Recently CHN writer Jon Teitel was able to catch up with Colorado guard Carlon Brown, who helped lead the Buffaloes to the Pac-12 tournament title last weekend and was named tournament MVP. Next up for the Buffaloes is a matchup with six-seed UNLV in a South Region matchup.
But before you read you probably should watch this.
Jon Teitel: You played three years at Utah before transferring to Colorado. Why did you transfer, and what do you remember about UNLV from your old days in the Mountain West?
Carlon Brown: I felt that transferring was the best decision for my career due to the direction that the program in Utah was going. UNLV has a new coaching staff this year, but their core unit is still there so they are very dangerous.
JT: Alec Burks missed a shot at the buzzer in a one-point loss to Alabama in the 2011 NIT semifinals. How devastating was that loss, and what did you learn from it that will help you in this postseason?
CB: I did not get to experience that trip, but regardless of what tournament you are in you have to play to the best. That is the downside of March. You can get blown out if you do not play your game.
JT: Your team was picked to finish 10th in the Pac-12 preseason media poll. What were your own expectations going into the start of this season?
CB: We did not put any expectations on ourselves but every team wants to win a conference title. We obviously used it as motivation.
JT: In 18 conference games you were 8-1 at home and 3-6 on the road. Are you concerned that your team has not played great away from home this year?
CB: No. We showed this past week that it is simply about how bad you want to win the game. We had the mindset that we would not be denied.
JT: You lost to a pair of tourney teams back in November (Wichita State and Colorado State), but beat Cal by double-digits twice in the past two weeks. Do you feel like you are playing your best basketball of the season right now?
CB: The way we have played the last four games speaks for itself. We are looking to keep moving forward.
JT: Your first round Pac-12 tournament win over Utah gave Colorado back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in school history. What has the reaction been like from the fans as you have started to build a winning tradition?
CB: The fans love it. Some were even joking that we are a basketball school now! It was an amazing accomplishment and showed how far we have come as a team.
JT: You scored 13 points en route to being named conference tournament MVP in a two-point win over Arizona in the title game. How was your team able to hang on for the win, and where does your huge dunk in the final minute rank among the best of your career?
CB: We just believed in ourselves and what got us there in the first place: defense. Our goal is to hold teams under 41 FG%, and we were able to do that against Arizona. We took some bad shots but never wavered in our confidence. I have not had time to sit back and admire all my dunks, but it was good to help my team out in crunch time.
JT: Coach Tad Boyle won a school-record 24 games in his first year last season, and got the school in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2003 this season. What makes him such a good coach, and what is the most important thing you ever learned from him?
CB: He has a good balance on and off the court. He knows when we need a break and when we need to practice harder. He has been a great coach for me, and I wish that I could have played for him for all four of my years.
JT: You will be playing in Albuquerque, which is less than 500 miles from Boulder. Do you anticipate a lot of fans making the trip to cheer for you in person?
CB: Definitely. It is only about a seven-hour drive so we hope a lot of fans and alums can be there.
JT: How do you feel about your seed, and how do you think you matchup against UNLV?
CB: We were not expecting that high of a seed, somewhere between 8 and 12. We are thankful for the opportunity. The Rebels are also a good team, so it should be a good game.