Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

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...

It's finally over - 

On the 25th try, CU finally overcame the challenges inherent in a trip beyond the boundaries of the Denver-Boulder metropolitan area, and beat an opponent on their home turf.  Pay no attention to the 0-3 dump laid by the Utes kicking game, CU won the game, subduing the Utes through a total performance worthy of victory.
Strutting Embree lead his Buffs to a marquee win to ease the pain of a otherwise painful season.  From: the BDC
CU didn't allow a Ute first down for the first 27 minutes of the game, and continued playing a hard nosed, physical defense throughout en route to allowing a total of 274 yards and only 4.7 yards per play.  The Buffs offense played well enough to win, making numerous big plays throughout the day, and shrugging off the loss off Speedy Stewart when he left after halftime with a sprained ankle.

Toney Clemmons had another big day, grabbing four catches for 102 yards, and we may have seen the emergence of the next CU running back as Tony Jones had 78 big yards in the second half (would've had more had DaVaughn Thornton not blatantly held on a touchdown run in the 4th quarter).

The Buffs played a complete game, from the opening drive to the final whistle.  Credit to Coach Embree and Tyler Hansen (who himself had a great day in his final game; 264 yards and two scores against one turnover) for finally breaking the streak and achieving their #1 goal for the season.
Tyler had plenty to celebrate as he lead the program to a career defining win.  From: the BDC
After having made road trips to picturesque locales like Toledo, Shreveport, and Lincoln, only to see the Buffs get crushed by opponents far more interested in playing football at that moment, I'm just happy that I was there to see it.

Go Buffs!

Trip recap -

My trip westward did not start out as planned.  What had been scheduled as a relaxing train ride through the mountains was derailed by mechanical issues outside of Omaha.  Even with the series concluded, the Huskers are still finding new ways to annoy me.

After a hastily put-together 8-hour romp through Wyoming, I set to taking in all that had to be offered by our new rivals.  I can tell you one thing: it's miles ahead of anything Lincoln could ever offer.  Picturesque scenery, clean streets, quality bars (yes, bars) and tasty eating establishments; Salt Lake City has more than enough to get me back in two years time.

Their stadium is modern, yet modest.  The fans proud, yet not obnoxious in that particular Husker fashion I grew to hate.  Set against a trio of mountain formations, Rice-Eccles Stadium is a fine place to watch a ballgame; it honestly reminded my a bit like home in Folsom.

Overall, it was a great trip, and even without a CU victory, I'd be singing praises of my trip to the Beehive State.  If you ever found reason to travel with the Buffs to Nebraska, then you have no reason not to put Utah on your itinerary in the future.

Grand Theft Winning - 

Even Coach Boyle could admit as much: CU did not deserve the mark in the win column that resulted from last Wednesday's trip to the Springs.  The Buffs packed too many turnovers (18) in their overnight bag, and would've rightfully deserved defeat at the hands of the Zoomies.  But sports is not always fair, and CU gets a win, almost inspite of itself.

That's not to say the CU performance was devoid of any quality.  Nate Tomlinson had a career night, dropping 19 points on 4-7 shooting from 3-point land, 'Dre had yet another double-double, five total players scored in double figures, and CU out-rebounded the Princeton-running Academy squad by 19.

But the Buffs allowed the Falcons to get to the line far too often, and found themselves in far too much foul trouble.  Falcon Michael Lyons was allowed to gash the Buffs on the break and in the half-court to the tune of 31 points on only 19 shots.  CU continued to struggle from the free throw line, once again shooting below 60% from the stripe.
It wasn't pretty, but I'll take it.  From: the BDC
It was very ugly, but, in the end, a win is a win, and overcoming the adversity of a poor performance on the road is a huge step for this young team.  Considering they're in the midst of their toughest stretch of non-conference play, and coming off of a series of tough travel to and from Puerto Rico, I'll gladly take this victory.

Georgia on my mind - 

Concluding the multi-sport series, CU will take on a talented Georgia Bulldog squad tonight at the CEC.  Look for the long-awaited debut of JuCo transfer Jeremy Adams, as he is apparently recovered from the concussion he sustained in the closed-door scrimmage with Creighton.

It should be a good test for CU.  The Bulldogs may have two losses in the early going, but they were against Xavier and Cal; two schools I would guarantee make the Tournament, if not outright capable of Sweet-Sixteen bids.  Trey Tompkins may be warming up for his debut in the NBA, but they still have a lot of talent on the court.  Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Gerald Robinson will bush the Buffs athletically this evening. Gerogia is not a strong shooting team (shooting 38% from the floor) and they rely on strong shot defense to keep their struggling offense in games.
The athletic Caldwell-Pope, a McDonald's All-American freshman, will challenge CU this evening.
I'll give the Buffs the nod in a home matchup.  I'll say 71-65 CU.

Lady Buffs off to best start in over a decade - 

While the mens team is still getting comfortable with each other, the womens team is running through their schedule unblemished.  For the first time since 2000-01, the team is off to a 5-0 start as CU swept their way to victory in the Omni Hotels Classic over the weekend.  Star Chuckie Jeffery won tournament MVP honors for the second straight season.
Jefferey continues to lead the Buffs through a, so far, perfect season.  From: the BDC
The schedule hasn't been too heavy so far, but Coach Lappe seems to have the Buffs headed in the right direction.  Keep up the good work!

Happy Monday!


Aaron Jordan said...

What gives yo!

No postgame recap of our good buddy's performance at the bar Thursday night?

RumblinBuff said...

I'm trying to keep this professional 'round here. That Scarffe took a pratfall in the most hilarious way possible is besides the point.