Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday Grab Bag: A busy week

I don't know if you noticed, but this has been a huge week for sports.  We saw champions crowned in college basketball, the wrapping up of the regular season in hockey (congrats to the Avs), ramping up of baseball action across MLB, a little thing called the Masters, and spring games throughout the college football landscape.  Not too shabby for a random week in April.  Oh, and I turned 30 on Friday. Yeah, I'd say there's a little bit going on.

Today in the bag, I've managed to condense all that action into a few quick blurbs on UConn's double, CU's Spring Game and stadium expansion, and the Masters.

Click below for the bag...

Monday, April 7, 2014

Monday Grab Bag: A champion will be crowned

No time for idle chit-chat.  Straight onto today's bag...

Today I'm talking Final Four, Championship Monday, and the baseball series that has me missing the final.

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday Grab Bag: The Final Four is Set

I'm sorry to say it, but the women's season came to an end in El Paso Friday night, as they fell 68-60 to the host Miners in front of over 8,000 fans.  The ladies played well, especially considering the hostile environment.  Jamee Swan came off the bench to post a monster 15/7/2 line, but it just wasn't enough to sneak past UTEP and Kristine Vitola (22/5).  The wait for November has officially started in earnest across the Boulder campus.
2013-14 ends on a sour note.  From: the Prospector Daily
Much like with the men's team, this is going to be a very introspective offseason for the women.  They failed to live up to expectations in 2013-14, and have plenty of difficult questions to answer over the summer months.  Thankfully, there is more than enough talent staying on the roster, which gives me hope that the stumbles in January and February are just a blip on the radar, and that the program will continue to reclaim their glorious past.  Onwards and upwards...


Today in the bag, I'm talking about the excellent Elite Eight action from the weekend before reminding everyone that today is Opening Day for baseball.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tuesday Grab Bag: The Offseason Begins

I've been slightly ticked to see the reaction to Thursday's on-court mess in the NCAA Tournament.  All of a sudden, fans who wouldn't know a pick-and-roll from a hole in their head are questioning Coach Boyle, and offering their 'insight' on what's needed to 'fix' the team (Josh should take more jump shots, that'll end the double-teams -- LOL).

I guess this comes with the territory, especially in a state with citizens as obsessed with their own righteousness as Colorado.  CU Basketball is now a headline grabbing attraction, so their pratfalls will necessarily attract comments from the peanut gallery. As I've said often this year, we're now a basketball school stuck with a football fanbase.  At the very least, it's going to be interesting to see how BuffNation deals with the transition to life with an actual basketball power.

Regardless, let me assure the huddled masses that the program you've all just discovered is in good hands. Remember, it was only four years ago that CU was all offense, no defense with Cory and Alec running the show.  Granted a little health, the potential of a lucky attrition break, and the oncoming infusion of freshman talent, the Buffs should be back to their winning ways in 2015.


Today in the bag, I'm talking the quick exit from the Dance, the Sweet Sixteen, and the women progressing through the NIT.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

2014 NCAA Tournament Preview: PIttsburgh

Happy Tournament, BuffNation!

I hope we never get to the point that we as fans take for granted what seeing the name 'Colorado' in the field of 68 means.  This should be a joyous time for all true basketball fans, and, as the program continues to progress, and the Dance tickets become more and more common place, it would be a shame for us to lose perspective.  Anytime you make the Tournament is special, even when you've strung together more consecutive appearances than anyone else in your conference (*cough*).

So, enjoy tomorrow.  Take the opportunity to skip out on work and meet with your friends to cheer on the team.  It's America's national sporting holiday, after all, and, even if only for the briefest of moments, everyone's attention should be on Orlando and our Buffs.

Hit it, Barry!


Tip-off from the Amway Center in Orlando, FL is set for Thursday at approximately 11:40am MT.  Televised coverage can be found on both TBS and March Madness Live, with the radio call coming on 850 KOA.

Click below for the preview...

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tuesday Grab Bag: A Ticket to the Dance

I'm finally back from Vegas, fatter and poorer for my efforts.  The Pac-12 has the perfect setup at the MGM Grand, and I hope all parties involved do the right thing and keep the tournament in place for the foreseeable future.  It's a great venue for both the league and the teams, and it makes for an easily justifiable trip for the fans. If you haven't been either of the past two years, I highly suggest you start making plans for next March. You won't be sorry, I promise.


Today in the bag, I'm going to mostly talk NFL free agency... LOL, of course I'm not.  It's March, so I'm talking basketball and brackets, like a true, red-blooded American should.


Click below for the bag...

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Pac-12 Tournament Teaser: Day 4

VEGAS, The Pac-12 Tournament, March 15th --

Sometimes, you just have to tip your cap.

With a trip to the Pac-12 final on the line, CU ran up against their old nemesis, the Arizona Wildcats. A frightening site on any occasion, when invested they're capable of massacring teams with their elite-level defense. With tournament progression on the line, you better believe they were invested yesterday afternoon, leaving the Buffs little opportunity to steal a win. Despite an impressive first-half effort that saw Colorado tie the game up with 36 seconds to go, it was only ever a matter of time. Given halftime to adjust their defense, it was the Giant Death Robot that emerged from the locker room, essentially putting a lid on the rim, and forestalling any hopes of a CU miracle.  It quickly got out of hand, with Arizona waltzing down the stretch to a 63-43 win.
CU had nowhere to go against the dominating 'Cats D.  From: the BDC
The peripherals are a white-wash.  CU only shot 29% from the field for the game (under 23% for the second half), and were killed on the boards 41-25.  Over a stretch of almost 11 minutes from a Josh Scott layup early in the second half to a made jumper from Askia Booker with seven and a half minutes to go, Colorado would make only one other field goal. Yes, 'third quarter' offense from CU has been inconsistent at times, and non-existent at others, but I don't know what else they could've done yesterday. There was just nothing open, nothing easy, and CU succumbed to reality.

Individually, the Buffs were lead by the duo of Booker and Xavier Johnson.  Ski closed his strong performance in the tournament by providing 12/6 to lead the team in both scoring and rebounding.  All told, he put up 50/16/9 this week on 44% shooting and against only four turnovers, which I think merits inclusion on the all-tournament team.  XJ had a strong first half, which, coincidentally, allowed CU to have a strong first half, but let his emotions get the better of him after the break. A few quick fouls and a devastating block from Aaron Gordon all but erased the fiery Californian from the rest of the action.  Josh Scott was, again, largely absent, as quick double teams from the Wildcats left him no room to operate.  He's going to be getting those for the rest of his collegiate career, so his coaches and teammates are going to have to get creative in helping him make opponents pay when they send help.
Booker did the best he could to attack the stifling defense.  From: the BDC
There's no shame in saying this, but Arizona is just better.  Frighteningly better.  Even with Spencer Dinwiddie in the fold, there'd have been little chance of CU advancing yesterday afternoon.  Arizona has a once-in-a-generation type of defensive juggernaut at their disposal, and Colorado isn't nearly at the level to contend with it when real money is on the line.  The task of defeating the 'Cats will have to be left to better, more offensively potent competition...

... which brings me to the second semi-final of the day, when UCLA took on Stanford.  Just as the Wildcats have an elite-level defense, the Bruins are sickeningly good at getting buckets.  Last night they laid waste to the Cardinal, shooting a jaw-dropping 65% from the field en route to a 84-59 romp.  It sets up the matchup most had wanted to see all week, with the top-two teams in the league, who had clearly separated themselves throughout the regular season, set to battle each other for the league crown.  Hopefully, in a tournament that has featured a seemingly endless string of blowouts, the final has something interesting in store.


Today's Action

- #1 Arizona vs #2 UCLA - 4pm MT - Fox Sports 1 - 

It's the age-old question of what happens when an unstoppable force meets and unmovable object. Arizona's defense is the best I've seen live, and UCLA scores like an NBA team.  What happens when the two meet? I guess it's fitting that the final features a matchup of such diametrically opposed styles.

These two last met all the way back on January 9th.  If previous performance is any indication, we're in for a hell of a show, as the Wildcats only pulled away late in Pauley Pavilion to secure their 79-75 win.  As a credit to their scoring prowess, the Bruins were able to chip in over one point per possession back then, a feat which only Oregon and, surprisingly, Oregon St have been able to accomplish since.  If we're going to see an upset this afternoon, UCLA will have to put forth a similar effort.

I generally expect that the best defense will always win-out against the best offense.  The trope 'defense wins championships' is known throughout the sports world, and with good reason. Accordingly, I'm picking the Wildcats to win today.  They're giving six, which seems a little high to the point that I may have to get a little creative with my bets, but I'm too damn impressed by that Arizona defense to predict this one any other way.