Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday Grab Bag: The greatest comeback since Lazarus (UPDATED)

(UPDATE - 2/28/11) - Tom Kensler of the Denver Post is reporting that GA tickets for the Nebraska game are sold out... if you want on the bandwagon, you'd better hop on quick 'cause it's about to leave the station.


What a massive weekend.  Not only did CU pull the comeback of the century out of their asses on Saturday, but there was also plenty of NFL combine news, the first spring training games, the (painful) beginning of softball season, and the Oscars to keep me occupied.  Today in the bag I'll mostly talk about the big win over Texas, but I'll also touch on the record breaking career of Cory Higgins, the weird character questions surrounding Jimmy Smith and the Oscars.
The celebrating begins inside this week's bag.  From: the BDC

Click below for the bag...

Stunning comeback CU win versus Texas  - Let's be honest, the outlook wasn't brilliant for the Colorado 5 that day.  With the Buffs down 22 points in the first half I had resigned myself to defeat and began checking up on White Sox articles in the Tribune and Sun-Times.  It's a good thing the Buffs are made of sterner stuff than I, because the Buffs were able to mount an unimaginable comeback in the second half to stun the visiting #5 Texas Longhorns, and in the process shove themselves back into the hunt for an at-large bid in the Tourney.
Celebrate guys, you earned it.  From: the BDC

The nuts and bolts of a comeback - I've watched the replay of the game 3 times now, and still every time the 24-3 second half run happens it takes me by surprise.  After an honestly embarrassing first half, CU came out in the second with a fire and determination to take the cocky Longhorns down a peg or two.  The Buff's defense, rebounding, and shooting, which had largely failed them in the first half, all came together to spur CU into an incredible 58 points in 20 minutes off of a team which had averaged giving up only 55 over 40 during conference play. From 4:39 remaining in the 1st half to 4:06 remaining in the second, CU played +33 basketball against the #5 team in the land.  I cannot find the words to explain how flabbergasted I was when the Buffs began to takeoff.
CU simply took it to the Longhorns in the second half.  From: the BDC

Offensively, CU showed no fear, taking it to the UT front line, and attacking the rim with reckless abandon.  Time and time again CU was able to get to the paint off of the dribble-drive.  This eventually enabled the outside shooters (Relphorde and Knutson especially) to get open to spring the Buffs to an 11 point lead that was just enough to see them past Texas.

On the other end, CU was able to frustrate and disable what had been an efficient UT offense.  Over a 25 possession stretch during the comeback the Buffs held Texas to 1-17 shooting with 3 turnovers.  The 'Horns were continually frustrated by a revitalized defensive effort which pulled no punches in corralling UT's big men.  The defense was even able to go +10 on the defensive boards, allowing CU to out-rebound (43-39) one of the best rebounding teams in the nation.  The defensive efforts of Dufault, Rephorde and Roberson in the paint over the final 20 minutes are as much a part of the win as the clutch 3-pointers of Levi.
'Dre came of age as his second-half defending and rebounds helped kick-start the fast break offense.  From: the BDC

Alec Burks was incredible - Of all the excellent performances from Saturday afternoon ('Dre's manly 11 rebounds and Levi's 21 points off the bench spring to mind), I especially want to highlight the one Alec provided.  If there were any holdover doubts that Alec belongs in the NBA, they should've been erased on Saturday.  Not only did Alec score 24 of his game high 33 points int he second half, his sprinting runs on the break and back-breaking jump shooting sapped the strength and will of Texas when they needed it most.  His final line of 33/10/4 with only 1 turnover is indicative of one of the best all around performances by a CU basketball player ever.  Had he hit his free-throws at a familiar clip (he missed 8 in the game; he had only 5 misses the rest of February), CU would've blown UT out of the water.
Burks flew through the vaunted UT defense in the second half.  From: the BDC

I also want to mention the job he did defending UT's super-sophomore Jordan Hamilton.  Burks played lock-down defense against the kid all game, essentially neutralizing the stellar talent.  It was a marquee assignment for Burks to guard him, and he did a great job with help from his teammates.  While Hamilton did end up with 21 points, he got 8 of them late when CU was playing soft defense in an attempt not to foul.  Overall Burks was able to hold the lanky NBA prospect to 7-24 shooting and 5-13 from 3.  Just a great job by the kid from Missouri; he earned himself a lot of money Saturday afternoon.

Tad Boyle's challenge to sell-out the Nebraska game - In his post game comments, Coach Boyle challenged Buff nation to sell out the CEC for the This Saturday's Nebraska game.  It would be the record 5th sellout of the season.  Not only is it an important game that could determine the NCAA future of the Buffs, and the final Big XII game ever to be played in Boulder, but it's senior night for 5 of the scrappiest players in Buffs history.  If you consider yourself a Buffalo, and live in the area, there are few reasons that would excuse you from showing up.  Get up off your ass, plunk down $15 bucks, and support your university.
Coach Boyle says "get your ass to the CEC."  From: the BDC

Cory Higgins is Colorado Basketball - If there is anyone on this team who deserves to play on CBS in March, it's Cory Higgins.  You can see his fingerprints all over this team, and his leadership and talent have been integral to the re-building of the program.  In his four years he's seen everything from a team that barely escaped a win-less Big XII campaign in '09, to one that now may be on the cusp of securing a trip to the Dance.    He's also set to stand alone as the Buffalo with the most appearances in team history.

Saturday marked his 123rd game in Black and Gold, tying him with Will Smith (not that one) and Stephane Pelle.  He will in all likelihood set the record Wednesday night in Ames, Iowa.  He is the rock that this current season is built upon, and I'm happy that he's finally getting to enjoy some success in a CU uniform.  Way to go Cory!

The "questions" surrounding Jimmy Smith - I'm continually baffled any time someone in the media brings up  Jimmy Smith's "character issues" when talking about the draftability of the superlative cornerback from Colorado.  What character issues?  He was caught as a freshman with a beer.  oooooOOOOOOooooo.  A real criminal in the making here folks.  And he once got caught with marajuana.  In Boulder?  NO WAY!  Oh, but he's cocky.  Show me a truly humble corner, and I'll show you someone who won't see the field (it's a position that demands a certain level of "pride" in one's work). These are not problems.
Considering the shit many collegiate athletes get up to these days, underage drinking isn't an issue.  Avoid drafting him at your peril.

Listen, all of these questions about Jimmy's character probably originated from teams who own picks lower in the first round, hoping that Jimmy, and his trumped-up character concerns, would fall to them.  If he was stealing things (*cough*Cam Newton*cough*), that would be a problem.  If he was an abuser of women, that would be an problem.  Having a beer during your freshman year, with no recurrance after his sophomore year, is not a problem.  Seriously, a beer in 2007 would cause you not to draft a kid in 2011?  Take your head out of your ass.

Brief thoughts on the Oscars -  "The King's Speech" deservedly won 4 Oscars, including one for Best Picture, last night at the 83rd Academy Awards.  I flat-out loved the movie.  Sure, as a history major with an affinity for British history, I'm pre-disposed to love a British period drama, but I found the movie to be stunning and dramatic. If you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor and check it out.
It is a fantastic movie deserving of the honor.

As an aside, was anyone else convinced that James Franco was high as a kite last night?  He struck me as stoned on multiple occasions.

Happy Monday!


Rico said...

I was pissed that my coworkers didn't have the CU game on. We ended up watching SDSU get 'Jimmered' mormon-style Saturday.

RumblinBuff said...

You're gonna have to lay down the law, dude. California is now CU territory, so they either have to put on the black and gold or go sit quietly in the back of the room.