Colorado’s Andre Roberson, top, drives to the basket past Murray State during an NCAA college basketball game at the Charleston Classic at the TD
Colorado's Andre Roberson, top, drives to the basket past Murray State during an NCAA college basketball game at the Charleston Classic at the TD Arena, Sunday Nov. 18, 2012, in Charleston, S.C. Colorado won 81-74. ( Alice Keeney )

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Upset victims.

Those two words will describe the Colorado basketball program the next time it loses a game.

The Buffs (4-0) flew home with Charleston Classic championship trophy on Monday after defeating Dayton, Baylor and Murray State.

By the time Tad Boyle's team landed, CU was ranked No. 23 in this week's Associated Press poll.

It's the first time the Buffs have been ranked by AP since 1997 when Chauncey Billups was running the show.

CU last appeared in the polls for two weeks in February 2006 (No. 25 in the USA Coaches, which tabbed the Buffs 27th this week).

This is the first time the program has been ranked during non-conference play since Dec.

30, 1970, when Boyle was a 7-year-old.

Now the head coach, who used preseason snubs in the Big 12 and Pac-12 media polls as motivation for his first two CU squads, will have to get the Buffs ready for every opponent's best shot.

"I do know that as we continue to have success that we're going to become the hunted rather than the hunter,"  Boyle said after CU's 81-74 victory over Murray State in the championship game on Sunday night at TD Arena.  "We have to be able to handle that."

The young Buffs have handled the great expectations created by last season's Pac-12 Tournament championship and NCAA Tournament appearance perfectly so far.

Askia Booker averaged 19.3 points, including a career-high 23 in the title game against the Racers' dynamic backcourt, to earn tournament most valuable player honors. He was also named the Pac-12 Player of the Week on Monday.

"Overall, it's just confidence,"  Booker said.  "That's the big thing in anyone's game. I believe it's going to go in when I shoot it."

Spencer Dinwiddie believes he can defend any guard in the country.

The 6-6 sophomore held Dayton's Kevin Dillard (10 points, 4-for-12 shooting), Baylor's Pierre Jackson (12, 3-for-11) and Murray State's Isaiah Cannan (21, 8-for-19) in check.

Those point guards led their teams to a combined 6-0 record at the Charleston Classic in games not involving CU.

"It was tiring,"  Dinwiddie said after making 11 of 12 free throws to help seal the victory over Murray State.  "I'm tired, I want to sleep."

The Buffs will have some down time this week while all of the other students are on Thanksgiving break.

CU doesn't put its No. 23 ranking on the line until Sunday night when Air Force visits the Coors Events Center (6 p.m., Pac-12 Network).

"The exciting thing for me is this team still has a high ceiling and a lot of areas where we can get better,"  Boyle said.  "And we need to get better."

Follow Ryan on Twitter @RyanThorburn

 

AP Top 25

1. Indiana (3-0)
2. Louisville (3-0)
3. Ohio State (3-0)
4. Michigan (3-0)
5. Duke (3-0)
6. Syracuse (2-0)
7. Florida (3-0)
8. Kentucky (2-1)
9. North Carolina (3-0)
10. Arizona (2-0)
11. UCLA (3-0)
12. Kansas (2-1)
13. Missouri (3-0)
14. Creighton (3-0)
15. Michigan State (2-1)
16. North Carolina State (3-1)
17. Gonzaga (3-0)
18. UNLV (2-0)
19. Memphis (2-0)
20. Oklahoma State (4-0)
21. Connecticut (4-0)
22. Cincinnati (3-0)
23. Colorado (4-0)
24. Baylor (4-1)
25. San Diego State (2-1)


Ryan Thorburn's AP ballot

1. Indiana
 2. Louisville
 3. Florida
 4. Duke
 5. Ohio State
 6. Kentucky
 7. Syracuse
 8. Arizona
 9. Missouri
 10. North Carolina
 11. N.C. State
 12. UCLA
 13. Michigan
 14. Kansas
 15. UNLV
 16. Creighton
 17. Cincinnati
 18. Alabama
 19. Colorado
 20. Baylor
 21. Oklahoma State
 22. Memphis
 23. UConn
 24. Michigan State
 25. Pitt