A strange phenomenon has beset the University of Colorado’s Coors Event Center in Boulder. Apparently, the men’s college basketball team is worth watching again, at least according to several people who have paid attention to the team so far.

Neill Woelk of Boulder’s Daily Camera says enjoyable college-hoops entertainment has returned to Boulder, so “no more covering your eyes and preventing the women and children from seeing the carnage.” He tempers his optimism by pointing out that the Buffs have posted three straight 20-loss seasons, and they’re still the team that was unanimously chosen to finish dead last in the Big 12 by most anyone who’s offered an opinion. But the team’s play at last week’s Maui Invitational was impressive, despite the 1-2 record.

The Buffs played Gonzaga down to the wire and took Arizona to overtime before losing, showing they can actually hang with two top-tier college basketball teams.

Surprisingly, the Buffs’ hired reporter, B.G. Brooks, points out that coming close to a win doesn’t count anymore, and in the third year of coach Jeff Bzdelik’s reign, close games need to become wins. Bzdelik admits the team needs to play better and more consistent defense. And the players will have a chance to work on that defense tonight against San Francisco (7 p.m., Coors Event Center), but they’ll have to do it without Bzdelik, who will be in Chicago with his ailing mother (via The Denver Post).