Colorado should be helped by moving west

Colorado has finished last in the Big 12 three times since its previous winning season in 2006, but change is in the thin air. It is now a done deal that the school will be in the Pac-12 next year.

Before making the move, the Buffaloes hope to move toward becoming a relevant basketball program.

With an NBA-caliber talent in Alec Burks and a new coach in Tad Boyle, they've got a chance to do just that and go out strong in their final year in the Big 12.

And now that the Pac-12 move-in date of 2011-12 has been settled, Boyle can start definitively selling to recruits the image of playing on the West Coast when for years Colorado might have seemed out of place as the Big 12's western-most school.

Already the Buffaloes have three California natives on the roster, with two of them excited about getting a chance to play in their native Southern California next season.

Freshman Shannon Sharpe is fired up, and after senior Carlon Brown sits out this season following a transfer from Utah, he'll be able to play at home as well.

To get an idea of the power of being in a conference closer to the recruiting base, consider Brown told the Boulder Daily Camera that while weighing transfer options he was looking at Pac-10 possibility for CU as early as April -- two months before the conference even formally extended an invitation.

"I remember on my visit asking the faculty athletic rep what the likelihood of Utah and Colorado joining the Pac-10 was because I had heard that talk for the past couple of years," Brown said. "It's not really a shock to me. It's exciting, I'm sure, for both institutions. I'm looking forward not only to playing Utah but playing teams from Los Angeles, where I'm from."

Brown, who declared for the NBA draft after leading the Utes in scoring as a junior, paid attention. So will future West Coast recruits now that they know the Buffaloes are coming to town soon.

It's the kind of momentum that Boyle can only accentuate with a solid final Big 12 go-around this season.