Buffs' Aim: Break Home Win Mark

As expected, Colorado was not among the teams picked to play in the NCAA Tournament. Instead, CU will host Old Dominion in the first round of the National Invitational Tournament Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. The Buffs, 14-1 at home this season, have the chance to break the school record for home wins in a season.

Colorado head coach Ricardo Patton conceded Sunday night that his team's poor performance against Texas A&M in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tourney — an ugly 86-53 — didn't help the Buffs' chance at an NCAA berth.

Instead, the 20-9 Buffaloes will play in the NIT for the fourth time in Patton's 10-plus-year tenure at Colorado. CU, the No. 4 seed, hosts No. 5 seed Old Dominion (21-9) of the Colonial Athletic Association Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Manhattan plays Fairleigh Dickinson on Tuesday. The winner of that game plays at Maryland on Saturday, with that games winner taking on the CU-ODU winner on Monday at a site to be determined.

The NIT semifinals and championship game are set for March 28 and 30 in New York at Madison Square Garden.

"We're excited to be moving forward and be one of the 105 teams still playing," Patton said, referring to the 65 NCAA tourney teams and 40 schools in the NIT.

The team had set its sights on an NCAA berth, which would've been the program's first since 2003. Patton said, however, he doesn't expect motivation to be a problem for a team that has 10 seniors.

"Our seniors, they should cherish the opportunity to keep playing," he said.

"I still believe this team has accomplished a lot this year,'" he continued, pointing to the fact that CU finished fifth in the Big 12 after being picked to finish ninth.

He also pointed out that the team has tied its school record of 14 home wins and now has the opportunity to further that record Wednesday.

Old Dominion is no pushover, with wins over George Mason and UNC-Wilmington. UNC-W — a team CU beat in Boulder in November — earned a No. 9 seed in the NCAA tourney. Other teams of note in the NIT are Big 12 foes Nebraska and Oklahoma State, Creighton, Michigan, Cincinnati, Louisville and Missouri State.

Tickets on sale Monday
Tickets for Wednesday's game go on sale Monday morning. Season-ticket holders will have until Tuesday at noon to purchase a ticket in their regular seat. Due to a donation from a CU supporter, the first 2,000 CU students will get a free ticket to the game with their Buff One card. After that, student tickets cost $4. Regular tickets range from $10-$25. They can be purchased by calling (303) 49-BUFFS or online at www.cubuffs.com.

Athletic director Mike Bohn wasn't sure of the exact numbers, but said he didn't expect that hosting an NIT game would cost the cash-strapped department money. However, it's not a big money maker either, as the NIT takes revenue from ticket sales after the host school's expenses are taken out, Bohn said.

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