Sunday, March 11, 2012

UPDATE: Colorado earns its place in March Madness

Posted By on Sun, Mar 11, 2012 at 9:41 AM

CU_PrimaryLogo.jpg

If the online predictions are any indication, the selection committee might have some difficulty figuring out how to deal with Colorado in determining the NCAA Tournament bracket after the Buffaloes' unexpected march to the Pac-12 tournament title and automatic bid.

Check out the many guesses across the Internet, and you'll see Colorado being given anywhere from a No. 9 to a No. 13 seed in the 68-team field. CU will find out its seeding, opening opponent and initial destination sometime after the NCAA Selection Show begins at 4 p.m. MDT on CBS.

Two sites actually have made the same prediction for the Buffaloes, assigning them a No. 13 seed, playing in Albuquerque, N.M., against Georgetown, a No. 4 seed. Another puts CU into a first-round matchup at Portland, Ore.

Almost every source also has Colorado State in the tournament as an at-large team, probably with something in the range of a No. 11 seed.

——————ORIGINAL POST, 6:20 P.M., SATURDAY——————

Let the Madness begin, and this time the University of Colorado will join the party.

Colorado wrapped up a stunning sweep of four wins in the four days, holding off Arizona for a 53-51 victory on Saturday to capture the Pacific 12 Conference basketball tournament title. That gives CU the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.

Colorado, now 23-11, did not have a realistic chance to make the NCAA field any other way, with an RPI rating in the 70s nationally and a strength-of-schedule rank of even worse. But the Buffs defeated Utah, Oregon and California to make the championship game, then out-battled Arizona from start to finish.

CU only led by two points at halftime, but built that edge to 10 points in the first five minutes of the second half, which turned out to be the pivotal portion of the game. But the Buffs finally began showing fatigue in the closing minutes, as the Wildcats closed the gap from 50-38 to 51-47.

But the capper came inside the final minute when CU guard Carlon Brown drove to the basket for a thunderous dunk. That turned out to be the difference after a few mistakes allowed Arizona to actually have the last possession with a chance to tie or win. But the Colorado defense clamped down, and an off-balance shot in the final seconds didn't have a chance.

Colorado now must wait until Sunday afternoon to learn where it will fit in the NCAA bracket, probably as a seed in the No. 11-12 range. But that won't be as bad as a year ago, when the Buffs thought they would make the NCAA field with an at-large berth, only to be left out when the selections came.

Being seeded that low probably won't guarantee Colorado a chance of playing close to home, though there is one possibility with the nearest site for the first two NCAA rounds in Albuquerque, N.M.

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