AUSTIN, Texas -- Andre Roberson assumed he would play important basketball games for the Buffs here throughout his college career.

When Colorado's junior forward committed to Tad Boyle almost three years ago, the program was still a member of the Big 12.

A few months after Roberson arrived on campus, CU announced its plans to leave for the Pac-12.

The Buffs upset No. 5 Texas in Boulder during the 2010-11 season but didn't have to make a return trip to Austin.

The bottom-feeding program Roberson joined will make its second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance against Illinois on Friday in the East Region at the Erwin Center (2:40 p.m., TNT), which is the Longhorns' home venue.

"We've definitely emerged, especially on the defensive end," Roberson said of CU's success since heading west. "I know before, when they were in the Big 12, they had the Princeton offense with (Jeff) Bzdelik. I feel like we're a little more up and down, high tempo game, and that's what the fans want."

Roberson, despite averaging 15 points and 12 rebounds at San Antonio's Wagner High School during his senior season, was mostly ignored by Texas and other Big 12 schools during the recruiting process.

Not one school from the Lone Star State made the field of 68 this year. That doesn't mean Boyle is finished recruiting Texas.

In fact, 2013 CU signee Dustin Thomas, a 6-8 power forward from Texarkana, Texas, will make the long drive across the state to cheer his future teammates on in person against the Illini.


Advertisement

"We love Texas and we will always recruit down here because it's such a fertile ground," Boyle said. "We'll never forget Texas, but the fact that we're in the Pac-12, obviously our footprint is more West Coast-oriented."

Boyle recruited in Texas for six years as an assistant coach at Wichita State. Since CU's move to the Pac-12 he has signed five players from Los Angeles and added Jaron Hopkins (Mesa, Ariz.) and Tre'shaun Fletcher (Tacoma, Wash.) to Thomas' class.

Notable

CU and Illinois only had one common opponent this season: USC. The Illini blew out the Trojans 94-64 on Nov. 19 en route to winning the Maui Invitational. The Buffs beat USC 66-60 on Jan. 10 in Boulder. ... Backup CU center Shane Harris-Tunks remains "day to day" with a concussion. ... ... CU was named one of the "Elite Eight" campuses in the NCAA Tournament by the Alliance to Save Energy for the university's energy-efficient efforts. The other schools on the list are Cal, Duke, Florida, North Carolina, Oregon, Syracuse and Wisconsin.

Quotable

"This year we're going to try to take it a step further and maybe advance into the Sweet 16. We'll just have to see how it goes," Roberson on CU's approach to its second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.

Follow Ryan on Twitter:

@RyanThorburn