A part of Tad Boyle was sad to say goodbye to 2011.
During the last calendar year the Colorado head coach celebrated a string of upset wins in the Big 12, a trip to Madison Square Garden for the NIT semifinals, seeing Alec Burks and Cory Higgins land jobs in the NBA, the signing of a top-25 recruiting class, and nine more wins with his new look Buffs.
CU ended the memorable run with a 73-33 victory over Utah in the Pac-12 debut for both programs on Saturday at the Coors Events Center.
"When I look at this league I don't think there is any team we can't beat, whether it is at home or on the road," Boyle said after the Buffs held the inept Utes to 22.6 percent shooting and out-rebounded them 44-28. "I don't concern myself with outside expectations. ... But we'll use them picking us 11th all season long. We have to play with a chip on our shoulder."
Boyle's team was picked 10th (tied with Washington State) in the Pac-12 preseason media poll. It appears the voters had Utah, picked 12th, pegged correctly.
CU exceeded expectation during the 2010-11 campaign, finishing fifth in the Big 12 standings after the coaches had voted Boyle's team ninth in the preseason.
"It is open for the taking," freshman guard Askia Booker said of the Pac-12, which is ninth in conference RPI. "I think we can compete with anybody. And the same goes for everybody else in our league, they can compete with anybody."
The Utes (3-10, 0-1) might be the exception.
"Embarrassing is a good word," first-year Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak said of his team's performance. "We got manhandled in all elements of the game. Mentally, we weren't engaged for whatever reason."
CU dominated the game from start (freshman guard Spencer Dinwiddie made a 3-pointer eight seconds into the game) to finish (walk-on guard Beau Webb hit a 3-pointer to give the Buffs a 42-point lead with 24 seconds left) to the delight of the 6,491 witnesses.
Dinwiddie converted an old-fashioned three-point play, Utah transfer Carlon Brown scored seven quick points, and Booker added a 3-pointer during a 20-4 run to open the second half that gave the Buffs a 47-15 lead.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Booker made the score 60-24 with 7:31 remaining.
"We can do something special here and it is going to be fun to be a part of that type of movement as we are almost an established program," Dinwiddie said after finishing with a game-high 19 points.
CU, which wrapped up non-conference play with a 92-34 romp over New Orleans, held an opponent under 40 points for the second consecutive game.
Andre Roberson set the tone defensively with a career-high 17 rebounds to go with 17 points, three blocks and two steals in 25 minutes.
"I'm concerned with how Colorado basketball is playing and how we're executing," Boyle said. "I'm not going to talk about Utah or New Orleans. I'm concerned with how we're playing. And right now we're taking care of business."
CU led 27-11 at halftime after Dinwiddie scored 16 points in 16 minutes. He was 4-for-5 from behind the arc at the intermission.
Dinwiddie made three early 3-pointers to stake the Buffs to a quick 12-point lead. His fourth 3-pointer with 31 seconds left provided the 16-point cushion for the home team at the break.
The rest of the Buffs were just 4-for-16 from the field in the first half, but the Utes shot 20 percent (5-for-25), including a 1-for-11 effort from 3-point distance.
Utah's 11 points were the fewest in a half by an opponent at the Coors Events Center since the 1979-80 season.
"Colorado basketball is built on defense and rebounding," Dinwiddie said. "If all else fails, we have to execute with what Colorado basketball is all about, those aspects of the game."
Booker finished with 14 points off the bench. Brown also scored in double figures against his former team with 10 points on 4-for-6 shooting.
"I really think (Brown's) maturity level is pretty high," Boyle said of the senior guard. "I don't think he was pressing in any way and I was proud of him."
The Buffs will try to get 2012 off to a good start on Thursday when the host Washington.