Magnifying the ramifications of a lost opportunity Saturday for the Colorado men's basketball team is the stark reality of what comes next for the Buffaloes.

The Buffs had a chance to move two games above .500 in the Pac-12 Conference with a victory against the Huskies. Instead CU is 4-4 and, after a day off Sunday, the Buffs will begin preparations for a trip to Arizona to face a pair of squads undoubtedly eager for a little payback for the losses they suffered in Boulder a little more than two weeks ago, with CU visiting Arizona on Thursday (6:30 p.m., FOX Sports 1) and Arizona State on Saturday (6 p.m., ESPNU).

Those teams were ranked among the nation's top 15 when they traveled to CU. While the Arizona Wildcats have since recovered, completing a sweep in Northern California with a solid victory at Stanford on Saturday, the Sun Devils have struggled to a 3-4 mark after cruising through the nonconference schedule undefeated.

In each venue, though, the Buffs are certain to meet hostility. Especially in Tucson, since it was after the Arizona game that CU head coach Tad Boyle made his now-infamous "Hell yes" comment in expressing extra satisfaction at topping one of the programs embroiled in the ongoing FBI recruiting scandal.


No doubt, the Buffs are certain to hear it from the always-vocal Wildcats faithful. Which will make rediscovering the mental toughness that helped pave the way for a road win last week at UCLA even more critical after Boyle lamented the complete lack of mental toughness his team displayed in the loss against Washington.

"Mental toughness. Mental toughness. That's it," Boyle said. "Arizona is going to be loaded for bear ready to beat us by 50. They're going to be ready. Arizona State is going to be ready. We've got to be ready. We'd better show a little bit more toughness than we showed (Saturday) rebounding the basketball or the results aren't going to change.

"You defend, you rebound, you take care of the ball. We took care of the ball (Saturday). We defended decently, not great. Not when we had to."

The Buffs were outrebounded 50-34 by a Washington team that entered the game ranked last in the Pac-12 in rebounding margin. It was the eighth time in 20 games and the third time in eight Pac-12 games that the Buffs have been outrebounded. While freshmen Tyler Bey (a season-high 11 rebounds) and Dallas Walton (five rebounds) carried their weight on the glass, senior George King and junior Namon Wright, who entered the game averaging a combined 14.3 rebounds in league play, managed only seven (six for King, one for Wright).

Moreover, the lack of toughness Boyle described may have been evident on the handful of occasions the Buffs trimmed UW's to seven points during the second half. CU did so a total of eight times, and in the first five instances the Huskies immediately answered with a bucket on their ensuing possession. In three of those cases, UW did so after grabbing an offensive rebound.

"It's definitely a key focus point for us going forward. Something that's always a key focus point for us," Walton said. "Now we've got to focus on Arizona. We'll get back to practice, get better, and we'll be in Arizona ready to show everybody we're capable of (being) the team we are. (Saturday) was not a good example of that."

Pat Rooney: or