Realignment notes: More from CU Buffs coaches on move to Big 12 Conference – The Denver Post

During Tad Boyle’s 13 seasons as the head coach of the Colorado men’s basketball team, the Buffaloes have played just three nonconference games in California.

That isn’t surprising, of course, given the Buffs have been part of the Pac-12 Conference, the home of four California teams, since Boyle’s second season in 2011-12. Yet given the success the Buffs have enjoyed recruiting-wise in California and particularly Southern California — Spencer Dinwiddie, Askia Booker, Xavier Johnson, Evan Battey and KJ Simpson all call Southern California home — it’s not turf Boyle’s program wants to abandon when CU moves into the Big 12 next year.

“Nonconference scheduling is so tricky now. It’s a year-to-year thing. I’m not ruling it out,” Boyle said of possible future nonconference games in California. “I’m not saying we won’t. It gets back to recruiting. If we’re recruiting a kid from California, and we’re able to play a game out there in front of his friends and family, we’d love to be able to do that. But I can’t guarantee that. It takes two to tango in nonconference scheduling.”

Under Boyle, the Buffs’ three nonconference games in California were at San Diego on Nov. 20, 2018; at Fresno State on Dec. 12, 2012; and at San Francisco in Boyle’s third game at CU on Nov. 20, 2010, a year before the Buffs’ move to the Pac-12. In the 13 seasons prior to Boyle’s arrival, and prior to the Pac-12 move when California trips became part of the routine, CU played six nonconference games in California, including two at California and one at Stanford.

“I haven’t even thought about what I’m looking forward to (in the Big 12),” Boyle said. “We know it’s going to happen down the road. I’m just concerned with next year’s team and next year’s schedule. I’m not looking too far ahead.”

Recruiting strategy

Boyle said his program likely will experience a shift of recruiting focus from California to Texas with the move to the Big 12. But his counterpart from the CU women’s team, head coach JR Payne, isn’t certain her program’s approach on the recruiting trail will alter.

“I don’t think it changes that much,” Payne said. “We’ve always felt like Colorado was in Big 12 country, but playing in Pac-12. Our first few years here it was a challenge from a recruiting standpoint to figure out what our home base should be outside Colorado. When you look at our roster over the last few years, we have players from all over the country. I do love to coach Midwest players and have had a lot of success with players like that.”

Travel times

While announcing the move to the Big 12 last week, CU athletic director Rick George offered the idea the travel strains generally will be less arduous for Colorado’s athletes than in the Pac-12. Women’s soccer coach Danny Sanchez, who spent four seasons at Wyoming, never believed the Pac-12 travel was overly demanding but admitted the mostly-shorter trips in the Big 12 will be advantageous.

“Travel has never been an issue,” Sanchez said. “Pullman is a tough place to get to, but I coached four years in Laramie, Wyoming. You’re two hours before you even start going anywhere. So I think it’s all relative. We’ll have some travel games, but I don’t think it’s anything we haven’t seen in the Pac-12.

“I think people look for things. Now, if you’re in upstate New York and you’re going to play San Diego every week, that’s one thing. But I think really when you look at it, we’re talking about one, maybe two conference trips a year that are kind of far. And most are closer. So that’s not a factor.”

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