The Colorado Buffaloes are arguably the best 17-seed team in the NCAA Tournament. So while the NCAA Tournament only seeds up to 16, the Buffs are resigned to play in the NIT tonight against the Texas Southern Tigers at 7:00 p.m. MT.
As the 1-seed in the NIT, though, CU does have some advantages over playing in the NCAA Tournament. Namely, they could play up to three more games in Boulder. Also their snub has probably given them more national attention than they would have warranted had they been dancing.
How many national talking heads have discussed NCAA-bound Missouri or Utah State compared to the number of people who have come out against CU's snub? For CU seniors Marcus Relphorde, Levi Knutson and Cory Higgins -- and potentially Alec Burks -- there probably isn't any solace in not making the tournament, but for the program, the fans, alumni and head coach Tad Boyle, getting snubbed might be the spark that sets this program on fire.
What CU needs to do is make a deep run in the tournament. There are plenty of examples of teams getting shut out of the NCAA and fizzling in the NIT, because their drive just isn't there. CU needs to do the opposite. They need to come out and make a run at the finals in Madison Square Garden. Show everyone who they really are. Sure, the national spotlight will be mostly off them once the Thursday rolls around, but in order for that spark to burn, they need to fan it, and each win is another gust of air, giving the fire life.
The Buffs next quest begins tonight at 7:00 p.m. at Coors Events Center in Boulder. The game can also be seen on ESPN3.com.