Make no mistake, this is a business trip for the Colorado men’s basketball team. A long one, sure, but a business trip nonetheless.
However, it begins with some historical and cultural lessons.
After opening the season with a solid home win over UC Riverside and celebrating the addition of five-star recruit Cody Williams on National Signing Day, the Buffaloes begin a two-week, five-game journey Friday night in the program’s first visit to Grambling State University.
The matchup is part of the inaugural round of the Legacy Series, an off-season agreement between the Pac-12 conference and the historically black colleges and universities of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. The Buffs will likely face a rough environment as the Tigers host a power conference for the first time. But the day also begins with a visit to the Eddie G. Robinson Museum, which honors Grambling’s legendary former football coach’s contributions on and off the field.
It will offer a few teaching points to begin an extended journey where just one of the points is keeping up with classwork to test the focus of the buffs.
“We sat down maybe a few days ago and learned about the history of HBCUs, so we brought that knowledge to bear on this trip,” said CU wing Nique Clifford, who is from Colorado Springs. “We know how much it means to us to go on this journey and learn a lot of history off the pitch. So that’s going to be a really cool experience, just seeing their culture, seeing their campus and seeing how different it is from where we are every day. I am definitely looking forward to this piece of it.”
Grambling State opened the season with an 82-57 win over Division II UNT Dallas on Monday, and the Tigers will surely be eager to take on a Pac-12 foe at their own gym. However, the Legacy Series showdown could also offer the Buffs an opportunity to reflect on a journey that will soon become far more challenging.
After Friday’s game, the Buffs fly to Nashville where they face No. 11 Tennessee compete in what is considered a matchup on a neutral floor. CU then travels to South Carolina and begins Thursday’s Myrtle Beach Invitational against UMass. A possible second-round opponent for the Nov. 18 Buffs is Texas A&M, the country’s unofficial No. 26 preseason team, which is the top team earning votes in the AP preseason top 25 in other countries.
Grambling brings back its top two scorers from last year in guards Cameron Christon and Tra’Michael Moton, but the Tigers finished 12-20 last season and finished sixth in the SWAC preseason poll.
“A lot of talented kids on this team. But they’re like a lot of teams in college basketball — they’re trying to figure out the pieces,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “You have some transfers. They have a bunch of guys who sat out last year. They have some returning children. They’re kind of still in the process of putting it all together.
“They had a chance against a Division II team and won convincingly. We had a chance against Riverside. I wouldn’t say that we won convincingly. It was a 10-point game with a minute to go but we went for the win. And now it’s time to hit the road. We make history, they make history. They want to hit us. We want to beat them. It’s time to go down with our hard hats on.”
CU Buffs Men’s Basketball at the Grambling State Tigers
TIP: Friday, 6 p.m. MT, Hobby Assembly Center, Grambling, La.
TELEVISION/RADIO: TV — ESPN+. Radio—KHOW 630AM.
RECORDS: Colorado 1-0 (21-12 last season); Grumbling 1-0 (12-20 last season).
TRAINER: Colorado – Tad Boyle Season 13 (255-155, 311-221 total). Grambling State – Donte’ Jackson Season 6 (76-68 on Grambling and Division I overall).
KEY PLAYERS (stats 2021-22): Colorado – F Tristan da Silva, Jr., 9.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 0.373 3 point percentage; G. Nique Clifford, Jr., 6.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg; G KJ Simpson, Sun., 7.4 ppg, 2.7 apg. rumbling state – G Cameron Christon, 6-6, Gr., 13.1 ppg, 0.402 3-point percent; G Tra’Michael Moton, 6-1, Sr., 10.5 ppg, 3.4 apg; G. Shawndarius Cowart, 6-3, Sr., 8.0 pp.
REMARKS: The teams have met once before, with CU posting a 93-47 home win on December 29, 2007. Richard Roby poured in 25 points for the Buffs, while Cory Higgins made 7-for-11s with 15 points, six assists, four rebounds and three steals… While Mark Johnson made the play-by-play call for CU soccer in Los Angeles handled at USC #8, local announcer Santoria Black will handle the call along with usual CU analyst Scott Wilke. Johnson is scheduled to line up against No. 11 Tennessee for Sunday’s game in Nashville… Carte’Are Gordon, a 6-foot-9 junior collegiate transfer from Northwest Florida Community College, recorded a double-double (18 points, 14 rebounds ). ) in his Grambling debut on Monday.