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.