This time there were cheers instead of tears.
Tad Boyle and the Buffs watched the NCAA Tournament selection show on Sunday in the head coach's living room, just like last year.
Athletic director Mike Bohn waited for the Pac-12 Tournament champion's bracket fate downstairs. The samebasement where Boyle had to console Cory Higgins, Levi Knutson, Marcus Relphorde, Alec Burks and the rest of the 2010-11 team after they were left out of the 68-team field.
"That's perfect!" Bohn bellowed when Colorado appeared on the television.
The Buffs (23-11) are seeded 11th in the South Region and will dance with No. 6 UNLV (26-8) on Thursday at the Pit in Albuquerque, N.M. The survivor will advance to play either No. 3 Baylor or No. 14 South Dakota State on Saturday.
The CU-UNLV game will tip after the Baylor-South Dakota State game which starts at 5:27 p.m. Thursday. So the Buffs game should begin at about 8 p.m.
"It's a wonderful opportunity for us to have as many people involved in this as possible," Bohn said of CU being placed at a site that is within driving distance for most fans.
Bohn said the athletic department will be taking 100 of the most loyal C-Unit members on this trip to watch the program participate in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003.
CU men's basketball schedule
Nov. 11 - Ft. Lewis 57, CU 85
Nov. 17 - Wichita State 67, CU 58
Nov. 18 - Maryland 78, CU 71
Nov. 20 - CU 81, W. Michigan 76
Nov. 23 - Air Force 73, CU 76, OT
Nov. 28 - CU 70, Georgia 68
Nov. 30 - CU 64, Colorado State 65
Dec. 7 - CU 71, Fresno State 64
Dec. 9 - Wyoming 65, CU 54
Dec. 19 - CU 70, CSU Bakersfield 64
Dec. 22 - CU 56, Texas Southern 51
Dec. 28 - CU 92, New Orleans 34
Dec. 31 - CU 73, Utah 33
Jan. 5 - CU 87, Washington 69
Jan. 7 - CU 71, Washington State 60
Jan. 12 - Cal 57, CU 50
Jan. 14 - Stanford 84, CU 64
Jan. 19 - CU 69, Arizona State 54
Jan. 21 - CU 64, Arizona 63
Jan. 26 - CU 74, USC 50
Jan. 28 - UCLA 77, CU 60
Feb. 2 - CU 83, Oregon State 57
Feb. 4 - CU 72, Oregon 71
Feb. 9 - Arizona 71, CU 57
Feb. 11 - CU 63, Arizona State 49
Feb. 18 - CU 55, Utah 48
Feb. 23 - Stanford 74, CU 50
Feb. 26 - Colorado 70, California 57
Mar. 1 - Oregon 90, CU 81
Mar. 3 - Oregon State 83, CU 69
March 7 - Pac-12: CU 53, No. 11 Utah 41
March 8 - Pac-12: CU 63, Oregon 62
March 9 - Pac-12: CU 70, California 59
March 10 - Pac-12: CU 53, Arizona 51
During CU's remarkable Pac-12 Tournament championship run in Los Angeles, 50 students had their trip paid for. This time they will have to throw down $50 for tickets.
After the Buffs' 53-51 victory over Arizona in the title game, C-Unit member Nick Shearon was invited down onto the court to cut the first piece of the net down at Staples Center.
"Drive safely down, have fun when you're down there, and hopefully we can spend a couple of days down there and not just one," was Boyle's message to the most rabid members of the Buffs' growing fan base.
CU has an allotment of 350 tickets and has requested an additional 200.
"We're going to take the same approach going into Thursday that we had last Wednesday going into L.A.," Boyle said.
The Buffs beat Utah, Oregon and Cal before clinching the conference's automatic berth with the win over Arizona.
UNLV was ranked 20th in the final Associated Press regular-season poll. The Rebels grabbed the national spotlight with a 90-80 victory over North Carolina on Nov. 26.
"I just know they're very athletic, they're very talented, and they're very explosive," Boyle said. "It's a challenge for us. We're the 11 seed and they're the (six) seed."
UNLV finished third in the Mountain West, which sent four teams to the NCAA Tournament, including Colorado State.
The Rebels beat Cal, the only Pac-12 team to receive an at-large bid, 85-68 on Dec. 23.
Carlon Brown is familiar with first-year UNLV head coach Dave Rice (a former BYU assistant), the Rebels' veteran roster (seven upper classmen) and the Pit (New Mexico's home court) from his Utah playing days.
"I'm pretty sure it's going to be an up tempo game," said Brown, the Pac-12 Tournament's most outstanding player. "I know Dave Rice does a great job with his guys and they run a great transition game. It should be a high-scoring game. Hopefully our defense can do something about that."
Boyle said the Buffs will try to run with the Runnin' Rebels, who are 24th nationally in scoring (76.7 ppg) and third in assists (17.7 apg).
"Albuquerque has altitude just like we do," Boyle noted. The elevation at the Pit is a mile high just like Denver. "I'd love to get out and run and get an up-tempo game going. We're best in transition."
This will be the first meeting between UNLV and Colorado since a 65-59 Buffs win in Las Vegas on Dec. 22, 1981. The Rebels hold a 4-1 edge in the series.
CU is making just its third appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 1970.
Ricardo Patton's Buffs lost in the first round to Michigan State (79-64) on March 21, 2003.
Chauncey Billups led the program to its last NCAA Tournament victory over Bobby Knight's Indiana Hoosiers on March 13, 1997. CU's memorable run ended with a 73-56 loss to North Carolina two days later.
Overall, the program is making its 11th trip to the NCAA Tournament. CU made it to the Final Four in 1954-55 when the field included 24 teams.
"It's incredibly inspirational," Bohn said of having the Buffs play their way into the March Madness. "And that's a major understatement as far as the encouragement and the sense of pride the emanates from Buffs fans across the country.
"It was just so emotional and fulfilling to have that sense of pride come out in abundance."