It took the better part of the first half for Colorado to shake off its emotional hangover and start playing its best basketball, but it was fun to watch when the Buffs finally found themselves.
Colorado is the top seed in its portion of the bracket and the second and third seeds already have been eliminated, making the Buffs an even bigger favorite to advance to the NIT semifinals in New York City.
First, the Buffs will have to get past future Pac-12 Conference foe California on Friday night at 7:30 in Boulder.
The Buffs muddled through the first 10 minutes of the game, missing free throws and wasting possessions. But they still led by six points.
The building finally came to life after the final media timeout of the first half with about 4 minutes remaining. A steal from point guard Nate Tomlinson ignited a fast break that led to a Cory Higgins layup. A missed shot by Texas Southern led to another break and a dunk by Andre Roberson.
Fans came out of their seats again a minute later when Alec Burks scored on a dazzling reverse layup to give the Buffs a 15-point advantage.
The Buffs began the second half by running a set play for an ally-oop dunk by Alec Burks. It was the first of several such plays in the second half as the Buffs rocked the rims against the Tigers.
The lead reached 20 points with slightly more than 11 minutes remaining in the game when Levi Knutson drilled one of his two 3-pointers.
Higgins and Burks led the way in the first postseason action of their careers. Burks scored a game-best 27 points and Higgins was right behind him with 25.
Colorado made 61 percent of its shots as Texas Southern played defense only on occasion. Higgins and Burks combined to make 16 of 20 attempts.
Freshman Andre Roberson chipped in 15 points and eight rebounds to continue his stellar first year in black, silver and gold.
Harrison Smith came off the bench to score 24 points in the final game of the year for Texas Southern. Lawrence Johnson-Danner scored 19 and Travele Jones had 17 for the Tigers.