Patton Packed for Four Days in OKC

Ricardo Patton and his team, including freshman forward Jeremy Williams, are in Oklahoma City for the Big 12 Tournament, which begins Thursday. Inside, notes in advance of CU's first-round game vs. Texas Tech.

• Ricardo Patton is coaching the Colorado Buffaloes for the final time this week in the Big 12 tournament. CU is the No. 12 seed, and will face No. 5 seed Texas Tech Thursday (1 p.m. MT/ESPN Plus/ESPNU). Most who've watched the 7-19 Buffs play this season expect an early exit from the tourney. Nevertheless, Patton said on Tuesday that he packed his suitcase as if he and his team were staying in Oklahoma City for four days.

• The game matches Patton and TTU coach Bobby Knight. The two have forged a friendship over the time Knight has been in the Big 12. Knight has said publicly he'll do what he can to help Patton land another coaching job after this season.

"Even before he came into the league (I) watched him from a distance to see what he does," Patton said. "But when we face each other, it'll be business as usual. He'll be trying to beat us, and we'll be trying to beat them."

• Texas Tech beat Colorado 95-74 in Lubbock on Feb. 17. In that game, TTU point guard Jarrius Jackson torched the Buffs for 28 points. In Patton's mind, Jackson has the respect of the Big 12 — the senior was recently named to the conference first-team — but he's still one of the most underrated players in the country.

"There's not an NBA guy that's called me that I don't tell him about Jarrius Jackson," Patton said. "When they ask me about different players, he's the first to come to mind."

Patton said besides his physical abilities, it's Jackson's "competitive spirit" that sets him apart.

"I think there are a lot of people that respect his game, but nationally, I don't think he's gotten the exposure that maybe he deserves," Patton said. "But I really like his game."

• Speaking of spirit, the Buffs will face Texas Tech without freshman guard Xavier Silas, who's shown a competitive fire over the course of his first season at CU. Silas is serving a one-game suspension handed down by the league for his part in an altercation with NU's Ryan Anderson in CU's win over the Cornhuskers Saturday. The players got tangled up going after a loose ball before being separated. Anderson served his one-game suspension Monday in Nebraska's final regular-season game.

Teammate and fellow freshman Jeremy Williams said the Buffs will try and get Silas a game in the tourney anyway.

"We've got to play hard for him," Williams said. "I know that he's very hungry and wants to play. We've all got to go out and …give him the opportunity to play in the Big 12 Tournament his freshman year."

The winner of Thursday's game plays Kansas State at 1 p.m. Friday.

The Buffs Williams thinks the Buffs have a shot vs. the Red Raiders.

"I feel they're very beatable and that we didn't play our best at Texas Tech," he said. "The refs kind of got in the game, too, so I feel like we have a chance to prove ourselves."

• Patton's contract runs through the end of June. It's expected, however, that he and his staff will be let go prior to that, and as soon as the athletic department hires Patton's successor.

Until then, Patton said, "We're still working here until they ask us to drop the keys off."


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