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Colorado Buffaloes set to play Denver Pioneers in 2017-18

The Buffs will have themselves another inter-state matchup.

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

Colorado’s season just wrapped up, but the Buffs are hard at work restoring old rivalries with former coaches. After already scheduling Northern Colorado, Tad Boyle’s previous employer, CU has announced a matchup with the Denver Pioneers.

The Pios, as they’re affectionately nicknamed, are notable for hiring away Rodney Billups to be their head coach. Billups was an assistant on Boyle’s staff for the four seasons preceding his departure to Denver and was highly successful in that role. Billups, a DU grad, has been an immediate upgrade over former coach Joe Scott and he brings recruiting upside the school has never seen. The future is bright for the Pios and they’re looking to legitimize themselves by playing a top-tier team in Colorado.

(Sidebar: I covered the Pios for the DU school newspaper last year and I had no choice but to write nice words about Joe Scott’s Princeton offense. I was also warned before my interview to not ask critical questions about how ineffective that offensive style is.)

The Buffs’ connection to Denver isn’t limited to Rodney Billups. DU’s coaching staff also includes Ricardo Patton, Colorado’s former head coach during Chauncey Billups’ time on campus. Additionally, noted buzzer-beater hero and Pac-12 champion (and Tad Boyle All-Star) Sabatino Chen transferred from DU to play at CU.

The majority of Colorado’s 2017-18 schedule has been decided already and it’s filled mostly with regional games. In addition to games against DU and UNC, the Buffs will continue the Rocky Showdown against Colorado State and start a home-and-home with New Mexico. CU also has continuations of previously started home-and-home series against Portland and Xavier, both of whom the Buffs defeated last season.