steal! Everybody gets a steal!' quiz

Rewriting the Hall of Fame rubric for today's pitchers

Top NBA free agents available

Box Score 6/28: New York loses its zen

Although you have seen this start before, this season is no sequel for the Dodgers

The 'Power hitters are coming for that number one spot' quiz

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Ricky Davis takes unnecessary shots at Al Harrington

Who won Wimbledon the year you were born?

Box Score 6/27: Monday is for all sorts of ballers

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'You get a steal! You get a steal! Everybody gets a steal!' quiz

Rewriting the Hall of Fame rubric for today's pitchers

2017 is not another disappointing sequel for the Dodgers

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Ricky Davis takes unnecessary shots at Al Harrington

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'Power hitters are coming for that number one spot' quiz

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker