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Ultimate Buffalo Tournament FINAL: Chauncey Billups vs. Bill McCartney


NBA: Denver Nuggets at Detroit Pistons Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve made it. The tournament has reached its apex, its pinnacle. Plenty of Buffalo legends have been strewn behind the wake of these two absolute giants in CU history. The road here was littered with upsets, surprises, and comebacks. Who can forget Tad Boyle somehow coming back to beat Ceal Barry in a game of voting HORSE? Unbelievable. Here we are. Mr. Big Shot vs. the Promise Keeper.

The Case for Bill McCartney

What can be said that hasn’t been said already? Nothing. We’ve gone over his accomplishments by the numbers, and we’ve gone over his accomplishments emotionally. We’ve found out that they took the CU 30 for 30 off of Netflix. But we haven’t framed Coach Mac against a basketball player.

Chauncey Billups was a floor general. He was in charge of four other guys while still performing well himself. That’s well and good. McCartney was in charge of 105 young men. He somehow got these triple-digit college kids to all buy into the exact same goal. The team was almost exclusively focused on winning every game. Billups took the Basketbuffs to the NCAA tournament, unheard of in Boulder. Coach Mac won frickin National Championship. IN BOULDER. AFTER A FIFTH DOWN. IN THE BIG 8. ONCE AGAIN, IN BOULDER. Not Texas, not the SEC, not in L.A. He took the best talent from all of those areas, put them in heaven on earth, and somehow did better with them than every other school could have.

Billups is everywhere on the Coors Event Center, sure. In many ways, he is still the face of CU’s basketball program. But everytime you walk into Folsom Field, every time you look up from the game action and marvel at the view, your eyes gloss over and refocus on 21 characters. It says, “1990 NATIONAL CHAMPIONS.” And you get to smile.

-Jack Barsch

The Case for Chauncey Billups

I know we’re not supposed to use non-Buffaloes accomplishments in this competition, but Billups faces a serious disadvantage in that he was only here for 2 years and McCartney was here for 13. (For what it’s worth, Bill was 6-15-1 in his first two seasons at CU.) I’m going to try to even out that disadvantage.

If you look at the first 13 years of Billups’ career, not only do you the see the 2nd-team All-American carrying the Buffs to the NCAA Tournament, but you get a 3rd overall pick in the NBA Draft, 3 All-Star appearances, 3 All-NBA selections, and, most importantly, an NBA Finals Championship and Finals MVP. I would argue that Chauncey’s 13 seasons were even better than Bill’s 13.

Chauncey Billups may have left Boulder after two seasons, but he never left Colorado. All the while he was dominating in the NBA, he represented the state and the school and showed the world that Colorado was a place basketball could thrive. Colorado basketball in general — not just CU basketball — was severely overlooked until Chauncey made his name. For both the Buffs and the state, Chauncey legitimized Colorado basketball.

-Sam Metivier