Buffs will travel to Central Florida for NIT opener

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The University of Colorado has accepted a bid to the 2017 National Invitation Tournament (NIT) and will play UCF in a first round game on Wednesday, March 15, in Orlando.

The Buffaloes are the No. 5 seed in one of four eight-team regions and head east to play the Knights for a 5 p.m. MT tip streamed live on ESPN3. The winner of Wednesday’s game will play the winner of top-seed Illinois State and No. 8 seed UC Irvine in the second round, to be announced, March 16-20.

Second round games and the regional finals (March 21-22) will be played on campus sites at the highest seeded team barring any institutional conflicts. The NIT semifinals will take place on Tuesday, March 28, at Madison Square Garden in New York, with the championship game on Thursday, March 30. This will be the 80th NIT to conclude at the iconic New York City arena.

UCF is 21-11 overall and finished fourth in the American Athletic Conference at 11-7.  Colorado and Central Florida have met once, a 96-87 Buffaloes win in Boulder on Jan. 3, 2007.

Colorado makes its 10th NIT appearance and first since 2010-11, Tad Boyle’s first season as head coach. The Buffaloes advanced to the national semifinals that season as a No. 1 seed, winning three games in Boulder before dropping a 62-61 decision to Alabama in the semifinals at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Colorado is 11-8 all-time in the NIT, winning the title in 1940. The Buffaloes also have a runner-up finish in 1938, and a third-place showing in 1991.

Overall, this will be Colorado’s 25th postseason tournament past the conference level. Boyle also extends his school-record streak by coaching the Buffaloes to a seventh-straight postseason appearance. Prior to this seven-year run, no Colorado team had participated in the postseason more than two consecutive years.

Colorado is 19-14 overall and finished in seventh place in the Pac-12 Conference at 8-10. The Buffaloes will be out to claim their 10th season of 20-plus wins and sixth time in the last seven seasons under Boyle.

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