Led by All-American sophmore Chauncey Billups, the Colorado Buffaloes entered the 1996-1997 season unranked before 11-5 in Big 12 play. Billups averaged 19-5-5 and was named to the All Big 12 1st team. Colorado earned the #9 seed in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament. Colorado's first NCAA appearance in nearly 3 decades.
Waiting for them was #8 seed Indiana and their legendary coach Bob Knight. The Buffs jumped out to a 15-3 lead and never looked back, defeating the Hoosiers 80-62. Billups put on a show scoring 24 points in an offensive flurry.
Colorado would lose in the next round of the tournament, falling 73-56 to #1 North Carolina and Dean Smith.