Colorado v Arizona - Championship

Colorado is a glutton for punishment

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Colorado did pretty well in the Pac-12 last season, securing a berth in the NCAA tournament, as well as a win. The bid was the Buffs’ first since 2003, and the tourney win broke a drought going back to 1997. No doubt they were bouyed, at least in part, by the fact that they didn’t have to play Kansas twice, or at all, for the first time since 1947.

Apparently, a one-year reprieve from the routine Kansas beatdown was enough. The Buffs are re-entering the fray with a team that thoroughly and convincingly had their number for decades on end when they shared a conference. Per the Kansas City Star:

The Kansas basketball program looked to an old Big 12 foe to fill out its non-conference basketball slate. Nope, not that one. The Jayhawks looked west, scheduling a home-and-home series with Colorado for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons. As of Friday morning, the series had yet to become official, but Larry Keating, the Jayhawks’ head schedule-maker, confirmed that an agreement was in place.

Of course, the “that one” so coyly referenced here is Missouri. There seems to be little hope, as of this moment, of that bitter interstate rivalry being renewed. For now, the CU/KU game should be a good one.

It’s not so unusual as it may seem for Colorado to reach a detente with Kansas. For one thing, it’s a good, tough game for a rising program. For another, Buffs head coach Tad Boyle is a former KU player, so he may not be harboring as much animosity as your average Big 12 defector.

With any luck, this detente between the former conference rivals will lead to softening of hearts elsewhere. It would warm the heart to see Kansas and Missouri (as well as other former foes, sure) go toe-to-toe again, regardless of conference affiliation.

Akron reveals special bobble heads for LeBron, high school teammates

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When it comes to discussing some of the game of basketball’s best players, specifically those who went directly from high school to the NBA, a question that’s often asked is where said player would have attended college if forced (by rule) to do so. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among those who have been discussed in this manner, and in the case of LeBron he’s got connections to two programs within his home state of Ohio.

LeBron’s connected with the Ohio State program, which is outfitted by the Nike’s LeBron signature line, but there’s another program with an even closer connection. That would be Akron, which is led by head coach Keith Dambrot, and all he did was serve as LeBron’s high school coach at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s HS in Akron during the player’s freshman and sophomore years at the school. Also on those teams were two future Akron Zips in guard Dru Joyce and forward Romeo Travis.

Thursday the school announced that it would be honoring James, Joyce and Travis with bobble head dolls to be given out before Akron’s home games against Buffalo (February 16; Joyce’s bobble head), Bowling Green (February 26; Travis) and Ohio (March 1; James).

All three bobble head dolls are wearing Akron uniforms, which in the case of LeBron allows fans to think back and imagine what could have been. Season ticket holders guaranteed one bobble head per account (on each of the three giveaway days), with the first 750 fans in attendance to receive one as well.

NEW PODCAST: Indiana, Cal, troublesome trends and a weekend preview

California's Jabari Bird celebrates a score against Oregon in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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The gang is back together again for another episode of the NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk Podcast, with Rob Dauster hosting and Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips joining him. Today’s episode touched on big wins picked up Thursday night by California and Indiana, discussing the performances of those teams and also touching on their prospects down the line.

Also discussed were the recent performances of Iowa State, Providence and Texas A&M (which are you more worried about?), and some of the top games on this weekend’s schedule headlined by Kansas visiting Oklahoma. And if you’re a fan of seafood, you may take umbrage with some of Rob’s comments at the beginning of the podcast.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher, and there’s also a link to listen to this podcast below. Thanks for listening.