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CU Departure For NCAA Delayed

Mar 19, 2003

BOULDER - With the considerable amount of snow creating havoc in the Boulder and Denver metropolitan area, the University of Colorado men's basketball team was unable to leave Wednesday morning as scheduled for its first round NCAA Tournament game in Tampa, Fla.

The Buffaloes are now scheduled to depart Boulder at 7 a.m. Thursday, bussing to Colorado Springs where the travel party with take a charter jet to Tampa, with arrival at Tampa International Airport around 3:30 p.m. eastern time.

CU (20-11), seeded No. 10 in the South Region is making its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1996-97, takes on No. 7 seed Michigan State (19-12), Friday, March 21 at 5:10 p.m. (MST). The winner of CU/MSU game will advance to play the winner of No. 2 Florida/No.15 Sam Houston State in the second round on Sunday, March 23 at 2:30 p.m. (MST).

Asked if the delay creates a distraction on the team's preparation for its tournament game, CU head coach Ricardo Patton commented, "It becomes a distraction if we allow it to be. It affects our timing of getting acclimated to Eastern Time. But, what are you going to do?"

The Buffs will also escort some game officials that have destinations in Tampa and at other eastern sites, as well as Colorado media planning to cover the Buffs, as cancelled flights have affected more than just the team.

If the schedule holds, Colorado will take part in its mandatory practice and press conference at the St. Pete Times Forum on Thursday. Colorado players are scheduled to meet the local and national media at 6:30 p.m. (EST) while coach Patton will address the media at 6:45 p.m. The Colorado practice is scheduled from 7:10 - 8 p.m.

It's the second trip for Colorado during Patton's eight-year reign at CU. The last time the Buffaloes advanced to the 64-team field came during the 1996-97 season when CU was seeded No. 9 and sent to the East Region to play No. 8 Indiana, where they subsequently defeated the Hoosiers, 80-62. CU lost to No. 1 seed North Carolina, 73-56 two days later.