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Colorado Finishes Non-Conference Schedule on High Note; Buffs Confident Heading into Pac 12 Play

Ron Chenoy- USA TODAY Sports

At the beginning of the season Colorado head coach Tad Boyle stated that his team needed to manage expectations after coming off a Pac 12 tournament championship and an NCAA Tournament third round appearance. Expectations surrounding the program suggested that the Buffs were already an NCAA Tournament team but Boyle was wary of those thoughts seeing that Colorado would be extremely young heading into the 2012-2013 season.

After easily taking care of Hartford on Saturday afternoon 82-50 to finish their non-conference schedule, Colorado finds themselves sitting at 10-2 and on a three game winning streak. They won the Charleston Classic by upsetting Baylor and Murray State in consecutive games, were ranked in the top 25 for a period of time and gained some confidence along the way.

What does Boyle think now that the non-conference games are finished? A little perspective please, coach.

“We’re 10-2 and for the most part I’m happy. There are still areas for us to get better and taking care of the ball is one of them” Boyle said after the game. “But when you look at our schedule and the strength of our schedule, 10-2 feels good. We’re not satisfied, but we’ve taken care of most of the opportunities in front of us.”

Colorado has to feel pretty good about where they stand as Pac 12 play begins but as the defending conference tournament champions there will be a target on their backs all season. It’s not often that Colorado is a circled game on opposing team’s calendars but that’s the case this year.

Non-conference games are just a tune-up and as conference play begins next week Boyle knows that the games will start to get a lot tougher, “the price of poker goes up, the intensity goes up, the level of competition goes up . . . but I think we’re ready for conference play.”

Colorado doesn’t get to ease into conference play like they did last year with three games at home against two of the bottom teams in the conference. Nope, this year they get the pleasure of beginning conference play with a trip to No. 3 Arizona. The Wildcats will be looking for revenge as Colorado was the team that beat them in last year’s Pac 12 title game and prevented Arizona from earning an automatic bid in the NCAA Tournament.

The Buffs will need a complete performance to knock off the Wildcats, especially in Tucson, but Boyle believes in his team, “I told our team that there’s not one guy who can beat the Pac-12 on his own; we’ve got to do it together as a collective group. I like where we are.”

David LaRose is one of the featured College Basketball writers for Rant Sports covering the Pac 12 and the University of Colorado. He’s also a member of the U.S. Basketball Writer’s Association of America. You can follow him on Twitter or check out his Facebook page

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2014 NCAA Tournament Preview: No. 8 Colorado vs No. 9 Pittsburgh

The Colorado Buffaloes were one of the dark horses for the National Championship early in the season, but an injury to Spencer Dinwiddie halted their dominating stretch of wins. Still managing to secure a No. 8 seed in the South region of the 2014 NCAA Tournament, the Buffaloes will face the also inconsistent No.  9 seed Pittsburgh Panthers on March 20th in a game that features two of college basketball’s biggest wild cards.

Pittsburgh finished fifth in the ACC, but nearly beat the Virginia Cavaliers to advance to the ACC Tournament finals. When Lamar Patterson and Talib Zanna are on, they are a potential Elite Eight team; when they’re off, Pitt wouldn’t make it out of the first round of the NIT. The Panthers have a tournament streak in them, but they have to get off to a confident start.

What to Watch For

Josh Scott is playing extremely well for Colorado; he leads the team in points per game and rebounds since Dinwiddie’s injury. However, the Buffaloes will not win unless someone else steps up. Pittsburgh is an all-around talented team that likes to share the ball; Colorado must disrupt that. Patterson and Zanna will be the least of the Buffaloes’ worries if Pitt gets into a groove early on.


Colorado just isn’t the National Title threat that they were earlier in the season after Dinwiddie’s injury. The Buffaloes are a good team, but don’t look cohesive anymore. On the other hand, Pittsburgh looks like they could be catching on at the right moment. Expect big things from the Panthers in the tournament.

Pittsburgh 70, Colorado 60

Taylor Sturm is a Columnist for Follow him on Twitter @TSturmRS, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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