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bsn BSN: Buffs as confident as they’ve ever been in their chances to win the Pac-12

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Dec 31, 2015.

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    Tad Boyle has built something special at Colorado, the Buffaloes head coach has taken the team to heights not often seen in the history of the program, he’s raised attendance, raised expectations and put Colorado Basketball on the map.

    With that said, since he raised them, Boyle and his Buffaloes have failed to reach the high expectations that have been bestowed upon their program, by themselves and those on the outside — never earning a top-four seed in the conference tournament and making it out of the first round of the Big Dance just once.

    After a lackluster showing for the 2014-15 squad, expectations had been lowered, the words “NCAA Tournament” were only uttered by the most optimistic of fans heading into this season. But, in the words of the Notorious B.I.G., “Things done changed.”

    The Buffs roared through the 2015 portion of the schedule, notching an 11-2 record with their only two losses coming against Iowa State and SMU, teams now ranked No. 11 and No. 17 respectively, and most of their wins coming with a beautiful and entertaining team style of basketball. Expectations have gone through the roof, things are back to tourney-or-bust and as the Buffs enter conference play, talks of a top four finish have heated up once again.

    On the inside, the Buffs are aiming higher.

    “Probably,” senior leader Josh Scott said of if this is the most confident the team has been in their chances to win a Pac-12 championship since he’s been here. “I mean, we’ve put ourselves in a great position to accomplish our goals; win a championship as well as make it back to the NCAA tournament, those were our main goals going into the season and still our goals now.”

    Fellow senior Xavier Talton echoed the sentiment.

    “I think so, probably, just with all the pieces that we’ve added throughout the years and just the camaraderie that we’ve built,” he told. “We have a really positive outlook on what we can do this year in the Pac-12.”

    As for the coach, well, he answered like a coach.

    “I love our team, I like our players, I like our mindset,” he explained. “But I think the league is better than it’s ever been since we’ve been in it, from top to bottom. So, do I like our team? Yeah. In terms of winning the league, it’s way too early to talk about that, we have to figure out a way to try to beat Cal.

    “I think the one thing that’s true this year that’s true every year is — the most consistent team in our conference is going to win our league,” Boyle added. “If you look in years past, I look at two programs, I look at Arizona and I look at Oregon. Night in and night out they’re pretty darn consistent.”

    Ahead of Colorado is and 18-game gauntlet full of teams with top-tier talent, many teams with talent similar to the two teams Colorado has failed to beat, teams that Colorado is going to have to find ways to beat if they are going to reach any of their goals.

    “It’s not concerning, it’s more motivation,” Scott said of the fact they’ve dropped their two games against that type of talent. “More of a positive, it’s just one of those things where you learn from losing, you’re not happy about it and you take it into conference play as motivation.”

    That motivation will be of great use to the Buffs as they jump into conference play, the looming matchup with the California Bears has all the makings of the two games the Buffaloes have dropped. Win that and they have a great chance to start 2-0 in the Pac, with struggling Stanford on tap after that.

    “It’d be really big for us,” Talton said of that possibility. “I mean the way that we finished playing against a great SMU team, a game that we kind of let slip away from us, coming out in the conference and getting two wins right away would be big for us and raise our confidence even higher for the rest of conference play.”

    But Boyle is more concerned about his team and less concerned about records.

    “I just hope we can continue to do the things that we’re doing well,” he explained. “Obviously, we’ve been shooting the ball well from three, I hope we can continue to do that, I hope we continue to rebound the ball well, we’ve been doing that well.

    “Then obviously I want to see improvement in the areas we need to improve,” he added. “Taking care of the ball, no defensive letdowns. We’re good in stretches, we’re good for possessions, but we’ve gotta be rock solid for 40 minutes.”

    The team is confident and their coach is ready to push them harder, they’re motivated by their shortcomings and they have a belief in themselves that 2016 could be their year. They have all the makings to make that come true in a conference that’s yet to show a dominant team, the journey begins against California tomorrow night (9 PM MST, Pac-12 Networks).

    Ryan Koenigsberg
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