The key to the Buffs’ sudden hot streak is that nothing about this team should ever surprise you. They do not care how young they are, how good their opposition is, how no CU team had ever won at the Pauley Pavilion, or how this was supposed to be a transition year with conference wins few and far between.
How about Tad Boyle keeping this Colorado team going? Just finished up a 3-1 stretch against the Arizona schools and the LA schools. Certainly on the outside looking in for the NCAA Tournament, but still have a shot. Seven of last 12 at home…— Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) January 14, 2018
Colorado is somehow in the NCAA Tournament conversation. They have impressive home wins over Arizona and Arizona State, a high-quality win over UCLA, and a solid home win over South Dakota State. They have a few losses, but most of those are excusable. CU should have beat Colorado State and Oregon State, but this team was finding its own. Losses at Xavier, Oregon and USC were expected. A home loss to San Diego stings, but they’re an excellent mid-major that could make the tourney.
Overall, the Buffs don’t have the strongest resume, but it has a solid foundation and they have plenty of time to build on it. They have 12 games left in the regular season and they probably need seven or eight more wins, plus a win or two in the Pac-12 Tournament. Here’s what the rest of the schedule looks like:
Washington State (probable win)
Washington (would be a quality win)
@ Arizona (loss)
@ Arizona State (loss)
Utah (should be a win)
Cal (probable win)
Stanford (probable win)
@ Washington State (possible win)
@ Washington (loss)
USC (would be quality win)
UCLA (would be quality win)
@ Utah (would be quality win)
The Buffs have seven home games and two winnable road games. CU has proven that they can beat anyone at home, and if they play focused, Tad Boyle continues outcoaching his rivals, and if the Keg shows up, they could absolutely win out at home. Colorado could really be in business if they carry over the intensity they showed at UCLA when they go on the road to the Washington schools and Utah. The Buffs don’t normally play those teams well, but this is a new year and Wazzu and Utah appear to be mediocre at best.
That right there would be nine wins to put CU at 20-14 without even upsetting anyone, and that’s before the Pac-12 Tournament is even considered. If the Buffs got an additional win or two in Las Vegas — which they would probably be a 6th seed, meaning they would beat the 11th seed (like Washington State) and then the 3rd (maybe UCLA) — they would have a strong case to make the Tournament. Anything less than 21 or 22 wins on the season should keep the Buffs in the NIT, but even then, an NIT berth was the goal at the beginning of the season.
I don’t want to get your hopes up with this post; I just wanted to show that the Buffs can somehow make the NCAA Tournament if everything goes right.