Most have been routs. Only a precious few count as heartbreakers.
Yet nearly every trip to the University of Kansas by the Colorado Buffaloes men’s basketball team over the past 57 years has ended the same way — with a somber trip back to Boulder on the heels of another deflating defeat.
CU is just 7-62 all-time at Kansas, with the fifth of those wins occurring in 1963. Since then, the Buffs have gone 2-47 in visits to Lawrence. When the No. 20 Buffs visit No. 2 Kansas on Saturday (5 p.m. MT, ESPN2) for the first time in seven years, it will be the first time a ranked Buffs team has faced a top-10 team in a true road game since the Chauncey Billups-led Buffs, ranked 15th, visited a top-ranked Kansas team on Feb. 15, 1997.
The Buffs will be looking for a more memorable result than what they suffered that day, when the Jayhawks rolled to a 114-74 win reminiscent of many trips taken to Kansas by far less talented CU squads (100-64 on Feb. 5, 1986; 111-62 on Jan. 7, 1998; 106-62 on Feb. 26, 1994).
With apologies to Askia Booker, whose long-range buzzer-beater at the CU Events Center in the teams’ most recent meeting on Dec. 7, 2013 ended a run of 46 KU wins in the previous 47 matchups against the Buffs, here is a look at some CU memories, such as they are, at KU’s Allen Fieldhouse.
Colorado 75, Kansas 74
(February 10, 1983)
In the Kansas starting lineup was Tad Boyle. But in the starting lineup for the Buffs were Jay Humphries and Rob Gonzalez. Gonzalez went 11-for-11 at the free throw line and finished with a game-high 21 points (Gonzalez averaged 9.5 points that season). Humphries recorded 15 points and five assists, and CU survived a final shot by KU’s Calvin Thompson that was ruled to have occurred after the buzzer. It remains the last win by CU at Kansas.
Colorado 68, Kansas 66
(Feb. 28, 1976)
The Buffs hadn’t won in Lawrence in 16 years, and they would do so only once more over the next 44 years and counting. This night was the third-to-last game for coach Sox Walseth, CU’s all-time leader in wins, and the Buffs went into Lawrence and shot .475 overall and 12-for-15 at the free throw line to come home victorious.
No. 1 Kansas 114, No. 15 Colorado 74
(Feb. 15, 1997)
The Chauncey Billups-led Buffs had been ranked for four straight weeks after not being ranked for two decades, but it didn’t matter in Lawrence. Billups was held to a 3-for-14 mark and his seven assists were offset by eight turnovers. KU shot 54 percent and outrebounded CU 47-27. Until Saturday’s showdown, this remains the last time a ranked CU team faced a top-10 team on the road.
Colorado 65, Kansas 61; Colorado 73, Kansas 57
(Feb. 17, 1962; Jan. 5, 1963)
The Buffs achieved something in less than 11 months that would take 20 years to repeat — winning twice in Lawrence. In a reverse of today’s standards, the Buffs were the favored team in each game, with Wilky Gilmore pouring in 22 points in the ’62 matchup and Ken Charlton going off for 35 points in ’63 to lead CU. The Buffs weren’t ranked in either matchup, but the eventual NCAA Tournament teams in each year reached the top 20 in large part due to the wins in Lawrence — CU moved to No. 9 the week after the 1962 win and joined the rankings three weeks after ’63 win.
No. 6 Kansas 94, Colorado 87
(Feb. 19, 2003)
Until Tad Boyle arrived in Boulder, the 2002-03 team was CU’s last NCAA Tournament squad. Michel Morandais, Blair Wilson, and David Harrison combined for 69 of CU’s 87 points, but the Buffs were within six points with 14 seconds left when they called a timeout they didn’t have. KU hit the free throws on the ensuing technical foul free throws to ice the win.
No. 6 Kansas 59, Colorado 56
(Dec. 13, 1986)
The Buffs’ put up a spirited upset bid, battling to within one point on a layup by Michael Lee with 1 minute, 6 seconds left, but KU legend Danny Manning knocked down two free throws to with seven seconds left to clinch the win for the Jayhawks. Manning finished with 23 points and eight rebounds, while current CU radio analyst Scott Wilke recorded 15 points and nine rebounds.
No.9 Kansas 90, Colorado 54
(Dec. 8, 2012)
This wasn’t the first time Tad Boyle brought the Buffs back to his alma mater. It happened two seasons earlier as well, during CU’s final season in the Big 12 Conference. Yet the 36-point drubbing CU suffered that night — KU shot 55 percent — remains the largest margin of defeat in Boyle’s nine-plus seasons at CU. “That was an old-fashioned ass-whipping,” Boyle told reporters afterward. Saturday will be the KU alum’s first visit to Allen Fieldhouse since offering those remarks.