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CU men’s basketball: Buffs forced to play waiting game on NCAA fate

Colorado's Tre'Shaun Fletcher, left, battles for a loose ball in Thursday's Pac-12 tournament loss to Arizona.
John Locher / Associated Press
Colorado’s Tre’Shaun Fletcher, left, battles for a loose ball in Thursday’s Pac-12 tournament loss to Arizona.

LAS VEGAS — Tre’Shaun Fletcher likened the coming days to wandering blind.

The Colorado Buffaloes don’t know where they’re going. They don’t know who they’ll face when they get there or, technically, if they will even be invited to the postseason celebration that is the NCAA’s Big Dance.

And so the waiting game has begun for CU. After Thursday’s loss against Arizona that eliminated the Buffs from the Pac-12 Conference tournament, CU will be off until the team reconvenes on Sunday to learn its tournament fate at the same time as everyone else.

“It’s tough,” Fletcher said. “It’s like you’re blind, walking into a dark room with a blindfold on or something. You’re on your toes the whole time. We just have to be ready for whatever comes to us.”

Most projections still have the Buffs slotted between a No. 7 seed and No. 9, despite Thursday’s loss. Joe Lunardi from ESPN had the Buffs slotted as a No. 7 seed at the beginning of Friday’s action around the country, with a date in St. Louis against the winner of a First Four matchup between Pittsburgh and Saint Mary’s. That’s one spot better than CU was slotted prior to Thursday’s loss.

CU also began Friday ranked 35th in the RPI rankings compiled by ESPN and the NCAA.

“I think we have a good chance of making it into the NCAA Tournament,” Fletcher said. “Who knows where we’re going to be. It’s what we do if we make it.”

The Buffs’ tournament resume includes wins against Oregon, Arizona and Cal. CU also acquitted itself well in losses against nationally ranked squads from Iowa State and SMU, and also nearly rallied past Arizona on Thursday in the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals.

“We’re a team that I don’t think people will want to play,” head coach Tad Boyle said. “There is going to be a lot of good teams in this (NCAA) tournament. We’ll figure out if we’re part of it. If we are, we’ll relish the opportunity. But I’m proud of these guys.”

Pat Rooney: or