Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

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...

UCLA did not take kindly to the whole "guarantee" thing -

A 39 point loss is what a seemingly focused CU squad had in store for Buff Nation as a follow up to their haply little win over Arizona.  Senior day in the Rose Bowl saw the fired up Bruins stomp the crap out of the well meaning, but still hapless, Buffs.  From the opening kickoff to the end of garbage time the Bruins offense pushed CU around, scoring on 7 of 13 possessions and cranking out 553 yards of offense.  The Buffs could only muster a measly 229 yards of offense for themselves and were never, at any point, 'in' the game.  
The Bruins plowed right through the Buffs.  From: The BDC
What happened?  Wasn't this supposed to be the game that CU finally shows well on the road, possibly even breaking the horrid road losing streak (now at 23, btw)?  To see the team play so flaccid brings me back to my old trope about this group being a squad of losers (non-pejorative) who have no idea what it takes to win on a week-to-week basis. 

This is the first time this season that I've really been angry with the effort put in by the team.  They should've played better, played like they actually intended to win the game, rather than just talk about it. 

I now head to Utah, of all places, to see my first road game of the season.  I'm not very optimistic.

Puerto Rico went as I thought it would, and I'm not happy with it - 

Going into the Puerto Rico tip-off, I fully expected a 1-2 record to be the final result.  Still, I'm not exactly happy with the way the Buffs stumbled to a 1-2 record in the 51st psuedo-state.  It ended up being a facsimile of the Maui Invitation from a few years ago, with CU squandering winnable games in the first two rounds, before struggling a little too much against the tournament's also-ran.  Essentially, overly frustrating when caught up in the moment, but in-line with what I thought would happen headed in.

Thursday evening saw CU ground down by a veteran and physically over-powering Wichita State squad.  Nothing too surprising in the 67-58 loss to the Shockers, but the Buffs had a couple of chances to steal one here if things had gone right.  Still, the Buffs were out-rebounded by 10, and shot less than 50% from the charity stripe: not a recipe for success.
While the Buffs played it close, they were really no match for the veteran Shockers.  From: the BDC
The Maryland game on Friday night was the most disappointing performance of the weekend.  Leading for most of the game, often by double digits, CU let a very winnable game slip through their fingers.  With less than eight minutes left in the game, the under-manned Maryland squad shot past CU, never to look back en route to a 78-71 victory.  

The key to the Buffs collapse was poor perimeter defense, exemplified by the Terps 52% shooting from deep.  CU was again out-rebounded, this time by a team not nearly as imposing as the Shockers, and free throw shooting was, again, particularly atrocious.  The Buffs allowed a laughable 52 points in the second frame, mostly on the back of Maryland guard Drew Stoglin, who scored 20 of his 32 points in the second half.
Poor perimeter play, whether it be against the 3 or on the drive, doomed CU against Maryland.  From: the BDC
In the bottom-feeder game, dismissively tipping off at 9:30 yesterday morning, CU came through with a decent performance to beat one of the best teams out of the MAC.  While 'Dre got into foul trouble early, CU shrugged off the reduced minutes from their best athlete to win 81-76.  The WMU Broncos came out guns blazing, and took an early double-digit lead, but the Buffs clawed back through stellar play from seniors Carlon Brown, Nate Tomlinson, and Austin Dufault, who combined to score 51 points in the game.  While it was frustrating to see CU get dominated in the paint by a fat guy with glasses (Bronco forward Matt Stainbrook went off for 20/8), the Buffs did what they needed to do and got the win.

Overall, you're starting to see the faults in the foundation of the team.  Missed free throws, poor rebounding, and bad perimeter defense against athletic guards all combined to negate any chance of victory in the first two games. While the team looked better yesterday morning against Western Michigan, they should always beat teams from the MAC.  I think a win over Maryland, with a resulting loss to the very strong Iona Gaels, would've left me at least satisfied with the tournament, but dropping the Maryland game just underlines how far this team has to go in order to meet the expectations laid out by last year's squad.

Individually, we saw a nice tournament from Carlon Brown, as he scored 52 points to go along with 12 rebounds and 7 assists; he's been playing as advertised, and essentially won the WMU game for the Buffs.  SHT had a pair of good games against Wichita St and WMU, providing 16/10 over those two games.  'Dre, while struggling a bit against the Shockers, and limited against WMU via massive foul trouble (he only played 11 minutes), had a huge game against Maryland, providing 21/13 and looking like the NBA prospect the scouts have been raving about.  While Hubert Davis was a little unimpressed by his habit of driving to his right, he still had a fantastic game.
CB had a great tournament.  From: the BDC
After getting back into the continental-48, the Buffs will make the short drive down to the Springs on Wednesday evening to play the Air Force Falcons.  It'll be interesting to see how this team takes to its first true road trip of the season.

Notes from around football nation - 

College Football 

Oklahoma St/Oregon/Oklahoma vs teams they should've beaten - I know the LSU defense is legitimately scary, but I didn't think teams would go through so much to avoid having to play them.  Ok St especially, losing to lowly Iowa St Friday night, was a shock.  At least the Ducks and Sooners had the common courtesy to lose to talented squads.  That LSU/Alabama rematch that no-one was asking for is now very likely.

Nebraska at Michigan - The Wolverines did the Lord's work Saturday, ending the Huskers faint hopes of a BCS at-large bid.  I give this game a 5.8 on the unified Scadenfreude scale.


Arizona at San Francisco - the 49ers continue to lap the rest of the NFC West as they rolled past divisional "rival" Arizona.  They could clinch the division by the end of November.

Chargers at Bears - MY Bears continued to storm through the league, and, with five consecutive victories, are officially competing with the 49ers for the title of "best NFC team that is not the Packers."

Happy Monday!

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