Nearly every other year, the Colorado Buffaloes travel south to visit their high-flying rivals at the Air Force Academy, but this year’s game on Monday warrants extra meaning for three Buffaloes who hail from that area.

Back in the day, fifth-year senior Wes Gordon attended Sierra High School in the Springs. Every year that the Buffs visit their southern counterparts, he looks forward to having two special people in attendance at his hometown matchup.

“Just the same old same old for me,” Gordon said. “Mom and pop.”

While at Sierra HS, Gordon earned a number of accolades, including all-state selections on the All-Colorado and All-4A first teams. He led the Stallions to a 26-2 record while averaging 19.7 points per game.

While Monday’s contest will be Gordon’s second visit to the Academy as a member of the Colorado squad, sophomore guard Mitch Lombard will get his first taste of the in-state rivalry away from his home floor.

Lombard, who originates from nearby Castle Pines and who played for Rock Canyon High School, said he’s been looking forward to this game for a while now.

“I think it’s cool because there’s a lot of people that I know that play for Air Force, that I grew up playing with or against.” Lombard said. “It’s cool to see guys that you played against in high school and AAU growing up, so that’s always good.

“Air Force is just a cool team to play. It’s like a different team. You don’t get to play teams like that all the time.”

Thanks to the close proximity to his roots, Lombard said he expects somewhat of a good crowd to come out and cheer him on.

“I have some friends coming, because it’s just really close to my house,” he said.

Despite emerging from the farthest distance, Parker native and fifth-year senior guard Derrick White could perhaps draw the largest crowd of all for this year’s game.

Although White hails from a little farther than Castle Pines and the Springs itself, he resided in Air Force territory for three years before making the move to Boulder. Prior to his transfer to Division I basketball, White battled with the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs Mountain Lions from his freshman to junior years and averaged 22 points and 3.9 assists.

After taking a year off per NCAA transfer regulations, White took a few games this year to get used to the pace of DI ball. He seemed to find his groove against No. 13 Xavier as he paced his team to a huge victory with 23 points, six rebounds and four assists.

With many of his former teammates still living in the area, White said he expects a small crowd to come up from his previous school.

“I’ll have a couple people from UCCS come up,” White said.

Lombard, however, disagreed, saying he expected somewhat of a White-out.

“The whole school’s coming up for Derrick,” Lombard joked.

Either way, Colorado generally draws a large crowd whenever they step inside Clune Arena, and White said he hopes that trend will continue with Monday’s matchup.

“The crowd should be on our side hopefully,” White said.

The last time Gordon and the Buffaloes played down at the Academy, another future Buff was waiting in the wings.

“I went to that game, actually,” White admitted to the surprise of his teammates. “Last time you all played Air Force, I was there. Me and (UCCS teammate Alex) Welsh went to the game, so it was cool.”

Over the course of the rivalry, Colorado has held a 22-3 advantage against the Falcons with a 5-0 undefeated record under head coach Tad Boyle. But the Falcons (6-5) are no pushover team this year, as they’ve won six games and have only lost one at home, to Denver.

After an ugly 81-71 win against Division II Fort Hays State at home over the weekend, the Buffaloes will look for a little redemption as they head south on Monday. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network.