The Colorado Buffaloes will begin their 2023-24 season with a national television audience, as JR Payne’s team will take on the LSU Tigers at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Nov. 6 (5:30 p.m. MT, TNT or Max).
This is huge deal for Colorado basketball. The Buffs just reached the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament and came as close to beating Iowa, the national runners-up who lost to LSU in a controversial finale. Everyone is back, more or less, as Payne brings back incumbent starters Jaylyn Sherrod, Frida Formann, Quay Miller and Aaronette Vonleh. She also brought in two impact transfers, Maddie Nolan and Sara-Rose Smith, to start on the wing to replace Tayanna Jones.
The Buffs exceeded expectations a season ago. Fans hoped they would be competitive and get enough wins in the Pac-12 gauntlet to reach the NCAA Tournament. No one thought they would finish third in the league with a real shot at winning the regular season, but they did just that. Now the Buffs will be expected to contend for the Pac-12 title with the likes of Stanford, UCLA and Utah.
Eyes will be on this team from the jump. They’re an almost certain lock to be included in the AP Top 25 and a projected 4- or 5-seed in the NCAA Tournament. If they’re competitive against LSU — or maybe pull off the upset — it will bring even more attention to the fantastic work Payne has done to reestablish Colorado as a legit basketball program.