SAN FRANCISCO — Make no mistake. Tad Boyle doesn't take any stock in preseason prognostications.

Still, heading into his seventh season as the leader of the University of Colorado men's basketball team, Boyle's club has run the gamut of expectations as offered by the annual Pac-12 Conference preseason media poll. This year the Buffs were picked squarely in the middle of the pack, coming in at No. 5 when the preseason poll was released Friday morning.

"Two years ago they picked us third. We'd never been in that position before and we didn't handle it well," Boyle said. "I've taken the stance with our team — and I knew it back then, too — it's not about where they pick you before the season. It's where you finish after the season. That's what we have to focus on."

When the Buffs were picked third two years ago, they were coming off three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and appeared primed to make it four in a row. Instead, the wheels fell off during a 16-18 season that ended with a ninth-place finish in the league and a hollow consolation prize with a spot in the College Basketball Invitational.

Last year the Buffs were picked seventh, but rebounded from the previous disappointing season to finish fifth while returning to the Big Dance.

"We don't play our first (league) game until January 1," Boyle said. "We've got a lot of basketball we've got to play before then. That's one thing about this media day — we're all here, and we're all going to get to beating each other up come January. But before that we've got November and December, which are a critical, critical time for our programs to develop and grow and hopefully win games to set the stage for having another great conference race."


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Oregon, which won the regular-season and conference-tournament titles before reaching the Elite Eight last year, was tabbed as the league favorite after netting 23 of 27 first-place votes. Arizona, UCLA, Cal, and the Buffs rounded out the top five. CU landed just 10 points behind Cal but was 32 points ahead of sixth-place Washington.

Back to work

With Boyle and Wes Gordon in San Francisco, the Buffs were scheduled to be off Friday and Saturday before resuming preseason workouts on Sunday. CU has two upcoming closed scrimmages, visiting SMU on Oct. 29 and hosting Oklahoma State on Nov. 5.

Notable

A pre-sale for all-tournament passes to the 2017 Pac-12 Conference tournament begins Oct. 26, with the general public on-sale date on Oct. 28 at Pac-12.com/tickets. For the first time the tourney will be held at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas...During his media session Friday Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott offered no new updates on the possibility of the Pac-12 Network finally joining DirecTV, instead touting how the network has been moved up to basic subscription packages with DISH and a new affiliation with Sling TV.

Pat Rooney: rooneyp@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/prooney07