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Colorado Vs. Texas Tech Preview: Buffs Need Help To Make Big Dance

The Colorado Buffaloes are most likely headed for the NIT, but a win tonight against the Texas Tech Red Raiders might help catapult them to into the NCAA tournament discussion.

Currently the Buffs sit at 16-11 overall and 5-7 in conference. Neither of those records scream "NCAA Tournament." However, with a fortunate schedule to finish up conference play, CU may find themselves in the hunt for a favorable conference tournament seeding.

With three winnable games out of their four remaining, if CU can take care of business, they can find themselves .500 in conference with an 8-8 record. After tonight's game, they have a tough one at home against No. 5 Texas followed by a game at bottom dweller Iowa State and finishing up conference play by hosting the surging Nebraska Cornhuskers. Three of those four they will/should/could be favored in and three of those four they will/should/could win.

But first CU needs to take out a Red Raider team which upset Baylor in Waco on Saturday.  Tech is a lot like CU, in that there were some marginally high expectations for them set in the preseason. With seniors John Roberson and Mike Singletary returning for the Red Raiders, many thought that coach Pat Knight's squad would finish somewhere around fifth or sixth place in conference.

But after a horrendous pre-conference, where Tech went 8-7, including losses to three in-state schools - North Texas, TCU and UTEP - Tech has never really shown any flashes of what some thought they'd see, albeit they did have a mid-conference three game win streak.

TTU's second leading scorer, Singletary, has been hobbled by a calf injury and has only logged 13 minutes in the past three games, including a DNP in the victory over Baylor. Without Singletary, Tech has relied on the diminutive Roberson and Brad Reese for scoring.

The backcourt matchup of Roberson and CU's Cory Higgins should provide fans with an opportunity to see two of the conference's best guards. If Singletary doesn't play, defensive assignment on Alec Burks might fall to David Tairu, three inches shorter than Burks, or to a less athletic Reese.  Either of those match-ups should favor Burks, so expect a high output from CU's sophomore.

CU doesn't need to win all of their last games, but they need to defeat the three teams that, on paper, they can. This all starts tonight.

Early tip tonight as things get going at 5:30 p.m. MT and can be seen on ESPN3.com.