CU’s Andre Roberson, who had 13 points and 15 rebounds in the Buffs’ season opener against Fort Lewis, said he’s not going down to the
CU's Andre Roberson, who had 13 points and 15 rebounds in the Buffs' season opener against Fort Lewis, said he's not going down to the Puerto Rico Tip-off for a vacation, but to win. ( JEREMY PAPASSO )

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- The Buffs will try not to get lost in paradise this week.

Two years ago, Colorado played well at the Maui Invitational but let second-half leads slip away in losses to Gonzaga and Arizona. CU salvaged a win and some pride with a victory over Chaminade.

There isn't a Division II host team at the Puerto Rico Tip-off.

The Buffs (1-0) open the four-day tournament Thursday night against defending NIT champion Wichita State at Coliseo de Puerto Rico (5:30 p.m., ESPNU).

Seven of the eight teams in the field posted at least 20 wins last season and Maryland had 19 wins. Entering the tournament, the participating programs are a combined 8-1 this season.

"If our guys aren't ready to play, we could come back 0-3," CU head coach Tad Boyle warned. "There's no Chaminade in this tournament. No disrespect to Chaminade."

Back in March at Madison Square Garden, Boyle's coaching staff did some advance scouting of the Shockers (1-0), a team that starts four seniors and a junior, for a possible matchup in the NIT title game.

"Wichita State lost four players (from last season), we lost four. Their program is a little more established in terms of their staff has been there longer and they're further along with recruiting and redshirting," Boyle said. "Their pipeline is a little more full than ours is. That's where we'll be, but Wichita State is there."


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Boyle and assistant coaches Mike Rohn and Jean Prioleau spent six seasons at Wichita State on Mark Turgeon's staff.

CU either will get a rematch with Alabama, the team that beat the Buffs in the NIT semifinals, or face Turgeon's Terrapins on Friday.

"You never look forward to that as a coach," Turgeon said when asked about playing his former program or his protégé. "A lot of great memories at Wichita State. I'll see a lot of familiar faces. Of course, Tad and I were together a long time at Jacksonville State and Wichita State. He helped me build those programs and get where we are today. ...

"I think Tad is going through a little bit of a rebuilding stage obviously, a little bit young, kind of like our team. Either way, we're going to play a black or yellow team in the second round. But it should be fun just to see some familiar faces."

CU opened the season with an 85-57 victory over Fort Lewis and Wichita State beat Charleston Southern by the same score.

"I know Tad will have his team ready. I was very impressed with what he's done at Northern Colorado, then at the University of Colorado last season, getting a chance to watch him in New York," Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall said. "Whether it's coach Turgeon and his new Terrapin team or a rematch with Alabama, we know we're going to have our hands full in the second round."

Forwards Austin Dufault (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Andre Roberson (13 points, 15 rebounds) opened the campaign with impressive double-double performances. Guards Carlon Brown (13 points) and Sabatino Chen (10 points) also scored in double figures.

Boyle noted after the easy victory at the Coors Events Center that "the price of poker is going up in Puerto Rico" as the Buffs get a chance to face three quality opponents.

"I'm not going out there for a vacation," said Roberson, who has embraced his new role as a team leader after deferring to Cory Higgins and Alec Burks last season. "I'm going out there to win."

A year ago, November losses to Georgia, San Francisco and Harvard ended up costing CU four months later when the NCAA Tournament field was selected.

Two or three wins at the Puerto Rico Tip-off would certainly give the Buffs a sparkling early-season résumé.

"The weather will be nice, but we're not concentrating on laying on the beach and that sort of thing," Boyle said. "We're concentrating on going down there and taking care of business and playing as well as we can play."

CU preview

Tonight: The Colorado Buffaloes (1-0) face the Wichita State Shockers (1-0) in the opening round of the Puerto Rico Tip-off at 5:30 p.m. at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico.

Broadcast: Television on ESPNU with Jon Sciambi (play-by-play) and Hubert Davis (color). Radio on KKZN (AM 760) with Mark Johnson (play-by-play) and Chris Lewis (color).

Storylines: CU opened the season with an 85-57 victory over Fort Lewis at the Coors Events Center. ... Austin Dufault (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Andre Roberson (13 points, 15 rebounds) had double-doubles for the Buffs. ... The Shockers are coming off an 85-57 home win over Charleston Southern. ... Wichita State won the NIT championship in March against Alabama, a possible second-round opponent for CU and Wichita State. The Crimson Tide beat the Buffs in the semifinal at Madison Square Garden. ... Tad Boyle spent six seasons coaching at Wichita State under Mark Turgeon, now Maryland's coach.

Key stat: Seven of the eight teams in the Puerto Rico Tip-off field had at least 20 wins last season. CU had a program record 24 wins. Maryland had 19. The field is a combined 8-1 this season entering the tournament.

Coaches: Tad Boyle is 25-14 in his second season at CU. Gregg Marshall is 83-55 in his fifth season at Wichita State.

Probable starters: Colorado -- G Nate Tomlinson, 6-3, Sr., 5.0 ppg, 4.0 apg; F Andre Roberson, 6-7, So., 13.0 ppg, 15.0 rpg; F Austin Dufault, 6-9, Sr., 18.0 ppg, 10.0 rpg; G Spencer Dinwiddie, 6-5, Fr., 7.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg; G Carlon Brown, 6-5, Sr., 13.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg. Wichita State -- F Ben Smith, 6-5, Sr., 10.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg; C Garrett Stutz, 7-0, Sr., 4.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg; G David Kyles, 6-4, Sr., 19.0 ppg, 4.0 apg; G Demetric Williams, 6-2, Jr., 12.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg; G Joe Ragland, 6-0, Sr., 2.0 ppg, 3.0 apg.

Series: Wichita State leads 5-3, but the programs have not played since the Shockers' 70-55 win on Dec. 8, 1971 in Boulder.

Up next: Colorado will play either Alabama or Maryland on Friday at either 4:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. depending on tonight's results.

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