Yesterday afternoon, the members of the CU Buffs men's basketball team learned that they'd been invited to the Big Dance — the 2016 NCAA Tournament popularly known as March Madness.
The Buffs received an eight seed.
That's not bad given their 22-11 record — although this year, even the top seeds have more losses than normal.
While the Pepsi Center will host first- and second-round games, the Buffs will play in the South regional, which this year takes place in Des Moines, Iowa.
The squad faces a big challenge from the jump against Connecticut, a solid squad only two years removed from winning the national championship.
And if the Buffs get past the Huskies, they'll roll straight into a match-up against the winner of the game between number one seeded Kansas, a popular pick to win the whole shebang, and Austin Peay, a sixteen seed.
Since a sixteen seed has never defeated a number one in the history of the tournament, we feel confident saying that Kansas will be there in round two. But will CU?
The Connecticut scouting report on CUBuffs.com doesn't skimp on superlatives when describing the Huskies.
As contributing editor Neill Woelk points out, Connecticut boasts the nation's twelfth-ranked scoring defense and has won seven of its last ten games, including the three it took to claim the American Athletic Conference crown.
It wasn't easy. The AAC championship contest was a marathon against Cincinnati that the Huskies won in the fourth overtime after making it to a third in most unlikely fashion: a 65-foot buzzer beater by Jalen Adams.
The Huskies' best performances this year include wins over Texas, Michigan, Memphis, Temple, Ohio State and Southern Methodist, which beat CU in a pre-season tournament on a neutral court.
That said, the Buffs have every chance to knock off the Huskies thanks to veteran leadership, including senior center Josh Scott.
There's also the revenge factor. The last time the Buffs danced, in 2014, they got blown out by Pittsburgh by a score of 77-48 — and eight players from that team are on the current squad.
The Buffs face the Huskies at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 17. Look below to see a video featuring scenes from the tournament selection show and reactions from coach Tad Boyle and his charges.
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