Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Monday, April 2, 2012

Monday Grab Bag: Championship Night

I'm still efforting the completion of my season-in-review post.  I'm hopeful that I can release it Wednesday. 

In the meantime, check out today's bag where I'll be talking Final Four and tonight's title game, status quo on the mens roster, the continuing coaching carousel, and the long-awaited return of baseball.  (That's right, I'm still not talking football.)

Click below for today's bag...

Final Four and championship night - 

Kentucky/Louisville There was just way too much Anthony Davis in the first game Saturday night.  Dropping 18/14 with five blocks, he provided an uber-'Dre performance on the game's biggest stage, propelling the Wildcats past rival Louisville.  The kid may have an ugly-ass unibrow and some of the worst teeth imaginable, but his game is beyond beautiful.
So... much... unibrow...
Overall, Kentucky played a little loose defensively, going after the shot block, rather than boxing out; this opened up the offensive glass for the Cardinals. Without the resulting 16 offensive rebounds, this game wouldn't have been close.  Maybe the Wildcats should re-think that strategy moving forwards, as it twice let Louisville back into the game.

Regardless, Kentucky got past their rival, and will get to play for a title this evening.  That there's still one game to go seemed to be lost of the Wildcat faithful, as they tore up Lexington after the win. 

Kansas/Ohio St - The Buckeyes seemed to have this one in the bag at halftime, holding onto a 9-point lead that had been steadily in the 13-point range for much of the first 20 minutes.  Whatever OSU coach Thad Matta said at halftime, however, seemed to deflate the Buckeye sails, as the Big 10 powerhouse came out of the locker room flat as a pancake.  The Buckeyes would miss their first 10 shots in the second frame, allowing Kansas to go on a 13-4 run to start the second half.  Suddenly the game was tied with 14 minutes to play.
Robinson got the better of Sullinger Saturday night.
Buckeye superstar Jared Sullinger played a mostly forgettable game, which allowed the depth-challenged KU frontline to step up throughout the contest.  Lead by Thomas Robinson's 19 point, 8 board performance, and boosted by former Arizona recruit Jeff Withey's 7 blocks, the Jayhawks finally surged past OSU with less than 3 minutes to go.  Without Sullinger to turn to, OSU couldn't get the ball at the rim in the final minutes, and free throws eventually won it for Kansas.

Championship Monday - It's hard for me to envision a scenario where Kentucky doesn't win tonight.  Without the talent of North Carolina to contend with, they are the most talented team in the country, and Kansas doesn't have nearly the depth along the frontline to match up well.  All it will take is a few early fouls on Robinson and Withey, and this game will be over before you know it.  I look for the Wildcats to cruise to victory.

Will they riot for a second time in Lexington, or was Saturday night enough?

Mills and Sharpe are staying - 

The hoops news in Buff-ville from the weekend centers around the statements from Shannon Sharpe and Ben Mills that they plan on remaining in Boulder next season.  There had been rumors swirling since December (at least) that these two players wouldn't be with the program going forward.  Combined, the two had played a paltry 124 minutes this season as they languished on the end of Coach Boyle's bench.


I really don't know how to go about discussing this news.  I've avoided the topic for months, hoping to pounce when the time is right.  It's just rather awkward to talk about.  I love every member of the Buff family, but sometimes it's just better to part ways.  The plain and simple truth is that I think the program could better use the scholarships elsewhere.  Mills and Sharpe haven't panned out (as of yet), and as of now project as permanent fixtures on the bench.  I view transferring out as a smart option for both sides as CU would get some roster flexibility, while the two would actually get some playing time. 

If they do stay on the roster, the Buffs are at their scholarship limit, and have no flexibility to go after interested transfers (Evan Smotrycz), or high-profile 2013 recruits like Isaac Hamilton, Jabari Bird, Zach LaVine, or Dakari Allen.  Things could always change (the most likely scenario is that 'Dre jumps for the NBA after next season, and a scholarship is magically available), but it's still a precarious position to be in.

To say I'm unhappy with the situation would be an understatement.

Continuing coaching carousel - 

Contrary to popular belief in the Sunflower State, Coach Tad Boyle had no interest in taking over the KSU job.  Lost without a reasonable candidate, the Wildcats scraped the bottom of the barrel, even reportedly considering broadcaster Doug Gotleib for the job.  (Dude's a good commentator and a solid basketball mind, but it's more than a stretch to grab a guy out of the ESPN booth who has never coached a game before.)

Seemingly stuck in neutral, the Wildcats grabbed the first re-tread coach they could find.  Bruce Webber: come on down!
He had a ton of resources to work with in Champaign, yet couldn't get the job done.  A step-down to KSU isn't going to do the trick. 
Up in Ft Collins, CSU's neophyte athletic director says he's ready to begin the interview process.  Honestly, I have no idea where they're going to end up with this search (or for that matter, where they should end up).  There's been some regional rumors, but nothing concrete.  I loved the suggestion of Steve McClain.  The former CU assistant has strong regional ties, and knows the MWC well.  His time spent with Tom Crean and Indiana would only further bolster his resume.

In the end, I don't really care as long as the next coach doesn't completely tank their RPI.  With the Rams solidified as a permanent fixture on the CU schedule, I'd rather that game count for something.

As a post-script to the Tim Miles era, CSU was granted $350,000 from the bulging Nebraska coffers.  I heard unconfirmed reports that Jack Graham took the cash and ran off to Blackhawk, desperately trying to earn enough cash to pay for the football stadium he's been dreaming about (ed. note: not even remotely true).

Baseball starts this week - 

Thank you Ubaldo Jiminez.

For weeks, Denver sports talk radio couldn't shake their football obsession, talking incessantly about a sport that isn't in session.  Not even the glory of dueling Centennial State Tournament berths could shake the gridiron addiction, as Peyton and Tebow played their game of musical QB chairs.  Someone had to come along and wake up the Denver sporting world to the wonder that is non-football, and Ubaldo filled that role nicely.

The former Rockies hurler, apparently miffed that former teammates Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez got the financially-backed faith from the organization that he never received, decided to plunk Tulo in yesterday's spring training game.  Dugouts cleared, yelling commenced, and baseball season was suddenly the topic of the town.  Rox manager Jim Tracy even called it the "the most gutless act I have seen in 35 years of professional baseball."  WOO-HOO, CONTROVERSY!
LOUD NOISES!  From: the Post
Was it a shit move by Ubaldo, throwing at a former teammate in an exhibition?  Absolutely.  But, I thank him none-the-less.  Baseball starts this week, and I was beginning to think that this town was going to skip past Opening Day without even a notice.

Happy Monday!

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