Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday Grab Bag: Trap left unsprung

It seems that Admiral Ackbar was wrong.  It took the Buffs a while, but they escaped Tempe unscathed.  One last easy road test remains before the season's final four games test my hairline.

Today in the bag I'll recap the win over ASU, take a look around the top of the Pac-12, touch on the Jeremy Lin phenomenon, and drop some site news.

Click below for the bag...

Wrapping the ASU win - So remember when I was worried about the ASU game, that I thought it had the makings of a trap?  Yeah, that was pretty stupid.

While the Buffs did sputter early, they eventually crushed the Sun Devils, and were never really in that much of danger.  A milk run past the ASU defense in the final five minutes gave the Buffs a respectable 14-point cushion.

Spencer Dinwiddie took his turn with lead scoring honors, dropping all of his 15 points in the second half.  All told, he only missed two shots on the afternoon, going 4-6 from the field and 4-4 from the line.  Supporting his efforts was the reliable Andre Roberson, who finished a lone rebound away from yet another double-double, ending up with 12/9.  As a team, the Buffs shot 46%, and had a few moments of passing brilliance against the ASU zone. 
The freshman Dinwiddie had yet another solid game.  From: the BDC
On D, the Buffs held the typically efficient ASU offense to 36% shooting.  For a team that paced in their offensive style to shoot that low essentially precludes any chance of winning.  ASU star Trent Lockett's return to the lineup was a key difference from the first game, but CU did a good job holding him to only 10 points on eight shots.  Coach Boyle gave a nod to Nate Tomlinson for keeping the explosive guard off the stat sheet.

The CU D was solid, and ASU melted away late.  From: the BDC
It was a win the Buffs had to have, as they used it to stay with the 3-team chase group.  CU still sits a game back of Pac-12 co-leaders Washington and Cal.  A much needed week off now sits before a trip to SLC, which should be another easy road victory. 

Around the Pac-12 - 

Arizona 70 - Utah 61 - The score belies how close this game really was.  The Utes lead at half, and even had it tied with less than two minutes to go.  'Zona won the final few minutes, holding Utah scoreless over the last 5:42, and sent the upstart Utes home with yet another loss.  After sweeping in the Bay Area, and beating the Buffs in a nationally televised game, a 'Zona loss in this one would've been a hateful black-eye for the conference.  I'm actually happy they were able to right the ship in the final minutes.
The Utes gave 'Zona a scare, but came up short in the end.  From: the LATimes
UW 75 - OSU 72 - By far the most entertaining Pac-12 game of the weekend, Washington was able to stave off the Oregon sweep I had called for.  The Beavers played really well, but couldn't make the plays down the stretch to earn the win.  As a result, UW can still hold claim to a share of the Pac-12 lead.

Cal 73 - UCLA 63 - The Golden Bears rather easily dispatched UCLA, staying atop the conference.  A road sweep in SoCal is none too surprising for this group, and it only reinforces the importance of the tilt with the Buffs in two weeks.

Jeremy Lin - 

I went to a Nuggets game a few weeks back, which only stood to reinforce my opinion of mid-season NBA hoops.  The crowd was lifeless, the teams exhausted and dis-interested. All-in-all a boring affair, which is what I expected. 

I didn't think mid-season pro hoops could entertain me anymore, and then came the week of Jeremy Lin.  Peaking with the twitter-testing bout with Kobe Friday night, Jeremy Lin's explosion onto the basketball scene made for exciting viewing.  The result of a true point guard running a Mike D'Antoni system, the Harvard product has shaken the roots of the NBA system in only a few games, setting records along the way.
Lin is making the Knicks must-see hoops in the dead of February.
He's gone from a back-bench warmer, who couldn't stick on a team, to the crown prince of New York in the span of a week.  It's the best sports story of the young year.  While he's certainly talented, I've convinced myself that his historical start is a product of tired defenders and slow scouting.  That said, it's crazy fun to watch the Knicks right now.

I honestly can't wait for Melo to come back.  He'll play his Black-Hole-of-Basketball role (pass him the ball, and it disappears from existence), the Knicks will struggle, and the Garden crowd will boo the shit out of him.  It'll be hilarious.

(For the record, CU got a taste of Lin-sanity three years ago when the Harvard Crimson rolled into Boulder.  On 4-11 shooting, he scored 11, dished out four assists, and grabbed five steals.  I remember him, but Harvard wasn't a good team.  I remember being dismissive about every Crimson, Lin included. even managed to miss-spell his name.  Also from that box score, Casey Crawford scored 18 points.  Ah, memories...)

Site news - 

So I've got good news and bad news.

The bad news is that I won't be doing my traditional live-blog of the Buffs in the conference tournament (still reeling from that KSU game not getting CU into the Dance). 
Los Angeles is a much more enticing destination than Kansas City or OKC; throw in cheap air-fare, and I'm in.
The fucking awesome news is that I'm missing out on the live-blog to physically be at the damn Pac-12 tournament!  The rock-bottom prices on flights that week were too enticing to resist, so I'm headed to LA.  Regardless of how the Buffs play, I'm sure I'll have a blast.  If you're also headed to LA for the tourney, give me a shout and I'll buy you a beer.

Happy Monday!

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