Buffs Attempt to Keep NCAA Tournament Hopes Alive Against Nebraska

After beating the fifth ranked Texas Longhorns a week ago, it looked like if the Buffs took care of business against Iowa State and Nebraska, they would be in prime position to make the NCAA tournament. Seemed like a very do-able task considering Colorado beat Iowa State by 25 earlier in the year and Nebraska is 1-6 away from Lincoln.

For lack of better words, Colorado blew it.

The Buffs allowed Iowa State to score 95 points shooting a whopping 57% from the field. It was certainly one of the worst defensive performances of the year against a team who came into the game with only two wins in conference play.

The loss was a blow to the tournament resume. With bad losses to San Francisco, Harvard, Oklahoma, Baylor and Iowa State, one has to wonder how far Colorado has to go in the Big 12 tournament to make a positive impression on the selection committee. In fact, they may have to win it all.

First things first, Colorado must beat rival Nebraska today to even have a discussion about whether the Buffs need to win two+ games in the tournament. Unbelievably, Colorado still looks to be in the driver's seat to finish fifth in the conference at 8-8. Missouri currently occupies the fifth spot but plays Kansas, a likely loss. Same goes for Baylor who plays Texas. A fifth place finish would allow for a favorable matchup against the 12th place team in the conference although those two teams would either be Oklahoma or Iowa State, two losses for the Buffs this year.

Nebraska has already beat the Buffs in Lincoln 79-67 earlier in the year. It was the first loss in Big 12 play for Colorado after starting 3-0. Like CU, the Huskers are great at home, going 17-2 but horrible on the road with a 1-6 record.

Similar to the Iowa State game, Colorado failed to defend on the road, allowing the Huskers to shoot 57% from the field while getting outrebounded 31-24. CU allowed the 202nd ranked scoring offense to score 12 more points than their season average. Nebraska wants to play a slow paced defensive battle but against the Buffs, they had their way on the offensive end. The Huskers boast one of the best defenses in the country, They have allowed only 60 points a game this season, 12th in the nation only allowing the opposition to shoot 38.5% from the field, sixth best in the country.

The Huskers are also playing for the fifth spot, tied with a 7-8 conference record with CU. Nebraska has a similar resume to Colorado with some impressive wins against Texas, Missouri and Texas A&M and bad losses against Texas Tech, Iowa State and Baylor. The loser of this game is done, the winner remains on life support.

 

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