Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday Grab Bag: Dealing with an imperfect record

You knew this team had to drop one sooner or later, and I even predicted a loss Saturday evening, but that doesn't lessen the pain any.  On the bright side, this is only CU's second loss in thirteen games.  I'll live with the pain of losing on that schedule.

Today in the bag, I'm recapping the trip to Laramie, talking Butch Jones, and swinging around the world of football.

Click below for the bag...

Buffs find only heartbreak in Laramie - 

It had to end sometime. 

The season-opening six-game winning streak was rudely halted by the Wyoming Cowboys Saturday evening, as the Buffs fell 76-69.  Cowboy fans, who had circled this game on their calendar, forgot that they were favored headed in, and chanted "over-rated" while storming the court to celebrate the "upset.".  *shrugs shoulders*  The trappings of being ranked, I guess.
How cute.
It was a pretty forgettable CU performance across the board.  Leading scorer Askia Booker shot a paltry 2-13 from the field, the Buffs turned the ball over 17 times, and Wyo was allowed to shoot 48% from the field.  CU seemed incapable of gaining traction, and, when Wyo eeked out a nine-point lead with just under ten minutes to play, I resigned myself to fate.  It would've taken an outright robbery, akin to last season's win at Air Force, for the Buffs to come away with a victory, and that just wasn't in the cards.

If you absolutely must have some highlights, then I'll point you in the direction of messrs Roberson and Dinwiddie. 'Dre recorded his third straight double-double with his 16/12 performance, and Spencer dropped 24/6/4 in the losing effort.  Neither had enough to kickstart the Buffs, however.
'Dre had a good game, but it wasn't enough.  From: the Casper Star-Tribune
While the Buffs didn't bring their 'A' game up to Laramie, it certainly didn't help that they had to play 5-on-8 for most of the game.  I usually never complain about officiating, but I feel compelled to mention the outlandishly horrible job done by those in stripes.  A job so lopsided that only Tim Donaghy could approve. CU was called for 14 more fouls than their opponent, and saw three players foul out (including Sabatino Chen after only 16 minutes of action, which is ridiculous), while the Cowboys had no one commit more than three fouls on the evening, and went to the line 18 more times than the Buffs.  That crew was out to make sure the Buffs lost, and leveraged their whistles at seemingly every turn.  The Wyoming athletic department sure got full value from that crew.

Regardless, the Buffs sure picked a rotten time to begin playing bad basketball.  Outside of Arizona, the two toughest opponents on the schedule are CSU and Kansas, and the Buffs will have to rebound from back-to-back poor performances against that terrible twosome.  Maybe the flip of the officiating coin will do the Buffs a favor this week, cause they need it.

Coaching search -

The news has broken that Butch Jones of Cincinnati is not only the current #1 choice, but also interviewing in Boulder today (with wife in tow).  CU will be offering him upwards of $2.7 million per year over five years.  In addition, rumors of an impending announcement on facilities improvements (eagerly anticipated, and long over-due) are becoming too consistent to ignore, and would serve to sweeten the pot.

Mike Bohn and the CU athletic department have identified their top-choice, and are going to give him the hard sell.  According to nearly everyone, while he spent nearly four hours in West Lafayette, IN Sunday talking to Purdue, Coach Jones stayed committed to flying to see Boulder this afternoon, and looks to be spending significantly more time on the Front Range.  Throwing a fly into the ointment, Cincinnati is reportedly ready to talk another extension for their coach in hopes of keeping him (they extended him just last season).  After CU makes their pitch today, Jones will have to make his choice: Bearcat, Boilermaker, or Buffalo.  By all accounts, he'll be making it quickly, possibly by Tuesday morning.
Coach Jones has plenty of options.
I'm not sure there is a fallback choice at this point.  Names like BYU's Bronco Mendenhall (who may, or may not have interviewed Sunday) and Miami's Al Golden have been kicked around over the weekend, but it seems like it's Butch-or-bust at this point. To be sure, Coach Jones hits all the marks the program is looking for.  He has had success at two different stops building (and maintaining) a program, has coached a team to a title in a BCS conference, and has the spread offensive mindset that CU is currently looking for. To top it off, I've yet to hear anyone say a bad thing about the guy.  Seems like a good hire.

I have heard some mild concerns voiced that he's never left the Midwest, has lived his coaching life living in the shaddow of Brian Kelly, and has few recruiting connections in CU's favored recruiting grounds of California and Texas, but I see few alternatives at this point.  He's won enough to earn the $13.5 million package being offered, and beyond him the shopping list gets less, and less attractive.  Considering where CU is at right now - consistently losing, behind in the facilities arms race, and embattled by frustrated and delusional alumni - Butch Jones is probably as good a get as can be hoped for.

Let's hope the interview goes well.

Around the nation of football - 

College Football

Alabama vs Georgia -

The national title game is set, as 'Bama beat the Bulldogs 32-28.  Georgia made a game of it, falling 5-yards short of a comeback win.  Despite being a perfect 12-0, the Irish are already an eight-point dog to the SEC champion Crimson Tide.

Northern Illinois vs Kent St -

It took two overtimes, but the Huskies finally shot past the Golden Flashes 44-37 in the MAC title game.  For their efforts, and as a big middle finger to the long broken BCS system, the Huskies were elevated the #15 in the final standings, and were gifted a trip to the Orange Bowl.  Good on ya, NIU!
Smiles all around in DeKalb.


Seattle @ Chicago

Man, Russell Wilson.  He engineers a near-perfect drive to put the 'Hawks up three with 24 seconds to go.  My Bears miraculously come up with a field goal drive to send the thing in overtime, only to have the former Colorado Rockies farmhand do it again in the extra frame.  23-17 final, fuckin' Russell Wilson

Tampa Bay @ Denver -

Via their 31-23 win over the Buccaneers, the Broncos have clinched the AFC West with a month left to play on the schedule.  Big ups to Coach John Fox, who has won back-to-back conference titles on the Front Range.  Oh, and props to Peyton too, for, you know, being Peyton.

Happy Monday! 

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