The Colorado men’s basketball team won’t defeat a ranked team at home this season.
The Buffaloes will finish with one of their lowest spots in the Pac-12 Conference standings, and still have a chance at their worst Pac-12 finish. At best, the Buffs will tie the second-lowest regular season win total in head coach Tad Boyle’s 13 seasons at CU. A loss in the regular season finale at home on Saturday against Utah (3:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network), and this year’s Buffs will have that distinction all to themselves.
It already won’t be a season to remember.
Beaten up and staggering to the finish line with losses in four of the past five games, the Buffs displayed enough fight to make No. 4 UCLA nervous on Sunday before the Bruins were able to celebrate the Pac-12 regular season championship on the CU Events Center floor. Yet leading scorer Tristan da Silva added his name to CU’s growing injury list, creating yet another hurdle to the challenge of finishing a disappointing season on a high note.
“It gives guys (a chance) to recover their body, just heal up and work on whatever you need to work on individually,” CU guard KJ Simpson said. “Also it’s just a chance to get better. Get in the gym. Get more shots up. More drills. Watch film, things like that. This week, we have to make sure we’re locked in even though we have a long period of time off. We have to make sure we really dial-in and just work on ourselves individually.”
Sunday’s loss left the Buffs (15-15, 7-12 Pac-12) in ninth-place in the Pac-12. CU can’t climb any higher than ninth, even with a win against Utah, but the Buffs still could drop to 10th with a loss against the Utes combined with two road wins by Stanford this week against the Oregon teams.
The Buffs have been seeded as low as eighth just twice in 11 previous appearances in the Pac-12 tournament. CU was seeded eighth in 2018 and 10th in 2015. That 2014-15 squad technically finished in a three-way tie for eighth, but the Buffs ended with the 10th seed through tiebreakers.
Landing at the ninth spot would set up a first-round game on March 8 in Las Vegas against Washington, which swept two regular season games against the Buffs.
CU was off on Monday, and the longer work week ahead of the regular season finale against the Utes might give the Buffs a chance to heal. Colorado played the last two games without reserve guards Jalen Gabbidon (concussion) and Javon Ruffin (knee). Da Silva didn’t return after exiting Sunday’s loss with 5 minutes, 15 seconds remaining, and after the game Boyle said da Silva’s status would be evaluated this week.
“I don’t have a feel for how severe it is,” Boyle said. “It is ankle, it’s not his foot. Which I’m really thankful for. But it was his ankle. Sometimes ankles you’re out for two minutes, sometimes two hours, sometimes two days, sometimes two weeks, sometimes two months. I don’t know, we’ll see. We’ll get a feel for that as we get through the week.
“I know if Tristan can play, he will play. We’ll get a feel for that as the week transpires.”
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