Kyle Ringo
Kyle Ringo

The Colorado Buffaloes are contenders in the Pac-12 Conference.

Coach Tad Boyle came to the Coors Events Center on Thursday evening eager to see how his team measured up against one of the most talented men's basketball programs in the conference.

Fourteen NBA scouts also were in the building, which provided an idea of what Boyle and his players were up against.

Andre Roberson and his teammates not only beat Washington, but ran the Huskies out of the gym.

This was a thorough whipping.

Maybe Washington didn't play its best basketball and some will be tempted to chalk it up to an off night for the Huskies, but that would be a mistake.

The Buffs played hard, played as a team, fought for rebounds and loose balls, defended well and executed their plan.

Doing so enabled them to overcome the advantage the Huskies clearly hold in overall talent and athleticism.

It's not like it was a nail-biter either. Folks were streaming toward the exits with 2 minutes left, something that might have been expected ahead of time, but few would have predicted the Buffs would be on top if it turned into a laugher.

If the Buffs can beat the Huskies by 18, they are capable of beating any other team in the conference on any court any day.

It's that simple.

And that should get CU fans excited for what's ahead. Trust me, the final score here raised some eyebrows around the league Thursday evening from those who thought the Buffs would be a bottom feeder.


In Boyle's first season as CU's coach with a different collection of players, the Buffs made Boulder a tough place for opponents to play last year. They beat teams like Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma State and Kansas State.

After losing the nucleus of a team that set a program record with 24 wins, it made sense to wonder whether these Buffs would be as tough at home. They have risen to the challenge thus far going 8-1 on Sox Walseth Court.

Senior guard Carlon Brown said the victory doesn't tell the Buffs much about what they might be capable of this year because it's just one game and they have 16 left on the schedule, including another home game Saturday against Washington State.

That's just the approach you want the leaders of your team taking if you're Boyle.

But the coach broke ranks with his players slightly when I asked him afterwards if beating Washington in that fashion should give the Buffs belief that they can contend for the conference title.

"I think it gives us great confidence, absolutely," Boyle said. "Now we did it at home, and to finish in the top half of any league you've got to win on the road and you've got to hold serve at home. It was a litmus test for our team and we passed that test. Now it's on to the next one. I don't want to get too full of ourselves."

Inconsistency plagued the Buffs at times earlier in the season and they can't afford a relapse.

Most of the key contributors seem to be playing better each time out.

Brown is finally looking like the leader and playmaker we all expected him to be after sitting out a year following his transfer from Utah.

Freshmen guards Spencer Dinwiddie and Askia Booker continue to impress and role players such as Sabatino Chen and Jeremy Adams are getting the job done in the limited minutes they're on the floor.

And sophomore Andre Roberson is a beast with an almost magical sense of where he needs to be to snatch a rebound when a shot is in the air.

Boyle is on a mission to turn Colorado into a basketball crazy school, knowing full well that football will always come first here even if he is successful.

He took the opportunity to issue a subtle challenge to CU fans Thursday following the biggest win of the season so far.

"I want our fans to believe," he said. "Again, as a coach, part of my job is to manage expectations. I don't want them to put the cart in front of the horse, but I want them to believe that when they show up at the Coors Events Center that the Buffs are going to take care of business and play their hearts out, cause we're all in this thing together. We're going to need our fans as the season goes along."

It's still early, but it looks like it's going to be another fun season of college basketball in Boulder. Few thought that was possible just a few years ago when 20 losses were the norm here.