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Ultimate Buffalo Tournament: Basketball Region

A quick runthrough of all the seeds in the basketball region.

Chauncey Billups

Oh my goodness, you should see the message board discussions the staff had trying to determine the 64 best Buffaloes in Colorado sports history. We probably screwed up, but the Buff Bracket is finally here in time for March Madness.

The Colorado Buffaloes aren’t playing in the actual March Madness — that’s why we made this tournament — but we can still celebrate the good times of CU basketball.

Here’s a look at the Basketball region:

Just from the immediate Twitter feedback, I know I messed up some seeds. I know more recent players were seeded higher than they should have been and older players were a spot or ten too low, but it is what it is.

Anyway, we move on to the matchups.

#1 Chauncey Billups vs. #16 Stephane Pelle

Chauncey Billups is, without a doubt, the most dominant player in CU history. In Billups’ two season in Boulder, he averaged 18.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.1 assists, all while with incredible efficiency. After Billups carried the Buffs to the 1997 NCAA Tournament, was named 2nd-Team All-American, was selected 3rd overall in the NBA Draft and eventually had his No. 4 retired by the Buffaloes. In the NBA, he made a few All-Star games, won Finals MVP, nearly led the Nuggets to the Finals and had his No. 1 retired by the Pistons — nothing special.

Stephane Pelle’s Colorado career was also illustrious. In his four seasons, he averaged 11.1 points and 8.6 rebounds, and his junior season, he averaged a double-double. Pelle was one half of an incredible Twin Towers duo that included David Harrison, whom we’ll see shortly.

#8 Jay Humphries vs. #9 Cory Higgins

Jay Humphries was arguably the best Colorado guard since Chauncey Billups stayed in-state. By the time Humphries was selected 13th in the famed 1984 NBA Draft, he had broken Colorado’s school records for assists, steals and games played, among many others.

Cory Higgins was a fantastic leader for some highly successful teams, and his scoring and defensive abilities were invaluable. Before Higgins made it to the NBA, he tied Richard Roby’s school record for most career points.

#4 Spencer Dinwiddie vs. #13 Donnie Boyce

Spencer Dinwiddie is one of the most charismatic and lovable players to ever don the black and gold. He also might be the second best all-around player in CU basketball history. Before he tore his ACL and made his way over to the NBA (where he’s thriving), Dinwiddie helped CU win the Pac-12 Tournament, reach the Round of 32, make another tournament, and then climb all the way up to a No. 15 rankings before his injury. His stats don’t put out, but he always the best player on the floor.

Donnie Boyce is the player everyone (all two people) on Twitter was clamoring for. Dinwiddie’s stats weren’t always as good as the player, Boyce’s are eye-popping. I never saw him play, but 22 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 1 block, oh my goodness you’re an incredible player. Also, those Twitter people were probably right.

#5 Shaun Vandiver vs. #12 Derrick White

Like Boyce and other older players, I’ve never seen Shaun Vandiver play, but based on his reputation on campus and his ridiculous stats, it’s easy to see he was a true baller. Seriously, look at his stats, he averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds in what was easiest his worst season at CU. He was also a first round pick when he declared early for the NBA draft.

We have spilt a lot of ink in praise of Derrick White, so why not some more? White is the only player in this bracket to have played only one year, but what a year this has been for him. In all of college basketball, only two players averaged at least 17 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and 1 block. One of whom was Markelle Fultz, the likely 1st pick in the upcoming draft. The other was White.

#2 Cliff Meely vs. #15 David Harrison

In Colorado’s highly successful run from the late ‘60s to the early ‘70s, Cliff Meely was easily the team’s best player; in fact, he was probably Colorado’s best ever player until Billups. Meely’s career averages of 24.3 points and 12.1 rebounds are ridiculous, and for his success, he was named All-Big 8 all three years he played and he was an All-American when he averaged 28 and 12.

David Harrison was another three-year superstar big man and maybe Colorado’s best ever defensive big man. Harrison averaged 15 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks in his career — fantastic numbers — and was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and First All-Big 12 before he left early for the NBA, where he was selected in the first round.

#7 Alec Burks vs. #10 Richard Roby

Alec Burks only played two seasons for Colorado and never made the NCAA Tournament, but he may be the best pure scorer the Buffs have ever seen. With acrobatic finishes, perfect touch and endless hops, Burks was a sight to behold as he averaged nearly 20 points per game in his career. For his success, he was named Big 12 Freshman of the Year and First Team All-Big 12. After he led Colorado to the NIT Final Four, he left for the NBA and was selected 13th overall by the Utah Jazz, where’s he been killing it since.

It’s unfair that Richard Roby has to go against Alec Burks. Roby, with sweet shooting and strong finishing ability inside, is tied with Higgins for the all-time lead with 2,001 points. He was seeded lower than Higgins mostly because of team success, but my no means is that reflective of Roby. Also important is that Roby is Kenyon Martin’s half-brother, which we should celebrate because we can reminisce over how cool the Thuggets were.

#3 Josh Scott vs. #14 Ken Charlton

Josh Scott wasn’t the best ever big man at Colorado — that’d be Cliff Meely — but Scott was so consistently superb on so many good teams that he will go down as one of the all-time greatest athletes in CU history. Scott having the 3rd ranking denotes that, in our opinion, he’s the best ever Tad-era player.

Ken Charlton played a long time ago, but he was damn good. According to his CU Hall of Fame bio, he led Colorado to two different national championships (they lost both) and was a two-time All-American.

#6 Andre Roberson vs. #11 Burdette Haldorson

Andre Roberson — my favorite non-Dinwiddie player — has to be considered the best defensive player in this program’s history. Roberson was (and is) an elite athlete who could guard anyone of any size, and once he forced you to miss, he was the best rebounder in the nation at the time. Roberson was twice named First Team All-Pac-12, twice named All-Defense and in 2013, was named Defensive Player of the Year. (He also has a chance at winning the NBA DPOY this season.)

Burdette “Birdie” Haldorson was another player the one-timer CU fans were yelling at us about on Twitter and for good reason. Birdie is the oldest player on here and was the first great Buffalo to play basketball. He led Colorado to the Final Four in 1955, was named All-American that year, and his number 22 was eventually retired by the program.

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The voting polls should be up on Twitter, so have it.