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Assessing the Buffaloes chances for postseason play

The Buffs won’t make the NCAA Tournament, but they could play in the NIT.

NCAA Basketball: Utah at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado isn’t going to make the NCAA Tournament. I’m sorry, but it’s just not going to happen. It could happen, but it won’t. Colorado would have to win the Pac-12 Tournament to get the Pac-12’s automatic bid, because ain’t no way they’re getting an at-large bid. The Buffs won the Pac-12 in 2012, but that season was one of the weakest in Pac-10/12 history. CU could surprise and win a game or two, but there’s pretty much no way they can get past UCLA, Oregon and Arizona for the championship. So, for the second time in six years, Colorado will not play in the Big Dance.

Instead, the Buffs will almost definitely play in the National Invitation Tournament. From 2011-12 to 2015-16, the Pac-12 has sent 12 teams to the NIT, a healthy figure indeed. Those representatives averaged roughly 20 wins going into Selection Sunday. The lowest win total any team had was 17 wins by the 2014-15 Arizona State Sun Devils, and the highest was 23 wins by the 2011-12 Arizona Wildcats, whom Colorado beat in the Pac-12 Championship :).

Colorado is currently 16-13 on the season and will play two more winnable home games against Stanford and Cal, and with the 7th or 8th seed in the Pac-12 Tournament, they should have another winnable game in Las Vegas. The NCAA college basketball odds at TopBet sportsbook have them finishing seventh in the tournament, so the upward trend and all-around potential is there. If nothing goes catastrophic for the Buffs, they should reach Selection Sunday with 18 or 19 wins, which should be enough to get them into the NIT.

The last time Colorado played in the NIT was in 2011 when the Buffs were snubbed from the NCAA Tournament in favor of the VCU Rams, who would go on to reach the Final Four because life is funny sometimes. The Buffs were 21-13 with impressive wins over Kansas State, Missouri and Texas, and were just about the best team playing in the NIT. For that, they were named a 1-seed and got to host the region’s games at the Coors Events Center. With their home court advantage, they blew out everyone in the region and reached the NIT Final Four, where they eventually lost to Alabama.

Unless there’s a ridiculous conference run by the Buffs, it’s highly unlikely Colorado will be selected as a 1-seed, so Boulder won’t see postseason basketball. If the Buffs enter the NIT with 18 or 19 wins, they’ll likely receive a 4th or 5th seed (out of 8) and travel to somewhere exotic, like Providence, Rhode Island, or Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

But no matter what seed Colorado will get in the NIT and no matter where they go to play, this season could continue in the postseason, and hey, maybe they’ll win some games!