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Game day notes: Road warrior CU Buffs looking for one more key win away from home

Tad Boyle reaches first incentive bonus in reworked contract

Jabari Walker and the Colorado Buffaloes will seek a key road win Saturday night at Utah. (Photo by Evan Jones/Utah athletics)
Jabari Walker and the Colorado Buffaloes will seek a key road win Saturday night at Utah. (Photo by Evan Jones/Utah athletics)
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SALT LAKE CITY — The Colorado men’s basketball team has suffered more home losses within league play this year than during all but one season under 12-year head coach Tad Boyle.

Yet on the other hand, the Buffaloes already have won five road games within league play for a second consecutive season, and they have an opportunity for one more.

That achievement by last year’s squad — going 5-5 in the Pac-12 away from home — was an unprecedented accomplishment by a team that eventually reached the conference championship game and the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Odds are, this year’s team will do neither of those things. Yet a win at Utah on Saturday night in the regular season finale (7:30 p.m. MT, ESPNU) not only would give CU sole possession of fourth place in the conference, but would give the Buffs an above-.500 mark in Pac-12 play on the road.

CU already has won at Arizona State, Oregon, Oregon State, Cal and Stanford.

Given the Pac-12 moved from an 18-game conference schedule to a 20-game slate beginning with last season, the closest the Buffs previously had ever come to a .500 road conference record prior to last season was during the 2012-13 season, when they went 4-5.

The year-by-year home/road splits in conference games under Boyle:

2021-22: 6-4 home, 5-4 road

2020-21: 9-1 home, 5-5 road

2019-20: 7-2 home, 3-6 road

2018-19: 7-2 home, 3-6 road

2017-18: 7-2 home, 1-8 road

2016-17: 6-3 home, 2-7 road

2015-16: 8-1 home, 2-7 road

2014-15: 5-4 home, 2-7 road

2013-14: 7-2 home, 3-6 road

2012-13: 6-3 home, 4-5 road

2011-12: 8-1 home, 3-6 road

2010-11: 6-2 home, 2-6 road (Last season in Big 12)

Bonus time

CU’s upset of No. 2 Arizona a week ago allowed Boyle to reach the first incentive bonus on the latest version of his contract approved last summer.

The win against the Wildcats was the 19th of the regular season for the Buffs, giving Boyle a bonus of $30,000. The revisions to Boyle’s contract approved last summer called for an overall base and supplemental salary raise of $625,000. However, the latest contract revisions also eliminated the previous low-bar incentive standard of 15 regular season wins ($30,000) and 17 regular season wins ($20,000) that were part of the previous clauses in Boyle’s contract, making 19 regular season wins the new minimum standard for performance incentive bonuses.

In the previous contract structure, there was only one season in which Boyle did not reach the 15-win bonus (2014-15) and two in which he did not reach the 17-win bonus (2014-15 and 2017-18).

Notable

The Buffs will know, partially, their Pac-12 tournament fate by tipoff, as the Oregon game at Washington State begins at 2 p.m. MT (CBS). If Oregon wins, the Buffs need to defeat the Utes to gain the fourth seed and a first-round bye at the conference tournament. If Oregon loses, CU gets the fourth seed regardless of the result at Utah…The latest Evan Battey milestone watch numbers. The senior forward needs 14 points to match Scott Wedman for 23rd in program history. Battey needs two rebounds to pass CU Hall of Famer Donnie Boyce and former teammate McKinley Wright IV for 20th all-time. Assuming Battey takes his usual place in the starting lineup against the Utes, he will tie Boyce for eighth-place with 105 starts and tie former teammate Lucas Siewert for seventh with his 130th game played…CU begins Saturday at No. 76 in the NET rankings and No. 84 at KenPom.com. Utah is No. 123 in the NET and No. 133 at KenPom…The broadcast team of Dave Feldman and Adrian Branch will be on the call on ESPNU.

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