The Colorado men's basketball team has posted three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances in part because the players have put in so much good work in the summer.

Now that the fall semester has started, Buffaloes head coach Tad Boyle said it appears his players have had another good summer.

"Guys look good, everybody is back and healthy and, certainly from a physical appearance standpoint, it looks like they had good summers," Boyle said. "But, we'll find out more next week when we get on the court."

All the players were on campus during June, but most of them went home during July and returned last week to start the new semester. The Buffs will have their first on-court workout together on Tuesday.

In particular, Boyle said sophomore Dustin Thomas has lost some weight and looks "trim and fit," while fellow sophomores Jaron Hopkins and George King "look huskier and bigger."

Scheduling challenges

The Buffs are currently enjoying the best run of success in program history, and other teams around the country have taken notice. That's one reason why there are no traditional national powers coming to Boulder, as Kansas did last year.

"Scheduling is, without a doubt, the hardest thing for us to do," Boyle said. "It's hard for two reasons: No. 1, our program has risen to a level where people don't look at Colorado as an easy victory anymore. Secondly, and probably more importantly than that, is the fact that the Coors Events Center has become such a hard place to play. People used to think they could come in here and sneak out with a win. That thought is not prevalent anymore in college basketball."


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The Buffs, who have gone 60-9 at home in Boyle's four seasons, play seven non-conference games at home this year. The only team from a Power 5 conference coming to Boulder is Auburn, which went 14-16 last year, has posted five consecutive losing seasons and hasn't played in the NCAA Tournament since 2003.

Boyle said there have been some elite teams wanting to schedule a 2-for-1 with the Buffs, meaning that CU would play that team twice on the road for one game in Boulder. That's a quick end to the conversation for Boyle.

"It ain't going to happen, bottom line. Not as long as I'm the head coach," Boyle said. "We're not going to sell out to anybody. As the head coach at Colorado, the last thing I'm going to do is cheapen our brand and sell out to somebody because we think they're superior to us. We feel like we can compete with anybody in the country and we have to act that way."

Boyle is happy with the schedule the Buffs do have, though. Under new coach Bruce Pearl, Auburn is expected to be much better, while road trips to Wyoming and Georgia will be difficult. Plus, the Buffs play in the Diamond Head Classic, which features Wichita State, in December.

Actually, this season's schedule is mildly tougher than last year's. CU's 2013-14 opponents finished up the previous year with an average RPI of 131 (and finished with an average RPI of 138). This year's opponents - with the assumption that CU faces George Washington and Wichita State in the last two rounds of the Diamond Head Classic - finished last year with an average RPI of 129.

"It's a challenging one; it's one where if we win the games on our schedule we'll be in good shape RPI-wise," Boyle said. "Now, if we don't, like any schedule, it'll hurt you. You have to win most of the games; we know that."

Front Range battles

For just the second time in program history, the Buffs will play four of the five other Division I teams from the Front Range: Air Force, Colorado State, Northern Colorado and Wyoming. The one team they won't play this year is Denver.

The only other time the Buffs played at least four of those teams was in 2006-07, when they played all five.

Boyle said that one reason CU isn't playing DU is that the Pioneers run the same Princeton-style offense that Air Force runs. He said the non-conference slate is designed to prepare the Buffs for the Pac-12 conference schedule, and there are no Princeton-style teams in the Pac-12, so, "I don't necessarily want to play two Princeton-style teams."

Ready for football

Like the rest of Buff Nation, Boyle is excited for the football season to begin on Friday night when CU faces CSU.

"I love college football as a fan and I'm really, really excited for what the Buffs are doing and coach (Mike) MacIntyre and his staff," he said.

Notable

Boyle said that from all accounts junior Xavier Johnson and sophomore Tre'Shaun Fletcher had good experiences in separate overseas basketball trips they took earlier this month. ... Sophomore forward Wesley Gordon twisted his ankle during a workout a couple of weeks ago, but Boyle said Gordon is now walking fine and lifting weights. ... The Buffs will hold their first practice of the 2014-15 season on Oct. 3. ... The Buffs tip-off the season on Nov. 14 against Drexel at the Coors Events Center.

Contact BuffZone.com Writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.