We’ve heard a lot about the CU football team’s losses this fall, but let’s not forget about one team that surprised us last year – Buffs basketball. The men’s team got a slow start to the 2010-11 season, losing to teams like Georgia, San Francisco and Harvard. Early in conference play, they still didn’t look strong, falling to Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas and Baylor in four straight games. As the postseason loomed, however, the Buffs stepped up. After taking down Texas and Nebraska in two thrilling home games, the men secured wins against Iowa State and Kansas State during the Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship.  Although they fell against Kansas in the finals of the championship, the Buffs still thought an NCAA Tournament bid was a sure thing.

On Selection Sunday, however, the Buffs were in for a shock.

At a watch party at Coach Tad Boyle’s residence, the team, its supporters, and the media anxiously watched the TV screen, awaiting the bid that they thought was in the bag. When Colorado’s name never appeared, the party turned somber. The whole country was surprised, too – ESPN’s Dick Vitale and Jay Bilas both spoke out against the “snubbing” Colorado received from the Selection Committee.

The Buffs still got a chance to play in the postseason at the National Invitation Tournament. They didn’t back down, making it to the semifinals before falling to Alabama. Still, the team and its fans knew that they’d missed out on a great opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament. Without a doubt, the team’s returning players are determined to earn a spot in tournament during the 2011-12 season.

The men’s team will be led this year by three seniors: forwards Austin Dufault and Trey Eckloff and guard Nate Tomlinson. Another senior, guard Carlon Brown, will compete for the Buffs for the first time after sitting out a transfer season last year. Several strong underclassmen will also return, including sophomore guards Andre Roberson and Shannon Sharpe. Freshman guards Spencer Dinwiddie and Askia Booker are two newcomers to watch.

The Buffs make their debut at the Coors Events Center on Friday, Nov. 11, taking on Fort Lewis College. The team will then travel to San Juan for the 5-Hour ENERGY Puerto Rico Tip-Off. The Buffs take on Air Force, Georgia and Colorado State in late November, and for all of December and into early January, they play nine games in a row in Boulder. Get your CU basketball tickets now by following this link: http://ev12.evenue.net/cgi-bin/ncommerce3/SEGetEventList?groupCode=MBS&linkID=colorado&shopperContext=&caller=&appCode

And as always, watch CU SportsMag on Fox College Sports to get up-to-date CU basketball news. We’ll see you in the stands!

By Caryn Maconi, CU SportsMag Director of Communications