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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Can Buffs get blue out?

Kansas fans go wild for the television cameras before tipoff against Colorado Saturday, Jan. 17, 2009 at the Coors Events Center in Boulder, Colorado.

Kansas fans go wild for the television cameras before tipoff against Colorado Saturday, Jan. 17, 2009 at the Coors Events Center in Boulder, Colorado.

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Coors Events Center, the home of the Colorado Buffaloes, used to be known as “Allen Fieldhouse West” when the Jayhawks and their legion of loyal fans descended upon Boulder for KU-CU men’s basketball games contested in the Big 12 and Big Eight conferences.

KU backers routinely occupied at least half of the 11,064-seat arena, helping the Jayhawks win the last eight games and 19 of the past 20 in Boulder dating from 2011 back to 1991.

On Saturday, the Jayhawks visit CU once again for a 2:15 p.m., Central time, battle. This time, however, the third-year Pac-12 Conference school is expected to have a vast majority of fans on hand rooting for the home team.

Wednesday in a phone conversation with the Journal-World, CU coach Tad Boyle was asked if the crowd would be mostly Buffaloes’ fans.

“I think so,” he said. “We’ll wait and see on Saturday afternoon. Those Jayhawk fans are pretty crafty when it comes to getting tickets and finding seats. We’ll see how much blue is in there. There’s no question in my mind it’ll be less (blue) than years past, but something tells me that the true Jayhawk fans will find their way in there, somehow, some way. I’m just hoping they are not getting their tickets from Buffalo fans, but we’ll see.”

He challenged Buff fans to keep out the Jayhawks when the contract for the current home-and-home series was signed. KU won last year’s initial meeting, 90-54, in Lawrence.

“I know one of the reasons Bill (Self, KU coach) wanted to do this series was he wanted the (KU) alumni in Colorado to be able to see the Jayhawks play. Of course, selfishly from my standpoint I want those alumni to not be able to get tickets, unless they are going to buy season tickets to the Buffs and support us when we are not playing the Jayhawks,” Boyle said.

“That’s the great thing about us not being in the Big 12 any more. Hopefully we can get some crossover fans that are Jayhawk fans that are starved for college basketball and can’t get to Lawrence as often as they want, but can drive from Denver to Boulder to see a good team and a good game.”

Boyle, who played at KU from 1981 to ’85, is a big reason the Buffs (8-1) have sold all their available season tickets for the first time in school history.

In his fourth year, the 50-year-old former KU guard led the Buffs to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments after a spot in the postseason NIT semifinals in 2010-11.

“It’s a very exciting time. The level of excitement and interest in the men’s basketball program has never been higher,” said Matt Biggers, CU’s associate AD/external affairs/chief marketing officer.

He explained that the athletic department sold 7,160 season tickets as well as the CU student allotment of 2,300.

“Kansas had 250 tickets we had to provide for them (contractually) to sell to their fans,” Biggers said. “Anywhere between 500 to less than 1,000 could be available per game outside of season tickets and other internal needs.

“With the single-game tickets we had available for this game ... we made them available to our season-ticket holders first, and they bought them all up. It’s such a big game for us. It’ll look very different (in arena) than it has in the past for sure.”

Biggers was asked if KU fans may have purchased a significant number of season tickets, just to be assured admittance to the KU-CU game.

“I guess that is possible. There’s no way for us to know that,” Biggers said. “I’m sure there are Kansas fans that live in Colorado. Maybe they are CU fans most of the year, and they went to KU, and this is the one game they are KU fans. I’m sure that could happen as well. And there is always the chance to buy tickets on the secondary market.

“I think the majority are CU fans because they are coming to our games on an every-game basis. We are seeing them (fill Coors Center). Our game against Harvard was jam-packed.

“I wasn’t here in the past, but I’ve heard Kansas made a pretty good presence, whether it was 50 percent (as J-W suggested to him) or not. I know they were loud, and I think compared to that, it will be very much a 90 percent CU crowd.”

One thing is for sure: The CU fans in attendance will be fired up in trying to even the score from some lopsided results during the Buffs’ days in the Big 12.

“Coach Boyle is a huge part, the players are a huge part (of CU mania),” Biggers said. “Tad is hugely popular ... the recruiting and coaching, the job he’s done representing this program so well.

“For the last two years, our student section, called the C-Unit, has been extremely supportive and one of the best student sections in the country. They’ve shown up in force.”

New recruiting name: KU is expected to visit Rashard Figures, a 6-foot-3 senior shooting guard from Mack Prep High in Charlotte, N.C., according to Rivals.com. He is an unranked player at this time.

Comments

Jennifer Nikkila Pressgrove 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I have lived in Colorado since 2002 and I attended three KU games in Boulder when CU was in the Big 12. Each year the Buff athletic department made it harder to get tickets. By the third year one had to buy tickets to three other games in order to get a ticket to the KU game. The current CU AD must be smoking something I he is oblivious to the fact that Coors Events Center was at least 60-40 KU fans during those games. It's funny how he kind of plays it off, although I guess he is living in the current reality of the program's success (thank you KU alum). He is right, this year I couldn't get a ticket. It was nearly impossible to get a ticket unless you were a season-ticket holder or a student. The best deal on the secondary market I could find was to simply buy season tickets for around $250.

Bryce Landon 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Can't wait to see the team go into Boulder and flog these Big 12 backstabbers again! To hell with the Fluff-aloes!

Randy Glenn 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Hey!!! Thats ol Drew Glenn holdin that sign. We took a few bus trips from Garden City to that game. Tried again this year but no tickets to be had for a reasonable price.I hope the KU fans that make it in are LOUD N PROUD!!!!!!

Chris Berge 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I will be there! As a Denver Native I always root for the Buffs when they aren't playing my Jayhawks. This is a good matchup for both teams and I would love to see more than just a home and home ending this year.

Tony Bandle 11 months, 3 weeks ago

My complements to the great Jayhawk fans of western Kansas and eastern Colorado, but this year, I think this Kansas team needs as hostile and as difficult a playing venue as possible to continue this young team's growth toward March.

Look at the KU schedule so far..home, neutral, home, home, neutral, neutral, neutral. This will be our first really good away game thus testing where this team is and what they need to do.

Best wishes to any Jayhawk who can get in, but Coach Boyle, as a former Jayhawk, is using the KU Program Model as the basis for the Colorado program.

Bryce Landon 11 months, 3 weeks ago

If we can get a lot of fans out there, it'll be another neutral venue.

Brett McCabe 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I wonder if CU fans hated going to a game against KU as much as I hated sitting in the stands for the Purple Pussycat football game last Saturday? It really, really sucks.

Mike George 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I would opine that Tad's analysis and comments in answer to the questions from the J-W got really wordy because he hears the thunder of Jayhawk hooves coming for him across the prairie instead of his Buffs running in a circle....

Aaron Paisley 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I really wouldn't be shocked if it's at least an 80/20 split between CU/KU fans because the last time KU went out to Boulder it was a lot closer to a 50/50 than it traditionally was at the CEC. Tad Boyle is a really underrated coach and I'd love to see what he could do at a school with a richer basketball history than Colorado (just hopefully not a current Big 12 school).

Sean O'Grady 11 months, 3 weeks ago

There'll be a good KU crowd. Prices on the secondary market have dropped considerably. I know there's a lot of KU fans who have bought season tickets ($110 a seat), like me, since that's usually the least we'll end up forking over to a scalper outside AFH. Plus, it's not awful basketball, the UCLA and Arizona game have also sold out this year at CEC and while the tickets aren't as expensive as the Kansas game, the demand is certainly there. Great to see what Tad and Eustachy have done for college basketball along the Front Range.

Jack Wilson 11 months, 3 weeks ago

The biggest actual news from above: "KU is expected to visit Rashard Figures, a 6-foot-3 senior shooting guard from Mack Prep High in Charlotte, N.C., according to Rivals.com. He is an unranked player at this time."

There are few high level players left - Myles, Lyle and Vaughn really the only ones on our radar. We have Alexander and Oubre in the fold.

It seems that we will have four likely scholarships -- Black, Wiggins, Selden, and Embiid. Could decrease to to two or three if either Selden and/or Embiid stay, or even increase to five or six if Ellis goes too and someone transfers.

If all five go, our perimeter is still loaded. Heck, Tharpe/Mason/Oubre/Frankamp/Greene/White -- even if there's a transfer from the latter three, we're in a great spot. It's the post area that would be deficient -- possibly significantly so.

While we like to see Traylor and Lucas progress, does anyone want to see one of them starting and the other in the rotation? I'd have to hear that argument. I know, we can say Mickelson will be a solid player .. I've seen some of that speculation. But there is no evidence or indication of that. Traylor looked better in the scrimmage, and he's marginal on an elite team.

When you start looking ahead, it's post recruiting and departures that will have the greatest impact on our success next season. By a wide margin.

And the Rashard Figures of the world, being Merv Lindsay-esque, make me yawn ...

Aaron Paisley 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I realistically could see Traylor star in two years depending on how recruiting turns out. Traylor is another kid like Embiid who has only been playing basketball since 15-16 years old so he's still learning the game as well. The biggest positive Traylor has going for him is his athleticism which is not something that can be taught. I'm not saying Traylor will ever make the NBA because I don't think he will, but he does have potential to be a serviceable starter if necessary.

Walter Bridges 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Starting? No but squeezing in a few extra minutes when the game is still not decided would make a huge difference for these players. Of the BIG 3 recruits, I think only Selden might stay another year. I can see Embiid being next year's #1 draftee although I still believe Wiggins will hold that spot. Just too much talent for him not to get his game together and show why he was on the cover of so many magazines.

I think it's possible that Greene could transfer if it doesn't look like he will be getting at least 15 min. of game time. We both know this is purely speculation as just about anything can transpire over the entire season. Greene and White are exactly the type of players that Coach Self has had a lot of success with in the past but without logging the game minutes then I don't see them improving as did the Morris brothers,TRob, Withey and so on

Kye Clark 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Yeah, not sure why the interest in Figures. You never know in the recruiting world. Maybe it's to lay the ground work with the coaching staff there and/or let our presence be known in that area (Duke/UNC's backyard). Perhaps Self just has some free time on his hands and is casting a wide net, never knowing when one thing might lead to another.

Or maybe it's the Frank Mason effect. Self looking at Mason and thinking "damn I'm good! I plucked this kid from relative obscurity and now look at him. Wonder what other hidden gems I might find in need of a little 'Self polishing' ".

I would agree, on the surface this is a bit of a head-scratcher. The perimeter looks loaded, regardless of potential NBA-departures and/or transfers.

Also agree, if both Ellis & Embiid leave after this year, it has the potential to be troubling. A lot then would depend on Alexander's readiness out of the box, and if Lucas/Traylor/Mickleson can progress enough to justify starting.

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