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Colorado Buffaloes earn 4 seed in NIT

The Buffs didn’t make the NCAA Tournament, but they are set up nicely.

NCAA Basketball: PAC-12 Conference Tournament - Oregon vs Colorado Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Buffaloes won’t be dancing, but they have a chance for a deep run in the National Invitation Tournament. After finishing the season 21-11, the Buffs earned a 4 seed in the historic NIT. They will host the 5th seeded St. Bonaventure in Boulder.

The bracket is set up for the Buffs to potentially make a deep run, as they did the previous times Tad Boyle coached in this tournament in 2011 and 2019. Both of those teams were on the upswing and used the experience of the competition to build on success the following season; the 2012 Buffs won the Pac-12 Tournament and beat UNLV in the NCAA Tournament, while the 2020 team competed for the regular season conference title and would have made the Big Dance if it was not canceled.

Not that they had a real shot at an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament, but there is an argument that this particular Buffs team is better off in the NIT. Rather than being an 11-seed or 12-seed with a chance of losing in the First Four — yes, those 2012 Buffs were an 11-seed — this young team will (ideally) play a number of intense, tournament basketball. Even if it’s not as high of prestige, the more high stakes basketball the better, at least for a team that’s mostly freshmen and sophomores.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12, the Arizona Wildcats (1-seed), UCLA Bruins (4) and USC Trojans (7) all made the field of 68, while the Oregon Ducks (5) and Washington State Cougars (4) both made the NIT. It was something of a down year in the conference, aside from the Cats, but we’re better represented than 2012 or 2018.