Can any Colorado basketball fan remember the last time the Buffaloes won at Kansas’ historic Allen Fieldhouse?
Tad Boyle can’t either. And he was there.
On Feb. 10, 1983, a Tom Apke-led Buffs team traveled to Lawrence, Kansas, to take on a Jayhawks squad that had won its past six home dates against the Buffs as well as 17 of the previous 18. Apke’s Buffs were nothing special that season — they finished 13-15 overall and just 3-11 in the Big Eight Conference. Yet at the time, Kansas was nothing special either, finishing 4-10 in the league for the second straight year to prompt a coaching change from Ted Owens to Larry Brown, who soon led the Jayhawks to the 1988 national championship.
In the Jayhawks’ starting lineup that night was none other than Boyle, a sophomore guard from Greeley destined to eventually lead CU’s program, and in his 10th season he is four wins shy of becoming only the second coach to win 200 games with the Buffs.
CU hasn’t won often on the road against their former conference rival — just seven times overall in 69 visits to Lawrence and zero times in the past 29 visits — but on that 1983 night the Buffs posted a 75-74 victory. Boyle, on the losing end that night, now will be trying to end CU’s run of futility at Kansas when his 20th-ranked Buffs visit the second-ranked Jayhawks on Saturday night (5 p.m. MT, ESPN2).
“I don’t remember it. I can’t remember what I had for breakfast, so I sure as heck can’t remember that game,” said Boyle, who played just six minutes in that CU win but went 1-for-1 with an assist. “But I was in a Jayhawk uniform.
“I played there and spent four years of my life there in Lawrence. But look, I’ve spent 10 years of my life here in Boulder now in terms of being the coach here. And another eight years as an investment advisor. To me, I’m a Colorado guy. I’m not a Kansas guy, even though I played at Kansas. I’m proud that I did. I’ve got great friendships and some of my closest friends to this day are guys I played basketball with at Kansas. It was a good experience, but I’m a Colorado guy. That’s who I am, that’s what I am. But I did play there, and every time I go back you get flooded with memories. Because I don’t go back that often. When I do, it’s a little nostalgic. But when the ball gets tipped up, that stuff all goes out the window.”
On Thursday, the 20th-ranked Buffs went through a light workout less than 12 hours after surviving an upset bid from Loyola Marymount, putting together a 15-1 run in the final three minutes to pull away for a 76-64 victory.
Boyle also put the Buffs through a lengthy video session in part to start preparing for the Jayhawks, but also to review a performance against Loyola Marymount that very nearly turned into a disaster due to 18 turnovers. CU was coming off a season-most 19 turnovers against Sacramento State, and the careless giveaways are further hamstringing an offense that hasn’t shot better than 45 percent since the season-opening win against Arizona State.
On Thursday, Boyle said he believed the Buffs displayed improved ball movement against Loyola Marymount, but still aren’t making the extra pass in certain situations.
“I thought our movement was good. It was,” Boyle said. “The biggest thing we have to do is we have to make the extra pass. That’s one of the things. We just looked at 12 or 13 clips offensively, and some of them were turnovers, some of them weren’t. Some of them were tough shots. But some of them were good shots. And sometimes what I want our players to think about is sometimes you have to pass up a good shot to get a great shot. We have to understand when those opportunities are there, and they have to see that on film.”