Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Grab Bag: Keeping pace

It's ironic that the notation over the visitor's score Saturday afternoon was "Wildcats."   The most competitive contests, on an biannual basis, down the stretch of CU's time in the Big XII were against the Kansas State Wildcats.  New conference, new Wildcats, same result; ferociously competitive basketball, and a Buffs victory.

That exhibition of basketball I bore witness to Saturday was one of the most competitive, enjoyable events I've ever seen.  Both teams played their hearts out, both teams deserved to win.  In the end, it was the Buffs, with a defensive stop, that prevailed, staying near the top of their new conference, and protecting the best home court advantage in the west.
Fuck.  Yes.  From: the BDC
To quote my drunken roommates: "We won the fuck out of basketball."


Today in the bag, I'm recapping the win over Arizona, looking at a season-saving win by the women in Tucson, surveying Championship Sunday in the NFL, and quickly running through an awesome weekend in the world of college hoops.

Click below for the bag...

Victory in Boulder -

It was a big game for many reasons.  Arizona is a marquee program, and a major obstacle to hurdle in pursuit of the upper echelons of the Pac-12.  Additionally, in order to stay in contention this season, the Buffs need to hold serve at home, all but sweeping the portion of the conference slate played at altitude.  Finally, this team is still fighting for respect everywhere outside the city limits of Boulder.  I never want to say a game is a "must win" in late January, but this one came damn close.

With less than 30 seconds left to play, and a one-point lead in their back-pockets, the Buffs simply needed a stop on defense to seal the victory.  Left with no timeouts, due mostly to Coach Boyle refusing to take his own (Leaving Arizona's Coach Sean Miller no choice but to burn his early to help his team catch their breath), Arizona had to scramble to take the last shot.  Wildcat forward Jesse Perry would later say, "the crowd was loud, it was kind of hard for coach to call the play from over the bench in that amount of time because guys were all over the place."

The harried set would eventually find Kevin Parrom in the corner; Parrom air-mailed the potentially winning shot, and the Buffs were victorious.  In one of the more perfectly matched games I've seen this season, CU was able to walk away with the 64-63 win in front of a foaming-over Coors Events Center.
My thoughts exactly.  From: Allbuffs
Even with a struggling star (Andre Roberson had zero points and seven rebounds) and the old free throw woes popping up to test my constitution, the Buffs submitted one of their best overall performances of the season.  The squad, which has constantly battled turnover issues this year, only coughed it up six times, held a strong 3-point shooting team to 3-20 shooting beyond the arc, and allowed the Wildcats to only shoot 26% in the second half.
A very tough and well-played game.  This is one the Buffs can be proud of.  From: the BDC
Were there some weak points?  Absolutely: CU allowed 18 offensive rebounds en route to a 44-35 rebounding disadvantage, Arizona's Jesse Perry was allowed near-unfettered access to the interior of the Buffs defense when the 'Cats needed it, and 'Dre couldn't get anything to fall (although he did step it up defensively in the second half, and had four blocks).  However, when the chips were down, the Buffs made the plays needed to beat a good basketball team. 

The leader of the overall team effort was Carlon Brown, who continually made tough jumper after tough jumper down the stretch.  He utilized a full arsenal of shot selections to compile his 19 points, which included the last three points of the game on an ice-cold, dagger of a shot.  He also added six boards and a pair of assists to round out his performance.  It was the kind of game most envisioned him having when he transferred into the program last fall.
The senior had a huge game Saturday.  From: the BDC
Just an all-around great game to watch, and a great win for the Buffs to have on their resume.  The team now sits a half-game behind first place at 5-2 in conference play, with the looming trip to SoCal weighing heavily on their minds.

CU women with their own close win over Arizona - 

With the mens team still enjoying their win over the Wildcats in Boulder, the women tipped off in Tucson Sunday afternoon, looking to right a listing ship. On the back of a clutch shot from Chucky Jeffrey, the Buffs survived with a 56-54 win.  After losing four of their last five conference games, this was a big road victory over a solid Arizona squad.  With a favorable home schedule in front of them the rest of the way, the Buffs could still land in the top-half of the conference, and maybe even compete for a Tournament bid.

Championship Sunday - 

In typical football fashion, the games came down to mistakes on special teams  A muffed punt by San Francisco's Kyle Williams (son of Sox GM Kenny Willaims), and a brutally shanked field goal from Baltimore's Bill Cundiff kept the family Harbaugh from the Super Bowl.  Instead, a rematch of the '07 title game is in the cards, with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots set to square off against Eli Manning and the New York Giants.
Eli took a pounding, but it's the Giants who get the trip to Indianapolis.  From: SBNation
The games were good, the finishes tight, but I'm left less than fulfilled.  I hate to watch games decided on the mistakes of 5th-string receivers and shaky kickers.  I felt both the 49ers and the Ravens were the better teams on the afternoon; I guess that's why they don't have judges handing out performance grades.

Around the nation of college basketball -

Missouri at Baylor - Baylor had been a team seemingly capable of no wrong.  Now, after back to back losses to traditional powers Kansas and Missouri, they are off the pace for a conference title.  They will be helped by KU and MU having to play twice, but Baylor currently finds themselves in 3rd.

Syracuse at Notre Dame - The Irish cruised past the #1 team in the land, sending the previously undefeated Orange home with a 67-58 loss.  Which leaves...

Murray St at SIU-Edwardsville - ... the Murray St Racers as the only undefeated team left in Div-1 college hoops.  The squad from the Ohio Valley Conference continues to waltz through their slate, as they beat the SIU-E Cougars by 17.

Florida St at Duke - Proving that college basketball is the most exciting and unpredictable sport on the planet, Florida St stormed into Cameron Indoor, and produced this scene in the final seconds:

Happy Monday!

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