LAS VEGAS - — Ever since the Colorado men's basketball team began preseason practices in late September, the NCAA Tournament has been a goal, but not the focus for the Buffaloes.

Now, the Buffs can turn their focus to the tourney, and their eyes will be locked on CBS on Sunday afternoon for the NCAA Tournament Selection Show, which airs at 4 p.m.

"We're excited," junior Askia Booker said. "Nothing is guaranteed. We think we're in and that's what we're hearing, but the year before I got here, they got gypped.

"Hopefully it doesn't happen to us."

The Buffaloes (23-11) put together a solid resume this season and advanced to the semifinals of the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas before getting thumped by No. 4 Arizona, 63-43, on Friday night.

That loss doesn't figure to diminish what the Buffs did prior to that game, however.

As of Saturday, the Buffs were No. 32 in CBS Sports' RPI rankings, as well as No. 32 by The Buffs were No. 51 in ESPN's BPI rankings.

CU went 5-8 against the top 50 teams in the RPI rankings and 10-11 against the top 100 this season. Those numbers are as good as or better than a lot of teams in the country.

Perhaps more importantly, the Buffs avoided any bad losses. Their worst loss came Jan. 12 at Washington, which slipped to No. 100 in the rankings. But that game, of course, came on a day when the Buffs lost star point guard Spencer Dinwiddie to a season-ending knee injury. CU was leading when Dinwiddie was injured.


Most bracketologists have the Buffs as a sure-fire tournament team going into Sunday's announcement of the 68-team field.

"I do know we're going to be playing in the postseason, and I hope it's in the NCAA Tournament," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "I believe in these guys and hopefully we're playing in the NCAA Tournament next week. We're expecting that. We're hoping for that. But, we're not counting on that."

The Buffs aren't counting on it because they've been burned before. As Booker mentioned, CU figured to be in good shape going into Selection Sunday in 2011. They wound up being left out of the field, however, much to the surprise of everyone at CU, and many pundits around the country.

"That was a hell of a team that got left out," Boyle said of his first team at CU. "I think we're in, but that's not for me to decide or anybody else in this room to decide."

While the Buffaloes' fate is out of their hands at this point, they do feel good about the body of work they've put together this season.

With Dinwiddie, they upset then-No. 6 Kansas, 75-72, on Dec. 7, and then-No. 10 Oregon, 100-91, on Jan. 5. They vaulted to No. 15 in the Associated Press rankings with Dinwiddie.

In the 17 full games without Dinwiddie, the Buffs have been a solid 9-8 - including 9-5 when not playing Arizona. Along the way, they picked up solid wins against Stanford, Arizona State and California — all in the past four weeks.

"I feel great," Booker said of the Buffs' body of work. "I think the team is happy. We have 23 wins, 11 losses. That's a pretty good record. Hopefully we can get some more wins in the NCAA Tournament, if we are paying, and boost our record up a little bit."

Despite their disappointment on Friday night, the Buffs did leave Las Vegas pleased with the growth they have made in the past couple of months.

"We've become a better team," sophomore Xavier Johnson said. "We brought a lot to (the Pac-12 Tournament). We were ready to play. We've been able to learn from our mistakes and that will help us down the road.

"We've done a lot to improve and been able to do things that will help us going forward."

If all goes well, CU's next step forward will be into the NCAA Tournament.

"We hope so," sophomore Xavier Talton said. "You can never tell. We're definitely looking forward to (the selection show). When we see our names, we're going to be ecstatic."


CU is seeking its third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, something that has never been done in program history. ... The Buffs' 23 wins rank as the third-most in school history. The 2010-11 and 2011-12 teams both won 24 games. ... Overall, CU has made 12 NCAA Tournament appearances, but just four (1997, 2003, 2012, 2013) since 1969.

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