Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tuesday Grab Bag: The 2015-16 Basketball Schedule is Announced

It's the end of an era in Denver: Troy Tulowitzki has been traded.  Now a Toronto Blue Jay (of all things), the one-time cornerstone of the franchise was shipped off late last night for Jose Reyes and a few pitching prospects.  It's not your traditional deadline deal in advance of free agency, as Tulo would've remained under contract into the next decade -- look at it as more of a salary dump/retooling in advance of a full-blown remodel of the team.
Tulo heads north of the border, and the Rox waive the white flag.
A long time coming, this move effectively closes the book on the 2007 Rockies squad that so captured the town's imagination. The fire sale probably won't stop with the dynamic shortstop, either.  As third baseman Nolan Arenado fears, Carlos Gonzalez is probably next as the LoDo franchise hammers down on the reset button. Get ready, Rox fans, it's about to get bumpy...

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Today in the bag, I'm talking the release of CU's non-conference schedule, an injury on the recruiting trail, and the 2015 Gold Cup.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tuesday Grab Bag: Golf!

Is there anything more American than Single-A baseball? As I found out recently, there really isn't.  In a setting such as a small farming community on a weekend evening, the old edifice of what once was still shines bright, and hearkens back to the Satuday Evening Post version of our collective zeitgeist.

Earlier this month, while on vacation in California's Central Valley, I devoted a significant amount of time to the pursuit of this quiet slice of Americana, and found it refreshing and vibrant.  Catching games in Modesto and Visalia (the Nuts and Rawhide, respectively), I became enamored by the encroaching smallness of the game I have always experienced on the grand stage. There was an earnest pride in these towns for the collections of never-will-be's assigned to their care; no shame or reservation under the knowledge that the players in front of them are decidedly minor league.  Glitz and glamour put aside, the interstitial moments were honest, with the advertising for local airport service to Sacramento, or the local farming family who had been sponsoring the team for years.  The cynical aspect of baseball was gone, replaced by something wholesome, organic.  No stream of stats, no monotonous bloviating from the color guy -- the big business of baseball made farm-to-table.
The scene in Visalia
There's something unique to truly cherish about baseball's minor league system.  Certainly, my love and passion for the game played a big part in my experience, and your mileage may vary, but I can't recommend small-town baseball enough.  Tiny, intimate stadiums offer cheap prices on beer and tickets.  The local boy scout troop carries the flag out to center field for the anthem. Players you can relate two (Visalia's shortstop wears the same cleats I do!) replace the preening mega-stars of the bigs.  If you're a real baseball fan, make some time for it the next time you're out and about. You won't regret it.

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Today in the bag, I'm talking a renewed rivalry, the British Open, and the Gold Cup.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Tuesday Grab Bag: The USWNT claims their third star in resounding fashion

I'm off on vacation this week, so there's little time left to dally on ephemera.  Straight to the action!

Today in the bag, I'm talking the Women's World Cup final, The Basketball Tournament, and some baseball thoughts.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tuesday Grab Bag: You really should be watching the Women's World Cup right now...

I'm still in a little shaken by the Xavier Johnson news -- this photo of him on a scooter is especially awkward. With XJ now out of the mix (at least for the rest of 2015), the Buffs are pegged to start the season without four of the six best players from a year ago, when before they were only expecting to be without one.  Ugh!

Ski's graduation is (obviously) not a surprise, but the twist transfers of Jaron Hopkins and Dustin Thomas loom even larger now that Xavier is hurt.  Those are veteran performers that could've been counted on to eat up extra minutes.  Now, the roster is left with a number of questions that we were not expecting them to have to answer.  I still believe that the program is in store for a bounce-back season, but I'm starting to wonder how high that bounce will be...

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Today in the bag, I'm talking the Women's World Cup, the NBA Draft, and Top Gear's melancholic farewell.

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Quick Post: XJ Tears Achilles

Just like the Daily Camera, in the wake of the news...

For the second time in as many weeks, BSN Denver's @RyanKoenigsberg was the first to bring BuffNation  dispiriting tidings. Colorado Basketball's Xavier Johnson has torn his Achilles tendon, and will be out for an extended amount of time.  The injury was sustained earlier this month during offseason workouts.  Coach Boyle reports that reparative surgery went well, and that recovery is already underway.
Air XJ has been grounded, for the time being.
According to this article from Philly.com, recovery time can usually be expected to last anywhere from 6-9 months, leaving the Buffs without their star wing until at least the start of conference play. (For his part, this is the time frame XJ is shooting for) Realistically, there's a very good chance that this injury has cost the senior to be the entirety of his 2015-16 campaign before true summer even started.

It's a blow.  A big blow.  Recovery was already a buzzword for BasketBuffs, with the fan base looking forward to a bounce-back season after 2014-15's losing malaise.  Now that recovery is also physical, rather than just results-oriented.  The three year veteran can play a number of positions, is a nightmare to guard when he's in form, and is 1st Team All-Pac-12 material - extremely difficult to replace.  To lose him before the season schedule is even finalized alters the landscape significantly.

If there's any silver lining to this, there is the fact that the injury happened early in the cycle, giving the roster and coaching staff plenty of time to adjust to life without Johnson.  'Tweener wing/forwards like Wes Gordon, Tre'Shaun Fletcher, George King, and Kenan Guzonjic will see their projected roles adjusted, and minutes increased.  Their summer needs to be busy and productive.

The real question I have is: what does the future hold for Johnson?  Will he still want to play in Black & Gold next winter? This was to be his last collegiate campaign, and it's anyone's guess at this point as to what his plans will be post-recovery.  Assuming he can return to form, there's the prospect of pro ball (domestic or international) or a transfer out of the program for his final year of eligibility. However, should he stick in Boulder, as friend of the blog @TZiskBuff points out, the 2017 roster could be overloaded with veteran talent.

Get well soon, XJ!  I hope to see you back at the CEC!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tuesday Grab Bag: Summer has arrived

Summer has finally started to heat up the Boulder Valley, leaving me, much like Morbo, pleased, but sticky. I know!  How bout trying to stay cool with some extra cool basketball links!  Friend of the blog Adam Butler has a write-up on the new basketball rules that is well worth your time. Still not enough?  The New York Times has a fascinating piece up on the Triangle Offense.  That'll kill some time as the sun slowly slips down behind the mountains. Both best enjoyed with a Manhattan and some shade; you're welcome.

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Today in the bag, I'm talking Josh Tupou, the Women's World Cup, and The US Open.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tuesday Grab Bag: *repeated blasts from the hockey horn*

I'm not going to lie, it's been a little rough in the wake of last night's celebrations. So, without further adieu, it's straight to the action.  In today's bag, I'm talking My Blackhawks securing yet another crown, the Warriors closing in on one of their own, and the US Women in the World Cup.

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