The CU men’s basketball team traveled through a lot of uncharted territory this season. With eight freshmen on the roster, this year’s team is the youngest in the program’s history.
After finishing the regular season with an overall record of 7-19, the Buffs enter the Big 12 Championship as the No. 12 seed, which is also uncharted territory for the program.
The Buffs face the No. 5 seed Texas Tech on Thursday in Oklahoma City for the first round of the Big 12 Conference Championship. Texas Tech beat the Buffs earlier this year 95-74 in Lubbock, Texas.
At least one player feels the Big 12 Championship presents the opportunity to forget what happened in the regular season.
“I feel it’s a new season for us going in. We can just make a stand where we feel like we were able to play the whole season, but it didn’t show in our record,” said freshman Jeremy Williams.
Williams also said he feels Texas Tech is beatable, and that the Buffs did not play their best at Texas Tech earlier this year.
As a freshman, Williams said the experience the team gained throughout the season has prepared the Buffs for the conference tournament.
“We got a lot of experience throughout the beginning of this year. I feel that we learn a lot day-by-day, and this league really prepared us for the tournament. So I feel that we can go in and just make a stand,” Williams said.
CU will be without freshman Xavier Silas for the game against Texas Tech. Silas, the Buffs’ second-leading scorer, was suspended for one game after an altercation between him and a Nebraska player in the season finale.
“We got to play hard for him. I know that he is very hungry and wants to play in this game, but I feel that we have to go out and just play like he is out on there on the court,” Williams said.
Silas will be eligible to play if the Buffs advance to the next round.
Head coach Ricardo Patton talked about the team’s attitude going into the conference tournament.
“Well, I hope we can stay for four days. I packed for four anyway, so we’ll see what happens,” Patton said.
The Buffs will have their work cut out for them if they plan on staying the whole tournament. When looking at the match-up with Texas Tech, Patton talked about the team’s ability to play zone defense.
“Well, we played quite a bit of zone last time we played them, and there’s some things we have to do better in our zone defense for sure,” Patton said.
CU surrendered 80 points per game this season, which is the worst in the Big 12 Conference. Texas Tech has a phenomenal offensive threat in senior Jarrius Jackson and his 20.2 points per game.
The Buffs’ defense will have to come up big in this game for a shot at an upset.
Coach Patton talked about the best part of Jackson’s game at practice on Tuesday.
“I think his competitive spirit; I think one, he’s a good basketball player, just knows how to play, take over a game,” Patton said.
Check out the Big 12 Web site for a full tournament preview.
Contact Campus Press staff writer Kyle McDanial at email@example.com.