Former Jayhawk basketball team captain Tad Boyle has done as fine a job coaching up the Colorado Buffaloes this year as anyone in the conference. Friday Boyle and Colorado take one more crack at the Jayhawks in the Big 12 semifinals
Colorado is an opponent that the Jayhawks have already managed two wins against this year. For Kansas the advantage against the Buffaloes lies on the interior, while the result likely depends on the Jayhawk ability to defend to key Buffalo players in Cory Higgins and Alec Burks. But it certainly should not be said that these Buffs are a one trick pony. Colorado also has the Big 12 sixth man of the year in Levi Knutson who is probably the Buffs version of Tyrel Reed and on the interior the Buffs do have a player that will be someone to be reckoned with as he develops in 6'7" freshman Andre Roberson.
It's a team that has beaten some very good teams this year and lost to some very bad ones. Take away those bad losses and this team coasts into tournament and probably has a day one bye in the Big 12 tournament surpassing Kansas State. Up until this weekend the knock has been that they aren't the same team on the road, but after two wins in two days and with their first semifinal appearance in the fold, Colorado has clearly come to play.
That mental toughness is something that you create as the year goes on. And I think adversity, the greatest thing about college athletics, what it teaches these young men to deal with, is adversity.
Whether it's the whistle's not going your way, whether it's being on the road and people cheering against you, whether you have a tough night shooting the ball or you're just not playing well that day, you gotta figure a way to overcome those things.
And our team's done a very good job of that. We haven't always got over the hump and overcome them, but I think it's all about your attitude and your effort and the way you approach every day and every game and every possession
-CU Coach Tad Boyle
That mental toughness will be tested tomorrow against Kansas, especially after Thursday's win all but locks in the Buffaloes for an NCAA tournament bid.
On the Jayhawk side of things Thursday was a day where nothing was falling. Kansas shot well below their average from the field and from beyond the arc but Kansas was able to survive. Assuming a similar offensive disaster doesn't unfold, it will be defense providing the key to this one.
In the game in Boulder the Buffs were able to dribble drive and score around the Jayhawks early and often. The result was a narrow four point win. During the game in Lawrence the Jayhawks buckled down, kept the Buffalo stars in check and ran away with a win. Fatigue should begin to factor into the Buffaloes gameplan especially with the effort required from and provided by Higgins and Burks but Kansas still needs to show they can take the game and not rely on the opponent to come up short.