There are 10 games left in the regular season for the Colorado men's basketball team. This is the time of year when NCAA tournament resumes are solidified. It's also when some are proven unworthy.
It can still go in either direction for these Buffaloes.
"It's put up or shut up time," as coach Tad Boyle said Sunday.
Things are trending positively right now following CU's third consecutive win Sunday afternoon 81-71 against Cal in the Coors Events Center. But the picture could look much different just two weeks from now because the next three games are on the road where the Buffs are 2-5 this season.
Hundreds of teams over the years have felt pretty good about themselves at this stage of the season only to fall short of March Madness. The Buffs are 14-6 and definitely can't afford many more losses.
Here are 10 goals for the Buffs to achieve by the time the final horn sounds on their season. If they achieve even most of them, there should be plenty of smiling faces in the Coors Events Center in the second half of March.
Beat Arizona -- This one is more about karma than anything. The Buffs and their fans justifiably feel like they beat the Wildcats Jan. 3, in Tucson but Sabatino Chen's game-winner was wiped away after officials used replay to change their initial call of a made 3-pointer at the buzzer. CU lost in overtime.
The Wildcats visit Boulder on Valentine's Day. It should be a wild atmosphere and a victory over a top-10 team, assuming Arizona is still ranked that high, would be big for the Buffs.
Winning mindset on the road -- This is a tough assignment for experienced teams and the Buffs have plenty of young faces. But that shouldn't be an excuse and Boyle certainly won't settle for it. The only way this program ever becomes a perennial top-25 team competing for the Pac-12 championship regularly is by winning more often on the road.
Free throw shooting -- CU went into Sunday's game ranked 10th in the Pac-12 in free throw shooting at 66 percent. Poor free throw shooting has been a significant part of the reason the Buffs have lost at least three times this season. They can't afford to lose any more games at the foul line.
In fact, maybe the goal here should be proving they could beat a good team by making free throws in the clutch. They took a step in that direction Sunday shooting 82 percent from the line and Spencer Dinwiddie making nine of 10 free throws.
Improving freshmen -- Xavier Johnson and Josh Scott have been the stars of the freshman class so far, but all six have made significant contributions in practices or games. Johnson and Scott are looking like future cornerstones of the program just as Dinwiddie and Askia Booker did a year ago.
But this is also the time of year when freshman fade. There is still a lot of basketball to be played and Boyle probably gave his team the next two days off with that in mind.
Rebounding title -- Andre Roberson said in the preseason he would like to lead the nation in rebounding. He went into Sunday's game leading the nation for the first time in his career, but he spent most of the first half on the bench in foul trouble and finished with just five.
It would be one of the greatest individual achievements in the program's history if he can do it. It would be on par with a CU linebacker wining the Butkus Award or defensive back winning the Thorpe Award.
Fourth or better -- The Buffs won the conference tournament a year ago by winning four games in four days. It's unlikely this team could repeat that feat because of limited contributions from the bench and the overall improvement of the league.
The Buffs would make it much easier on themselves to win a second straight tournament by finishing the regular season strong as one of the top four teams in the league, earning a bye in Pac-12 bracket. They clawed back to 4-4 in the league Sunday after a 1-4 start.
Semifinals or bust -- Depending on how they finish the regular season, the Buffs could need to reach the semifinals of the Pac-12 tournament to shore up their NCAA tournament resume. But let's be honest, falling short of the final four in the Pac-12 would be a disappointment considering the Buffs have shown they can play with anyone in the conference. Bowing out any earlier just wouldn't be the right way to follow up last season's title run.
Earn a third straight postseason appearance -- CU has never gone to the postseason in three consecutive seasons and nothing less is acceptable at this point. The Buffs are just a few wins away from being deserving of an NIT invite, but it would be a disappointment to fall short of another NCAA tournament.
Win more than 24 games -- This will be a challenge. Boyle has led the Buffs to back-to-back 24-win seasons. It would be nice to see this season's team exceed all expectations by beating the previous two editions, which featured some great senior leadership and exceptional individual players.
CU would need 11 more victories to make it happen. If the Buffs can earn six wins in the final 10 regular-season games, three in the conference tournament and two in the NCAA tournament they could get there.
That would also get the Buffs to the Sweet 16, which would make this the best basketball season in the modern era in Boulder -- bar none.
Last but not least -- Sabatino Chen is one of the hardest working players on the roster and always a team-first guy. It would be nice to see him finish his CU career being known for more than the guy who had his game-winning shot at Arizona wiped away by a bad call from officials.
Follow Kyle on Twitter @KyleRingo