BUFFS

The Buffs are in the NCAA Tournament but they were still snubbed

Mar 17, 2024, 6:22 PM | Updated: Mar 24, 2024, 1:45 pm

JR Payne...

Photo by Justin Tafoya/Getty Images

The Colorado Buffaloes are dancing but they won’t be hosting NCAA Tournament games. JR Payne’s crew was just snubbed out of having the first two rounds in Boulder and will instead have to travel to Manhattan, Kansas.

On Sunday, the NCAA revealed their brackets for the 2024 field and head coach the Buffs are the No. 5 seed in the Albany 2 Regional. The Buffs will face the Missouri Valley champion Drake Bulldogs this weekend in the Octagon of Doom with the winner taking on the winner of Kansas State against Portland.

The Buffaloes are in the dance for the third straight season. Colorado went to the Sweet 16 last year, falling to Catlin Clark’s Iowa Hawkeyes. But it was a great showing from the Buffaloes, who secured their first two tournament wins in 20 years, beating Middle Tennessee and Duke.

If the Buffs can get to the Sweet 16 they’ll likely face 1-seeded Iowa again.

This year, Colorado has followed up with a bang as they topped No. 1 LSU to start the season. The Buffaloes have been ranked as high as No. 3 in the AP Poll and finished 22-9 (11-7.) Colorado has topped top-15 ranked USC, Stanford and Utah over the course of the year but Pac-12 play caught up to the Buffaloes as they dropped six of their final eight contests, five of which were to ranked foes. That left the Buffs on the bubble of a No. 4 or No. 5 seed which is the seedline difference of hosting the first two rounds or traveling to another campus in the women’s dance.

Colorado has been led by Pac-12 first-teamers Jaylyn Sherrod and Aaronette Vonleh. Sherrod throws a team-high five assists a game to go with a team-leading 2.2 steals a night and 13 points a contest, while Vonleh scores a team-best 14 a game on 56% shooting. Knockdown shooter Frida Formann and rebounder Quay Miller round out Payne’s top options.

Drake won the Missouri Valley tournament over the Missouri State Bears on Sunday. Drake won the MVC regular season as well, going 29-5 and led by MVC Player of the Year Katie Dinnebier, who is a finalist for the Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year Award. She is one of two players in Division I this season to average at least 18.0 points, 6.5 assists, and 2.5 steals per game. Drake also features Anna Miller, the back-to-back Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

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The Buffs are in the NCAA Tournament but they were still snubbed