Buffs To Face Michigan State in NCAA Tournament

The University of Colorado men's basketball team is returning to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1996-97 to take on Michigan State. This is the second time the Buffs have gone to the big dance under Ricardo patton in his 8 years as head coach.

Boulder - The University of Colorado men's basketball team has been selected to play in the 2002-03 NCAA Tournament as the No. 10 seed in the South Region. The Buffaloes will play No. 7 seeded Michigan State (19-12) in the first round at Tampa, Fla. on Friday, March 21. The winner of CU/MSU game will advance to play the winner No. 2 Florida/No.15 Sam Houston State game in the second round.

"I think the No 10 seed is a more than fare seed and going to Tampa is far, but exciting," said head coach Ricardo Patton after learning of the team's selection on Sunday afternoon. "As far as our opponent there are no easy games in this tournament and we just need to get ready to play."

It's the second trip for Colorado during Patton's eight-year reign at CU. The last time the Buffaloes advanced to the 64-team field came in 1996-97 season when CU was seeded No. 9 and sent to the East Region to play No. 8 Indiana, where they subsequently defeated the Hoosiers, 80-62. CU lost to No. 1 seed North Carolina, 73-56 two days later.

"Last time we were there we had five seniors and an NBA point guard and just a group of guys that believe they could play with anybody," Patton said of his only other tournament team. "We have more young guys this year."

The Buffs learned of their tournament bid as a team watching the live CBS selection show.

"I've been waiting for it for the last three years," said senior captain Stephane Pelle, the only four-year player on the roster. "I've worked hard for this, the whole teams worked hard for this. It's not like we were jumping up and down because we've got a tough team on Friday."

Colorado, which finished this season with a 20-11 record is only the third team to post 20-win season in CU history with a pair of the those under the direction of Patton. CU went 22-10 in 1996-97 and in 1968-69 went 21-7 under Sox Walseth.

The Buffs will embark on its 10th trip to the NCAA Tournament and where they have a 9-11 record.

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