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What I love about the Colorado Buffaloes

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Some thoughts about CU and everything

NCAA Basketball: Washington State at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado’s win over Oregon reminded me of a lot of things I love about the basketball program, CU athletics as a whole, and even the University of Colorado. In no semblance of organization, here are my thoughts:

  • Being the team no one wants to face at home. Oregon will never win here, not even their Final Four-caliber teams. Arizona’s best teams all lost here. Tad Boyle couldn’t schedule any non-conference opponents last year because no wanted to play in Boulder. It’s only going to get worse for opponents if the student section continues to show up like they did tonight. The Keg is back.
  • Having do-it-all point guards and freak power forwards. My two favorite CU players ever are Spencer Dinwiddie and Andre Roberson. I didn’t think there’d be another combo like them, but here we are with McKinley Wright and Tyler Bey. Wright commands the offense just as Dinwiddie, he has just as much toughness and heart (if not more) and he’s just as effective. Bey replaced Roberson as the rebounding monster who is everywhere on defense. Moreover, he’s an emotional player just as Roberson was. He will block your shot so hard your soul leaves your body. He will dunk on you to get the crowd going. And he will be mean about it.
  • The alumni are taken care of. I have always thought this was normal for every program, but I think CU — especially CU basketball — takes the extra effort to keep everyone around. In the building tonight were former stars Josh Scott, Ben Mills and Andre Roberson, and local guys Sabatino Chen and Dom Collier. Phillip goddamn Lindsay was there too and got the biggest ovation of the night. Nate Tomlinson was there too, but he’s an assistant so it doesn’t count. Spencer Dinwiddie would’ve been here but he’s too busy being an All-Star. These guys are Forever Buffs and they love CU. That’s so huge for the culture of the program (plus recruiting) because it shows young players what they can become and how they can get there.
  • Mel Tucker is the best. He was yelling at the refs from the sideline, because he’s perfect. He’s good friends with Tad Boyle, was there with Phillip Lindsay and K.D. Nixon (poor Laviska Shenault was too busy hanging with Kobe and LeBron), and was walking around meeting eager fans. He just gets it.
  • CU students storming the court every chance they get. For the past 10 years or so, the students have seemingly stormed the field or court every time CU has a half-decent win. Some of these were great games that deserved the treatment, but it’s almost comical how ready we are to rush out there. Like, we stormed against Washington this year and they had a 6-5 record; I also think we stormed the field after beating 1-3 Georgia in 2010. This combined with the skonanas — the fans dressing as bananas for years with no apparent reason — makes this student section so endearing.
  • CU shows Peggy and Betty on the big screen to get the fans riled up. The 90-something-year-old twins are the bedrock of the basketball program. They’re at every game, wearing the same sweaters and pumping the same pom-poms. If CU makes a tournament this year or next, they’re going to become Sister Jean famous. It’s so cute and sweet how those two are celebrated.
  • Dallas Walton’s dad. Besides the twins, Matthew Walton is CU’s most devoted and loyal fan. Before Dallas even started playing at CU, his dad — wearing either a #45 football jersey or a CU sports coat — was there every game with the whole family. Once Dallas started playing, his dad was traveling everywhere the Buffs went, even Lynchburg, Virginia. He’s the best sports dad I’ve ever seen and it makes me happy every time I see him.
  • Lucas Siewert. I’m sorry I doubted you. You do the little things so well and I’m really proud that you keep shooting even if they’re not going in. That picture of you celebrating with D’Shawn will always make me smile.
  • Alex Strating. My goodness you are ready to ball out at a moment’s notice.
  • D’Shawn Schwartz. You will go down as one of my all-time favorite players. You have my favorite smile on the team, even more than Evan Battey’s. It’s because it conveys unfettered joy, like you can’t help but smile. The joy was obvious after the Dayton buzzer-beater, a shot I won’t forget. It was more subtle when CU was up 9 with a minute left and you couldn’t help but smile before you shot your free throws.
  • Evan Battey. I keyed that ref’s car after the game. I’ll build up the courage to talk to you next time I see you at the rec.
  • This entire team. I love this team with my whole heart because they work so hard and fight together through everything. Everyone has each other’s back and that trust shows up on the court. They love basketball and it shows. This team feels like they’re going to make a run in the NCAA Tournament and every feeling will be immortalized.