Colorado won 20 games and went to the postseason for the third consecutive year last season, a historical milestone for a school which has long favored football over hoops.
With, perhaps, his deepest and most talented team returning this season, coach Tad Boyle celebrated another benchmark Thursday when the school announced it had sold out its season tickets for the first time in the modern era.
"Not only is it a milestone, it's a significant milestone," Boyle said. "It's something we've been shooting for in our program. Obviously I don't talk to our players a lot about that kind of stuff as we approach it and work for it. I just talk about playing in a way that is going to make people want to come out and see you and support you.
"But the fact that we've sold out all our season tickets before the season starts is significant. Not a lot of teams around the country can probably say that."
Colorado set attendance records last season for total attendance (155,884), total attendance for conference games (94,371), season average (10,392) and conference average (10,486) in an arena that holds 11,064.
The increasing support and love for the program Boyle is building has led to the Buffs winning 44 of their past 51 home games.
Last season's senior class was the last group of players that could remember what it was like under former coach Jeff Bzdelik and his predecessors when the arena often was less than half full. Boyle said it's good the program is now stocked with players who came to Boulder expecting to play in front of a full house each night, but he doesn't want them to take it for granted.
It used to be the only game each season when Colorado coaches and players could count on the arena being full was when Kansas came to town. Boyle is a Kansas alum.
"That's why as you go through the events center and you see pictures of our arena full, I want to get rid of those Kansas pictures," Boyle said. "I want them to be against teams that are not Kansas because that shows that it's a significant change for the better."
Boyle's three-year tenure already is one of the two or three best in the history of the program. CU sent Andre Roberson to the NBA in the first round this summer, two years after Alec Burks and Cory Higgins made it to the league. Junior point guard Spencer Dinwiddie is expected to follow next June.
Boyle has put together what has been billed as the toughest nonconference schedule in memory with games against Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Harvard, Colorado State, Air Force and more.
It's easy to see why CU fans are flocking to the Coors Events Center, especially with the football program going through another rebuilding year under its third different head coach in the past eight seasons. On the gridiron, the Buffs have lost 15 of their first 20 Pac-12 Conference games by 25 or more points. On the hardwood, the Buffs are capable of contending for a conference championship. They surprised two years ago by winning the Pac-12 tournament.
Boyle says it's premature to call this season's team the deepest of his tenure because it is also the youngest. Ten of the 13 scholarship players are freshmen or sophomores.
"We're the youngest team we've had, that's for darn sure," Boyle said. "Now, do we have the ability to be the deepest team? Absolutely. But that is yet to be seen."
- Sports & Recreation
- Tad Boyle