It has been a year of revival for Colorado sports. The Buffaloes’ football team made it to the Pac-12 championship after only going 4-9 the year before. The team will reach its first bowl game since 2007. Colorado basketball wasn’t in as much of a rut, going 22-12 and making to the NCAA tournament. After Wednesday’s narrow victory over number 13 Xavier, Colorado has started to gain some confidence. The question is whether the Buffaloes’ early success is a fluke, or if they actually have the ability to contend for the Pac-12 title.
When one looks at Colorado’s resume, it’s obvious to see that it has the ability to give a team trouble on any given night. It has already beaten two teams ranked in the top 25 at the time of the game, in Texas and Xavier. While the team has these impressive victories, it has two early season losses as well, the second of which came against in-state rival Colorado State. The first loss can’t be held too much against them. It came against 9-0 Notre Dame, and the Buffaloes put up a fight despite being down 15 at halftime. Colorado doesn’t jump off the page for most opponents, so this gives the team the perfect opportunity to catch others off guard.
In order to make noise in the Pac-12, a team needs to have someone to lead it. Luckily for Colorado, senior guard Derrick White has shown the ability to be that guy. He is leading the team 15.0 points per game on 52.2 percent shooting, this includes a 23-point performance in the win against Xavier. White also leads the team in assists per game and steals per game, also he is second in rebounds per game and blocks per game. Derrick White does it all for Colorado and will prove to be invaluable as the season goes on.
We won’t know until conference play if Colorado truly has the makings of a conference title contender. Arizona, UCLA, and Oregon are all on the Buffaloes’ schedule in January, with the UCLA and Oregon games both being played at the Coors Events Center. If Colorado could even win one of those games, it will prove that Colorado has the potential to beat anyone in the Pac-12 at the time of the conference tournament.
Colorado will likely be the dark horse of the Pac-12 tournament. It has the potential to stun one of the top teams and make a run for the conference championship. The team will likely make the NCAA tournament for the second year in a row, but probably won’t make it very far. Of course, Colorado sports has had a habit of catching people off guard all year long, who’s to say they won’t do it again? Nothing can be predicted in March, so we will have to wait and see in March.