Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
Jenny Sparks / Loveland Reporter-Herald
The proposed alterations to the Pac-12 Conference basketball schedule remain in deliberations. Yet at least Colorado Buffaloes fans know they can greet a familiar foe next season at the CU Events Center.
As was first reported over the weekend by the Loveland Reporter-Herald, the Buffs indeed will resume their annual state rivalry with Colorado State next season, a matchup CU coach Tad Boyle felt lukewarm about renewing two months ago.
The teams’ contract expired after last year’s game, a 72-63 win for the Rams in Fort Collins that was the 128th meeting between the rivals. With the contract not yet finalized, Boyle did not offer any details on the length of the renewal other to say that CSU will visit the Buffs during the 2018-19 season, with CU returning to Fort Collins during the 2019-20 season.
In April, Boyle cited his RPI concerns and the lagging attendance for the rivalry games at both arenas as reasons to perhaps pull the plug on a matchup that has been continuous for 27 seasons. Conversations since then with new CSU coach Niko Medved helped change Boyle’s mind.
“I think it’s a good game for our state. It’s a good game for basketball in Colorado,” Boyle said. “My job is to make sure we’re scheduling the right number of teams in terms of RPI. We’ve just got to make sure we play as good of a schedule as we can with an opportunity to win games against quality opponents.”
On Tuesday, Boyle also said the bulk of the nonconference home schedule has been filled with the exception of one game, though, again, with the various contracts still not finalized he didn’t divulge which opponents are coming to Boulder. The nonconference road schedule already has essentially been set, with CU finishing a four-game contract at Air Force while also making return trips to San Diego and New Mexico. Additionally, the Buffs will play three games at the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii beginning Dec. 22.
“We’re still looking for one game,” Boyle said. “A quality home game against a quality opponent with a good RPI. “
The Pac-12 schedule will not be released for several months, and there may yet be alterations to the league’s usual routine. A proposal still is being debated about perhaps altering the conference’s rotating schedule in an attempt to bolster the NCAA credentials of the league’s favorites by increasing the number of matchups among those contenders. As it stands, the Buffs will play Stanford and Cal just once on the road in 2018-19 and will not make the trip to the Oregon schools, but that longstanding format may change.
The league also still is discussing moving from an 18-game conference schedule to 20 games for the 2019-20 season. Two years after sending a league-record seven teams into the 2016 NCAA Tournament, the Pac-12’s three entrants in 2018 made only cameo appearances. UCLA and Arizona State were eliminated in the First Four round of 68 while Arizona, the Pac-12’s regular season and tournament champion, was upset in the first round by Buffalo.
“The big thing we’re looking at in the league is we’re looking at everything and anything that can help the Pac-12 get more teams in the NCAA Tournament and get the highest seeds possible,” Boyle said. “When it comes to league scheduling we’ve looked at a lot of different options. Nothing has been decided yet, but there has been a lot of discussions and there’s been a lot of ideas thrown out. Right now, nothing has changed but there’s a lot of things that have been thrown on the table that we’re looking at.”