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CU Buffs draw UMass in first round of Myrtle Beach Invitational

Buffs also will face either Texas A&M or Murray State

University of Colorado Boulder's Luke O'Brien ...
Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer
University of Colorado Boulder’s Luke O’Brien plays defense on Tennessee’s Santiago Vescovi on Dec. 4, 2021.

The final pieces of the 2022-23 nonconference schedule have fallen into place for the Colorado men’s basketball team.

On Tuesday, organizers of the ESPN-backed Myrtle Beach Invitational announced the matchups for the eight-team, pre-Thanksgiving tournament, with coach Tad Boyle’s Buffaloes drawing a first-round date against UMass on Nov. 17 at Coastal Carolina’s HTC Center.

The Buffs will play either Murray State or Texas A&M in their second game. The opposite side of the bracket features first round games between Boise State and Charlotte, while Loyola Chicago takes on Tulsa.

It will be an early opening tip for Buffs fans tuning in back home, as CU plays the tournament’s opening game on Nov. 17 at 11:30 a.m. MT (ESPNU). All tournament games will air on various ESPN networks. Every team will play its second game on Nov. 18, with Nov. 19 set as an off day before the Nov. 20 finale. Tickets go on sale Aug. 15.

CU and UMass have met three times previously, with the Buffs sporting a 1-2 mark. Like the Nov. 17 date, each of the three previous meetings were on neutral floors. UMass topped CU 78-71 on Dec. 29, 1989 in the Mile High Classic in Denver, but the Buffs got a little payback less than two years later in the third-place game of the NIT in New York, defeating the Minutemen 98-91. That victory remains the only time since 1975 the Buffs have won their final game of the season.

The teams last met in Las Vegas on Dec. 20, 1997, with UMass posting a 79-68 win.

In the second round, the Buffs will face either Murray State, a team CU has played just twice before, or Texas A&M, a former rival in the Big 12 Conference. Texas A&M owns an eight-game winning streak against the Buffs in a series that has been dormant since CU’s final year in the Big 12 in 2010-11. The Buffs have won their two previous games against Murray State — on Dec. 28, 200 and Nov. 18, 2012, both in Boulder.

Murray State is coming of a season in which it won the Ohio Valley Conference regular season and tournament championships before losing in the second round of the NCAA Tournament against upstart St. Peter’s. However, the Racers lost their top four scorers and three of their top four rebounders.

Finalizing the Myrtle Beach Invitational bracket completes the nonconference schedule for the Buffs, who open the 2022-23 season at home against UC Riverside. CU then will embark on a two-game trip, visiting Grambling for the first time in the opening round of the Pac-12’s scheduling agreement with the Southwestern Athletic Conference before taking on Tennessee, a likely preseason top 20 team, in Nashville on Nov. 13.

CU will have nonconference home dates against North Alabama, Yale, Colorado State and Southern Utah.

The Pac-12 does not typically announce its weekly basketball pairings until mid-to-late August, but CU’s two early-season, standalone conference games already are set — a Dec. 1 home game against Arizona State and a Dec. 4 road date at Washington.