The University of Colorado basketball team enters the season with lofty goals and high expectations only to finish the season with a very mediocre record and no chance to get to the big dance.
As a matter of fact, the Buffs will be lucky to make it to the Jr. high equivalent dance, the NIT tournament.
On Saturday, Colorado fell to the #5 team in the country, the Oklahoma Sooners 82-71 at home. That loss dropped the Buff's record to 14-13 and 5-11 in the Big 12. This is the fifth consecutive season that CU has finished under .500 in the conference.
Colorado has lost seven of their past eight games and will stumble into Thursday's Big 12 tournament as the #9 seed. The Buffs will take on Nebraska, the #8 seed, at 11 am MT in the first round.
While most anticipate a quick exit, some Buffs remain upbeat.
"We just have to come into the conference tournament determined to play," the Buffs Michel Morandais said, "We can't have any excuses."
Excuses is a key word. The last time the Buffs were actually competitive in the conference was the 1996-97 season when star guard Chauncey Billips led CU to a 20-6 record and a first round NCAA tournament win against Bobby Knight and Indiana.
Since then, Colorado has finished no higher then seventh in the Big 12 and has made only two appearances in the NIT tournament. But Head Coach Ricardo Patton has the support of his boss and athletic Director Dick Tharp.
While members of the Denver media have grown impatient with waiting for Colorado to field a competitive basketball team, Tharp continues to support Patton and the program.
What do the fans think?
Who knows. Not many Buff fans have come out to support the team. CU has averaged only 4,500 fans at the Coors Event Center (11,064) this season and has had only one sellout (Kansas) and a near-sellout (Texas Tech). This is down from their average of 5,230 this season before and 5,000 in 1999-2000.
After the final regular season loss to Oklahoma Saturday, many Buff fans reactions were one of apathy. "I think the finished exactly where I thought they would, right in the middle of the pack." one Buff fan stated.
Another had this reaction. "With the lack of depth and athletes with scholarships on this team, to think they would get to the NCAA tournament is foolish."
So another Big 12 regular season comes to an end and baring a miracle, so will the Buffs basketball season in a matter of days. If The Buffs do get by the Cornhuskers on Friday, they will have the pleasure of taking on the #1 ranked team in the nation, the Kansas Jayhawks.