Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Quick Post: What to do with Pac-12 "bye" weeks

In case you haven't noticed, there is no Thursday night game this week.  The Buffs are taking a week off before playing Utah on Saturday.  With the current "travel partner" set-up in Pac-12 scheduling, CU will see that twice a year.

Some teams, like UCLA, are using the "bye" week as an opportunity to play a nationally televised game with a nonconference opponent (in this case, UCLA vs St John's on CBS).  Coach Boyle would like to see the Buffs face a similar "bye-week" schedule in the future, saying yesterday:
"I kind of wish we had (a marquee nonconference matchup) this week. I think that would be good for our league, especially with our disappointing nonconference slate." -link
I hate to break it to Coach Boyle, but that kind of made-for-TV, mid-February matchup is probably out of reach for this program until it starts going to the Tournament on a regular basis.  Benefit to the conference's national perception aside, it's just not going to happen.

The only reason that UCLA and the Johnnies, with their combined 24-27 (11-16) record, are afforded a prized afternoon slot in the middle of Bubble-watching season is because they represent the two largest media markets in the country.  (It certainly doesn't hurt that UCLA is UCLA, and that St. John's coach Steve Lavin has a schload of connections within the television industry.)  While I guarantee no one outside of those fan bases will watch that game on Saturday, way back in the summer, when it was scheduled, I'm sure it looked enticing to the big-wigs at CBS Sports. 

The Buffs are nowhere near a position to arrange something like that.  CU has neither have the history justification, the television market, or connections to warrant a marquee scheduling like that.  It would take years of building a reputation for quality basketball to crack a nationally televised Saturday slate in February.

What's more, I would tend to think that a week of rest and preparation at this point in the season would help more than another nonconference game would.  The final five games of the season are vital to both a title chase, and positioning for the conference tournament (which is probably CU's only path to the Dance).  Muddling up that focus with a nonconference distraction is self-defeating.

Take the "bye" when afforded, and rest up the legs.

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