Utah Valley Wolverines vs. Colorado Buffaloes Pick & Prediction MARCH 19th 2023

Stadium: Coors Events Center Boulder
Logo Utah Valley Wolverines
Logo Colorado Buffaloes

144.5o -110
-4.5 -103



Colorado expected to be playing at New Mexico in the second round of the NIT but instead they are hosting upstart Utah Valley on Sunday night in Boulder, Colo.

The Wolverines (26-8) pulled off an impressive upset of the second-seeded Lobos, 83-69, on Wednesday night to set up a matchup with Colorado. Utah Valley won't be intimidated by the altitude or the venue, either; the Wolverines have gone 11-5 on the road this season.

If Justin Harmon can repeat his performance from the first round of the NIT then Utah Valley has a chance to keep its season going. Harmon had a career-high 32 points in the win over New Mexico and earned the praise of head coach Mark Madsen.

"I was really proud of Justin Harmon," Madsen said. "Ever since he's come to campus, the wins have been stacking up for us. He's a winner and came out (Wednesday night) locked in. He brings our team a Chicago toughness."

The third-seeded Buffaloes (18-16) have put a disappointing regular season behind them and are focusing on a run in the NIT. They started with a 65-64 win over Seton Hall on Tuesday night that came down to a defensive stop in the final moments.

Julian Hammond III scored the winning points on a layup with 20 seconds left off a slick feed from Jalen Gabbidon, a graduate transfer from Yale. Gabbidon has shaken off various injuries in his lone season with Colorado to keep his last year of eligibility going.

He is determined to get the most out of his final college games.

"This is it. I'm going to put everything out there. If I have a rough shooting day, so be it," Gabbidon said. "I'm going to do everything I can with the time on the floor -- grabbing boards, playing defense, trying to get other guys shots. Just doing anything I can to win games. That's all that matters."

The winner of Sunday night's matchup will play fourth-seeded Cincinnati in the quarterfinals and be a victory away from advancing to Las Vegas for the NIT semifinals.

--Field Level Media

Utah Valley Wolverines
Colorado Buffaloes

Utah Valley Wolverines vs. Colorado Buffaloes Recap MAR 19TH 2023

Trey Woodbury had 25 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, Justin Harmon scored 18 points and Utah Valley beat third-seeded Colorado 81-69 in the second round of the NIT in Boulder, Colo., on Sunday night.

Le'Tre Darthard scored 13 points and Aziz Bandaogo added 12 points for Utah Valley, which will host Cincinnati in the quarterfinals on Wednesday night.

Lawson Lovering scored a career-high 21 points, Ethan Wright had 17 and Tristan da Silva finished with 12 for the Buffaloes (18-17).

The Wolverines (27-8) led by five early but Colorado rallied to go up 32-27 late in the first half. Utah Valley went on an 11-3 run to go back in front, but Wright's 3-pointer in the final minute of the period tied it at 38 at intermission.

Bandaogo opened the second half with a dunk to spark a 10-2 run for the Wolverines. Wright made a 3-pointer, but Woodbury hit two jumpers to increase the lead to 54-46 with 14:01 left.

The Buffaloes grabbed momentum when Lovering made a hook shot in the lane and da Silva made two layups and a free throw to cut it to 54-53 with 12:31 remaining.

Harmon ended the surge with a layup, but da Silva converted a three-point play to tie it at 56. The teams traded baskets before Utah Valley made layups on consecutive possessions, Colorado turned it over and Woodbury hit a deep 3-pointer to make it 65-58.

After trading empty possessions, Wright's three-point play got the Buffaloes within four with just over six minutes left, Bandaogo dunked and da Silva made a layup to make it 67-63. Darthard made a short jumper, Nique Clifford split a pair of free throws and Woodbury hit a driving layup to increase the lead to 71-64 with four minutes remaining.

Lovering made a free throw, Woodbury hit a running layup, da Silva missed jumpers on consecutive possessions and Harmon scored a fastbreak layup to make it a 10-point game with 1:56 left.

Wright made a floater and Harmon made two free throws to make it 77-67, and the Wolverines closed it out from there.

--Field Level Media