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Colorado’s 2022-23 season comes to a disappointing end

The 2022-23 season ended in disappointment for the Colorado Buffaloes Men’s Basketball team, losing in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament to Utah Valley. It brings an end to a somewhat underwhelming season for the Buffs, filled with great highs and shocking lows. With a final record of 18-17, the offseason brings numerous questions for head coach Tad Boyle and his staff to answer. Yet, with only three seniors leaving the program, a returning core ready to make the jump and a recruiting class that features the consensus number-one ranked recruit in the nation, the future is bright in Boulder.

The Good

The 2022-23 season was not all bad for the young Buffaloes, considering how impactful the departures of Evan Battey, Jabari Walker, and Eli Parquet. In their absence, there were two players in particular who stepped up and guided the team: Tristan Da Silva and KJ Simpson. Da Silva’s and Simpson’s 22-23 season provided a glimpse into what can be next season, provided they both return. 

Da Silva was, by and large, the best player all season long for Colorado. Averaging nearly 31 minutes; Da Silva averaged 15.9 points and 4.8 rebounds while shooting nearly 50% from the field all season. He provided an instant spark all season and combined with his ability to score at all three levels, he looks poised to take the step and become one of the best in the Pac-12 next season. 

Simpson took major steps towards becoming a star this season and solidified himself as one of the most explosive guards in the Pac-12. Averaging 31 minutes; Simpson averaged 15.9 points, 3.8 assists, and 4.3 rebounds all season. While Simpson missed both the Pac-12 tournament and the NIT due to an illness, Simpson proved that he can be a first-team All-PAC 12 player when healthy.

(Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports)

This team had some very high-quality wins during the season. The Buffs beat then #11 Tennessee in Nashville and ran then #25 Texas A&M off the floor in an early season tournament. These wins showed glimpses of what this team could achieve.

The Bad

If there is a good, then there must also be a bad. It is important to put into perspective the 2022-23 season for Colorado. With no true veteran presence and a roster full of juniors and sophomores, there were bound to be growing pains. Nothing highlights this better than the Buffs’ loses against both Cal and Oregon State. The Cal loss, in particular, shows just how inconsistent this team was all year. 

(John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports)

Too often, the offense would go cold, whether from behind the arc or in the paint. A string of missed shots would lead to head-scratching shot selection, signs of a team that is nowhere near playing together. 

With very minimal veteran presence, a collection of players taking on bigger roles, and a conference that is unrelenting, the 2022-23 season should prove to be an excellent learning experience for this young team.

The Future

Here is where things begin to get interesting, exciting, and nerve-wracking for Colorado. In what has become tradition, the start of the offseason means transfer season has begun. There had been a growing sense during the season that Colorado would see a few departures, which have already begun.

Big man Lawson Lovering shocked Colorado that not only would he be transferring but he would be doing so to Utah. This move comes as a surprise to many, including Boyle, who had been a staunch defender of Lovering all season. Despite not producing the most outstanding offensive numbers, Lovering had become an invaluable piece to the defense; one that had been ranked in the top-25 all season. 

(Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports)

In addition to Lovering, both Quincy Allen and Nique Clifford entered their names into the transfer portal. This should come as no surprise considering the talent coming in next year would have given both of these guys a run for their playing time. 

It should also be noted that Da Silva has entered his name into the NBA draft while keeping the opportunity to return to Colorado, essentially testing the waters before fully committing one way or another. 

What’s Next?

The 2023-24 season is set to be a crucial point in this program’s history. With the potential return of Da Silva, Simpson, and a group of core players ready to take the leap combined with the level of talent coming in, next season could prove to be the best team Boyle has ever coached. Until then, we can only wait and see. 

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