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Buffs Look to Regroup Quickly After NCAA Tournament Debacle

We have certainly heard it all over the past 24 hours as to why the Colorado Buffaloes did not get selected by the selection committee to participate in the NCAA tournament. Theories exist that Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe, who was on the selection committee, gave CU one last parting shot before moving to the Pac-12. Or the theory that committee head and current Ohio State athletic director was a) distracted with the Jim Tressel controversy and b) showed heavily skewed favoritism towards the Big Ten after seven received a bid from the conference and only five from the Big 12 earned (the Big 12 was undefeated against the Big Ten this regular season).

Many analysts including Jay Bilas, Dick Vitale and Seth Davis chastized the selection committee for leaving Colorado out, questioning how teams like Clemson, UAB, VCU and others could get in when those teams had nowhere near the quality of wins the Buffs had.

Yes it still stings and 24 hours later, I am in just as much disbelief as before. Even more baffling are people who defend Colorado not being selected into the tournament. If you don't believe Colorado should have been in the tournament, then Kansas State is not a five seed, they are a 11 seed. It is almost as if Dan Beebe said, "Hey Gene, you give me Kansas State as a five seed and I'll let you throw Colorado out for Michigan State or Penn State."

Time to move on I guess, I just had to get in on the discussion.

What we must remember, though, is Colorado had a good year. They finished fifth in the Big 12 regular season standings and made it to the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament only to lose to eventual #1 seed Kansas. If you would have told me CU would finish fifth and reach the semis before the season started, I would have taken it in a heartbeat.

The Buffs had some great wins and potentially built a foundation for the years to come in the Pac 12. They lose some players (Levi Knutson, Marcus Relphorde, Cory Higgins and potentially Alec Burks) but head coach Tad Boyle has shown he can recruit California already and should be able to build a solid footprint in Pac 12 country.

The Buffs also have an opportunity to leave an even bigger mark on the 2010-2011 season and stick it to the selection committee even more by responding in the NIT tournament.

Colorado was awarded the #1 overall seed in the tournament and will face eighth seeded Texas Southern (19-12, 16-2 SWAC) this Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. The Tigers had a solid year in conference, only losing two games both to tournament champion Alabama State. Texas Southern had played four Big 12 teams this year where they went 0-4. The lost to Oklahoma (52-82), Iowa State (54-65), Kansas State (60-84) and Baylor (60-68). The Tigers started the season 2-9 in non-conference play before settling into the SWAC conference slate.

They rank 294th in points per game with 63.9 so this isn't a high scoring team but they hold their opponents to 64.9 ppg. 6'8" F Travele Jones leads the Tigers in both points (15.9) and rebounds (7.0) a game. Colorado is an early 21.5 point favorite at home over Texas Southern.

If Colorado wins, the rest of the bracket could pose some interesting matchups. Ole Miss, California, Colorado State and St. Mary's are potential opponents for the Buffs down the line. Ole Miss and California meet in the four seed vs. five seed game with the winner facing either Colorado or Texas Southern (see full bracket here). The Bears, a future Pac 12 conference foe and a 4.5 point favorite, will host the Rebels. If Cal were to win, Boyle and Co. will have an early chance to get ready for the Pac 12 style of play and potentially set the tone for next year.

One has to really get excited about a potential third round matchup with either the Colorado St. Rams or St. Mary's Gaels. Both teams were thought to be in the NCAA tournament a few weeks ago but both stumbled down the stretch. Colorado St. was playing great basketball before finishing the year losing five of six, sealing their fate in the NIT. Same goes for St. Mary's who had the West Coast Conference seemingly wrapped up before losing it's final three games of the season. St. Mary's had to share the WCC title with Gonzaga. In the conference tournament, the Bulldogs proved to be too much for the Gaels, who lost in the championship game, giving Gonzaga the automatic bid. 

Joining the Buffs as the other three number one seeds are Boston College, Virginia Tech and Alabama. The semifinals and finals of the tournament will be at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

You can buy tickets to the Texas Southern game here. It would be a good time to support the seniors and the program, hopefully we can pack the CEC and let the Buffs know we enjoyed watching them this year and root them on to a NIT championship!

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