Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Monday, March 5, 2012

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...

Defenseless in Corvallis - 

As if the offensive onslaught from the Oregon Ducks wasn't enough, the Buffs followed up their high-scoring loss Thursday night with a similarly lack-luster defensive effort against Oregon St Saturday afternoon.  In what has become an unsightly trend, CU once again allowed eye-popping shooting numbers in the second half of a road game.  The Beavers rode near 70% second-half shooting to a 83-69 victory, pushing CU all the way to a 6th place finish in the Pac-12.
That kind of result will cost you another centimeter of hair-line.  From: the BDC
Had the Buffs still been on the at-large bubble, the pair of losses would have fallen like a death knell.  As it is, the losses in Oregon may have endangered the Buffs chances at a home NIT game.  Recovery will have to occur in LA if that hope is to be salvaged.

Ahmad Starks lead the way for the Beavers, scoring 18 and dishing out 5 assists.  CU was paced by the ever-present Andre Roberson, who finished one board shy of another double-double, ending up with 14/9.

Combined with the Oregon game, the Buffs allowed 65% shooting and a total of 107 points in the two second halves.  It was an absolutely horrific defensive effort.  Sure, shots can fall, but those numbers tell of a team either exhausted, lazy, or mentally checked-out.
CU was shoved aside in the Pacific Northwest.  From: the Oregonian
The thing is, it's not exactly out of the norm for CU to exhibit some piss-poor second half defensive efforts on the road.  In fact, in the last five road games against competent teams (i.e., not USC, Utah, or ASU), opponents have combined to shoot just over 60% in the second half.  That translates to an average advantage of +12 after the break.

Not good, especially for a team so dependent on shot percentage defense.


The end result is that there are sections of Buff Nation panicking like its their job.  I even had someone telling me that Coach Boyle needs to be "held accountable," as if that means anything.  What, you want to fire him?

God forbid you lose a couple of games in a rebuilding year, I guess. Damn you Coach Boyle!  DAMN YOU!!!!

This was a team that had been overachieving what even they thought was possible before the season started.  The Buffs, despite losing a bazillion percent of minutes and points, not to mention a boat-load of talent, off of last year's team, were in contention for a league title as few as 11 days ago.  A little regression to the mean, as in all things, is to be expected.
Is it painful to watch you team get housed on the road?  Sure, but perspective is essential.  This program is still far ahead of schedule.  Throwing a fit isn't going to change the fact that it takes time to build a program. Shit just doesn't happen over night.

If the team is still playing through this type of second-half implosion in two years, then yeah, it's time to panic and hand out blame.  Right now, I'm just glad the Buffs were winning this season, rather than the bleak alternative that many predicted.

20 wins is still a solid possibility, along with a second-consecutive trip to post-season play.  That's a win for Colorado basketball.

Tourney Watch - 

There are four more Dance tickets being handed out tonight, with action coming from the MAAC, SoCon, CAA, and WCC finals.  The bubble can rest easy for one more night, as no winner could really steal a bid.

  • The WCC final, featuring mid-major heavies Gonzaga and St Mary's, is probably the game of the night, and can be seen on ESPN at 7pm.  Both teams should be in the Dace, regardless of the outcome.
  • The CAA final is interesting, as VCU, fresh off of last year's Final Four run, probably needs a win for a return trip to the Tournament.  Some experts have them on the outside of the bubble, but few give them much chance at a bid without the win over #1 seed Drexel.  This game is set for the 5pm slot on ESPN.
  • The MAAC final features Fairfield and Loyolla (MD).  I love small conference finals, as the two teams have no choice but to win if they want to Dance.  The action is always intense, and the finishes can make for great viewing.  Tune to ESPN2 at 5pm for this one.
  • The SoCon final features former small conference darling Davidson against SoCon Cinderella Western Carolina.  The WCU Catamounts, who finished 8-10 in conference play, have played the role of usurper, storming through the tournament to the final against the league power.  Coverage is at 7pm on ESPN2.  That's the beauty of March.  These Catamounts, a sub-par team from a largely anonymous conference, could become the national champions should they win their next eight ballgames.  I doubt they will get the chance as Davidson should cruise past them tonight.  You can always dream, however...

Happy Monday!


jgisland said...

Perspective, Perspective, you talking about Perspective? What Boyle shouldn't get fired for having a 19 win regular season?

Excellent points, I wish more people could appreciate what CU did this year not what they didn't do.

RumblinBuff said...

As long as we beat Utah Wednesday night, and play in the NIT, I'll be happy with the season

A.B. Homer said...

Perspective: the most difficult thing for a fan to comprehend and the most enlightening.