A year ago, the Colorado women's basketball team knew that the Coors Events Center would be one of 16 host sites for the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

The Buffaloes insist they didn't try to focus too much on that fact.

"It wasn't our goal this year to get to this tournament," sophomore Jen Reese said. "It was more of focusing on things that would lead us here. I feel like we have done a great job of focusing on things that we need to focus on in the present and that has helped us get where we are today."

Now that the 19th-ranked Buffaloes (25-6) are here, Reese admits it would not have been much fun to come to the arena to watch four other teams play.

"It would have been really sad," she said. "It would probably be very depressing if we were in the WNIT and Boulder was hosting the NCAA. I am just happy that we made it and we don't have to see other teams play on our floor and not us."

Seeded fifth in the Norfolk Region, CU will take on 12th-seeded Kansas (18-13) today. Game time is slated for approximately 4:40 p.m.

This will be CU's first NCAA appearance since 2004, and the Buffs feel fortunate they get to play at home. Athletic director Mike Bohn helped CU bid for the right to host.


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"It's a huge advantage," head coach Linda Lappe said. "(Bohn) believed that we would be in the tournament and that's why you want to host. You want to give your home school as much of a chance to get out of the first two rounds as you possibly can."

The other three teams -- South Carolina, Kansas and South Dakota State -- arrived in Boulder on Friday and the NCAA has taken over the building, so the Buffs weren't completely familiar with their surroundings, but they enjoyed it.

Colorado forward Arielle Roberson, front, drives around guard Alexus Atchley during practice for a first-round game in the women’s NCAA college
Colorado forward Arielle Roberson, front, drives around guard Alexus Atchley during practice for a first-round game in the women's NCAA college basketball tournament in Boulder, Colo., Friday, March 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

"It is fun walking into the building and having to have our credentials and everything," CU's Chucky Jeffery said. "Everything is set up differently and it is just fun to be a part of."

Freshman Jamee Swan said the Coors Events Center had almost a party-like atmosphere to it on Friday.

"There's so many people around and it's so busy, but at the same time it's pretty awesome to see all these people around," she said.

Lappe said that while it's a big deal for CU to host, it doesn't put any more pressure on her team.

"We've got to go out and we've got to have a lot of fun and enjoy this experience," she said. "There's always an interesting balance between making sure that you're not just happy to be in the NCAA Tournament and you expect to win in the NCAA Tournament versus making sure you don't put too much pressure on yourselves and your team."

More than feeling pressure, Jeffery said the Buffs are excited about the opportunity to finally play on this stage -- and to do it at home.

"This was one of our goals to get to the tournament," she said. "I think this is going to be a great experience. It is going to be fun for us to have the games on our home floor. We are going to be in our comfort zone, so it is going to be fun for us to play here."

Senior captain Meagan Malcolm-Peck agrees, adding that she has no doubt the Buffs will be able to brush away any jitters that come their way.

"We've learned to step up tot the plate no matter what the challenge is, so I think we're going to do very well," she said.

Follow Brian on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.