Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Grab Bag: Second-tier

If anything, Saturday's loss at UCLA confirmed what I already knew: the Buffs aren't yet capable of competing for the Pac-12 title.  Still, the team is on track for a top-table finish, skirting a second-consecutive 20-win season, and a solid spot in the NIT.  All good accomplishments for the season.

Today in the bag, I'll be taking a deeper look at the UCLA result, checking in with the CU women, and teasing signing day action.

Click below for the bag...

A rough end for the LA road trip - 
Just before halftime of Saturday's matchup with UCLA, it struck me how similar the game was to the Stanford one from two weeks ago.  Both teams were shooting lights out (combined 57%), and defenses couldn't keep up.  I kept my mouth shut, hoping that the second half would see the Buffs make some defensive adjustments.  Unfortunately, much like in Palo Alto, the second half was a disaster on both sides of the ball.

The final read 77-60, UCLA, but it could've been much worse.  The LA swing, which had started in so much promise with a breezy win over USC, ended with a rather disappointing split.
UCLA just out worked CU Saturday afternoon.  From: the Deseret News
In eerily similar fashion to the Stanford debacle, the hot shooting Buffs cooled way down at the break (Stanford game: 52% first half, 33% second - UCLA game: 57% first half, 35% second), and the defense, if anything, got worse (Stanford shooting: 48% first half, 59% second; UCLA shooting: 58% first half, 62% second).  The Buffs were out-worked on both sides of the ball, and were easily put away by a struggling UCLA squad.

I can't help but notice the second half similarities coming on the back-end of the first two Pac-12 road trips of the season.  Earlier in the year, I wondered what the effect of the Thursday-Saturday turnaround would be; it looks like the final 20 minutes of the weekend are a hard wall to run through.
Second half struggles on the road are becoming a trend.  From: the LA Times
On the next trip, to the Arizona schools, the far weaker of the two opponents (Arizona State) is played on Saturday.  It'll be interesting to watch how the Buffs handle the second half in Tempe.

CU women fight to their own split with the LA schools - 

While the men cruised past USC Thursday night, the women went down to the wire with the Trojans, winning on a pair of late free throws from star Chucky Jeffery.  The 69-67 final was indicative of a very competitive game, which featured 14 lead changes and 11 ties.  Jeffery combined with Brittany Wilson to drop 40 points on USC.
The action was tight all weekend long at the CEC.  From: the BDC
On the turnaround match with UCLA, things were equally as close, with the game going to overtime.  CU couldn't overcome the surging Bruins, however, and were clipped 62-54.  CU coughed up a disquieting 25 turnovers in 45 minutes of play, far too many under any circumstance.  The Buffs could only muster two field goals over the final 10 minutes, and UCLA blitzed the Buffs for a 9-2 run to open overtime.  The Bruins held on from there, and CU could only manage a split against the visiting squads from LA.

Plans for Signing Day - 

Much like last year, I'll be teaming up with the crazies from Allbuffs for a recruiting wrap up.  Details to follow, but be sure to check back on Wednesday for plenty of talk about the newest members of the football program.

Happy Monday!

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