"I think it's been remarkable. When you lose your leader (Dinwiddie) and a guy that so much of your team runs through, I think that sometimes guys can lose confidence, and it's really tough to get it back mid-season. It's one thing if it happens in the preseason; guys can kind of adjust in their role, but when you're doing it in the middle of the year... I think it's really tough. So I'm really impressed. The guys have played hard, they've played with confidence. We're going to talk about it in GameDay tomorrow, the confidence that Xavier (Johnson) (showed) after the first game against Arizona. I've been really, really impressed with everything that Tad's done since he's been here, particularly this year."
In your experience, what have student sections done to really stand out and catch your eye?
"Be clever. I love the signs that they bring in on Saturday mornings that are clever. Anybody can be mean-spirited, vulgar, coarse, or whatever. But when they come in and they're clever--even if it's busting chops; I'm not saying they have to be sweet and kind... If there's a little edge to it, that's fine. I like that. Usually with the signs, whether it's teasing us about something or teasing an opponent about something, those are the ones that usually catch my eye, not so much what you hear at a lot of the games. Like last night, there were some intense fans at North Carolina who would have made a sailor blush, I think."
What's your impression of the student section at CU so far?
"They create a great atmosphere. I was watching a game on Wednesday night against Arizona State, and it seems like an intense, raucous environment in which to play. When you turn on games and home games here, there are some places you watch on television and it feels flat, and there are other places that have a little edge. And this place seems to have an edge to me when you watch the games, and I think the players feed off that. Whether you believe crowds are part of the game and part of the atmosphere, however you want to differentiate that, I think that guys want to play places where there's some electricity, and certainly this is one of those places."
Do you think Tad Boyle is starting to enter the national conversation for one of the best coaches in the country?
"I don't think there's any question about it. It takes a little while to build to that, and what cements that more than anything else is making a tournament run. We talked earlier about what he did since Spencer's been hurt and what he is doing, and it's remarkable. But to get into the national consciousness, you have to make a run in the tournament. You can call it different, unfair, and it probably is unfair because you're talking about a one-shot deal, and it's certainly a far more accurate measure to see how a guy does over the course of a season rather than how he does in a one-shot deal where some guy wakes up with a cold and doesn't feel well, or his jumper's off and you lose, something like that. It's a more accurate measure. But our sport has become so fixated on the tournament and so much of your success as a coach and as a program is measured by what you do in that tournament that for it to become part of the national consciousness, that's probably all the standing of recognition that you're talking about in what he gets now."
What's your perception of CU's NCAA tournament profile right now?
"I think they are (in) right now. I was looking at our basketball power index (BPI) rankings on the way out there and their record, with and without their top players--we differentiate that both for your team and for your opponent--their record's pretty set. I think that really gives the tournament selection committee a pretty good picture of what they are now, and I think they're a tournament team. I think the Pac-12 is an excellent league, I think Lunardi has six Pac-12 teams in the tournament right now. Certainly, Colorado is in it, and I think it would be a situation, in my judgment anyway, that they would have to play their way out rather than play their way in."
Do you think a win tomorrow would solidify it?
"I think a win tomorrow would be big. Arizona is a different team now, too, without (Brandon) Ashley. They don't score as easily as they did, and it's not the same thing beating them now as it was when they were full-strength, as it is for Colorado. I think, given the fact that if I want to go back to those metrics, depending on what you think those, they're no. 1 in the BPI. So I think a win, even a home win, over Arizona tomorrow would be a huge gold star on the resume for sure. I don't mean to diminish any other team, but they're still going to have to take 68. That's getting pretty far down the ladder sometimes, and I think, to me, Colorado is solidly in that group."
What's the difference between coming here and say, Chapel Hill?
"I can't really make that judgment because I haven't been here for basketball. I've been here for football once before, but I won't really know. That's a better question to ask me after the show tomorrow morning. I've tried to bend over backwards not to have any West Coast or West of the Mississippi bias or anti-bias, but a few years ago it was really driven home to me. We went to (California), and I had this perception with the three-hour time difference, so you're asking students to show up at 5:30 in the morning. A campus with the reputation that Cal has, not very bright, but maybe a little too cool to come out and do something like that. I said, 'This will be the worst atmosphere we've ever had.' I'm walking up the ramp at Haas Pavilion, it was like 6:00 in the morning Pacific time, and I hear this roar and thunder of students stomping the bleachers, and it was an unbelievably crazy scene. I was like, 'So much for that.' I was worried about the campus reputation and all of that kind of stuff, but I don't worry about that here. I've seen so many games on television here that I know the kind of support they get. The only question is will they go to bed before they go to the show tomorrow morning or will they get up early to go to the show? But I know they'll be there either way."