Bubble Watch: 5 Reasons Why Colorado Will Make the Tournament
Bubble Watch: 5 Reasons Why Colorado Will Make the Dance
The Colorado Buffaloes are currently on the bubble to make the 68-team NCAA tournament come March. They currently sit at fifth place in the Pac-12 standings with a 7-5 conference record, having lost to other Pac-12 NCAA tournament hopefuls such as the Arizona Wildcats, UCLA Bruins, Arizona State Sun Devils and the Washington Huskies.
When Spencer Dinwiddie went down with an ACL injury, their season looked bleak. Ever since, Colorado has gone 4-3 allowing other guys to step up (Askia Booker, Josh Scott and Xavier Johnson), but they’re not replacing the team leader in points, assist and steals.
A lot of what Colorado has done to deserve a tournament invite has been based on Dinwiddie’s contributions to Colorado's game, but one has to tip their hat to their rebounding game as they are second in conference with 38.1 rebounds per game and only allowing 30.7, creating a +7.4 rebounding margin. No Dinwiddie, but tough on the boards.
The Buffs will make it in, but it's hard to see how deep they go and what seed they’ll pull. Without their star player, it’s hard for the selection committee to decide how to match Colorado. Colorado hasn’t been nationally ranked since its loss to UCLA and at its best it was No. 15/17 after its victory against the then-No. 10 ranked Oregon Ducks. Starting tonight, the Buffs have four road games left to play in the regular season. Frankly, Colorado has struggled winning away from home as it is 3-4 away from Coors Events Center.
These guys have a bit of worry come Selection Sunday, but here are five reasons why the Buffs will make the tournament in March.
Like I said before, it’s hard to replace the team leader in points, assists and steals. He’s been out for a month as he still leads in those categories. He’s the reason why they’ll get in, but he’s also the reason why they won’t make it far.
Tad Boyle has built this program into a competing program in the Pac-12 that favors teams in the Pacific Time Zone. After leading the Buffs into a NIT tournament run in 2010, he has consecutively coached two NCAA tournament teams and one more under his belt this year. And he has recruited great talent to an underperforming program in the Mountain Time Zone.
Strength of Schedule
RealTimeRPI.com has Colorado with a SOS rank of 15 and CBS Sports has them at 21. Colorado have a slate of tough opponents within the PAC-12, but still have the ability to compete to the end with them. Their record against top 100 RPI teams is 9-7, but some of those games are great resume builders.
Colorado’s RPI hovers from 23-25, so that might be the final push that gets the Buffs into the tournament. Because of the Pac-12’s competitiveness the conference is projected to send six teams into March.