The Colorado Buffaloes said they didn't pay attention to the results that were unfolding around the Pac-12 Conference on Saturday.
Which turned out to be a reasonable approach, given that by halftime of what turned into a dispiriting loss at Utah, the Buffs were destined to end the day exactly where they began — in fifth place, and lined up for a date with last-place Washington State in the first round of the league tournament.
CU will take on the 12th-seeded Cougars at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Wednesday at 3:40 p.m. MST.
Head coach Tad Boyle said he was focused on his team's matchup but did notice Oregon defeated USC, which meant his Buffs had no chance of falling to the No. 6 spot. CU's chance at the No. 4 seed an a first-round bye in the league tournament ended when Cal completed a comeback win at Arizona State shortly before the Buffs reached halftime at Utah.
CU needed to beat the Utes and have ASU upset Cal in order to sneak into the No. 4 slot.
"I saw that Oregon beat USC, so I knew we'd be at best a four-seed and at worst a five-seed," Boyle said. "That much I know, but the rest of the games I don't know who won. And I really don't care."
Tre'Shaun Fletcher came off the bench to keep the Buffs in the game early by knocking down 3-of-4 3-point attempts during the first half, and the reserves played a critical role in the 16-0 run in the second half that put CU in position to possibly pull off the upset.
Largely quiet in recent weeks, freshman guard Thomas Akyazili and sophomore forward Tory Miller combined to score 10 of CU's points during the run.
"Thomas was great in the second half, and Tory was terrific," Boyle said. "He played like a man out there. He struggled a little bit in the first half, but in the second half he played with great mental toughness."
Miller went 0-for-4 during the first half with just two rebounds in eight minutes, but he went 3-for-3 in the second half while adding another five rebounds.
The loss ruined CU's bid to earn win No. 22, which would have set a program record for the regular season...Fletcher has made 7-of-9 3-pointers over the past three games...The Buffs have lost five consecutive road games.