LOS ANGELES -- Whether the Colorado Buffaloes realized it or not, they've become the biggest bubble busters this side of the Mississippi.
"We don't talk about bubbles," Colorado head coach Tad Boyle said.
In the Buffaloes' first trip to Staples Center as a member of the Pac-12 Conference, they ended Oregon's hopes of an NCAA bid on Thursday night. And on Friday, it was Cal's turn to have their dreams shattered by the new kids on the block.
As the Colorado student section, imported from Boulder, chanted "we don't need no altitude," the Buffaloes had little resemblance of the team that went 14-2 at home but lost nine of their 14 games away from Boulder during the regular season. Somehow, someway, they've found their sea legs to set up a matchup with Arizona in their first Pac-12 Conference Championship Game appearance with a 70-59 win over Cal (24-9) on Friday night.
"This team has found its heart here in Los Angeles," Boyle said. "We've really competed on the road. We just haven't won enough games. What's great about tournament play is it's a neutral site."
Cal's big men had no answer for the Buffaloes' Austin Dufault and Andre Roberson on the Staples Center floor. Cal forward Harper Kamp fouled out and scored just six points on the wrong side of a nightmarish matchup for the Golden Bears.
Roberson made all six of his field goals, including two first half three pointers. He also went airborne on Kamp, leaning in for a one-hand throw down to give the Buffaloes (22-11) a 17-10 lead.
"Roberson's the real deal," Cal head coach Mike Montgomery said.
Dufault and Roberson were able to use their quickness to exploit Cal's David Kravish and Camp.
"They didn't want to guard us on the perimeter but they're great inside players," said Roberson, who finished with 17 points and nine rebounds. "That was the matchup from the whole beginning. The matchup for us played out well."
Roberson also had a key block during a 10-0 run for Colorado in the second half. Kamp tried to take a shot inside but Roberson pinned the ball on the backboard with both hands. It was a run in which two seniors, Dufault and guard Carlon Brown, scored all of the points for the Buffaloes as they took a 59-46 lead, while holding the Golden Bears scoreless for a 4:19 stretch of the second half.
Brown finished with 17 points and sealed the night with a steal and a windmill dunk with 58 seconds left that sent the Colorado faithful into hysteria. Dufault scored 15 points.
The Golden Bears, similar to Washington, will now have to wait and see if their name is called as one of the 68 teams invited to the NCAA Tournament.
"This (loss) doesn't help," Montgomery said, "but we won 24 games. We finished second in the conference and had 13 conference wins. You can only do what you can do."
Meanwhile, Boyle and the Buffaloes have done what no one thought was possible at the start of the season. As the Colorado head coach walked off of the Staples Center floor on Friday night, he held up the index finger to the Colorado fans behind the Buffaloes bench and said "one more."
The Buffaloes, picked to finish tied for 10th in the conference, have clinched a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game. They've become the first team in tournament history to win three game before reaching the title game.