Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday Grab Bag: Sweeping though Charleston

What a way to start the season, huh?  BuffNation, feel free to puff out your chest.  Football may be a thing of the past, but this basketball program is something you can be proud of.  These guys are for real!

Today in the bag I'm talking the tournament capping win over Murray St., the schadenfreude-tastic win over Baylor, and the banana stand's run at nationals.

Click below for the bag...

Buffs beat Murray St, win Charleston Classic - 

For the first time since the Pepsi Classic of 2002, the Buffs have won an in-season tournament.  Buoyed by another strong performance from sophomore sensation Askia Booker (23 points, also named tournament MVP), and the first "'Dre-like" performance of the year from Andre Roberson (16/9), the Buffs surged past the obviously exhausted Racers in the second half Sunday to secure both an 81-74 victory and the tournament title.  The result: the team is off to their best start since '98-99, and will probably be ranked for the first time since my senior year ('05-'06).
What's this?  More trophies?  Add it to the pile.  From: the BDC
That's not to say it was easy.  Racer forward Ed Daniel was probably the best player on the court for much of the game (fouled out after a 20/10 night), and he made the Buffs pay for weak box-out attempts with his seven offensive boards.  The Buffs also struggled with turnovers (17 for the game), and Coach Boyle had to shorten his bench, needing his reliable starters to each play over 30 minutes.

But CU dug deep. Spencer Dinwiddie et al did a solid job keeping All-American guard Isaiah Canaan to a quiet 3-11 from 3-point range, forcing the dynamic future NBA star to take 19 shots to nab his 21 points.  Throw in some foul trouble, and the Buffs put some pressure on the perilously thin Racer bench that proved decisive.  A wave of late second-half free throw makes (20-25 for the final frame) put the icing on the cake.
Sure, it was a foul, but OMG 'DRE CRUSHED HIM!  From: The BDC
Rather than a light shrug of the shoulders, this tournament victory carries with it a strong statement that the Buffs are a legitimate team, capable of hanging with some of the best in the nation.  Whereas that '02 tournament forgettably featured three wins over somewhat suspect competition (Louisiana-Lafayette, Charlotte, and Loyola-Chicago), the current Buffs had to beat three strong teams in Charleston (Dayton, Baylor, Murray St), each of whom is otherwise undefeated and holds a great chance of hearing their name called come March.  Those are three wins which almost any other team in the nation would kill to have right now.
The strong performance in Charleston gave the traveling Buffs plenty to cheer for.  From: the BDC
More than simply an audition for March, however, the ultimately successful trip to Charleston will have a profound impact on this team's confidence going forward.  This team has a boatload of swagger right now.  Since the ugly trip to Oregon last spring they're 9-1, having captured two titles and plenty of respect in the process.  Having that swagger, that confidence, will help the team survive the rest of their trap-laden non-conference slate, and put them in great position to hit conference play running come January.

Revenge over Baylor -

I'd be remiss if I didn't take some time to rewind the clock to early Friday afternoon, and the CU victory over Baylor.  The Buffs owed the Bears payback for last season's round-of-32 game in Albuquerque, and they grabbed their pound of flesh, taking home an ugly 60-58 win.
Smiles all around.  From: the BDC
I'm sure the ridiculous chants of "Big XII rejects" were fresh on minds of every member of the CU bench down the stretch Friday.  The team wanted this one bad.  They talked about it during the lead up to the game, and you could tell that their hearts were 100% bought-in to the idea of smacking the old Big XII rival in the face. 

It took every bit of the guts and determination the team had to hold the lead in the final minutes. An abysmal stretch from the free throw line (4-18 on the day) turned what could've been an easy stroll to victory into a nail-biting lurch to the finish.  With the Buff offense struggling to walk, the Buffs had to turn to their defense. CU managed to hold the Bears to just over 37% shooting on the day, including a paltry 19% from behind the 3-point arc.  This included shutting down All-America candidate Pierre Jackson to the tune of 12 points on 3-11 shooting, and stymieing uber-villain Brady Heslip (Scott the Dick) to seven total points.
A stifling Buffs D got the job done Friday.  From: the BDC
That defensive effort, combined with a solid day from Askia Booker (19 points), was just enough to push the Buffs into the win column.  It wasn't a flowing victory - really more of a car-wreck - but it allows all of us in BuffNation to move on a bit.  Does the win over the hated Bears make-up for the flukey final 10 minutes in Albuquerque?  No, of course it doesn't.  No win in November will even make up for a loss in March.  It does, however, salve some old wounds.

Demons have been exorcised.  Scott the Dick has been muted.  Bigger fish loom.  Still, fuck Baylor.

Banana stand at nationals

Unfortunately, there are no new trophies to report from the banana stand.  The two-time Pac-12 champion men's cross country team finished nationals in a respectable 3rd place, while the women struggled to their lowest finish ever, coming in 24th.
The men bring home a respectable 3rd place.  From:
All is not lost, however. Both squads were very young, and look to build this season into a dominating run towards titles next year.  The women will return all their runners next season, and the men will return a pair of All-Americans, along with four other runners who also show great promise. 

Remember, there's always money at the Banana Stand.

Happy Monday!


Anonymous said...

Think can Dre can average a double-double for the season, without ever actually having one in a game? He's 9/10 for the season

RumblinBuff said...

That would be the most hilariously random bit of statistical noise ever. I'm actually going to root for that now.

I'll bet you a coke he gets one Sunday, though.