Boyle's Buffs Set To Host No. 7 Kansas
BOULDER — As Colorado coach Tad Boyle is fond of saying, the price of poker goes up considerably for his Buffaloes beginning this week.
The Buffs (9-3 overall, 1-1 Pac-12) wrap up the non-conference portion of their schedule Tuesday with a 7 p.m. game against seventh-ranked Kansas, then take a holiday break before hitting the road for the first two of 18 straight conference games.
Colorado plays at Oregon on Dec. 30 (9 p.m. MT, Pac-12 Networks), then at Oregon State on New Year's Day (6:30 p.m., Pac-12).
The matchup with the 9-1 Jayhawks will be Colorado's third against a ranked team this season, following a game at UCLA (No. 5) and at home against Tennessee (No. 13). CU lost both of those encounters.
Tuesday's game is expected to be sold out.
"I'm looking forward to having the CU Events Center full of Buff fans," Boyle said Saturday after Colorado defeated CSU Bakersfield at home. "More importantly than that, it's having our team ready to play and having them ready to defend a very efficient offensive team that has really good players … We're going to have to make shots. We'll have to execute. We'll have to be strong with the ball. It's a hell of an opportunity. That's all you can ask for in life."
Boyle's teams have historically been very good at home in his 12 years in Boulder, posting a 159-29 record at the CU Events Center in his tenure.
The Buffs had some good news Monday when sophomore Jabari Walker practiced. Walker missed the second half of Saturday's 60-46 win over CSU Bakersfield with an injury, but was full go on Monday and is expected to be ready for Tuesday's game.
While the game against Kansas — for whom Boyle played in college — will no doubt be another important barometer for the Buffaloes, it should also enhance the maturation process of a young team preparing for what will no doubt be an arduous Pac-12 slate.
Monday's latest Associated Press Top 25 rankings had three Pac-12 teams in the top eight — 9-1 UCLA (No. 5), 11-0 Arizona (No. 6) and 12-0 USC (No. 8).
Colorado will face USC and UCLA at home the weekend of Jan. 20-22 and will play Arizona twice — Jan. 13 on the road and Feb. 26 at home.
After the Oregon trip, Colorado will return home to face Washington State on Jan. 6 and Washington on Jan. 9.
"I love this team, I love the fight in them," Boyle said. "This team, nothing comes easy for us. But this team is going to be fun to watch grow. We have 19 games in front of us that are going to be challenging. That's why you coach, that's why you come to games — to watch kids grow and compete. That's what we're going to do."