Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday Grab Bag: EuroTrip wraps up

Two weeks from today, I'll be wrapping up what will hopefully be the Buffs first win of the 2012 season.  It's scary to think how close the start of football is.  With the European trip wrapping up this afternoon in Holland, I'll be diving into 100% football talk by the end of the week.

Today in the bag, I'm talking the BasketBuffs double-dip in Belgium, the closing bell on the EuroTrip, and the recently completed football scrimmage.

Click below for the bag...

Basketball: a win and a loss over the weekend - 

The team apparently really enjoyed Belgium, and it showed in their performance.  Over the weekend, the Buffs played through two exhibition games in the country, and seemed to play better basketball then they did in Paris.  They split the pair, using a strong 4th quarter performance to roll past Optima Ghen 91-63 Saturday, and barely missing in their comeback bid against Gembo BBC Borgerhout in an 88-86 loss Sunday.
Seriously, how do you focus on playing when there's so much to see and do?  From: Beau's tumblr.
In the Saturday affair, it was still close headed into the 4th quarter before CU rode a 32-10 wave to the finish.  Boosted by a comically large 50-19 rebounding advantage, CU cruised by what sounds like weaker competition in the waning minutes.  'Dre chipped in yet another double-double (15/14) and freshman Josh Scott dropped 19 points on 9-15 shooting.

The Sunday game saw a last-minute comeback bid fall shot, which would be very disappointing under normal circumstances.  However, not only does the game fall under the normal exhibition/team-building caveat, but CU played the entirety of their second game within 24 hours without key veterans Andre Roberson, Askia Booker, Spencer Dinwiddie, or Sabatino Chen.  Accordingly, the game featured plenty of youthful mistakes: 29 turnovers, and four freshman foul-outs.

Still, you saw plenty of positives from the game played with one arm tied behind their collective back.  The team managed to shoot 46% from the field, and freshman Josh Scott chipped in a game-high 24 points.  That CU was able to keep things close without 56% of scoring and 71% of rebounding from last year's team is very encouraging.  Designed to get plenty of experience for newcomers and seldom-used reserves, the game with Gembo BBC Borgerhout shows how strong the bench alone can be for this team.

Basketball: EuroTrip Concludes - 

So far, the trip continues to be nothing but positive.  While some of the scorelines have been a little disappointing, they don't really matter, and there have been plenty of other positives to pick out of the stat lines sneaking back to the States. On the personnel side, other than a slight problem with Ski, who sat through the 1st quarter of the final game in Paris for disciplinary reasons, there have been no reported problems. This has left Coach Boyle free to play around with game situations, giving the entirety of the roster valuable in-game experience (which was the whole point).

The team, to a man, sounds like they get the reason for the trip.  Jeremy Adams put it best by saying:
"This European trip is great for building team chemistry, not only, on the court, but off the court as well. Our chemistry off the court affects our chemistry on the court. The best teams have a bond like a family and that is something we are also trying to cultivate on this trip." (-link)
Just follow Beau "the beautiful" Gamble's tumblr account, and you can see that chemistry building.

All good things must come to an end, however, and this European trip is no exception.  Today at 11:30 MT, the BasketBuffs tip off against the Rotterdam Challengers in the final exhibition game of the season.  After that game is wrapped, they'll head home to classes and practices a much closer team, hopefully better prepared to defend their league title once November finally rolls around.  While the game may not really matter, I'd love to see the team leave Europe on a high note, and head back to US soil with a 2-3 record tucked in their checked baggage. 

Go Buffs!  Beat the Rotterdam Challengers!

Football: Scrimmage wrap-up - 

While the season's first opponent was muddling through a scrimmage devoid of many of their first-team players, CU played through their scrimmage mostly injury free.  What talent CU has is still on the field, preparing for that first game.  (That has to count for something, right?)
The season's first scrimmage seemed to go off without a hitch.  I only wish someone with objectivity was there to watch.  From:
While no one outside of the program was allowed to see the 96-play scrimmage, the quotes from the team, still safely protected from actual analysis by the media black-out, paint a picture of hope and positivity:
 "[...]the way they came out (Saturday) and got after it, it was good. [...] They want it . . . they don't say it, but their actions - how they come out and work - it got better every practice [...] I feel good about what this team has done and how hard they've worked." (-link)
The scrimmage featured solid work from all levels of the QB corps, some explosive special teams play, and some big performances on the defensive side.  While still plenty of work away from being 100% ready, newly-anointed starter Jordan Webb thinks the team could be ready earlier than Sept 1st, had it been required.  The result of a year without coaching turnover, this comfort with the pace of development will only help going forward.

Last year the whole process was rushed, and Coach Embree admits that the team was probably not ready when a poor scrimmage carried over into the Hawai'i game.  Hopefully, with the process smoother than last year, that will translate into earlier bursts of quality play.  As a result, I think those like Danny Sheridan, who recently called the Buffs the worst team in BCS football, are fools (but I'm still far from calling this team "bowl-capable").  One thing I will agree with, however, is that team should offer a brand of football far more palatable than the one served-up by the previous administration.  Effort, heart, "wanting-it," ... if we can't win, I'd at least like to root for a team that wants to be there.  They seem more than capable of meeting that standard.

Happy Monday!

No comments: