Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

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!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Quick Post: Pt 4 of the AllBuffs Basketball Roundtable.

Forget about football, this is basketball season, damnit!  I'm still hanging out with Goose, Buffnik, Tyler Ziskin and Zach Bell over at Allbuffs.  Today we're talking facility upgrades, recruiting, and what the hell to call the CEC.  Head on over here to check it out.  Only one more day of talks, so leave a comment and join in on the fun while you can. 

You can check out our previous discussions here:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Arizona Preview: Senior Day at last

How long has this season felt?   Like a marathon runner past the wall and unable to find the finish, the Colorado Football program has to be longingly searching for the end of the schedule.  Yet still there remain three games to play.  (Three games?  That's some bullshit, just end the misery now!)
The practical reasons to continue to fight on have been whittled to just two: experience for the underclassmen and to honor the fighting spirit of one of the more brutalized senior classes in CU history.  To that end, Coach Embree this week had the underclassmen players write letters, good old fashioned penned letters, to the seniors to allow the underclassmen to express their respect and gratitude to the seniors for showing the way.  A very classy and impressive coaching maneuver by a first-year coach.

The 28 seniors who stayed in Boulder, through coaching change bullshit and a mountain of losses as mighty as Mt Evans, deserve our respect and praise alongside that of their teammates.  Through four years of challenge, they stuck with it and tried their best.  While they may not have had it in them to bring victories to Boulder in any great number, they still donned the black and gold with the pride it deserves, and did their teammates and their university proud through their effort and perseverance.
Tyler will lead the large senior contingent onto the field Saturday.  From: the BDC
Names like Tyler Hansen, Rodney Stewart, Ryan Miller, and Josh Hartigan lead the class, but it's the entirety of the 28 that deserve a hearty round of applause on Saturday.  Show up early and show them that we're all Buffs, and that the herd always sticks together.


The final home game of the season kicks off at 12:30 Saturday.  Get your drinking in early and head to the stadium to cheer on those departing seniors.  If you can't make it to Folsom, and still care enough to watch, you can checkout the action on FCS-Pacific, which is 617 on DirecTV (you losers with Comcast are on your own)

Click below for the preview...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Quick Post: Pt 3 of the AllBuffs Basketball Roundtable.

When you're finished digesting all the signing day fun, head on over to Allbuffs where the Basketball Roundtable rolls into day 3.  Goose, Buffnik, Tyler Ziskin, Zach Bell, and I talk about areas of improvement and regression, non-conference schedule expectations, and season-wide expectations.

Only two days left of the roundball roundtable, so jump on it now while the gettin's good.

You can check out our previous discussions here:

Day 1

Day 2

UPDATED: Basketball Signing Day

Updated: All five have signed their LOI's.  Welcome aboard guys!

Unlike football, which waits until the dead of February to ink the recruits, basketball allows teams to get the heavy lifting out of the way before the season even starts.  The first of two signing periods, the early signing period allows recruits to commit to their program of choice and play their senior seasons without the hassle of recruiting weighing on their performance.  They also lock in the guarantee of a scholarship, essentially insuring themselves against injury or other terrible happenstance.

Today marks the start of a full week of early signing availability, and all of the Buffs five commitments are expected to sign during the week, if not today.  With little opportunity to improve the team with the 2013 class (seeing as how the team has only one junior: walk-on transfer Sabatino Chen) the 2012 class is essential to the future growth of the program.

All told, three native Coloradans and two out-of-staters look to make CU very competitive in the future.  This is a solid class, easily one of the best, if not the best, in school history, with two of the commitments considered top-100 players nationally.  It's focused on high-motor players who showcase plenty of athleticism - perfect fits in the up-tempo style of ball that Coach Boyle likes the Buffs to play on both ends of the court.

Many consider this class to be one of the top-20 in the nation, and one of the better landed in the Pac-12 this fall.  While it would have been nice if Coach Boyle and his staff were able to land all of the top-flight recruits interested in coming to Boulder, I'm still more than satisfied with how the class turned out.

In this post I'll be recapping the class; touching on each player's recruiting profile and how I see them impacting the Buffs over the coming years.

Click below for the recap...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Quick Post: Pt 2 of the AllBuffs Basketball Roundtable.

After recovering from day one of the Buffs Basketball equivalent of the Yalta Conference (I'm playing the role of Churchill; festively drunk and constantly wearing a top hat), I'm back over at AllBuffs talking Puerto Rico, starting lineups, and bust out performers with the guys.

Join Goose, BuffNik, Tyler Ziskin, Zach Bell and myself for the second round of hoops discussion.  Be sure to mention how awesome that RumblinBuff guy is...


I'm talking to you, the skeptic who hasn't yet bought into Buffs Basketball: seriously, why haven't you bought season tickets yet? 
Coach Boyle would like a word with you...
The general admission package is only $60, which averages out to $3.75 per game for 16 home games.  That's all it takes to buy into to the Tad Boyle Basketball Renaissance.  It's less than $4 to get into the building on Nov 28th to see CU take on Georgia.  The cost of a gallon of milk to see the Buffs battle Arizona on Jan 21st.  Mere pocket change to witness the NIT rematch with Cal on Feb 26th.  You really can't afford to pass this deal up.

Hell, even if you can only make it to a few nights, it's still worth it.  Shit, just put on a gold shirt and stand in the student section, no one will notice and you'll get a great view of the action.
Help the CEC stay rockin' this season!

Yes, opening night is Friday, but it's not too late.  You can still get in. Click over here and do your duty to your University.  I guarantee that the $60 spent on basketball will grant you access to more victories than what you spent on football tickets has.

If you don't chip in your $3.75, who will?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Quick-Post: Ty Wallace is a Golden Bear

Frustration.  On the cusp of a top-15 recruiting class, CU couldn't close the deal as top-100 recruit Ty Wallace committed to Cal today

I had been following his recruitment about as hard as I've followed any before.  He was widely considered one of the best point guards in the west, and as a big guard (6-4) he would've fit perfectly in Coach Boyle's system.  Word on the street was that while he may have initially favored CU, his parents wanted him to go to Berkeley.

Suffice to say that this news has put a damper on my opening week celebrations.  Time to cue up some sad-scotch...
*click to animate*
Still, even without Ty Wallace, the 2012 recruiting class should be the best on paper in CU history.  Headlined by Colorado power forward Josh Scott and California swingman Xavier Johnson, it has the potential to help CU to the top of the conference.  Continue preparations for the start of basketball.

Quick-Post: AllBuffs Basketball Roundtable

All this week I'll be talking hoops with a Roundtable of basketball experts over at AllBuffs.  We're going to hit on a variety of topics, and we'll be at it each day this week.  If you're jacked for the basketball season, and if you read this blog you should be, then I strongly urge you to check it out.

I'm joined by AllBuffs mods Goose and Buffnik, Zach Bell from the Ralphie Report, and uber fan Tyler Ziskin.  You can check out the action from Day 1 at this link.

Big thanks to Goose for putting this together, and be sure to check out Allbuffs each day this week!

Monday Grab Bag: Basketball is back

I'd like to thank USC for bringing the Song Girls to Boulder.  I haven't seen quality fake breasts like that in a long time; SoCal does that shit right  ... and that was all I took away from Friday night.  Not really, but that's all I'm choosing to remember.

Today in the bag I'll be wrapping up the big weekend in football, touching on whether I think Alabama should still be in the top-5, linking to a disturbing Ringo article, and reminding you that it's opening week for college basketball.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday Beer Post: 2011 Gameday Beer-o-the-week - USC 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!"

Tomorrow should be a great evening to watch football... wait, the game's tonight?  Shit, I better get drinking!

Getting straight to the point, yesterday was, apparently, International Stout Day, so I'll honor that.  I'm naming Boulder County's own Lefthand Milk Stout Nitro as my tailgate beer-o-the-week.

I've been trying to get this in a beer post for a month now.  Black as night, (see where I'm going with this...) the Milk Stout is unique in that it's brewed with lactose to give it a milky/creamy/sweet taste.  Serving it with nitrogen, instead of carbon dioxide, makes the taste even smoother.  The result is a sweet, dark concoction that has put many under its spell over the years.

Lefthand's nitro-infused version, a long-time favorite at their tap-room, was recently released for the first time in bottles.  "What's so special about that," you might ask, "Guinness has been doing that for years!"  Indeed they have, but they've been using a proprietary widget to infuse the beer with nitrogen upon opening.  Not only is Lefthand the first domestic brewery to ship nitro beer, but they use no widget.

The nitrogen, a tricky gas to store in beer, simply appears when poured, as if conjured with black magic, giving the beer that traditional draft flavor that many have come to know and love.  Lefthand, in fact, spent nearly three years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to find a way to gas the beer with nitrogen to create the draft style you can enjoy at home.

While they aren't saying how they do it, appreciating the beer takes a bit of a trick.  Contrary to what you've been taught your whole life, to get the proper "draft" pour of Milk Stout Nitro you have to "hard pour" the beer into the glass. Take a look:

So grab a glass, pour hard, and enjoy some fine Milk Stout.  You'll need the resulting "beer-blanket" to protect you from the night temperatures.

Happy Friday!  Go Buffs, Beat USC!

Quick Post: Cory selected in first round of NBDL draft

CU great Cory Higgins may have slipped through the NBA's talent nets, but he was grabbed up by the NBDL's Erie BayHawks in the first round of yesterday's NBDL draft.  Selected with the 8th (7th, I cant count) overall pick, the all-time CU leader in points and games played will start his professional career in the Knicks affiliate.

I still think Cory has the talent to play a consistent back-bench role on an NBA team, but the road from the Developmental League is long and mostly anonymous.  He does have one advantage over former running mate, and future Utah Jazz star, Alec Burks - the NBDL will actually be playing games this fall.

Congrats to Cory, and good luck chasing you NBA dreams!


Some other interesting names you might recognize from the DL's draft: former NBA role-player Jamaal Tinsley (went with the first overall pick), Gary Johnson from UT, Brady Morningstar from KU, Jake Anderson from ISU, Eric Devendorf from Syracuse, Byron Eaton from Oklahoma St, Fucking Bobby Howard from Montana St (single-handedly beat CU a few years back), and CU's very own James "Mookie" Wright, who was taken in the 6th round by the Idaho Stampede.

Bringing up Mookie allows me to re-post this video:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Quick Post: Damiene Cain may still be in the picture

About the only piece of bad news to come out of Buffs camp this fall was the announcement by PF recruit Damiene Cain that he wouldn't be playing basketball at CU afterall.  Cain was expected to help bolster the forward corps, while potentially clearing the way to allow for a redshirt year from Ben Mills.  For him not to play, as a highly touted recruit, was a big blow to the program.

... or maybe not...

Rumors started swirling yesterday evening that Cain may still end up playing hoops for CU.  Today Coach Boyle acknowledged the possibility, saying "The jury's still out," but that "We've had some conversations."

Cain originally left the program saying that he wanted to focus on academics.  With no solid evidence to the contrary, I'll accept that story at face value.  While I would hope that he continues to realize what's truly important about the collegiate experience (the whole going to class thing), should he really want to come back, and be totally dedicated to the team he once turned away from, I think it would be in CU's best interests to take him back.  He's a good talent, and you should be allowed to struggle with big decisions as an 18 year old.

If he's not 100%, and I mean 100%, then the program should encourage his academic career while continuing to move forward without his services.

USC Preview: Always remember to use protection

.... I really like the senior leadership on this team.  Nate Tomlinson and Austin Dufault have been around for four years now, and...  Wait, football, got it.  Sorry, I'm still decompressing from my massive basketball preview.

To the matter at hand: the annual blackout game is upon us.  We may not have created that tradition, but the CU fanbase has done a pretty good job making it our own.  Ever since the '07 night game against Florida State, one night game per year has been designated the "Blackout Game," allowing the University to get some value out of those lights it installed in Folsom, while affording the fans a unique and intense venue to watch football.  I love the tradition, and hope that it continues long into the future.

Despite stumbling in that first blackout evening affair with FSU, the Buffs have played good football under the lights, winning in '08 over West Virginia and last season over Georgia.  I don't know why there wasn't one in '09 (I blame Dan Hawkins), but CU carries a 2-game win streak when the crowd gets their Johnny Cash on.

Folsom, by itself, is an awesome stadium, but under the lights, with everyone decked in black, it's intimidating and spectacular.  There's a sense of grandeur that surpasses what would be normally be expected, and I'm thrilled that us fans can do our part to set the stage for great football.

All the better, CU will apparently once again don the all-black uniform combination for tomorrows game.  I love the all-black combo with a burning passion that knows no end; this was the color scheme that dropped the Huskers 62-36, afterall.  Still, I happen to know AD director Mike Bohn hates the combination, so I'm surprised, and pleased, to see the all-blacks back in play.  *cues AC/DC's back in black*

Anyways, as always for the blackout... FUCK 'EM UP, FUCK 'EM UP, WEAR BLACK!


Tell the boss you're leaving work early, cause there's some serious tailgaiting to do as the sun slips behind the Flatirons.  Kickoff is set for 7pm on Friday night.  It's supposed to be damn cold so wear some thermals under all that black you throw on.  If you can't make it up to Folsom, you can turn to, of all things, ESPN 3D to check out the action.  If you haven't yet bought into that bullshit 3D fad, then you can check out the game on ESPN, regular flavor.

Click below for my preview...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My Massive Basketball preview 2011-12

I am sorry.  I am so very sorry.

I tried, I really did, to keep this to a reasonable length, but to no avail.  I am just too pumped up for basketball season to start.  This will be long and rambling, consider yourself forewarned.

Again, I'm sorry.


Before I get started, I'd like to take a quick look back at what was one of the best years in CU basketball history, courtesy of the fine folks at 

2010-11 was a magical year for CU basketball.  Despite not reaching the Tournament, the team set records for wins, and the program experienced unprecedented fan participation and attention in the form of repeated sell-outs down the conference stretch.  While there have been far more successful years in CU basketball history (NIT championships, trips to the Dance, a Final Four appearance, and a string of conference titles in the 50s and 60s), last season certainly belongs as a brief aside to the discussion of best Buffs basketball season ever.

Now, all that's left is building on the momentum created last spring.

The conventional wisdom in basketball circles is that CU will struggle this season. Losing 60% of minutes and 75% of points will do that to your prospectus.  But what the conventional wisdom is missing is the tireless preparation the coaching staff put in to life after Higgins and Burks; what I'm saying is that the team jumped off a cliff, only to be saved by a golden parachute built out of transfers and seniors who have been playing the last 3 years.

I'll say right at the top that this team will not make the NCAA tournament, but another run in the NIT is within reach.  This future shouldn't bum you out; from where this program was at the end of the Ricardo Patton era, to realistically expect back-to-back successful post-season campaigns is like manna from Heaven.  Add to it the prospect of a top-20 recruiting class, and Buff hoops junkies are living in a Golden Age.

In this preview, I'll take a close look at year two of Tad Boyle's Fantastic Boulder Voyage, breaking down every aspect of the program as it begins its first tour of duty in the Pac-12.

With that out of the way, if you're as ready to get this party started as I am, then grab a beer and click below...