Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spencer Dinwiddie vs Alec Burks

Cruising through (read: stalking) twitter last night, I stumbled on this conversation between modern Buff phenoms Spencer Dinwiddie and Alec Burks:

@AlecBurks10: Everybody meet my son RT @SDinwiddie_25: I'm so close..

@SDimwiddie_25: I see u feel the need to comment on a real bucket getter's tweet..

Alec: @SDinwiddie_25 here u go talkin bout buckets u don't be gettin tho

Spencer: check the stats lil homie..

Alec: they wasn't like my stats my freshman year

Spencer: they were close enough, but I won a championship and went to the tournament..

Alec: man they wasn't close at all tho

Spencer: 16pts 4reb 1ast 2to vs 11pts 4reb 2ast 1to...pretty comparable son

Alec: u kno they aint u jus talkin and I average 17 son

Spencer: how am I just talkin? Lol I know what they are I've been shown them a million times -_-

Alec: lol then u kno I average 17 then


For the record, as freshmen:

Alec Burks: 17.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.9 turnovers, .538/.772/.352

Spencer Dinwiddie:  10.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.8 steals, 1.4 turnovers, .402/.816/.438

Yes, Alec did indeed average 17.  As I touched on back in January, Burks' freshmen numbers are ridiculous, and should stand alone from a purely statistical standpoint for some time.

However, Spencer's point that his numbers contributed to a title run and a Tourney ticket can't be overlooked.  I would say that Spencer benefited from a stronger supporting cast and a weaker slate of in-conference competition, but title is title.

I'll call it a draw.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tuesday Grab Bag: Back to the grind

After three straight weeks of travel, I'm finally settled back into my routine.  In the coming weeks I'll be pumping out some end-of-season posts.  Today, however, is strictly for the Grab Bag.

Today I'm talking roster changes in the basketball program, peeking at coaching moves around the country, and discussing the lacrosse program and how it has nothing to do with baseball.  Additionally, I'm still not talking spring football.

Click below for the bag...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Site News: Yet another vacation

I'm burning through my time off at what has to be a record pace.  This time, I'm headed to Vegas for a Bachelor's Party.  I plan to spend my time placing totally legal bets on the Sweet Sixteen.  That and get hammered.

The point of the matter is that I'm going dark again.  I'll be back next week with some season wrap-up stuff.  I might also find it in myself to talk football in March, but I doubt it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Quick Post: On CU's new reputation

I don't know if you noticed, but we're suddenly a school that travels well.  At least that's the message that's been floating across the country over the past two weeks.

It all culminated in Albuquerque, where enthusiasm surrounding the hoops program's first conference title in over 40 years combined with a short trip down I-25 to fill the Pit with Black & Gold.  That formula almost helped propel the Buffs into the Sweet Sixteen.

The presence in New Mexico only followed on the heels of the heart of the C-Unit being shipped out to LA, where they were seemingly the only group at the Staples Center interested in making noise.

As a result, TruTV/TNT constantly showed the C-Unit celebrating, announcers in both LA and ABQ couldn't help but mention it, and bloggers and journalists from across the sporting world commented on it.  The University of Colorado was suddenly a traveling force to be reckoned with.

Hell, even the band was getting massive props:

These two weeks aren't isolated incidents, either.  Increased student enthusiasm and participation helped slide the C-Unit into the final eight of the Naismith Student Section of the Year Award.  Additionally, with the move to the Pac-12, overall road attendance is on the rise, and solid Buff contingents were at every West Coast road venue for both football and mens basketball.

Never in my decade on the Front Range have I seen anything close to this from Buff Nation.  Typically in the past, at basketball tournaments and road football games, the only Buff presence would be the band and the team's family.  At the Big XII championship game in 2005, for example, only a handful dressed in Black & Gold bore witness to 70-3 (probably a good thing). 

Based on my experiences, I just assumed that the fan base, though large and passionate at home, just wasn't a traveling bunch.  I guess I was wrong.  There just needed to be a spark of interest combined with feasible travel distances. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday Grab Bag: All good things must come to an end

I had just gotten out of work on Friday afternoon when I got the call: there's an opening in a car headed towards Albuquerque.  Through the benevolence of friends already in New Mexico, the cost of the trip would be reduced to game tickets, food/drink, and gas.  I found the deal too good to pass up, and by 7 o'clock I was on I-25 south.

Even in defeat, I'm glad I was there.  The scene at the Pit was incredible, with a huge contingent of Buff fans turning the place into something oddly reminiscent of the CEC.  It was an experience worth having, and a memory worth saving.

Today in the bag, I'll be recapping the game in New Mexico, tipping my cap to the departing seniors, and picking up the pieces from my destroyed bracket.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, March 16, 2012

Baylor Preview: St. Taddy's Day

I would be the world's worst liar if I tried to play it off that I imagined that I'd be sitting here on March 16th writing a preview for a 3rd round match with Baylor.  The past two weeks have existed in some sort of haze only a late-60s hippy would appreciate.  How is this happening?  Where did this come from? Dave's not here, man...

Hell, I would've been happy with a winning record and a return trip to the NIT.  Now, it's back-to-back 20+ win seasons, a miraculous run to a conference title, and a win in the Dance.  What could Coach Boyle possibly still have in his bag of presents to bestow on Buff Nation?

Any further than this, and I'm going to start running out of historical comparison points...

Tip-off against former conference mate Baylor is set for approximately 6:40 Saturday evening.  The television coverage is set for TNT, which I assume everyone knows how to find on their television package.  Radio coverage, and the dulcet tones of Mark Johnson, can be found on 850 KOA.  You can also catch the action online with March Madness Live.

Click below for my preview...

Quick Post: The Dance continues...

For the first time in 15 years, the Colorado Buffaloes have won a Tournament game.  The rabbit hole only seems to go deeper, and, after five wins in nine days, CU is still dancing.  It wasn't easy, with UNLV cutting a 20-point deficit to two points with under five minutes to go, but the Buffs rallied, Carlon dunked, and the team escaped with a 68-64 win.

(68-64... hrmmm... that sounds familiar.  It's almost like someone predicted that exact score yesterday morning.  Weird.)

The Buffs were paced by the 6th-man extraordinaire, Askia Booker.  "The Scrat" scored 16 points in 24 minutes, and his burst off the bench helped the Buffs set the tone early.  Sophomore Dennis Rodman impersonator Andre Roberson chipped in a very 'Dre-like 12/16.  Austin Dufault had the cleanest performance, scoring 15 points with no turnovers; considering the Buffs coughed it up 23 times last night, Austin deserves special recognition.
"The Scrat" changed the game off the bench, helping CU jump out to a big lead.  From: the Post.
The Runnin' Rebels were lead by Oscar Bellfield, who filled the stat sheet with his 10/5/8 performance.  Sensational post man, and former UCLA Bruin, Mike Moser chipped in 10/9 before fouling out down the stretch, but I honestly don't remember him having that great a night.

All told, CU held UNLV to just over 32% shooting, while hitting over 58% of their own 3-point attempts and out-rebounding the Rebels by 13.  Had the Buffs not turned the ball over a shocking 23 times (including an extended stretch where CU couldn't advance the ball past mid-court) or missed 10 free throws, this game would've been a rout.  If this were a regular season game I'd be worried, but, as this is the Tournament, every win looks like Kate Upton to me.
Carlon and the Buffs did work beyond the arc, but turnovers kept the game close.  From: the Post
CU advances to the "third round" of the NCAA Tournament, where they'll face old Big XII foe Baylor, with the winner advancing to the Sweet Sixteen.  For the record, CU has never made the Sweet Sixteen in the modern format.  Previous forays this far into the Dance came at a time when fewer than 25 teams made the Tournament.

I'm beginning to run out of language to describe this team.


My Baylor preview will be up at some point this evening.  God only knows when, but I'll get it out.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

UNLV Preview: An evening with the Tournament

Well hello, NCAA Tournament.  It's been a long time, but you're looking fine as ever.  Might I interest you in some fine French 'champagna'?  Here, let me dim the lights, and play some music.

Now that the mood has been set, let's get straight to business...


Happy Tournament, Buff Nation!

That's right, it's time for the Dance to tip-off, and for the first time since I was a bright-eyed freshman, the Buffs have scrounged up a ticket.  This impossible dream has taken CU through four rounds of the Pac-12 Tournament and straight to New Mexico.

Many would be happy with what the Buffs have managed to accomplish so far.  After all, the first conference title in 43 years is definitely something worth celebrating.  However, teams who are just "happy to be there" are an affront to the very nature of the Tournament.  Any one of the remaining teams, from Asheville to Xavier, is only six wins away from a national title.  If you're still in it, you have to be in it to win it.

Standing in CU's way are the Runnin' Rebels from UNLV.  This proud program, holder of a national title and plenty of tournament experience, is a tough regional draw, but that's the level of team you're going to face at this stage.  It's time for the Buffs to show that they're up to the challenge, and belong with the big boys.

Tip-off from the famous Pit in Albuquerque is set for approximately 7:57pm.  The game can be seen on truTV.  For those of you who haven't heard of truTV before, it's channel 71 (771 for HD) on Comcast, 246 on DirecTV, and 204 on Dish.  You probably already get it without knowing.

If the idea of searching for truTV seems too daunting for you, you can follow the action through MMOD on teh interwebz. Additionally, Mark Johnson and the radio coverage is set for 850 KOA (also available through

Click below for my preview...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Quick Post: Tourney Talk

While the majority of the Tournament field rested up for the Madness, the after-thought First Four tipped off in Dayton last night. 

The NCAA may not want you to think of this as a 4-pack of play-in games, but common sense will tell you that these four games, laughably called the "first-round" by exactly no one, are exactly that.  These eight teams (the bottom four seeds and the final four at-large selections) are competing for the right to make the Tournament as we know it; that screams play-in to me.

While the moniker "play-in" may denote that the teams involved are less-than-quality, that doesn't mean the games played will be.  Case in point: neither BYU or Western Kentucky, both come-from-behind winners last evening, has a hope in hell of winning once the real Tournament starts.  They both looked like garbage, even in victory (WKU, the only team with a losing record in the field, committed an otherworldly 27 turnovers.  BYU?  20).  Their frantic comebacks (combined 41 points), however, made for very interesting viewing. 

Even bad basketball, at its most shambolic, can appease.  It's March afterall.


Some quick thoughts on my bracket picks...

The President and I are on the same line of thinking; a Final Four of UNC, Kentucky, Mizzou, and Ohio State, with the Tar Heels over the Wildcats in the final.  I really like Kentucky's length and defensive capabilities, while UNC is probably the most capable team in the field.  Efficiency is a huge factor this time of year, and Mizzou and OSU are #1 in offensive and defensive efficiency, respectively.  It all seems like a no-brainer before Thursday morning...

For early upsets, I like Long Beach St (who I saw in Hawai'i way back in December), Ohio, and NC State.  In fact, I like a lot of the 11-seeds this year (*cough*).  Should Cal win tonight, I also think they could win a game or two in the real bracket. 

I would've picked VCU to advance had they not drawn Wichita State.  The Shockers are a damn good team that CU fans will remember from Puerto Rico. 

I essentially don't like any team in the top portion of the East bracket, and I think the East could be real ugly come Elite Eight weekend.

As always, this is fluid until Thursday morning.   These thoughts can change at the drop of a hat before then.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Quick Post: Pac-12 Tournamnet moving to Vegas

Vegas baby, VEGAS!

In the old days (read: last year), a trip to see the Buffs play in the conference tournament meant a depressing jaunt to "exciting" locales such as Kansas City or Oklahoma City (often involving a boring bus ride).  With the move to the Pac-12, that destination log was greatly improved, and I jumped at the opportunity to run off to SoCal last week.

But next year's conference finale won't be in the Staples Center, and with good reason.  The sparse, and largely dispassionate, crowd made it clear to everyone involved that a new venue was needed.

Enter: Vegas.  With the bright lights and myriad list of distractions, Vegas makes the perfect tournament destination.  Hell, the WCC, Mountain West and WAC had all come to that conclusion already, and each held their tournament in Sin City last week.

It's a great move by the league, made even better by the tournament setting at the MGM Grand Garden.  The venue, which has hosted countless high-profile events over the years, is a perfect setting.  On the strip, but with the comfort, size, and amenities that a power conference crowd demands.

The move is another master-stroke from El Jefe.  I know I'll be making the trip to Vegas every year.

Meanwhile, the women's tournament, which was split between Staples and the beautifully appointed Galen Center, will be moving to Seattle.  About the only problem I can see with that is the fighting that's sure to break out in basketball bands across the west, as band geeks struggle to get on the trip to LV over the side show in Washington.  A free trip to Vegas?  Damn, I was born a few years too early.

Quick Post: On Peyton Manning, and his crashing of CU's dance party

Dear Mr. Manning,

Addictive personalities being what they are, your forthcoming free agency decision has gotten the Bronco tweakers back on the blue and orange dragon.  I don't think it's healthy for them, or those of us around them, to jump back into their destructive addiction so quickly. 

Further, your search for a new home, while understandably public, has begun to take attention away from the first Tournament berth for the University of Colorado (and that small ag school up the road) in just shy of a decade.  Simply, what should be a time for incessant celebration has been overshadowed by your search.

Accordingly, I ask that you please make your decision quickly; it's March, and football shouldn't be discussed by anyone, anywhere during this time.




While I'm on the subject, if this process has made one thing clear to me, it's that John Elway would rather don a Raiders cap than have Tim Tebow as his QB come fall. 

Over the past few months, the Donkeys have been linked to everything from QB money-pit Matt Flynn, to a destructive trade to grab one of the top-two draft picks (and the QB prospects that come with them).  Now, this high profile pursuit of an aging, injury-plagued superstar has all but driven home the point that Elway would rather anyone, seriously ANYONE, other than Tebow take snaps.

Elway needs it to be a high-profile name to mollify the section of the Broncos fanbase that is squarely in 15's corner.  Manning certainly fits that bill.

Add this to the lukewarm assurance that Little Timmy would be the QB come training camp (duh), and I wouldn't expect to see the ratings cow on the Denver sidelines much longer, Manning or no Manning.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday Grab Bag: Dancing with Buffaloes

On a whim, and encouraged by rock bottom airfare prices, I traveled to Southern California last week to take in the inaugural Pac-12 basketball tournament. I certainly didn't expect much from my beloved Buffs, who struggled mightily down the stretch in conference play, and the most I expected was a solid win over pseudo-rival Utah.

I figured I'd watch some hoops, get a win out of my trip, and spend most of my time reconnecting with my friends in the area.

Then, the weirdest thing happened: the Buffs flat refused to stop winning.
What's this net-cutting thing you speak of?  From: the BDC
This game continues to find way to surprise me, and the Buffs run to a God-be-damned conference title last week almost left me more stunned then overjoyed... almost.  It took four wins in four days, but the Buffs, on the verge of exhaustion, got it done.  Dreams do come true, and the University of Colorado will Dance on Thursday for the first time in nine years.

Today in the bag, I'll be recapping the championship run, and looking ahead to THE BIG DANCE.

Click below for the bag...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Quick Post: I'm off to the Pac-12 Tournament

Lured by low-cost air-fare, a surprisingly above-average basketball team, and the ability to hang out with my friends in California, I'm headed off to LA for the Pac-12 Tournament.  The final year of the tournament in LA was just too good of a deal to pass up.

What does that mean for the blog?  Well, since I don't have a laptop, that unfortunately means I'm going dark for the next week.  Instead, I'll be tweeting (probably a lot) from the games, so you may want to follow me @Rumblinbuffalo.

As for a tournament prediction...

I always over-look the chalk favorite, tending to go for a team farther down the line.  So I've shot past Washington and headed right to Oregon, who have been playing some of the best basketball in the conference over the past month. 

Since losing that nail-biter in Boulder, the Ducks have gone 6-1, and have been scoring a ton of points in the process.  With UW, Cal, and Arizona losing their final game, Oregon is only team in the top-4 coming into the tournament with momentum, and have the guard depth to succeed in tournament play.  Give me the Ducks over Washington in the final. 

The Buffs?  I think CU should get by Utah.  No matter how calamitous play has gotten this season, CU has at least proven that it can beat the worst teams in the conference.  Unfortunately, with Oregon awaiting in the second round, the Buffs, and their traveling road crew, should be home by Friday afternoon.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Quick Post: Semi-finals of the Coaches Deathmatch

Coach Boyle has scratched and clawed his way into the semi-finals of the Coaches Deathmatch Tournament.  He's bested a bear and a tree; now all that stands between him and a spot in the title game is a matchup with the First Brother-in-Law.

OSU head man Craig Robinson may have bested Coach Boyle over the weekend, but the ThunderDome was made for revenge. Head on over and help Buff Nation spur the "Colorado Cranium" into the finals.

This is probably the only Final Four that CU will make this season, so there's no reason to let it slip by unattended.  GO VOTE!

Monday Grab Bag: EVERYONE PANIC!!!!!!!!

Welcome to the final week before the Madness.  If you could look past the CU implosion in the Beaver State, there was plenty of interesting basketball being played across the nation.

So far bubble teams have been getting lucky, as chalk ruled the day in both the MVC and OVC tournaments.  That's not to say it wasn't exciting, however.  Both Murray St and Creighton, two teams all but guaranteed at-large berths in the Tournament, had to sweat through their conference finales, which in turn caused the myriad of "bubble teams" to sweat it out as well.  Despite the close finishes, sanity prevailed, and the bubble stayed safe for another day.

Today in the bag, I'll turn my attention to the derailment in Corvallis, scratch my figurative head at those panicking, and tease tonight's slate of hoops action.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, March 2, 2012

Oregon St Preview #2

If you like defensive basketball (or are a Big 10 fan), I hope you weren't watching last night.  The Buffs and Ducks combined for 171 points on over 54% shooting, as they strained the scoreboard through the 90-81 Oregon win.  Can't somebody please have the common decency to miss an open jumper!

It's painful to think about the fact that the Buffs were up five at half, shooting 63%, and silencing the home Oregon crowd in the process.  The Ducks, however, took the Buffs example and only improved on it, scoring 54 points on 65% shooting in the second half.  Are we sure those rims were regulation size?

The offense was so contagious that even slumping Buffs guard Carlon Brown regained his scoring touch, as he provided 20 points on 8-11 shooting (3-3 from deep).  'Dre was close to his season averages, dropping 12/8, and probably only missed yet another double-double due to no one missing a damn jumper all night long.
The reports of Carlon's demise were clearly mistaken.  Hopefully his performance carries over into next week.  From: the BDC.
Duck stars Devoe Joseph and Garrett Sim combined for 43 points on 17-26 shooting, including 7-11 from beyond the arc.  They decimated the Buffs perimeter defense, and kept any hopes of a CU comeback at bay.
I was shocked to find that Joseph and Sim did in fact miss some shots last night.  From: the BDC
Other than the glaring defensive stats, there were some other cracks in the Buffs effort last night.  After a week in Boulder spent holding onto the basketball (only 11 combined turnovers against Cal and Stanford), CU got back to coughing the ball up, allowing 27 points on 15 TO's.  Additionally, the Buffs allowed 11 offensive rebounds.

The Buffs simply didn't play enough defense to win.  While the offense looked about as good as it has all season, you can't allow a home team to shoot over 60% in the second half and expect to win.  With any hope of a first-round bye probably dashed, the only thing left to do is go for that 20th win against Oregon State.

Speaking of which, tip-off from Corvallis is set for 2pm tomorrow.  The regular-season finale can be seen on FSN/ROOT affiliates, while Mark Johnson will have the radio call on 760 AM.

My preview of the first game can be found here.

Click below for my preview of the rematch...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Quick Post: The C-Unit makes the Elite 8

Somehow, someway, the C-Unit has made their way to the Elite 8 of the Naismith Student Section of the Year Award.

Based on a surge of fan voting, the C-Unit, who can reach numbers approaching 3,000 on game days, has navigated through the beauty pageant portion of the competition.  Now the group, along with their seven fellow finalists, go in front of the Naismith Board of Selectors to determine the eventual winner and the recipient of the $5,000 grand prize.

With national recognition like this, it's no wonder that the Athletic Department is packing 50 of the kids along for the trip to the conference tournament.

It's heady days for the group.  I remember when, not so long ago, it was a crew of six-ish freshmen standing off to the side of the rest of the student body.  Not only did it quickly take over as the face of the student section in the CEC, but it also helped to inflate numbers and participation overall.  Now the stadium is treated to a full spectacle of student participation:

Of course, I would strongly argue that, with the recent string of failures in Folsom, a large portion of the students are grasping at anything worth getting excited over.  However, that doesn't diminish the fact that they have shown up this season, ready and willing to support the team with a ferocity usually reserved for traditional powerhouses in the ACC and the Big 10.

The story isn't where they've come from, it's what they're doing now.  The CEC is one of the best hoop environments in the west because they're kicking so much ass.

Keep up the good work, C-Unit; we're going to need you next year. You're doing your university and the hoops program proud!

Quick Post: 2nd round of the Coaches Deathmatch

Over at the coaching carnage continues.  Coach Boyle survived his first round match against Cal Coach Mike Montgomery, only to come face to face with nemesis Johnny Dawkins. 

The Stanford Coach may have Boyle's number in the real world, but the "Colorado Cranium" seems to have the lock-down in the hypothetical ThunderDome, cruising to an early lead.  Still, it wouldn't hurt to send some more votes his way

While you're there, why not also vote for USC's Kevin O'Neill and Utah's Larry Krystkowiak?  They're facing off against fanbases (Arizona and Washington) who could cause problems for Coach Boyle later in the tournament.  Voting closes tomorrow, so get cracking!

Oregon Preview #2

Remember back, all the way back, to March of 2010.  The Buffs beat Texas Tech on the final day of the regular season in a game that meant nothing.  The two were destined to play in the upcoming Big XII Tournament, and the game really only decided who would be the designated "home team" the following Wednesday.
Ah, memories.  From: the BDC
Tonight's game against Oregon is slightly reminiscent.  Barring an extensive set of circumstances, CU and Oregon will be in line to face off in the quarter-finals of next week's Pac-12 Tournament.  All the loser would have to do is beat crippled USC in the opening round to secure a 3rd meeting.  While tonight's game will probably determine who enjoys a first round bye next week, leading to a discussion of big picture/title-run implications, the immediate effect is minimal.

Regardless of tonight's result, the Buffs and Ducks should see each other again one week from today.

Of course, the hardiest of Buff Nation can easily recall the result of the Texas Tech duel from two years ago.  While the Buffs scored that nice win over Tech in Boulder, the rematch in Kansas City was completely different.  The Raiders regrouped, and clocked CU by 15.  NIT hopes were dashed, and the Red Raiders, who had lost seven straight prior to that game in KC, moved on to face KU.  I'm sure the loser tonight hopes that history repeats next week in Los Angeles.

While that Tech game was essentially meaningless, tonight's game does hold plenty of importance.  The winner does get that vital first-round bye to rest their late season legs.  Additionally, Coach Boyle is going for his 100th career win as a head coach, and the Buffs are still in search of their second-consecutive 20-win season.

There's plenty on the table to play for.

Tip-off from the eye-achingly ugly floor of the MATT is set for 8:30.  The action can be seen on ROOT/FSN.  If the crazy floor design scares you away, you can listen to Mark Johnson and the radio call on 760AM.

My preview of the first game can be seen here.

Click below for my preview of the rematch...