Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Quick Post: On Non-conference Attendance

I massively underestimated the CU fanbase. 

Back in September, I hoped for a 15% bump in non-conference attendance.  In fact, Buffs fans swarmed the gates of the CEC to the tune of a 49% increase over the past 4-year average I was basing projections on.  What I gingerly asked for was 33,500 in total attendance; what I got was 42,418 for a respectable average of 6,060.  That number is huge for this program, and far outpaces the previous best during my decade in the Foothills (4,416 in '02-'03).

Congrats Buffs fans, you've done your part so far this season.  Keep up the good work, and keep supporting Our Buffs!

I now owe everyone a coke.

Utah Basketball Preview #1

With non-conference play out of the way in victorious 58-point fashion, our collective basketball attention may now fully focus on our new Pac-12 brothers.  Much like football, our new conference has been kind, keeping the powers of the Pac-12 off the dawn of the conference slate, allowing the Buffs to ease into Pac-12 play.  Powers such as UCLA, Arizona and Cal can wait, the Buffs kick off their inaugural Pac-12 schedule with struggling "travel partner" Utah.
Coach Boyle and staff didn't have to work too hard last night, but now the bright lights are on.  From: the BDC
The newly reformed athletic rivalry, forced upon our two schools through geography and logistics, got off to a rousing start for those of us wearing black and gold tinted sunglasses.  Barely over a month ago I returned from Salt Lake City, having seen CU handle the favored Utes on the gridiron.

The basketball version of the series will almost assuredly pale in comparison to the football scene, which saw Utah fans throwing stadium detritus at CU Head Coach Jon Embree and the Buffs bench.  However, it is none-the-less important that CU kick off conference play on a high note with a victory over their "rival."
Sad Ute is Sad.  From: the BDC
While the football rivalry, which I would like to remind everyone recently saw a Buffs victory, has a storied, albeit disjointed, history, the basketball version of the rivalry is as historically insignificant as the CU-Nebraska hardwood contests were.  CU has only played Utah a relatively scant 35 times on the court (with CU owning a 20-15 head-to-head advantage; a recent 4-year series ended split 2-2), and those contests rarely determined anything of significance.  This Rumble in the Rockies is mostly mute.

But that's not a fault of the Utes.  Utah is a traditional power, despite their losing record with CU, and one of the premier programs in the Rocky Mountain Region.  36 conference titles, 26 Tournament appearances, 15 Sweet Sixteen berths, and 4 Final Four runs adorn the rafters at the Jon M. Huntsman Center; truly a banner collection to be envious of.  If CU is the regional football behemoth, Utah is the basketball counterpart.
The Keith Van Horn era is long past, considering the current struggles in SLC.
But, all of that is in the past.  A new conference offers opportunities to create a new status quo.  The BasketBuffs begin their version of the new era Saturday afternoon at the CEC.  If you're worried about making your New Years Eve party, don't worry, tip-off is scheduled for 4pm.  Plenty of time to properly support the Buffs and still make your drunken revelry.  The Buffs will need your help, as the students are still out on break, and their feisty presence will be sorely missed.  If you absolutely can't make it up to Boulder, feel free to check out the proceedings on ROOT Sports.

Click below for my preview...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Quick Post: Teasing New Orleans

The non-conference portion of the schedule concludes tonight with a tussle against the Privateers from New Orleans.  Tip-off is scheduled for 7:07, and ROOT Sports, for some reason I can't comprehend, decided to broadcast the proceedings (which is good news for UNO fans, as this is their only televised game on the schedule).  If you can't break out of your post-Christmas malaise to hump in up to Boulder, at least you can watch the action on the tube.

Almost as an afterthought, CU scheduled this game at the last minute to fill a nine day gap in the schedule.  This manner of scheduling is reminiscent of last season, when a half-hearted effort against Western New Mexico kept the engines warm as the team waited for conference play to begin.  A resulting 3-0 start to conference play ensured that we'd see a repeat of that scheduling this season; so bring on the Privateers.
That's a mighty fine looking logo you got there.
As we all know from religiously watching West Wing, a Privateer is essentially a pirate whose actions are sanctioned by a government; they also formed the backbone of our colonial navy, and can be your qualifying family member for organizations such as the Daughters of the American Revolution.
(Related clip)

I post that ridiculous clip because I'm stalling for time; previewing New Orleans would be like previewing a battle between a hammer and a nail.  These Privateers from the University of New Orleans, as I've mentioned several times, are destined for lesser things, as the school moves its athletic programs to Division II.  As a result, they should pose no challenge; schedule filler in its rawest form.

 I could try to justify some imminent danger posed by UNO, but realistically there's no chance of them pulling an upset tonight.  Oh, sure, the struggling Buffs could lay an egg and let the Privateers lead for a few minutes, but tonight will end in a CU victory, one way or the other.  Seriously, if CU somehow loses to these guys, they might as well close up shop for the season.

CU 79 - UNO 51


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tuesday Grab Bag: I'm Back

I'm back from the 50th state and ready to get back to the grindstone.  How was it?  Well, how do you think Hawai'i was?  The place is ridiculously fantastic.

I mostly stayed away from civilization, perched on the northern side of Kaua'i.  For a week I was blissfully separated from the major tourist areas, and I was granted suitable quiet to hear myself think for the first time in months.  More importantly, I saw exactly zero Husker or Ram fans through the trip; that is to say I enjoyed my time immensely.

Hawai'i is a fantasy land, but it's back to reality and the hoops programs at CU.  I come back to a men's program, despite a pair of victories, seemingly on the rocks, and a womens team riding a perfect wave into conference play.

Today in the bag I'll recap the past few weeks of Buffs Hoops and tease the rest of the week.

Click below for the bag...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

UPDATED: Site News: I'm on vacation

Starting tomorrow morning at 3:37AM, I'm going on vacation.  Since I take the full 'City Slickers' approach to taking time off, I'm getting away from it all, and headed far away from things like computers and websites.  Specifically, I'm going here:
That's right, Hawai'i bitches!  And on Kauai, away from everyone.

I'll just have to trust the Buffs to wax Cal State Bakersfield and Texas Southern in my absence.  If they can't, I may never come back.

Barring a home loss disaster of epic proportions, which then causes me to question my loyalty, I'll be back in action around December 27th, ready to preview the exciting matchup between CU and the soon to be Division III New Orleans Privateers.

A Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season to you all!  Go Buffs!


(Update 12/15/11) - I found out that UNO is going to Div II, rather than Div III.  They had originally planned to drop to the non-scholarship Division III, but re-considered after adding football.  I don't know why I find that so interesting, but I do.  Still, they won't be D-I any more after this season.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The 12 Days of Buffs-mas

A Merry Buffs-mas to you all!  As the calendar runs short of pages, I thought it would be appropriate to present a contrived holiday post.  This is a list of what I want to find under my tree this year.

Click below for the contrived fun...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The feel-good basketball story in Boulder

In happier news...

While the mens team has been struggling with some identity issues, their hoops playing partners in the CEC have been tearing up the court.  Off to their best start since the early 90's, the CU womens basketball team is lapping their male counterparts in the early goings of the season.  Sitting pretty at 8-0 on the year, they're lead by second year coach Linda Lappe, and are starting to remind me of the good ole days when the womens program could be counted on for a guaranteed Tournament appearance each season.
Coach Lappe and her staff have the squad headed in the right direction.  From: the BDC
The renaissance has been lead by the stellar play of junior Chucky Jeffery.  The 5-10 guard from The Springs is averaging close to a double-double with 18.5/9 each night, and her performance is allowing the program to ease through the pain of losing all-time leading scorer Brittany Spears.
Chucky has been a do-it-all sensation for the Buffs this year.  From: the BDC
Supporting her efforts are a pair of fresh(wo)men who are part of the vanguard class in a wave of quality incoming talent brought in by Coach Lappe.  Guard Lexy Kresl and forward Jen Reese have combined for 20/9 each night, and look to be setting a tone of quality performance for years to come.  Add their play to an incoming recruiting class rated as one of the top-20 in the country, and the future is very bright for the ladies up on campus.
All I'm saying is that Lexy and the rest of the team know how to beat CSU on the road; time to give them some long over-due credit.  From: BDC
Barring an epic collapse against Weber St this Saturday, CU will finish the home portion of their non-conference schedule with a crystal clean 9-0 record.  Only a trip to the UTSA Holiday Classic would then stand between the team and a perfect run through their non-con slate.  While non-conference play for the Buffs has been filled with less than stellar competition, a perfect record is nothing to scoff at.

While we'll really see what this team is made of come the start of conference play in January, it's good to note that the Buffs have clocked each of their eight previous opponents by double figures.  All told, they average a winning margin of almost 20 points/game.  If you're going to play questionable competition, you might as well smack them around a little bit.

If you're ready to be caught up with the so-far perfect Buffs (and you should be), you should check them out this Saturday against the WSU Wildcats.  If you can't make it to the CEC on Saturday, you won't have another chance to see them play in person until after the Holidays, as the next home game is January 12th against Cal.

Keep up the good work, ladies!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday Grab Bag: Butthurt Monday

And a happy Butthurt Monday to you all!  Today I'll be talking a truly awful performance by the CU basketball team, My Bears trying desperately to lose (and succeeding!), and the goings on the the rest of the college basketball world.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, December 9, 2011

Quick Post: Teasing Wyoming

Continuing CU's campaign through the Mountain West, the Wyoming Cowboys are coming to Boulder tonight.  Tip-off is set for 7pm, and the game can be seen on Root Sports if you can't make it up to the CEC.

It's always interesting in the early going to run up against a lower-conference opponent with few losses on their schedule, but with few solid wins under their belt.  You never can tell how good they really are. Wyoming is just another example of a mid-major feasting on small conference fodder in the early going. 

Their best win so far on the season is probably a 19-point thrashing of Northern Colorado up in Laramie, and the rest of their schedule is ripe with rankings roughly equivalent to the weight of an average NFL lineman. Add to that the fact that every game, except their lone loss to Wisconsin-Green Bay, was played at home.  While they have been slicing through their schedule, beating opponents by at least double figures in all of their wins, their early season schedule has been crazy soft, so don't be too impressed by their 8-1 record.  CU is their biggest non-conference opponent, by far.
Coach Larry Shyatt hasn't lead the Pokes against stellar competition this season.
As a result, I can't really delve into their stats too much.   On Kenpom, their numbers look great, but it all comes with a massive scheduling grain of salt.  The one thing that does stick out is the lack of second chances against bad competition, but that may be a result of not having many chances on the offensive glass as they're shooting a lights-out 54% from inside the arc.  Defense has been solid, so far, with opponents being held to an eFG of 40% (good for 8th in the nation).  If only they'd played someone better than the likes of Maryland-Eastern Shore and Portland St, I could tell you what that really means.

The key player on the team is probably Luke Martinez.  The 6-4 junior shoots the three all night long, having attempted 50 treys already in the brief season.  The bad news for CU is he makes 46% of those 3's, creating a problem for the Buffs shaky perimeter pick defense.  Three times this season he's attempted nine or more 3's in a game, and I expect nothing less this evening.
Martinez is a serious outside threat.
Dishing Martinez the ball is the diminutive JayDee Luster.  The 5-9 senior from San Diego has a ridiculous 37:5 assist to turnover ratio going this season.  You may recognize his back-up, Riley Grabau, from his time leading Boulder High to the state finals last season.
JayDee Luster will spend all evening dishing the ball off.
Not knowing how Wyoming will play against "real" competition on the road, I have no choice but to pick the Buffs to win.  Wyoming has lost 23 straight road games, and the Buffs are just too good at home in non-con play.  Martinez dropping bombs all night long will surely give me indigestion, but CU should prevail again if the free throws don't crater after Wednesday's stellar performance.  A few defensive stops towards the end could make or break the game.

CU 73 - Wyoming 67


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Quick Post: On the departure of Mark Buehrle

You probably don't care, but I don't care that you don't care.  Mark Buehrle leaving the South Side is one of the sadder moments of my life as a sports fan.
I wish I got to see one more tarp slide.
I don't think it's a coincidence that from the time Mark reached the club (2000) thorough his departure (yesterday) the Sox never went through a true rebuilding process, and rarely found themselves mired in a losing season.  He was a fantastic pitcher, and my second favorite player in Sox history (no one will ever dislodge Frank Thomas).

His career statistics, to this point all produced in a Sox uniform, read like someone potentially destined for the Hall-of-Fame, if he has the desire to play long enough.  A World Series ring, 3 Gold Gloves, 4 All-Star selections, two no-hitters (including a perfect game), an MLB record for most consecutive batters retired, 42 games over .500 on his career record, and a 3.82 career ERA.  All that from a 38th round draft pick.
Mr perfect has left the South Side.
For over a decade, he defined pitching excellence in the American League, and, while not necessarily "dominant," he helped form my basic understanding of the word "pitcher."

He also has a comically-large truck:

I'll miss you Mark.  Do work, get paid.

Fresno St Wrap

The Buffs continue to exhibit ugly basketball for long stretches of play, but find ways to win/stay-in games this season.  Such was the case Wednesday night when CU overcame massive second half struggles to hold on for the win over a below-average Fresno St team. 

Despite leading by as many as 20 in the first half, and heading to the locker room with a 15 point advantage at half time, CU allowed the Bulldogs to climb all the way to a one-possession game with 7-minutes left.  Had the Buffs shot free throws as poorly as they had been throughout this season, Fresno would've stolen this game from a CU team that had the win in the bag from the opening tip-off.  However, last night the free throws fell to the tune of 84% on 27-32 shooting, and CU held on for a 7-point victory.

The first half, despite a slow start, was almost entirely positive.  Shots were falling, play seemed fluid, Fresno couldn't hit the broad-side of a barn with a jump shot (26.7% shooting in the opening frame), and even Shane Harris-Tunks, who had been struggling this season, put together a strong stretch of minutes.  The pre-finals crowd was so confident of victory that those who weren't snoozing in their seats had thoughts of leaving early.

The second half struggles, a stark contrast to the final ten minutes of the first half, were largely a result of Fresno St's shooting regressing towards the mean (45% shooting in the second half), and CU's offense continuing to struggle in the half-court against a zone defense.  The team continues to pass up open looks, makeable shots from decent outside shooters, which would help break-up the zone.  Compounding the stymied offense, CU also gave up 17 turnovers, and continued to look confused on how to guard off of ball-screens (especially infuriating when they leave the one Fresno player who scares you on offense, Kevin Olekaibe, wide open in the final minutes).  All-in-all, the Buffs played very poorly for 3/4ths of the final frame.
Olekaibe and the Bulldogs made a game of it in the second half.  From: the BDC
But, when the chips were down, they bowed their necks, and powered through to the end.  Spencer Dinwiddie hit a massive 3 pointer, the team shot 13 of 14 from the line over the final 5 minutes, and everyone slammed the door shut on the feisty Bulldogs.

Team-wide performance was lead by Andre Roberson, who rebounded from his 1-point showing against CSU to drop 21-10, yet another double-double, on the physically undermanned Bulldogs; 'Dre also shot 9-9 (!!!!!!!!!!) from the free throw line.  The aforementioned Spencer Dinwiddie provided 15 points, and hit a few clutch jumpers to keep the offense in rhythm, and the defense on its heels.  Jeremy Adams continues to improve, donating 8-4 to the cause, and playing a solid stretch of 22 minutes.
'Dre had a great game, and put painful memories from Ft Collins in his rear-view mirror.  From: the BDC
Additionally, senior Nate Tomlinson had one of his better games this season, constantly leading the charge on the break, playing almost every minute in the second half, and providing six assists against only two turnovers from the point.  On a night when freshman back-up point guard Askia Booker was off (zero points, three turnovers), Nate's play was key.

In the end, a win is a win.  The home non-conference win-streak sits at 27.  I'll take it, and we'll move on to Friday's matchup with Wyoming.  At some point, this team will play a complete 40 minutes.  When that happens you'd better have tickets, 'cause it'll be a sight to see.


If you're looking for my thoughts on Damiene Cain's inaugural action in a CU uniform, much like Jeremy Adam's first taste against Georgia, I'm going to reserve thought until he plays more than a handful of minutes.  The coaching staff has done a great job in slowly increasing Adams' minutes over the past few games, and I expect the same in Damiene's case. 

That Damiene grabbed two points and three boards in only six minutes is encouraging, and his wide-body presence was definitely needed at times, but I need to see more before I start defining his performance.  He looks confident and capable, though.  To be continued...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Quick Post: Teasing Fresno St

Hoping to shake off last week's rough performance up in Ft Collins, the BasketBuffs are back on the home hardwood of the CEC this evening to take on Fresno St.  The past 26 home non-conference games have all ended in Buff victories, and there's a pretty good chance that streak extends to 27 tonight. Tip-off is at 7 tonight.  There's no TV coverage, so tune in to AM 760 if you can't make it to the CEC.

The Bulldogs are a below-average team from an average league (very rarely does the WAC feature any squads of significance beyond the top-tier Nevada program), but they could pose a challenge.  They bring a new coach, Rodney Terry, to the court tonight along with a high usage guard, Kevin Olekaibe, who could cause trouble for the Buffs and their shaky perimeter defense.  Olekaibe, a 6-2 sophomore out of Las Vegas,  takes a ridiculous 37% of FSU's shots while on the court, so putting the lock-down on him will be a key to victory.
Most defensive eyes should be focused on Olekaibe this evening.
Fresno St will also put you on the line, so CU would behoove themselves to improve on their 59% free throw shooting this evening. Additionally, CU should, yet again, have a size advantage in the paint, as no Bulldog player of consequence stands over 6-8.

Also look for the unveiling of CU's new power forward this evening, as freshman Damiene Cain should suit up and get some minutes tonight.  I'm a little surprised at how quickly he has recovered from missing the first month in order to work on academics, but he should bring a much needed big body to the rotation (the disappointing level of support for Austin inside is another column for another day).

FSU is coming in off of a 30-point home win over Utah, but, as the Buffs will find out in 3 1/2 weeks, Utah is terrible this season (the Utes lone win this season is over the budding basketball powerhouse that is San Diego Christian... whoopie!).  Essentially, Fresno St doesn't scare me too much, and the Buffs should be able to handily beat the Bulldogs tonight... provided the free throw situation doesn't stab us in the back again.  The team totally swears they're working on that, btw.

CU 78 - FSU 65


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

On BrittFar and The World Wide Leader

Yesterday, whilst I was trying to have a tame and enjoyable lunch, ESPN came at me with the "news" (and I use that term as loosely as possible) that, according to "sources familiar," good old Brett Favre would listen to My Bears, if contacted, to fill in for injured QB Jay Cutler.

My approximate reaction:

Holy Hell on a Stick!  What kind of bullshit "reporter" would waste his journalism degree by dredging up that waste of time.  Who thinks that's news?  Asking some 87 year old quarterback if he'd like to play isn't news.  If there was some Bears source that said there was any level of interest, that may have been worthy of the "Breaking News" treatment afforded the story yesterday afternoon.

The Bears, of course, have no interest in signing a old-ass QB with no remaining arm strength and a penchant for costing his team wins.  I could've told you that Sunday night.  With a gun to my head I would've unhesitatingly said 'no' to the very notion.  The Bears may be quite desperate without the services of Jay Cutler and Matt Forte, but no one is that desperate.  The idea is ludicrous.

Was the reporter just bored in the office, and thought that this would be a funny gag to pull on a Monday afternoon?  This guy went to a "J" school, right?  He didn't just show up one day, asking for a job with a background in physics, or some such nonsense, right?  

I'm sure it had something to do with the complete lack of interest shown by the Bears in signing Donovan McNabb.  Without one media darling to blather on about, ESPN was desperate for some other "media-friendly" angle to the whole "Jay-Cutler-is-injured-and-Caleb-Hanie-isn't-an-NFL-QB" story.  Additionally, I bet the bosses in Bristol had been waiting all season to drag this out when a contender in a big market had a QB go down.  Give it up, ESPN.  He's gone, and that Golden Goose will lay no more eggs.  You'll have to find some other aging warrior to drizzle your jizz over.

What a bunch of whores; does anyone even remember when that place had integrity?  This is just a recent example why places such as Yahoo Sports and SBNation are far more reliable and interesting sources for sports news and opinion. 

Note: Normally, at some point in the opening paragraph, I'd have done the whole "courtesy thing," and linked to the offending article and named the offending "journalist."  However, in this case, with the piece in question being a blatant ploy for cheap hits, and the "journalist" having proven unworthy of any level of courtesy through bald-faced concern trolling, I have chosen not to afford the author, his specific forum, or his article this courtesy.  They can suck a bag of dicks. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday Grab Bag: Season's over

With the college football season now officially over (I do not recognize the bowls as being actual football, just a tax-free football alternative) it's time to bitch and moan about the BCS.  And how!  Today in the bag I'll dive right into the national bitch-a-thon over the LSU/Alabama rematch, mention some football recruiting news, and talk about the Kizla-backed candidate for the CSU coaching gig.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, December 2, 2011

Quick Post: The CSU Double Standard

CSU just fired their AD.  Whatever, I could care less about the internal machinations of a 4th rate athletic department.  Would you bat an eye if Louisiana Tech changed leadership?  Nope, you wouldn't, and, yes, I equate CSU with LaTech.

I don't even want to know the new guy's name.  There's far too much information to process on a give day to waste brain matter on the name of CSU's new AD.  What I do care about, however, is the lack of outrage at the state level for the money wasted by little brother on firing an athletic director they, only a year ago, gave a 5-year extension to.  If CU tried to pull the same stunt, there would be speeches, gesticulations and legislation coming from Capitol Hill in Denver before the press conference was over.

When CU wanted favorable financing legislation passed a few years ago, it could've been held up had we fired Dan Hawkins 'cause he had 2 years remaining on his contract.  The Buffs were stuck with a lame-duck year of failing coaching because, partially, some junior legislator got their man-panties in a bunch over how much a football coach was going to get paid to do nothing. 

Where's the same consternation over the Lambs blowing money on an executive who will no longer be execut-izing?  I won't exactly hold my breath.  CU bears the brunt of the war between the people who understand sports role in higher education, and those who are confused how 50,000 paying ticket holders and donors would help a university that is consistently underfunded by a state that pretends to care about higher education.  CSU gets a pass, and the state will happily allow them to blow tax-payer dollars because they aren't attached to the stigma of being Boulder Libruls.

I guess it's part of the burden of being the state's educational standard bearer, but, from time to time, I wish the hypocrites on the hill would hold CSU to the same standard.  The state of Alabama has the right idea, I should be allowed the option of not spending my tax dollars on that waste of a university and their pathetic excuse for an athletic department.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

CSU Wrap

65-64.  This team certainly never makes it easy.

Neither side exhibited an effusive or effortless performance, but someone had to win.  Unfortunately, I wake up this morning and find that big 'L' next to CU's name.  I wish I could blame the refs, who were particularly awful, or blame either of the combatants for the outcome, which was seemingly decided by fate rather than occurance.  Make absolutely no mistake, CU deserved to walk out of Ft Collins with a loss, I'm just not sure CSU deserved the win. 
The game had plenty of ugly in store for those of us willing to make the preposterous 6pm tip-off time.  From: the BDC
How the hell did that team allow CU within a mile of a victory... on their home court... with CU making mistakes left and right?  I just sit and shrug my shoulders and shoot a quizzical look in the direction of the basketball gods: what the hell did I just watch?

I watched CU shoot 45% from the stripe, missing a befuddling 16 freebies (remember, CU lost by 1).  Watching the Buffs take free throws is like helplessly watching someone slowly drive a stake into your shoulder.  It's not life threatening on it's own, but hurts like a bitch, and you sure would like it to stop before it ends up striking an artery or causing the loss of the limb.
That look of horror is appropriate here.  From: the Post.
I watched as CU shot a miserable 37% from the field, missing bunnies and tough shots equally.

I watched CU pound the offensive glass to the tune of a 16-5 advantage, all of which seemingly came on one series where CU tipped, and tipped, and tipped... but could not manage to put the ball in the hole.  Finishing at the rim is now officially an issue. 

I watched as a CSU squad, existing in a perpetually undersized state Wednesday night, was able to best CU in points-in-the-paint 26-22.  This was helped immeasurably by Austin Dufault being denied the entry pass after the opening minutes and 'Dre being held to only one point.  Yep, that's not an typo, 'Dre only had one point the entire game.  He can play offense, right?  I wasn't just imagining that, right?

Yet, despite all of that, with CU somehow finding themselves only down a point with just over 20 seconds to go, I watched Nate Tomlinson, who had been suffering through a basketball purgatory administered both by the CSU fan section and the three blind mice in striped shirts, steal the inbounds pass and miraculously, improbably sink a basket with only 15 seconds left to put CU back on top.  Wait, what?  The Buffs were within reach of blatantly stealing another one?  At this point I almost dialed 911, 'cause there was a robbery in progress.
Wait, what?  From: the Post
But it was not to be.  Wasting no time, CSU drove the length of the court to retake their tenuous 1-point lead.  Afforded the opportunity to draw up a play with only nine seconds on the clock, Coach Boyle put the ball in Nate's veteran grasp, drawing a simple pick-and-roll with Austin Dufault.  CSU, of course, spied the P&R, and forced Nate to back off with the clock winding down.  With no back-up plan, due to the slow-developing nature of the walk-up, Nate worked to find the only separation from his defender available, and heaved up an ugly last second shot.  It nicked on the rim just enough to send it spinning wildly away from the goal, and the CSU student section rushed the court, almost before the buzzer finished sounding.

Despite Good doing an estimable job trying to salvage victory from the jaws of defeat, Evil found a way to survive; this is real life, afterall.  CU was a centimeter a way from stealing yet another win in a hostile portion of the state they call home, yet stood miles a way from a solid performance.
I hate everything to do with this photo.  From: the Coloradan.
There is some good to take away from this, however.  That the Buffs continue to find a way back in ballgames, despite offensive performances that leave even the most accepting of observers wanting, is a good sign that this team has some serious backbone.  They did this Wednesday night, primarily, through some of the toughest on-ball defense I've seen in a while.  Coach Boyle put the emphasis on defense and rebounding, and so far so good.

But this team still has a long way to go before they're anywhere close to good, and Wednesday night only underscored the painful rebuilding process that the team must go through this season.  The missed shots, poor looks, and atrocious free throw shooting finally came back to bite them last night; hopefully they can bounce back because they have a long season ahead of them.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Previewing the CSU game

There are some things you do in life that you know are going to be terrible going in.  Going to the DMV, getting a cavity filled, seeing a high school musical, playing Oregon in football, etc... all sure to be a bad time; french-frying when you should've pizza'd.  A trip to Fort Collins is just another of those things.  I have yet to have a good time up in the Larimer County Seat, yet I somehow find myself making the trip every other year for basketball purposes.  I guess this meets the colloquial definition of insanity.

The basketball version of the Rocky Mountain Showdown has never held the same amount of juice that the football rivalry has.  Basketball on the Front Range has never been that high of a priority, and, as a result, this yearly contest routinely passes through the sports calendar undetected.  Compounding the area's general "ain't care" attitude towards hoops is the fact that CU matches their football success over the Rams by winning the hoops tilts over 70% of the time as well, including a 7-3 record in the past decade.  Just like football, this is a "rivalry" in name only, and based mostly on a coincidence of geography.

Still, unlike football, there is a purpose to playing the Rams.  They're good schedule filler, and generally have a decent RPI come season's end, should we ever plan on making the Tournament again.  The Mountain West is a pretty good basketball conference, usually just outside the power top-6, and a rising tide lifts all boats.

This season, ostensibly another pegged with also-ran status within the MWC, the Rams look to build on the success of last season's team, which, much like CU, made a late season charge for the Tournament, only to end up in the NIT.  After the graduation of leading scorers Andy Ogide and Travis Franklin, however, I'd peg them as much more likely headed into a rebuilding process.
Eikmeier has been doing a good job filling in for the scoring loss of Franklin and Ogide.
They're generally undersized, with no players over 6-6 who receive significant minutes; they lack in interior defense and post scoring, with the resulting deficiency in rebounding to boot.  CSU makes up for this by hitting the 3 (8th best percentage in the nation, albeit early in the season), making their free throws, and holding onto the ball.  Lead by junior Nebraska natives Wes Eikmeier and Greg Smith, any gains this season could only be amplified next season as only senior forward Will Bell is scheduled to graduate.

(On a side note, four players on the Ram roster are from Nebraska, a state not generally know for producing D-1 basketball talent.  I've been noticing a trend in Ft Collins as they align themselves with the enemy to the north-east, and this only reinforces my paranoia.  Can it only be coincidence that you can get a Runza and utilize First National Bank, both primary Husker sponsors, in FoCo?  It's a damn Husker conspiracy to undermine CU's athletic progress by dragging us down with a mocked up intra-state dispute.  Now, where's my tinfoil hat...)

The Rams head coach is Tim Miles.  Besides being a great follow on Twitter, he's also a great up-and-coming young coach. The Ram program was an abysmal wasteland when he climbed aboard in '07, and he's been able to build them to the point of back-to-back post-season appearances.  Entering his 5th year in FoCo, I can't help but wonder when he'll jump at the chance to coach a power conference squad. 
Coach Miles is a good one, and deserves better than FoCo.
Tonight, I expect a close game.  A sure-to-be packed Moby arena will be the first true road test of the season (the half-assed AF crowd from last week doesn't count), and it'll be interesting to see how CU handles the hostile crowd.

The Buffs weaknesses on the perimeter and at the free throw line should be an open wound, ready to be salted by the Rams.  Not only does CSU excel beyond the arc, but they hit their free throws.  Should CU start missing freebies in bunches, as they have been wont to do, it could get ugly.  The Rams are, however, quite vulnerable on defense, allowing opponents to shoot over 50% from 2-pt range.  The Buffs should be able to press a large advantage inside, so look for Austin and 'Dre to have big games in the paint.  If CU can keep the Rams off the line (30% of CSU points come from the charity stripe), and make a few of their own free throws down the stretch (granted, a big if), I'll give the Buffs a slight thumbs up.

CU 78 - CSU 75


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thoughts on the Georgia win

Last night, CU took on an athletic Georgia squad, and came away with a much needed 70-68 win; it's always good to enter the middle of the week fresh off of victory!  With the 2-point win last night, CU is now 2-0 in the first two games of their toughest stretch of non-conference play, and have now won 26-straight non-conference home games in the CEC.

The squad was lead by exceptional performances from freshmen Askia Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie.  The two combined for 30 points and 11 rebounds, but it was more than that.  They provided an energy that the rest of the team seemed to be lacking, and they continually attacked the ball and the rim when afford the opportunity.  Additionally, on a night where their more experienced teammates were struggling from the free throw line, the pair shot a combined 13-16 from the stripe.  Without them, this is a blowout home loss.  The two have been improving every game this season, and seem to have very bright futures.
Dinwiddie, and fellow freshman Askia Booker, were the difference last night.  From: the BDC
The rest of the team was buoyed by yet another double-double performance from 'Dre, his 4th in six chances this season.  The kid is amazing, and I suggest you check him out while you still can.

While I'm excited about the win, there are some cracks in the foundation that may keep this team from living up to my preseason expectation of a mid-table finish, even in the weak-ass Pac-12 conference.  This team seems incapable of making things easy.  What should've been a 10-15 point win was turned into to a 2-point squeaker through poor first half defense, and a continued inability to hit free throws.

The defensive struggles mostly pertained to poor pick-defense through the first half, allowing Georgia to create open shots early and often.  The Bulldogs shot near 50% in the first frame, well over their season average, as a result.  The Buffs buckled down after halftime, and Georgia was only able to muster 34% shooting after the break.  This was obviously a key focus during halftime adjustments, and, thankfully, it worked.

The missed free throw issue is no longer a matter for derisive chuckling.  The 22-37 showing last night, besides giving me an ulcer and letting Georgia back into a game they had no business being in, also dropped the season free throw shooting percentage to just under 64%.  That's 14 percentage points under where it was last year.  That kind of performance will cost the team wins down the road.
A win is a win, but Coach Boyle has to make sure his team understands that they're not 'there' yet.  From: the BDC
Yes, it was still a win, but it wasn't the performance I had hoped to see.  Combined with the win via theft against Air Force, and CU is more lucky than good right now.  With a month of Centennial State based play ahead, hopefully they can work out the kinks before conference play arrives.  While the Pac-12 is 'down' this season, we can't head into games with our new conference mates missing free throws and allowing easy looks off of basic pick plays.


I was also disappointed by the crowd.  1,500 fewer came to see the Buffs take on a power conference opponent, and the biggest 'name' opponent on home portion of the non-con schedule, then did to see the Ft Lewis game.  Even the student section was on the half-assed side. 

I know the holidays and end of semester make for a tough time, but don't neglect your duty to the program.  We need butts in those seats!  I hope to see attendance figures back near 8,000 for next Wednesday's game against Fresno St.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Grab Bag: Our long national nightmare is finally over.

This is not the post I began to write last week.  Eager to get a jump on my post-holiday Monday Grab Bag, and desperate to leave my coming vacation free of thoughts concerned with writing, I tried to jot down some paragraphs before I hit the road.  They were not pretty.

Toting the sure-to-be epic failure against Utah to cap a mostly frustrating season, my incomplete musings were long on dour... and why not?  I had little hope that the team that showed less than nothing against the shell of a team that is the UCLA Bruins would fire themselves up for a trip to Salt Lake City.  Even the experts in Vegas were ready to toss dirt on the Buffs' coffin, installing the Utes as 20+ point favorites.

Fate had other ideas.

Today in my freshly written bag, I'll look back at an epic victory against all odds out in Salt Lake Valley, look back on the grand larceny the basketball team pulled off in the Springs, tease the match-up with Georgia this evening, and give some props to the womens hoops squad who are as good as they've been in a decade.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday Beer Post: Utah Edition

Each week throughout the football season I'm going to suggest a good beer for the ubiquitous pre-game tailgate. Let's be honest, with tailgates it's not always top quality that you're looking for. To steal a phrase from the heinous beer terrorists at Budweiser, you want "drinkability." (or what a real beer connoisseur calls "a session beer") So, be warned, these may not be "the best" beers around. But, in the words of Dave Chappelle as Samuel L. Jackson "IT'LL GET YOU DRUNK!"

Happy Gameday!  I'm coming to you LIVE from Salt Lake City, deep in the heart of enemy territory.  Through the magic of scheduled posting, I bring to you my final tailgate beer selection of the season.

If you hadn't heard, there's this cool club they have out here called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; you may know it colloquially as the "Mormon Church."  Frowned upon by people who didn't believe that Joseph Smith could read magic tablets out of a hat, the newly founded religion was driven westward in middle 19th Century.  For whatever reason, they decided to settle in a remote desert oasis near the banks of the Great Salt Lake; having no imagination, they named this settlement Salt Lake City.  There they could happily practice their outsider faith, which, at the time, famously included the practice of polygamy.  Mormons are funny like that.

In honor of that history, and the Mormon faith that so dominates politics and culture throughout the State of Utah, I am naming Wasatch Brewery's Polygamy Porter as my tailgate beer-o-the-week.
Indeed, why have just one?
This is, assuredly, what the X-communicated Mormon Drinking Team would consume on a gameday such as this.

Confession time: the only time I tried Polygamy Porter was at the GABF a few years back, mostly due to the absurdity of the name.  I was quite drunk at the time, and through the haze of time and booze I can't really remember what it tastes like.  But these posts aren't really about the quality of the beer, they're about celebration of beer culture, and its application to enhancing your pregame experience.

I'm admittedly picking this based on name alone, and can't comment on taste.  It's an American Porter, so expect roasted malt, but light on the alcohol since Utah is stuck in puritanical brewing-law hell.  So, if you get a chance, give this a try. 

Happy Friday!  Go Buffs, show these polyamorous assholes what for; 40s style!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Quick Post: Buffs @ Air Force

The BasketBuffs head down south to the Springs this evening, looking to get back on track after a mostly disappointing trip to Puerto Rico.  The game tips off at 7pm, and can be seen on "the mtn."  LOL, just kidding, no one gets "the mtn." and no one would ever want to.  Mark Johnson will be presiding over the festivities over on 760AM.

Prediction?  Rebounding and missed free throws continue to hurt the Buffs... CU is currently in the low 200s nationally in both free throw shooting and offensive rebounding percentage.  I think CU suffers from jet-lag and loses a tight one to the Zoomies.  AF 76 - CU 69.


Utah Preview: A new kind of hate

Apparently the geniuses in the respective marketing departments from CU and Utah have decided to name the renewed rivalry between the schools as "The Rumble in the Rockies."  Why the hell did they have to go and do that?  We never seemed to require a faked-up PR name to give the CU-Nebraska rivalry some juice.  Is there going to be some lame trophy with a rock on it?  Just give me clean, old-fashioned, nameless hate.  That'll do more for a rivalry than any name.

The rivalry with Utah (yes, there is a rivalry... look, Wikipedia page!) is one of great historical significance for both schools.  Even the breakup of the old RMAC couldn't keep these rivals apart as they played nearly every year between 1903 and 1962.  Coaches careers were defined by this game, players, like Byron White, made names for themselves by superlative performances against the hated rivals to the west.  This was the rivalry in the region for the first half of the 20th Century; a history major like myself can't look past something like that.

Yes, the Utes are a poor substitute for Nebraska, both in program quality and my ability to hate them, but I'd rather go after someone with whom the school has history than just point at USC or UCLA and give them the stink-eye.  While that is what Coach Mac did with the Huskers back in the early 80s, that rivalry wasn't set in stone until the Huskers hung that celebratory "Sal's dead, Go Big Red" sign up on I-80.  Hate, history; these are what creates a lasting rivalry.  With Utah we're halfway there.  With everyone else in the Pac-12, it's searching for both.

Fuck Utah

(I wrote about this in greater detail during a brief stint writing for the Ralphie Report.)


The season comes to a close on Friday.  Wake up from your food coma, crack open the leftovers, and tune the channel to ROOT Sports, where the Buffs will kick off against the Utes at 1:30.  It's my one and only road trip of the year, and, even if the team is awful, I'm still looking forward to a fight in enemy territory.

Click below for the preview...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Whither Rodney Stewart

With his brilliant collegiate career coming to a close Friday afternoon, I thought it would be a good time to consider the legacy of one Rodney Stewart.

He's come a long way from the unheralded and mostly disregarded recruit from the much-hyped '08 recruiting class.  Doomed to toil at the football backwater that is Eastern Washington, Speedy jumped at the chance to sign with a BCS school when CU came calling late in the process.  He showed up on campus and, to the shock of most outsiders, immediately took hold of the running back job.  Darrell Scott and Ray Polk be damned, Speedy was so good even Hawk couldn't ignore his talent, and significant playing time was awarded early.  By the 3rd game of his collegiate career, Rodney Stewart was dropping a 28 carry, 168 yard performance on #21 West Virginia on national TV. 
Speedy has been the focal point of the CU offense since he first burst onto the scene against West Virginia.
Having seen are there is to see of the Big XII in the 2000s, I couldn't help but compare him favorably to Quintin Griffin and Darren Sproles; undersized backs who used elusiveness and speed to do everything they could to help their team on offense.  He runs hard, constantly looking for a seam to slip past would-be defenders.  He has also developed as a deadly threat in the passing game, able to come out of the back-field on screens and wheels to decimate linebacker-based coverage.  The very type of versatile back that a pro-style offense is looking for.
He does whatever it takes to get past the defense.
After four years of effort and exhaustive work, Speedy has amassed one of the more impressive statistical careers in CU history.  With one game yet to be played, Speedy's career totals stand at 3,563 rushing yards, 959 receiving, 261 return yardage, and 37 passing (2-2 with 2 TD's); all while accounting for 27 total scores (25 rushing and the two passing).  Already the all-time CU leader in all-purpose yardage, Speedy also finds himself near the top in rushing yardage and holds career titles in receptions and receiving yards from a Buffs runner.  Additionally, he will probably become just the 27th player in NCAA history to rush for 3,000 yards, while receiving over 1,000.  He is no joke, and deserves every amount of praise us fans can heap upon his diminutive shoulders.
He's meant everything to the Buffs the last couple of years, and there's never been a more deserving Buffalo Heart Award Winner.  From: the Post.
The question then becomes, where do we place him amongst the pantheon of CU greats.  More specifically, while it is certainly granted that Speedy has had a career that statistically stands up to the running legends up on The Hill, where does he rank in a more qualitative sense?

Now, in case you haven't noticed, CU has a deep and proud tradition of producing running backs of high-caliber.  Names like White, Anderson, Davis, Bieniemy, Salaam, Warren, Brown, Purify, and Charles litter the Buffs record book and have been featured on pro rosters.  There is a reason, afterall, that career rushing stats are listed first in the CU media guide.

The problem I have when I compare Rodney to these guys is the era in which Speedy played - or more like the error.  Playing the vast majority of his career under Hawk and his losin' crew, Speedy never appeared in a bowl game, and never played on a winning team.  In fact, his career record in games he participated in is a shockingly bad 14-28.
His career was marked with far too little celebrating.
Unfortunately, CU never made enough of the efforts of Speedy Stewart, garnering far too little scoreboard success out of his on-field excellence.  I don't think it's Speedy's fault.  I never felt that he was a choke artist or any bullshit like that, it's just that the teams he played for - excelled for - stunk ass. As a result, I have to place Speedy a level below names like Bieniemy, Salaam, White and Anderson; players who not only succeed with their personal performance, but who helped their teams succeed on the scoreboard as well.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday Grab Bag: That winning feeling didn't last long

Not a whole lot for Buff Nation to smile about over the weekend.  Hopefully the Banana Stand can come through today and shock the running world with dueling national championships to go with our dueling Pac-12 titles.  In my continued quest to give the cross country teams some love, I'd like to point everyone in the direction of Flotrack, who, much like their mens preview from last week, have a preview of the womens team up.  The Rumblings of a Deranged Buffalo: where CU fans come to get linked to other peoples thoughts on cross country.

Today in the bag, I'll take a look at the debacle in the Rose Bowl, tease my trip to Utah, recap the Puerto Rico tournament, and take my weekly look at random happenings in football.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Beer Post: 2011 Gameday Beer-o-the-week - UCLA Edition

Each week throughout the football season I'm going to suggest a good beer for the ubiquitous pre-game tailgate. Let's be honest, with tailgates it's not always top quality that you're looking for. To steal a phrase from the heinous beer terrorists at Budweiser, you want "drinkability." (or what a real beer connoisseur calls "a session beer") So, be warned, these may not be "the best" beers around. But,     in the words of Dave Chappelle as Samuel L. Jackson "IT'LL GET YOU DRUNK!"

A Bruin, for those of you who haven't figured it out, is just a common brown bear.  The bear has been a symbol for California since before it even became a state, hence why the two primary public institutions of higher learning, UCLA and Berkeley, use it for a mascot.  Ostensibly a symbol of "strength and unyielding resistance" the bear has remained on the California flag since it was first raised during the California Republic revolt in the Mexican War.

As a result, Bear Republic imagery is common throughout the state, and one of my favorite Californian breweries is even simply called "Bear Republic Brewing."  Their very delicious Racer 5 IPA is my tailgate beer-o-the-week.
Sure, their Cloverdale brewery, located north of San Francisco, is no where near LA, but... Bear.
I'm back on familiar ground with this one.  A good ole American IPA, rockin' with hops and arrogance, and plenty good enough to wash down some football.  It's even award winning: Racer 5 won the gold medal at the '09 GABF for best American-Style Strong Pale Ale.  Did I say strong?  Yes I did; this brew clocks in at 7% ABV, giving you plenty of kick in a 6-pack.

From a state known for cranking out some incredible IPAs, Racer 5 is easily in my California-based top-3.  (In no particular order: Stone IPA, Racer 5, and Russian River's Blind Pig)  You should be able to find some in your local beer-mart, and I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

Happy Friday!  Go Buffs, beat the Bruins!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

UCLA Preview: Guarantees all around!

Jon Embree and Tyler Hansen do not give a fuck.  22 straight road losses?  Fuck that noise, they flat out guaranteed victory Saturday over UCLA.  Well, maybe they didn't guarantee victory, but it's still a pretty strong declaration to emphatically say that this program, which hasn't won a road game since the before time, the long, long ago, will march into the Rose Bowl, and march out with victory in hand.

Those are some big-assed marbles the team has grown since Saturday morning.

The line has been drawn in the sand, the markers placed.  This team expects to win Saturday and I like it.  The win last weekend over Arizona seems to have done wonders for the teams confidence, and combined with them being as healthy as they've been since the early goings of the season means that now is as good of a time as any to bring some swagger out.

Broadway Joe approves.

Now all they have to do is back it up...


CU heads into the Rose Bowl looking to finally, mercifully end the the interminable 22-game road losing streak.  These seniors who have seen their careers marginally defined by this streak have a great chance to get it done on Saturday.  Kickoff is set for 5:30MT, and the action can be seen on Versus.  If you can find that channel to watch hockey, then you can find it to watch Buffs football.

Click below for the preview...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Quick Post: the Banana Stand is back at it

The CU Cross Country team, with their dependable banana stand in tow, are headed for the NCAA Championships next Monday.  Again, I know next to nothing about the sport, other than you run over hills for a few hours, so I'm not really in a position to give you knowledgable analysis.

But these guys are.  They've got a nice preview of the mens team here, and they've got plenty of comprehensive coverage to prime you for a sport that I don't understand... other than the fact that we're good at it.


Puerto Rico Tip Off Primer

I don't usually do individual game previews for non-conference play, but I think it's important to talk a little about how I see the Puerto Rico Tip Off going down from the CU perspective.  The Buffs are in a tough bracket, paired up with top-40 caliber opponents like Alabama, Wichita St, and Maryland.  For a team still learning how to play with each other, the first two nights in Puerto Rico could be long ones.
It's off to the 51st state for some pre-Thanksgiving hoops.  I hope CU is ready, 'cause these guys are a lot stronger than Ft Lewis.
Full Bracket is here.  All times are listed in AT, and all games can be seen on the ESPN family of networks.

Round 1: CU vs Wichita St, 5:30pm, ESPNU

(Ostensibly the '3rd team' in Kansas, the Shockers have a passionate and loyal fanbase that rivals their state-wide cousins, personified on Allbuffs by Shocker Hoops, who granted Goose a lengthy interview that's worth a look.)

CU will face off against the Wichita St Shockers on Thursday night.  It was these same Shockers who went on to win the NIT last season over the Buffalo beaters from Alabama.  WSU was a fantastically gifted squad last year, finding themselves in the top-30 in offensive efficiency and top-40 in defensive efficiency.  They only missed out on a well-deserved tournament bid due to some untimely losses in conference play and in the Missouri Valley Tournament.

This season, despite a few major post contributors leaving due to graduation, most of the key players from that NIT championship team are back.  A quad-pack of quality senior guards form the backbone for a Shocker squad who should get to the Tournament and compete to advance.

This team will pose a massive early challenge for CU.  They're incredibly efficient on both sides of the ball, and have major-conference size in the form of post players Garrett Stutz and Carl Hall.  While CU's front-court is improved over last season, these two will make life hell on the Buffs inside.  The Shocker guard corps, headlined by senior Toure' Murry, is likewise too strong for CU to handle straight up.
Murry is a quality guard who could propel his Shockers into the Sweet Sixteen.
WSU is too talented, too veteran for CU to beat this early in the season.  The Buffs will grow and mesh as the season progresses, but the cohesiveness isn't there yet, especially from the neophyte guards.  Barring a shocking (pun intended) letdown from the Shockers, Coach Boyle's former program should roll easily.

WSU 79 - CU 65

Round 2: CU vs Alabama or Maryland, 4:30 or 7pm

I'd love to get a shot at some NIT revenge in the second round, but I don't think we'll get it.  They do everything you want on the defensive side of the ball: force turnovers, hold down opponents shooting percentage, and block shots.  If you get a shot off on these guys, take a picture, 'cause it may be your last.

Alabama also returns superstar JaMychal Green from the NIT runner-up squad from a year ago, and head coach Anthony Grant has put together a fantastic team.  I'd be very surprised if they can't beat a Maryland team learning under a new coach.  I fully expect that this team can 1-up last years squad and make it into the Dance.

Speaking of that new coach for Maryland, it's Coach Boyle's mentor Mark Turgeon, fresh from leaving Texas A&M.  Turgeon was the head coach back at Wichita State when Coach Boyle was passing through, and getting another shot at his mentor after narrowly losing to the Aggies in overtime last season would be a nice sight to see.

Maryland, besides dealing with the whole "new coach thing" after 22 years with Gary Williams, is also trying to replace departed NBA talent Jordan Williams.  He was everything to Maryland last season, but his departure doesn't mean the Terrapin cupboard is bare.  Guard Terrell Stoglin is back and ready to improve on his stellar freshman campaign, and if the Terps can find a solid second option for Stoglin they could challenge some teams, even in the brutally tough ACC.
Stoglin is a great young talent.
Assuming CU plays Maryland on Friday Night, CU may have a decent shot of pulling out a victory, simply because Maryland is stuck changing gears with their new coach.  They're probably more physically talented right now, but, as we saw last year, an abrupt coaching switch can wreck havoc on a team for a few games in the early going.  It'll be close, but since my breakfast apple tasted especially sweet this morning, I'll give CU the benefit of the doubt with a reversal of last years A&M score.

CU 73 - Maryland 70

Round 3: CU vs Temple, Purdue, Iona, or Western Michigan, TBA

Temple and Purdue are easily the class of the top-half of the bracket, and either could easily walk away with the tournament crown and eventually compete for a Sweet Sixteen berth.  Iona may be a small-conference sleeper, but they are loaded with BCS-level talent and capable of winning a game come Tournament time; don't be surprised if they stun any 'name' school they play in San Juan.  Western Michigan, while loaded with seniors, is from the basketball bottom-feeding MAC, and seems to have been included so that none of the big-schools walks away with an 0-3 record.  All told, this tournament is as stacked as any I've seen this year.  You'll see a lot of these names come March.

Should CU prevail against Maryland/Alabama, I'd probably peg them as getting Iona in the 3rd round.  If the Buffs fall on the second night, I would be shocked to see any team but Western Michigan end up in the losers bracket from the top side of the chart.
Arizona transfer MoMo Jones makes this Iona squad very dangerous.
I wouldn't be exactly shocked if the Iona Gaels beat CU on a neutral court.  They return a lot of talent from their 2011 squad, and they add Arizona veteran MoMo Jones, who transferred to Iona to be closer to family and received a transfer waiver from the NCAA  I'll say the Buffs go down, and leave Puerto Rico with a non-disastrous 1-2 record.

Iona 83 - CU 77


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Quick Post: Alec Burks and the NBA lockout

The NBA lockout reached what I perceive to be the brink of a lost season yesterday.  The time-frame had been continually moved to accommodate more talks, an attempt by the owners to goad the players into taking a 50-50 split of basketball revenue, but yesterday the players association walked away from the negotiating table and began the process of "disclaiming" their union rights... whatever the hell that means.  The end result, however, may very well be the cancellation of the whole NBA season.

We all know the NBA system is ineffective when players like Rashard Lewis are getting $118 million in guaranteed money, but I'd rather not see how that sausage is cleaned up.  The owners shafted themselves in the old collective bargaining agreements by giving themselves the financial freedom to overpay for middling talent, and are now desperate to grab some cash and tie their own hands to secure guaranteed profits.  The players, after securing a pretty good system with the old CBA's, are trying desperately to hold on to what they once had. But, knowing the situation doesn't make the process of fixing it any easier to consume.

Frankly, I'm lost and disinterested at this point.  Regardless of who's right, or who's eventually going to win, I'm sick and tired of hearing about this as cancelled games slip by.

What I am growing more and more concerned about is the future of former CU hoops phenom Alec Burks. 
Yesterday, just hours after the NBA labor negotiations broke down, Alec tweeted this photo:

This whole situation has got to be killing the kid.  While he is reaping many of the minor benefits of being a NBA draftee, like getting his face on a card (I want one by the way), it all seems rather hollow.  Instead of playing ball, learning how to win in the NBA, and making a name for himself, Alec is sitting on the sideline in a fucked-up basketball purgatory. 

While he was drafted by the Utah Jazz, without a new CBA he doesn't have a contract, and is essentially lost in the shuffle.  Rookies like Burks and OKC draftee Reggie Jackson have to turn to loans and insurance payments just to make a living, and really have no guarantees or voice in this process.  Yes, they're still getting paid, but it's crazy awkward.

Certainly, talented players like Burks will find a way onto an NBA roster once this thing is settled, but if a year goes by, do the teams still retain their draft rights to the player?  Do first round picks like Alec still get a guaranteed contract from the team that drafted them? There's more questions than answers at this point. 

I just hope for his sake that this is cleared up soon, and he can get back to playing ball.  If the season gets pushed back a year, and he gets lost in the shuffle of the overly talented 2012 draft class, his career progress may be permanently stunted. 

I'm starting to side with Coach Abatemarco: leaving after last season may have been a mistake.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday Grab Bag: Winning is what we do in Boulder

Victories for everyone!  I couldn't step foot in Boulder over the weekend without seeing the Buffs win.  Finally, a weekend worthy of celebrating.

Today in the bag I'll recap the wins, starting with basketball, before touching on the busy weekend in the world of football.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Quick Post: Pt 5 of the AllBuffs Basketball Roundtable.

The final day of the AllBuffs Basketball Roundtable is upon us.  Before you head to The Keg tonight, read up on what Goose, Buffnik, Tyler Ziskin, Zach Bell and I think about the future of the program.  Head on over and join the discussion by posting a comment in the thread.

Remember, BASKETBALL SEASON STARTS TONIGHT!  Goose, Buffnik and I will be over at the World Famous Dark Horse with the rest of the Allbuffs crew celebrating the start of the season.  Before hitting the CEC in style, why don't you swing by and say hello?

Because it's a day for basketball glorification, I post the following without comment:


You can check out our previous discussions here:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3 

Day 4

Friday Beer Post: 2011 Gameday Beer-o-the-week - Arizona Edition

Each week throughout the football season I'm going to suggest a good beer for the ubiquitous pre-game tailgate. Let's be honest, with tailgates it's not always top quality that you're looking for. To steal a phrase from the heinous beer terrorists at Budweiser, you want "drinkability." (or what a real beer connoisseur calls "a session beer") So, be warned, these may not be "the best" beers around. But,     in the words of Dave Chappelle as Samuel L. Jackson "IT'LL GET YOU DRUNK!"

"South of the Border, down Mexico way..."

No Tucson, home of the University of Arizona, isn't South of the Border, but it's damn close.  Situated near 60 miles from Mexico, Tucson actually finds itself farther south than the famous border town of Tijuana.  Since Arizona has little to no brewing culture as Coloradans know it, and I'm grasping at straws, I'm going to juke hard in the direction of the "hey, the U of A is situated kind-of near Mexico" angle this week.

Most Mexican beer is of the lager family.  If you haven't noticed, it can get kind of warm and dry over the border, and the light, refreshing taste of a lager is more appropriate than the heavy ale styles that are prevalent in American brewing.  One of the more recent varieties to hit America is also one of the oldest surviving brews in North America.  I'm naming that beer, Grupo Modelo's Victoria, as my tailgate beer-o-the-week.

What Americans view as 'Mexican' beer gets a bad rap from the 'skunky' flavor of Corona.  Someone decided it was a good idea to put that shit in clear bottles, which allow UV rays to spoil hop oils and destroy the flavor of the brew.  This spoilage literally creates a chemical that is akin to that which comes out the mean end of a skunk.  No matter the origin of the beer, if you put it in clear bottles, it's going to start smelling like ass; avoid these beers at all costs, and slap anyone you come across who thinks its a good idea to bottle in clear glass.

But not all Mexican beer is created equal.  Victoria is not placed in the horrible clear bottles, and thus doesn't smell like ass.  In fact, it smells like beer, which is good since that what I'm looking for in a beer.  The taste isn't that bad either.  As a Vienna-style lager (the style was brought over by immigrants in the 19th Century), Victoria isn't going to blow you away with complex flavor, but it's light and sweet, and definitely on the drinkable end of the spectrum as it comes in at about 4% alcohol.

Victoria has been a favorite in Mexico since about the time America was finishing up our Civil War, and the brand has survived and thrived to the point that it was brought to our country last year.  Give it a try, it's definitely a change of pace from my typical litany of hop-heavy ales.  Just please, don't try jamming a damn lime up its ass.

Happy Friday!  Go Buffs, Beat Arizona!