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|
Today in the bag, I'll be recapping the championship run, and looking ahead to THE BIG DANCE.
Click below for the bag...
All I do is win, win, win -
What else can you say? The Colorado Buffaloes are Pac-12 Champions.
|VICTORYYYYYYYY! From: the BDC|
|I couldn't be happier for Nate and Austin, they've been through a lot of shit. From: Colorado Athletics|
An improbable run -
I certainly didn't see this coming. The trip to Oregon the previous weekend, which featured shambolic defense and two blowout losses, had soured my outlook on CU's LA prospects. With those losses weighing heavily on my mind, and a less-than-impressive opening-round win over Utah only disturbing me further, I wrote this in my notebook Wednesday night:
"I just realized that my normally rationalistic outlook on CU hoops has turned decidedly pessimistic. I arrive back in San Diego having convinced myself that I'll have plenty of time to sight-see after CU is done losing (to Oregon) tomorrow night."What a difference a few wins can make. That Utah win, while far from pleasing to the eye, apparently got the Buffs back on their feet, and the championship-caliber squad, last seen in January, ran out of the tunnel the following night.
From that point on, swarming defense and aggressive offense were the order of the weekend. Take a look at the tape from those final three victories; even at their best this season, the Buffs never played defense like that. Nate Tomlinson, especially, lead the charge, playing the role of Gary Payton on more than one occasion, and making life hell on opposing shooters. Overall, the Buffs held their four opponents to just under 39% shooting through the tournament.
|Nate worked his ass off in LA. From: Trey Eckloff's Twitter feed|
|From Wednesday Night on, Carlon Brown showed a determination not seen since early January. From: the BDC|
|Not for nothing, but we need to bring the C-Unit more places. From: the BDC|
|Whose ball? 'Dre's Ball! From: the BDC|
Pac-12 vs Big XII -
How is it that this is the team winning conference titles and making a trip to the NCAA Tournament? Last year's record-setting squad, built around current-NBA talent Alec Burks and Cory Higgins, gets "rewarded" with an NIT run, while this squad, seemingly in rebuilding mode before the start of the year, climbs the mountain top. At some point, you just have to throw your hands in the air and give in to the chaos that is basketball in March.
|Drew Litton doing what he does best. From: the BDC|
In the friendlier environs of the Pac-12, CU played against beatable teams in a true neutral setting. Sure, the overall-quality of the conference in down, but even at its height the Pac-12 can never pose the challenge that beating Kansas in Kansas City represents.
CU has a chance to thrive in the Pac-12, specifically because dominance isn't a per-ordained condition.
Thursday against UNLV -
If you haven't heard, the Buffs are headed to Alburqueque, NM for the first round to the Dance, where they'll face off against the Runnin' Rebels from UNLV. The game is set for Thursday night, saving my office a few hours of non-existent production.
|Nate is still wearing that net, did he ever take it off? Does he shower with it? From: the BDC|
If you extend the view past the first round, the Buffs could potentially see Baylor in the second round, setting up a final shot at revenge over the school that tried so hard to smear CU's good name during the breakup of the old Big XII. Jumping over Baylor would be a very tasty way of making a shocking Sweet Sixteen run
I'm not yet ready to make a prediction, but I think CU has as good a shot as any of the #11 seeds to make it to the weekend. I'll allow myself a few more hours of daydreaming before I begin to breakdown the realistic chances of that happening...
Happy Championship Monday!