Colorado Buffaloes historic season comes to heartbreaking end in NCAA Tournament

Colorado Buffaloes center Eddie Lampkin Jr. (44) reacts after scoring during NCAA Men's Basketball
Colorado Buffaloes center Eddie Lampkin Jr. (44) reacts after scoring during NCAA Men's Basketball / Alex Martin / Journal and Courier / USA

Early Sunday afternoon the local March Madness dreams were all but extinguished as the second NCAA Tournament team from the state of Colorado was eliminated. The University of Colorado Boulder men’s basketball team fought hard but fell to the second-seeded Marquette Golden Eagles 81-77.

It was a back and forth affair and they did the home fans proud, but it wasn’t enough. This ends a historic season for the program as their 26 wins were the most in school history. The team also had their best winning percentage since the 1960s. 

Losing players to the NBA

Unfortunately, the loss will be compounded by the loss of multiple key players from this core. Tristan Da Silva and J’Vonne Hadley are seniors and Cody Williams is likely to leave for the NBA. They could still potentially return a strong team around KJ Simpson and Eddie Lampkin, but those are some major losses.

Williams, the younger brother of Jalen Williams, the rising star for the Oklahoma City Thunder, is a projected lottery pick in the 2024 NBA Draft and seems sure to depart the program. He didn’t put up massive statistical production for the Buffs, but his combination of size and skill on both ends was a clear asset as a Freshman.

Da Silva is another player who may have worked himself into the lottery. He came on strong down the stretch of his senior year and looked like a guy who could step onto an NBA team immediately. The 23 year old was a stabilizing presence for Colorado who will be sorely missed.

Senior leaders returning?

The good news for the Buffaloes is that they hope to return their leading scorer and assister in Simpson, who posted 19.7 points and 4.8 assists per game this year. He notably hit the game winning shot for the Buffs in their round one win over Florida as well.

Simpson will be a senior next year and should he return, he’d be one of the best point guards in the country. The team should also get their leading rebound back in Lampkin, who pulled down 7.0 rebounds per game this season.

If those two players return, they’d provide great senior leadership and an inside-outside game that would be lethal at the college level. Hopefully, they do, and this team will be able to play deep into March again next season.