For the second straight year, the University of Colorado basketball program was selected for a major ESPN event, which serves as a testament to head coach Tad Boyle’s success with the program in his tenure with the Buffs. This year CU hosted the University of Auburn Tigers in a late 11:00 p.m. matchup on Monday night as part of ESPN’s seventh annual 24 Hour College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon.
After the 90-59 route the Buffs engineered in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, Coach Boyle said, “Any time you’re on national TV is a good thing, especially when you play well.”
It’s no secret that Boyle has been making big strides with the Colorado program in his first four years with the team. Since 2010, Boyle has led his team to four consecutive 20-plus win seasons, something that has only been done eight times in school history. In his first year with the program, he led the Buffs to an NIT postseason appearance followed by three straight NCAA tournament berths.
Clearly his success is getting national attention. As it stands right now, the Buffs are ranked 27th in the nation in the AP Top 25 Poll and are also receiving votes in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll.
Buff superfan Grant Vanek, better known as the Buff in the Big Yellow Hat, touched on what it meant to the fans and the program as a whole to gain the national attention that they’ve been receiving the past two seasons, whether it be in ESPN’s special programs or in the national rankings.
“Last year, having them at GameDay, I know a lot of people anticipated it,” Vanek said. “But having this be at 11:00 p.m. and having this be the 24-Hour Tip-Off Marathon, I know it’s a huge deal for college fans all over the nation. And as CU fans, we’re pumped.”
The overall show began on Monday, Nov 17 at 5:00 p.m. with a game between Baylor University and the University of Kentucky women’s teams, and will end at approximately 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday with a men’s matchup between Texas Tech University and LSU.
But the national attention Colorado has received in the past couple of years didn’t come as a surprise to long-time Buff fan Liam Enright.
“We put on a good show every year,” Enright said. “I think every next show that we put on, every next opponent, will show people that we’re a good student section, the Buffs are a good team and that we can grow and become a national powerhouse maybe.”
Unlike last year’s 30-point massacre the Buffs suffered while hosting Arizona during ESPN’s College GameDay, the Buffs had a strong showing on Monday, despite the late game. Almost a reverse of last year, the Buffs stole the show with a solid 90-59 victory after going on a 24-0 run in the second half.
“It was a good night for the Buffs,” Boyle said after the game. “I thought we played hard, I thought we played together. We talked about some offensive goals, we talked about some defensive goals and we hit all of them.”
Wesley Gordon, Josh Scott and Xavier Johnson dominated from the field, scoring 16, 17 and 17 points respectively, proving that Colorado’s inside game is still the strongest.
They’re making a national statement this season. You can’t beat a Buffalo in its natural habitat.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Alissa Noe at Alissa.Noe@colorado.edu.