Sad State of Colorado Hoops

March 2007
Three of Colorado's largest universities began the week without a head basketball coach, and I had no idea. Most people probably didn't know this, either, but I consider myself a pretty avid basketball fan. The NCAA Tournament is my favorite sporting event of the year, hands down, but not one of Colorado's universities was invited to join in the action. The state of Colorado college basketball, in a word, stinks. And it's a shame, because we're missing out on what, in many states, is one of the most enjoyable entertainment options you can find. Colorado State University today hired Tim Miles, the former head man at North Dakota State. I'm not going to say I'm not excited about Miles, but let me put it this way: His team, the Bisons, played CSU in December. They lost. The Rams finished the year 17-13. Earlier this week Joe Scott, the former head coach at Air Force, was hired [to take over the basketball program http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/ncaa/article/0,2777,DRMN_23932_543... at the University of Denver. Scott just finished his third year as head coach at Princeton. His team finished this season with a record of 11-17. The good news, for CSU at least, is that North Dakota State beat Princeton in December. The University of Colorado is still looking for a new head coach, which is partly because it's not a very attractive job even though the school is in a power conference. The Buffs finished the year 7-20, and their record might have been worse if two of their games hadn't been cancelled in December because of snowstorms. They play their games in a putrid building that has all the ambiance of a barn. Much has been written in the past about theories for why Colorado college basketball has never really taken off, so I won't get into too much detail here. I just know that we are really missing out – but I don't know how many Coloradans know that. If you've ever been to a big-time college basketball game, it doesn't really matter your allegiance to the teams. There is an energy and excitement in the air that is hard to duplicate in other sports. My father and I went to a Kansas University basketball game earlier this year, and when the Jayhawks play in Lawrence, it is an event - the place was packed, even though it wasn't much of a game (Kansas won in a blowout). Kansas basketball is a big deal in Lawrence because of its rich tradition; in fairness to Colorado schools, there's also nothing else to do there, which isn't the case in Denver and Boulder. Still, other schools in populated areas manage to have big-time college basketball programs despite a plethora of other options. Colorado has never been able to capture any of that college basketball magic, and that's really too bad. We're missing out.