Colorado received a No. 11 seed in the 2012 NCAA tournament and will be going up against No. 6 seed UNLV in the South Region. Notable teams in the South Region include No. 1 overall seed Kentucky and No. 2 seed Duke. Update added 3/11/12. The unedited article below was posted before the seed selection announcement.
Colorado beat Arizona in a close (53-51) Pac-12 championship game to claim the conference’s automatic NCAA men's basketball tournament bid on Saturday. The CU Buffs will now be participating in March Madness 2012.
As it is their first season in the Pac-12, it is also the Buffaloes' first Pac-12 basketball tournament title. This season the Pac-12 Conference tournament title and the automatic bid looked to be Colorado’s only chance at getting invited to the Big Dance.
The Pac-12 had a win-loss record of 0-12 against AP Top 25 teams this season, raising serious doubts about the conference. Further hurting the Buffs' chance at getting into the NCAA tournament was their conference record. Colorado finished the regular season fifth in the Pac-12, tied with UCLA behind Washington, Cal, Oregon and Arizona.
All NCAA tournament 2012 bid doubts are now in the past, as the Colorado Buffaloes will be making their 11th March Madness appearance. Despite a few impressive wins last season the CU Buffs were left out of the Big Dance in 2011.
In the NCAA tournament, the Buffaloes have a 9-12 win-loss record and two Final Four appearances.
Colorado’s first NCAA appearance was in 1940, the second year of the tournament. The Buffs' most recent appearance was in back in 2003. That year Colorado lost to Michigan State 64-79 in the first round.
With wins over Utah, Oregon, Cal and now Arizona in the Pac-12 tournament, the Buffs should not be underestimated come this year's bracket time. Here’s a look at how Colorado has performed this season.
The Colorado Buffaloes averaged 67.6 points per game, compared to their opponent’s average of 62.5 points per game this season.
Colorado has a field goal percentage of .445, and a three-point field goal percentage of .343, making an average of 5.5 three-point shots per game.
The Buffaloes' free-throw percentage is a respectable .694.
With losses to both Oregon and Oregon State in the final weekend of Colorado’s regular season, the Buffs' current win streak is at four games (all in the Pac-12 tournament).
Entering the Pac-12 tournament as a No. 6 seed the CU Buffs have managed to pull off a big feat by making it from the first round all the way to winning the title game.
No. 6 seed Colorado beat No. 11 seed Utah 53-41 in the first round of the conference tournament. The Buffaloes then took care of No. 3 seed Oregon in a 63-62 win.
In the semifinals game Colorado beat the No. 2 seed California, 70-59. California will likely be joining the Buffs in the 2012 NCAA tournament.
The Buffs then finished off the Pac-12 tournament with their fourth win in four days over No. 4 seed Arizona, 53-51.
Throughout the Pac-12 tournament the Buffs demonstrated their talents in defense, and ability to be competitive with some of top teams in the Pac-12.
Colorado's non-conference record (including games in the Pac-12 tournament) this season is 12-4 overall, 6-1 home, 1-1 away and 5-2 neutral.
The Buffs’ non-conference wins outside of the Pac-12 tournament this season include: Fort Lewis, Western Michigan, Air Force, Georgia, Fresno State, CSU Bakersfield, Texas Southern and New Orleans.
A notable Colorado loss includes a 58-67 loss to Wichita State. The Wichita St. Shockers finished the season first in the Missouri Valley.
Colorado did not play any AP Top 25 teams this season.
Colorado’s lack of big games and big wins in their non-conference record leaves the Buffs largely untested outside of the Pac-12 this season.
In conference play the Buffaloes have an overall record of 11-7, with 8-1 home and 3-6 away. Colorado finished tied for fifth in the Pac-12 with UCLA one game behind Arizona, two behind Cal and Oregon and three behind Washington.
Washington beat Colorado 87-69 in the only meeting between the two teams this season. Cal, Oregon and Arizona split wins with Colorado, with each team winning their home contest.
In the regular season Colorado was far from being dominate in the Pac-12 conference, winning only five out of their last ten regular-season games.
Colorado (23-11, 11-7) finishes the season with more than 20 wins for the second year in a row, something that has never before occurred in Colorado men's basketball.
Being overlooked from the NCAA tournament last year, it seems almost fitting for Colorado to get a chance to prove themselves in the 2012 tournament.
Where this result leaves Cal and Washington in regard to getting in the NCAA tournament is uncertain, particularly in the case of the UW Huskies. Both teams will learn their fate on Selection Sunday.
While certainly respectable, other than their performance in the Pac-12 tournament, little sticks out to suggest the Buffs will present a major threat in the NCAA tournament. Their conference tournament performance however should not be overlooked.
Pulling off four wins in four days over Utah, Oregon, Cal and Arizona demonstrated the level at which Colorado can perform. Notably how good of a defense the Buffs have in comparison to other teams in the Pac-12 this season.
In a year that has not been the Pac-12's best, Colorado will be representing the Pac-12 with the automatic bid in the NCAA tournament. With a little luck, the Buffs will continue their performance from the Pac-12 tournament, representing their new conference well in 2012's Big Dance.