RINGO: This team is best in CU history
03/16/2012 01:21:50 AM MDT
The party was just getting started Thursday night in Albuquerque with the Buffs extending their second-half lead over UNLV to 20 points when the thought came to mind.
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This is the best basketball season in Colorado history.
There can be no doubt about it. Has to be. The Buffs are a national feel-good story. Cinderella's slippers are black and gold this year.
With apologies to Burdie Haldorson and his teammates on the 1955 team that went to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament when the NIT was still the bigger deal, this group has you beat.
Sorry Alec Burks, Cory Higgins, Levi Knutson, Marcus Relphorde and Javon Coney. You showed this season's team the way last season, and these Buffs have taken your legacy and run with it.
By dispatching No. 6 seed UNLV at The Pit, the 11th-seeded Buffs won for the 24th time this season, tying the school record for wins in a season set just last year when some of these same players made a deep run in the NIT.
Not only have the Buffs equaled the best win total in school history, they won a conference championship for the first time in 40 years, they won an NCAA Tournament game for the first time in 15 seasons and they have done it when no one gave them a chance.
No one thought much of the Pac-12 Conference this season and at the outset of the season no one in the conference thought much of these Buffs. How sweet it must be for coach Tad Boyle and his players to be carrying the torch for a league that disrespected them so.
They nearly gave it all away in the final 10 minutes when fatigue seemed to start catching up with them. You figured that might happen at some point after the Buffs had to win four games in four nights last week to capture the Pac-12 tournament title.Give UNLV credit for showing some guts and making a run when its players could have bowed their heads and headed home.
The Buffs were shaky against the press and made some mental mistakes that nearly cost them the game, but as they have done numerous times this season, they regrouped and finished what they started.
Now it's on to Saturday's game with a familiar foe in the Baylor Bears.
Sort of fitting isn't it?
Baylor was the school, after all, that attempted to undermine Colorado's move to the Pac-12 two years ago at the 11th hour, politicking with their Big 12 South Division partners to be included in a possible 16-team super conference with the existing members of the Pac-10 instead of CU.
Just imagine where the Buffs might be now had that worked out in Baylor's favor. They might have been calling UNLV a conference opponent this year.
Trust me on this, there are still some very hard feelings toward Baylor for those moves from CU school and athletic department staff and administrators. They would love nothing more than to see the Buffs knock off the third-seeded Bears and move on to the Sweet 16.
Can they do it? Sure they can. If you don't believe in this team by now something is wrong with you.
The Buffs have talent, depth and some real fight to them. They play together on both ends of the floor and they put aside any concerns about individual achievements. One night the leading scorer could be freshman guard Spencer Dinwiddie, the next it could be forward Andre Roberson, the next it could be senior Carlon Brown or fellow senior Austin Dufault. It happened to be freshman guard and sensational sixth man Askia Booker on Thursday.
Whatever happens from this point on will only add to what has become a magical season, the best in school history.
Take a bow Buffs.