Buffs fall to Texas Tech

According to many close observers, the Colorado men's basketball team needed a win vs. Texas Tech in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament in Dallas to secure a bid to the NCAA tourney. But the Buffs struggled against TTU and lost to the Red Raiders, 79-69, today. Head coach Ricardo Patton, though, thinks CU doesn't deserve to be labeled a "bubble team." He thinks the Buffs deserve to dance.

Colorado, which finished fourth in the conference, one place above Texas Tech, was outrebounded 44-31. The Red Raiders' kept CU off the boards, and were also effective keeping the ball out of CU junior center David Harrison's hands.

The 7-footer shot the ball just four times, making three, and ended with eight points. Patton credited TTU's defense for Harrison's low output, and placed responsibility on his own team's guards as well.

"I think what has to happen for David not to be double teamed and triple teamed is that guards have to step up and make plays," Patton said. "You have to have good guards to make defenses play you honest. And our guards weren't able to step up."

Michel Morandais managed just 3-of-14 from the field. Blair Wilson, who hit 4-of-8 from 3-point range, led CU with 16 points. Ronald Ross (25 points) and Michael Marshall (23) paced the Raiders.

The loss dropped the Buffs' record to 18-10 on the season. Some prognosticators had CU on the NCAA bubble going into the game, and predicted the winner would secure a spot in the tournament, while the loser may be headed to the NIT. Selections will be announced Sunday afternoon (4 p.m. mountain time).

Both Harrison and Patton said Colorado's relative lack of tournament history may play against the Buffs.

"It's very unfortunate that a team that finishes fourth in the Big 12 is being questioned when they are talking about taking five, maybe even six teams," Patton said. "If the committee is going to take (teams that finished) 1, 2, 3, then jump over 4, and take 5, then I wish (someone in the media) would have the courage to step up and write how unjust that really is. That would be a sad commentary on college basketball."

The Buffs finished with 10 wins in conference, and had six road wins this season. But an RPI of 53 heading into this weekend is seen as a negative.

Missouri plays Kansas later today in a quarterfinal Big 12 matchup. If Missouri wins, they may be hard for the committee to pass on. Either way, Patton lobbied for CU to earn an invitation.

"These kids deserve the opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament," he said. "I think we've earned that right finishing fourth in arguably the best conference in the country. There's no reason, unless the regular season doesn't matter, why we should be on anybody's bubble list."

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