Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Grab Bag: Second-tier

If anything, Saturday's loss at UCLA confirmed what I already knew: the Buffs aren't yet capable of competing for the Pac-12 title.  Still, the team is on track for a top-table finish, skirting a second-consecutive 20-win season, and a solid spot in the NIT.  All good accomplishments for the season.

Today in the bag, I'll be taking a deeper look at the UCLA result, checking in with the CU women, and teasing signing day action.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, January 27, 2012

UCLA Basketball Preview

While I wasn't able to watch the game last night, it sure did sound like a good time.  The Buffs cruised to victory, pasting USC by 24, and notched their first road Pac-12 win in the process.
Well, that was easy...
That win leaves the Buffs with an opportunity to sweep in LA, as tomorrow's game with UCLA is, at the very least, "winnable."  Teams with serious plans on contending in the Pac-12 will earn the LA sweep this season, so this game will tell us exactly how serious the Buffs championship fantasy is.

A win, and Buff Nation can start seriously talking title contention.  A loss, and CU still has work to do to separate themselves from the rest of the contenders.

Tip off is set for 2pm tomorrow, with the action televised through Prime Ticket (channel 694 on DirecTV).  Alternatively, if you didn't get enough Mark Johnson action on the radio call last night, you can tune to the expanded 850AM coverage to get your fix.

Click below for the preview...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Quick-Post: Domination over USC

The Buffs started fast, and never looked back.  USC played as advertised, that is to say poorly, and the win was never really in doubt.  Coach Boyle was even able to start emptying the bench early in the 2nd half.

The 74-50 victory was the biggest in-conference road win for the Buffs since 1969.  CU posted a +26 rebound advantage, five Buffs finished in double-figures, and traveling Buff fans even out-shouted the docile USC contingent.  It was CU domination all throughout the arena.

The performance was headlined by yet another Andre Roberson double-double.  In addition, the SoCal Trio (Carlon Brown, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Askia Booker) combined for 34 points and 27 rebounds.

First conference road win secured, it's now on to UCLA.

USC Basketball Preview: On the road again

USC, by all rights, is a team the Buffs should beat. They are winless in conference play, and truly one of the worst teams in the West.  In spite of that, Vegas is still picking the lowly Trojans to upset the Buffs.  This doesn't surprise me in the least.

It's a matter of common knowledge that CU just doesn't play well away from home, away from their mile-high altitude advantage.  That knowledge, that expectation, needs to change.  The entirety of Buff Nation needs to look upon a road trip, particularly one like this against struggling opponents, as an opportunity rather than a road block.  The Buffs need to take their cue from good ole' Willie Nelson:

Home field advantage is of paramount importance in sports.  Pro teams fight all season for the right to have it in the playoffs.  In collegiate athletics, teams are paid handsomely to forfeit it.  There's no statistical doubt that it affects games in one way or another.  We may argue about why home court advantage means so much, with recent thoughts turning to subconsciously biased officiating, but that it is important in indisputable.  CU even enjoys the added benefit of high altitude acclimation when playing in the CEC.  It's just plain good to hit the court at home.

Unfortunately, the schedule cannot always keep the Buffs on the Front Range.  At some point, this team, really the entire athletic department, needs to figure out what it takes to win away from home if they ever hope to be truly successful.  Regardless of altitude, biased officiating, or crowd noise, the Buffs need to prove that the road holds no horrors.

This weekend, including the "winnable" matchup with UCLA, is a perfect opportunity to set a new level of expectations and finally begin to enjoy getting "on the road again."


The weekend romp through the City of Angels starts with the USC Trojans. Tip off from the beautifully appointed, and sparsely populated, Galen Center is set for 8:30 MT.  If you've got an extra $5 bucks lying around, you can give it to the USC athletic department for the privilege of watching a webcast of the proceedings.  If you'd rather not give those money grubbing Trojans your hard-earned money, then tune to 760AM for their, always free, broadcast.

Click below for the preview...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Quick Post: Mid-Week Grab Bag

It's pretty quiet in Buffland as I pensively await the road-trip to SoCal.  The Buffs have to prove they can beat somebody on the road to be taken seriously, and this upcoming trip is their best chance to sweep a road weekend in conference play.

While I hold my breath waiting for Thursday night to arrive, here's a few Buff-related items that have been kicking around the inter-tubes this week.


- I was completely drawn in by the post-Arizona game presser featuring Carlon Brown, Austin Dufault, and Spencer Dinwiddie.  They're a bunch of open, affable guys, who seem very comfortable with each other.  From the anecdote about young Spencer's U of A debit card, to the description of Askia Booker as the "Scrat" from the Ice Age film series, this video is well worth your time.

- A few of the Arizona writers were more than impressed with the sold-out CEC last Saturday.  The Arizona Daily Star's Greg Hansen likened it to a "miniature version of The Pit at New Mexico," while the Daily Wildcat's Mike Schmitz sees great things in the program's future.  Boulder is quickly getting a reputation as the toughest road venue in the conference.

- Almighty Kenpom touched on the altitude factor for his blog yesterday.  Using the Buffs as a primary example, he tosses out a 6.5 points per game figure as a possible nitty gritty effect of altitude on a scoreboard.  He then goes off the rail by postulating that the problem isn't that low-elevation teams struggling at altitude, it's that higher elevation teams are hard-pressed to compete at sea-level.  That just defies both logic and science.

Conclusion aside, I'm kind of shocked he didn't turn to Utah for his examples, because I'm sure their storied history would be much kinder to them outside of SLC.  They also never had to come off the mountain-top to get throttled by blue-blood programs like Kansas and Missouri.

I'm still unconvinced that altitude plays that big of a factor, as home court advantage is dramatic at all levels of collegiate basketball.  Besides, I think it's all about how you use the altitude to your advantage; Coach Bzdelik's slow-paced Princeton teams would be easier to play at altitude than Coach Patton's all-run squads from the middle-decade, for example. However, it is nice to see someone try and put a figure on it, even if their concluding logic is a little off-base.

-Finally, Tom Kensler of the Denver Post did a nice feature on Askia Booker.  "The Scrat" gets some well deserved acclaim.  He certainly did come up big in the Arizona game, knocking down well-timed jumpers like a veteran.
This needs to be the next cut-out in the student section.

Kensler touches on his "moxie" and "fearless" playing style, along with the rather large chip he carries on his shoulder at all times.  Rush the Court used this article, and Booker's success, to once again poke at the talent evaluation skills of UCLA's Ben Howland.  Nice to see the Buffs can be used to help pile onto the struggling Bruin program.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

UPDATED: Football recruiting's final stretch

To take a brief breather from my Basketball Jones...

Including today, there are only eight recruiting days left for Coach Embree and company to form the foundation of the CU football program.  February 1st is National Signing Day, and, while kids don't have to sign on the line that morning, most will, making that the single most important day in recruiting.  That sound you hear is the buttons on Adam Munsterteiger's cell phone fracturing from over-use.

I usually downplay recruiting.  I'd just rather not follow the waffling proclivities of 17 year old kids.  Recruiting news in October and November is often worthless, and contradictory when compared to the final result.

However, once these kids sign next Wednesday, they are Buffs, members of the family, and the life-blood of the football team. At this point in the recruiting cycle, I begin to care... a lot.

With one of the largest senior classes in Colorado history (27 kids) having ended their playing careers last November, there's plenty of room for fresh blood and new talent.  With just over a week to go, CU already has most of the class put together.  23 graduating high school seniors are known to have verbally committed to don the Black and Gold, leaving few spots for last minute pick-ups (NCAA rules limit you to 25 signees in a given year).

So far, the class is headlined by recent signee Kenneth Crawley from DC.  A listed 4-star recruit, according to Rivals, he's one of the top-25 cornerback recruits in the country, and he's expected to immediately compete for playing time in the shaky Buffs secondary.  He was originally committed to Tennessee, but opened up the process before deciding to join a growing list of high school teammates in Boulder.
Crawley projects to be in the defensive backfield this fall.
Besides Crawley, there are some other highly regarded players amongst the 23 currently committed to Colorado.  Shane Dillon, once a 4-star prospect himself before his ranking was downgraded, is an intriguing QB prospect out of California, and could compete for playing time at the open QB job.  Kisima Jagne, out of Arizona, is a very important defensive end prospect, who could also play immediately.

Defensive linemen like Jagne have been a primary focus of Coach Embree's first full class.  Well over a 3rd of the class are being signed on the D-line.  With a skeleton crew remaining on the line this winter, it's imperative that not only are these players signed, but they pan out quickly.

There still a few high-profile targets remaining on the board this late in the game.   Probably the biggest name, Yuri Wright, out of New Jersey, is a gem of a cornerback recruit who could form a devastating backfield tandem with Crawley.  A top-5 DB recruit, he made national headlines this week as he was expelled from his high school (NJ power Don Bosco) for some pretty inappropriate tweets.  A few schools, like Michigan decided to drop their pursuit of his services as a result.  Despite the scandal, he remains a CU target.  Since he hasn't even attended prom yet, I don't feel a little inappropriate tweeting is a disqualifying factor.
The newest Buff.
(UPDATE: Between the time I wrote this article before work, ran to a meeting, and came back to post, Yuri committed to CU.  That's the lesson of this time of year, recruiting moves fast.)

Regardless of how Wright's story works out (good for the Buffs), the final days from the world of recruiting should be interesting.  As we know from the epic tale of Darrell Scott, nothing is guaranteed.  However, there is no denying that the future success of the program rests on the shoulders of the young men who sign a National Letter of Intent next Wednesday.  No pressure, or anything...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Grab Bag: Keeping pace

It's ironic that the notation over the visitor's score Saturday afternoon was "Wildcats."   The most competitive contests, on an biannual basis, down the stretch of CU's time in the Big XII were against the Kansas State Wildcats.  New conference, new Wildcats, same result; ferociously competitive basketball, and a Buffs victory.

That exhibition of basketball I bore witness to Saturday was one of the most competitive, enjoyable events I've ever seen.  Both teams played their hearts out, both teams deserved to win.  In the end, it was the Buffs, with a defensive stop, that prevailed, staying near the top of their new conference, and protecting the best home court advantage in the west.
Fuck.  Yes.  From: the BDC
To quote my drunken roommates: "We won the fuck out of basketball."


Today in the bag, I'm recapping the win over Arizona, looking at a season-saving win by the women in Tucson, surveying Championship Sunday in the NFL, and quickly running through an awesome weekend in the world of college hoops.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Arizona Basketball Preview #1

So far, while each showcased different story arcs, the four home Pac-12 games have all featured the same ending: a double-digit Buffs victory.  So far, CU is holding conference opponents to 54 points per game (albeit assisted by the 33-point Utah effort), and paltry 35% shooting at 5,345 of Rocky Mountain high altitude.

Maybe there's something to this whole altitude thing.  Or maybe the Buffs are just a good basketball team.  I'm more apt to lean towards the latter, but I am also a little biased.

Regardless, those four wins are history now, and the beat rolls on. There's another chance to make a Pac-12 statement tipping-off Saturday afternoon, with the vaunted Arizona Wildcats coming to town.  Arizona is quietly putting together a decent season, and they are, as always, a marquee program with oodles of talent.  It's a very important game for the transitioning Buffs, and a win would do great things for CU's post-season hopes.

If you want to see the Buffs in person on Saturday, you'd better already have a ticket, 'cause word is the game is already sold out.  I hope to see the same number of students tomorrow afternoon as who packed the southeast corner of the CEC Thursday evening.  I have it on good authority that the good snow will be ready for skiing on Sunday, so leave the slopes to the tourists, and support your University tomorrow.

The game will tip off at 4pm, and will be broadcast on ROOT Sports.  Radio coverage is set for 850AM.

Click below for the preview...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Quick Post: Recapping the Thursday night exorcism

There was a lot for Buff Nation to be happy with from Thursday night's tilt with Arizona St.  Not only was the scoreboard boasting of a 69-54 CU win, but the Buffs looked good at all areas of the game, and controlled the pace and outcome of the contest from the start.  An appreciative crowd of over 8,000 was treated to a Buffs laugher; we even got a Trey Eckloff sighting for our troubles!
CU easily shoved aside ASU.  From: the BDC
Offensively, the Buffs did a great job sharing the ball and cutting into the center of a fragile ASU zone.  Shambolic comes to mind when I consider the ASU matchup-zone, and a cut into the key was all CU seemed to need in order to get a few easy points.  Andre Roberson, while providing yet another double-double, also provided the highlight of the evening: this leap-frog slam over ASU's 7-2 center Jordan Bachynski:

CU was too quick, too focused to let ASU give them problems.  All told, the Buffs shot 49%, and got four players into double figures. I may not be ready to call the struggles against zone D a thing of the past, but CU looks better and better every time they are faced with zone.

While the ASU offense, a treatise on Princeton-style lethargy, threatened to put me to sleep, the Buffs were wide awake and willing to do the work on defense to keep the Sun Devils off the board.  The Sun Devils, who were shooting lights out coming into the contest, were held to 42% from the floor, well below their recent averages.  The Buffs also caused 14 turnovers, and generally made life miserable for the normally over-efficient Sun Devil shooters.
'Dre was all over the place tonight, keeping  the Sun Devils frustrated and score-deprived.  From: the BDC
Overall, a solid win over an opponent that CU should beat.  I often compare playing against a Princeton-zone team to trying to hit a knuckle ball in baseball. Thursday night, the Buffs proved able to make the adjustments, and handle the odd style and pace of the Sun Devils.  Saturday, it's back to normal service as the conventional Arizona Wildcats hit the CEC.  Preview to follow tomorrow morning.

Arizona St Basketball Preview #1

Bad News - Freshman Damiene Cain has once again left the program.  I wish him the best going forward.


Licking their wounds, the Buffs left NorCal bemoaning of opportunities lost.  Coach Boyle was even driven to call his team "mediocre."  However, as I discussed Tuesday, I think everything was blown out of proportion by the disheartening second-half implosion against Stanford.  For 7/8ths of the road trip, the Buffs evenly competed with the best the conference has to offer.  While that might not be the most daunting of comparison points this season, it's still the standard by which the Buffs should be considered.

I'm not looking for moral victories, I hate moral victories, but I don't see losing two games on the road against good competition as a sign of doom.

With that in the team's rear-view, its back to the friendly confines of the CEC.  A little home-cooking tends to cure what ails the Buffs, and I'm sure the team will be eager to wash the memories of that frustrating road trip away.  First-up: the Arizona State Sun Devils.

Tip-off is awkwardly scheduled for 6:30 MT.  Being the first game held after winter break, I expect the returning students (you were sorely missed) to create a feisty atmosphere.  If you're in the area, you'd do yourself a favor by getting up to Boulder and experiencing it first hand.  If you absolutely can't make the trip, you can still watch the action on ROOT Sports.  Radio coverage is set for 760AM.

Click below for the preview...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

#stopSOPA #stopPIPA

Along with my brothers at Allbuffs, I'm going dark today.  Why? Because, under proposed legislation SOPA and PIPA, a simple link like that could get my whole blog shut down.  That's some bullshit. 

Protecting intellectual property rights holders against wanton piracy is a noble and just goal, but these legislative actions are far to vague and expansive for the task at hand.  In order to protect the village, SOPA and PIPA would burn down the forest when a little advanced horticulture would do.

Along with many of the sites you visit every day, I strongly urge you to call or write your congressional representatives, and express your concerns over these over-reaching acts.  Having worked in politics way back when, I know that, from time to time, massive efforts like this do work, and can kill legislation that once seemed a shoe-in to pass... or at the very least force some changes.

Normal service will resume tomorrow.  Go Buffs!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Quick Post: On "Mediocre"

In the wake of the Stanford game, a blow-out loss to cap a rough swing through NorCal, I'm not surprised that Coach Boyle dropped the term "mediocre" when describing his team.  Boyle had just sat through a 10-minute stretch of basketball as rough as any I've seen over the past decade, as the Cardinal used a 32-5 second-half run to bash the Buffs into submission, and it's hard to think happy thoughts minutes after your defense implodes in front of you.

But I think it's unfair to fret too much over this past weekend's trip to the Bay Area.  Outside of that 32-5 stretch of play in Saturday's second half, the Buffs actually played Stanford and Cal even (109-109).  70 of the 80 minutes played over the weekend were fine.  Additionally, I don't expect many teams to stroll through San Fran and grab a split.  Most of the conference will do exactly what the Buff did this weekend: take the 0-fer. 

Essentially, I'm going to lose a lot more sleep if CU drops a game this weekend than I did over last weekend's results. Stanford and Cal are the toughest trip in the conference, and the number of teams that play well on the road with any consistency is quite small.  The Buffs lost to two good teams on the road; that's not exactly a surprise.

Sure, you want to set higher standards, but my overall opinion of this basketball team is essentially unchanged from where it was Thursday morning.  CU is still going to be dominant at home, struggle to beat a few of the Pac-12 dregs on the road (mostly through sheer will), and maybe come close to stealing a win they shouldn't.  Even without a win out of the last road trip, the squad is still in great position to reach postseason play, and they're probably going to finish the season in the top-half of the table. 

That's a win for a squad that continues to exist in a state of transition as Coach Boyle and staff look for answers and consistency in life after Burks and Higgins.  It may not be pretty, but this team is one of the "better" teams in the conference.  Down as the Pac-12 may be, that doesn't make the Buffs "mediocre" in my eyes.  Glass half-full, or some such nonsense.

Breathe easy Buff Nation, there's still plenty of basketball yet to be played.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Monday Grab Bag: *Sad Trombone*

Woof.  I wouldn't be surprised if the second half of Saturday's tilt against Stanford booted a good number off the Buffs bandwagon.  To think that CU would compete for a league title this year was pure folly, but those final 20 minutes in Palo Alto were a reminder of just how far is left to go for this program.

Today in the bag I'll be looking back on Saturday's defensive implosion, peeking at the women's efforts against our NorCal rivals, and wrapping the NFL playoff action from the weekend.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, January 13, 2012

Stanford Basketball Preview #1: ... be sure to wear some flowers in your hair

Grumble, grumble, grumble...

Last night's affair in Berkeley left me with a restless night of sleep and a sour stomach.  The Buffs were so close, so damn close, to earning one hell of a hard fought victory that would put an exclamation point on their fantastic start to conference play.  A one-point game with a minute left is a situation I think any Buff fan would've taken going in, but it was not to be.  A scoreless final minute, and the Cal Golden Bears walk away with a bloody 57-50 win

Turnovers, weak second-half rebounding, and poor shooting plagued the Buffs.  Conversely, suffocating defense, Andre Roberson, and Austin Dufault were pretty fantastic.  The good with the bad; a winnable game against a damn tough opponent on the road lost to the ether.  I just wish the young Buffs had more of a chance to study this game to learn from it, because they played well enough to win, and now just need to figure out how to finish a game like that off.

The cruel reality of the schedule won't allow any time for reflection, however.  It's immediately on to Palo Alto and a tilt with the surprising Stanford Cardinal.  CU needs a win Saturday afternoon to salvage a split from the trip to San Francisco, and keep momentum flowing on the trip back to the friendly confines of the CEC.

Tip-off from Maples Pavilion is set for 2pm on Saturday.  You Boulderites with cable are in luck, because this game is set for broadcast on Root Sports.  If you can't find that, you definitely need to upgrade your television package, but you can also try Mark Jonson and the gang on 760AM.

Click below for the preview...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Quick Post: Defending my attack on Cal's resume

Not like anyone needs to defend against an attack on a Pac-12 team this season (they're all painfully flawed basketball teams), but I ran across an article that defends my statement from the preview that "I'm not all that impressed with Cal's resume so far.  Yes, they've crushed plenty of teams by large amounts, but almost every opponent of note that they have faced has beaten them, often handily."

What I was obliquely referencing is the concept of rating inflation.  Teams, even good ones, beat up average to below-average opponents, hold serve against the best in the nation, and come out ahead in both RPI and deper metrics like Kenpom's.  It's one of the flaws in statistical projections that is often glibed over by people such as myself.

Dan Hammer at RealGM hit on this topic today when discussing Wisconsin, but he also provided enough info to back up my point on Cal.  As you can see by the following chart, Cal is 5th in the nation in rating inflation. You may also want to note Arizona's #6 position on the same chart.
That's not to say that Cal isn't a good team, it's just that they are justifiably kept out of the top-25, and have yet to achieve anything of note. The other thing: since the Pac-12 is so weak, they have few remaining chances to improve their cause against the top-100.

To reiterate, the Pac-12 is garbage at basketball this season.

Cal Basketball Preview #1: If you're going to San Francisco...

With first place in the conference stowed precariously in their carry-on baggage, the Buffs head on a true road trip for the first time all season.  The previous forays away from the CEC have either been within the State of Colorado, or to the neutral hardwood in Puerto Rico; now the team has to get on a plane and actually go to someplace where people will shout at them.  Hell, the last time the Buffs donned the road black uniforms, it was for a home game.  (New Orleans couldn't get their road jerseys cleaned in time, and wore their home uniforms instead)
The Buffs haven't faced a true, outside of Colorado, road trip since Iowa State tripped them up in Ames last season.
Since the Buffs haven't left the state since that tournament trip to PR, the entire schedule was beginning to reek of home cooking akin to a Florida football slate.  Now, with two tough games in enemy territory, I can finally get a handle on how good this team actually is.

Awaiting the Buffs on their first true road test is the toughest pair of travel partners the league has to offer.  Cal and Stanford are the class of the conference, and they are currently ranked interchangeably as the top two teams in the Pac-12 by essentially every media member of note.  Up first: Cal, who not only were a popular pick to win the conference, but are also the only Pac-12 squad who can boast of any level of consistent play throughout the season

This two game swing through the Bay Area is vitally important to national perception of this squad. National ears perked up a bit this week, and people are starting to pay attention to the job Coach Boyle and the Boys are doing in Boulder.  Even a split would be enough to validate the 3-0 start to conference play, and put the Buffs back into the national basketball conscience.
CU has done a great job hurdling Pac-12 competition so far, now it's time for a real test.  From: the BDC
An 0-2 run through San Francisco, however, and all the hard work put into the last six games is washed away, and the assumption will be "oh, good team, but the altitude did all the heavy lifting."

It's now up to the Buffs to prove themselves worthy of the attention, and to tell the doubters to stick it.


Tip-off in Haas Pavilion is set for 9pm MT this evening.  The game is not technically televised locally, but those of us with satellite packages can pick up the game through Comcast California.  With DirecTV you can turn to channel 698; Dish Network subscribers can tune to 409.  If you don't have the proper channel lineup, you can always turn to 760, where Mark Johnson and crew will be handling their business.

Click below for the preview...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Quick-Post: Bradlee Van Pelt can eat a bag of dicks

I have only known one athlete in my life who can bring me to physical violence.  That man is Bradlee Van Pelt.  My hate for him is strong, and, at this point, completely irrational.  I make no excuses.

Last seen dancing around the CSU sideline (wearing a fucking flag for a cape, no less) while his former school was losing to CU in '04, the epic blowhard of a QB took to the Denver Post today to compare himself to Tim Tebow.  Never the one for tact or humility, with that typical whiff of arrogance that we've all come to know, Van Pelt seemed more than happy to throw his name in there with the likes of the current Broncos QB.  Not only does he say that he "sees himself" in Tebow, but he goes on to intimate that given the opportunity, he'd have succeeded just as Saint Timmy has.

That's the biggest steaming crock-pot of horseshit I've ever heard.  No matter how impassioned he got, Saint Timmy has never gone so far as to show up an opponent like this:
BVP is a raging hemorrhoid attack of a human being, and should never, ever, be positively compared to #15. 

Additionally, unlike BVP, Tebow is actually a world-class athlete, capable of competing in the NFL at any number of positions, as has been proven by his immediate success despite obvious deficiencies.  That Van Pelt failed to even get a whiff of meaningful playing time is not the fault of his coaches, it's a result of his failings as an athlete.  Just because you can run a little bit, doesn't make you NFL QB potential.

Fuck.  That.  Guy.


Not related in the slightest:

The Freshman 15

Having watched Spencer Dinwiddie perform over the first 15 games of his career, I think it's high time to begin putting his performance in perspective.

Dinwiddie is the fourth high profile freshman guard to matriculate through CU over the past decade.  Richard Roby, Cory Higgins, and Alec Burks all had outstanding freshman campaigns, which propelled them into the hearts and minds of Buff Nation.  Dinwiddie is following in their footsteps, and setting a similar tone for a stellar career in a CU uniform.

But where does he stack up amongst the previous three?  By taking a look at the stats, I'll put Spencer's performance to-date in a little perspective, and give a thought or two about where his freshman performance ranks amongst the best of the past decade.

After the break, I'll touch on each player's freshman year narrative, before discussing where I think Spencer belongs amongst their company.  I put together a handy spreadsheet of each player's numbers through their first 15 games.  You can check it out here.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Monday Grab Bag: Still the #1

It's a special thing to wake up and see your favorite team on top of the standings.  Starting from late Thursday evening, through the games over the weekend, and (at least) up to this Thursday night, Buff fans can look at the Pac-12 table and see the name "Colorado" listed in sole possession of first place.  Sure, it's a result of CU playing a favorable home schedule to this point, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy it.  Suck on that, Pac-12!

In today's bag, I'll be looking back at Saturday's win over Wazzu, discussing what it would take for CU to win the inaugural Pac-12 title, talking about how the women did over the weekend, and I'll give the BCS title game a once over.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Washington State Basketball Preview

Turnarounds in the Pac-12 are damn quick.  Just over 40 hours after the CU win over the Washington Huskies, and the Buffs will start running out of the North side of the CEC again.  This time it's the Washington St Cougars who will face our Black and Gold clad heroes.

CU stands alone at the top of the topsy-turvey Pac-12 conference, and have an excellent chance tonight to improve to 3-0 in the early goings of conference play.  Washington St was selected to finish in a 10th-place tie with CU before the season started, and the Buffs will have ample opportunity to prove separation Saturday afternoon.

Hey Buff Nation!  The basketball team needs your help one more time.  Get your butt up to the CEC to see the best team the Pac-12 currently has to offer (such as it is).  The Broncos aren't on til Sunday, so you have no excuse.  Your university needs you; answer the damn call!

Tip off is set for 2 in the afternoon, and you can see the action on FSN national (Reggie Theus is providing the analysis!).  It's on KOA if you can't find a FSN station to your liking.

Click below for the preview...

Quick Post: Thoughts on the win over UW

Well, I sure wasn't expecting that.  87-69 with a bullet!
A feisty crowd got a good show last night, and the Buffs are off to a 2-0 start to Pac-12 play.  From: the BDC
Defense had to keep the Buffs in the game early when they started the evening out stuck in neutral.  Once the train got rolling, however, the Buffs finished the game +27 after falling behind 14-5 in the opening minutes.  The Buffs held UW to 37% shooting, 20% from behind the arc, and held the Huskies just under their scoring average away from Seattle (72 pts per game away from home before last night).  That's the level of defensive effort I've come to expect from a Coach Boyle led team.
A scrappy defensive effort from the Buffs kept them in the game.  From: the BDC
It was the Buffs offense I wasn't expecting.  After early struggles against the tight man defense from Washington, CU buckled down and found some good looks to open up the floor.  CU ended up shooting damn near 50% on the night (57% from deep) and had five players score in double-figures.  They even shot 89% from the charity stripe, keeping any hopes of a UW come back far from reach.  A fantastic offensive output from CU.

The best individual performance of the night came from Carlon Brown, who had a few SportsCenter worthy plays and 18 points that keyed a big CU run to take over the game.  'Dre did his typical yeoman's work on the boards (his typical allotment of 12), and "The Mayor" Spencer Dinwidde had a solid 13 point, 5 assist game while shooting 8-9 from the free throw line.  Sabatino Chen also deserves a mention, as an early spate of five high-energy minutes in the 1st half turned the game around.
Carlon had a huge performance last night.  From: the BDC
Despite a roller coaster of a season, Washington is a strong, athletic squad who can hang with any team in the nation.  That CU dropped an 18-point anvil on their heads is an emphatic statement that this team is past their MWC-caused hiccups.

However, I'm not ready to go full Ringo and proclaim this team Pac-12 title contenders, or any other such nonsense; there's still an old Big-12 schedule's worth (16 games) left to play this season.  Still, that was a huge win last night, and there are a lot of heads perking up up and down the Left Coast to see what that noise from Boulder was. 

Lot of work left to do...


On a side note: Utah beat Washington State in SLC last night (Go Utes?).  I had thought I'd said that I'd eat a hat if they won a conference game, but looking back, I must have changed it at the last minute.  So no hat eating for me! 
Wait, what?  Joy in SLC?  That's un-possible.  From: the Salt Lake Tribune.
It's still a massive shock that the Utes, who looked beyond awful last week, were able to beat anyone.  Additionally, Cal and Stanford fell last night, leaving the Buffs in sole possession of first place in the Pac-12. 

Just goes to show you how fucked up the Pac-12 is this season; so keep the brakes pumped on your expectations for the Buffs until we get a little deeper into conference play.  There's not a team in this league who has proven to be a consistent competitor, and anyone can lose on a given night.


I didn't get back til late last night, so no WSU preview this morning.  I'll have one up by tomorrow morning.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Washington Basketball Preview

Coach Boyle has dropped a quote throughout his CU tenure which I find very appropriate: "The price of poker has just gone up."

After a swing through the weakest portion of the schedule, it's now time to see exactly what kind of squad this year's BasketBuffs are.  While the Pac-12 is "down," with the notable exception of Utah, the conference is capable of, at the very least, effort on a nightly basis, and many squads have more than enough talent to make life difficult for the transitioning Buffs.  One such squad is tonight's opponent: the Washington Huskies, who happen to feature the best freshman player the Pac-12 has to offer.

Certainly, the price of poker has gone up, and CU's performance this evening will go a long way to telling how the rest of the season will play out.  With a win, the Buffs may shape up to be a .500 or better Pac-12 team, a loss will probably show the Buffs to be a 7-win or worse conference squad.

With that in mind, its massively important that a packed and feisty CEC greets the Buffs out of the tunnel this evening.  If you're in the area, or even if you're not, please make an effort to come support the Black and Gold.  The CEC needs to become a dreaded destination for the entire conference, and an easy way to set the tone is to pack the gym and root the Buffs on to victory.

Tip off is set for 7pm.  If you absolutely can't make it up to Boulder tonight, you can watch the proceedings on ROOT Sports.

Click below for the preview...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Quick Post: The end of the Darrell Scott Era of College Football

Last night I came across a bit of news that forced a chuckle.  South Florida RB Darrell Scott, yes that Darrell Scott, is skipping his final year of collegiate eligibility, and declaring for the NFL Draft.

His redshirt junior campaign in Tampa saw the one time 5-star phenom rack up a light 814 yards and 5 scores.  While he did rush for over 5 yards per carry, those aren't numbers that jump off the page and lead you to believe that the kid is ready for NFL work.  That he only accomplished that much against weak Big East competition is even more worrisome.

Overall, through spotty play over three seasons, the man many predicted would be a home run, can't miss prospect amassed a paltry 1,252 career rushing yards and 6 scores.  Even if you put that together, it's a decent, at best, season.  By far his best game was this season's 146 yard, 3 TD performance against the vaunted Rattlers of Florida A&M.  Besides that, he only rumbled to one other 100 yard performance in his career.  Not exactly what recruiters thought they were fighting over back in '07/'08.
He did manage to make blowing past Ball St look easy... so he's got that going for him, which is nice.
What I've always perceived of Darrell's career is that he was never that interested in being a collegiate back; his goal was always the NFL.  College was just an inconvenient road block on the way to his destiny.  I guess he figures four years is four years, and he's ready to jump ship.... RIGHT NOW.

But there are some underlying issues that can't be looked past.  That lack of focus on the collegiate game, that impatience to crack an NFL roster, lead to a career that constantly saw him on the sidelines, rather than in a game.  Out of shape, prone to injuries, and absent when needed were the hallmarks of his tenure in college football.  I know the NFL mostly looks at workouts, rather than stats and in-game performance, but that's a hard sentence to overlook for an NFL scout.

Just look at this article from a USF fansite.  After noting that Darrell's performance tailed off against better competition, and as the season wore on, comes this note:
"Scott provided some power to the USF backfield, but was inconsistent at times and battled several injuries, starting with a hamstring in spring and concussion like symptoms later in the season.  He had solid numbers and has the NFL-size body, but did not have the consistent production when it mattered most to make him an NFL-ready running back."
Woof.  That sounds familiar.  Good to know it's the same Darrell I knew and loved from watching him stand on the sideline and run away when a more dedicated and deserving back took the majority of playing time.  My friends and I used to call him the "Lawn Chair," because he was only good for two things: folding and sitting.  Good thing he didn't last this long in Boulder, because Coach Bieniemy would've broken him like a child's toy.
In this picture, Scott celebrates as others do the whole 'effort' thing; not an uncommon sight in his career.  From: the Post
Whatever, the book is closed.  I hope things turn out alright for him.  Shame all that promise looks to have been wasted.  Maybe I'm wrong, maybe he is destined to be an NFL star, and I'm just missing it.  I bet I'm not, however.  Peace be the Journey, Darrell.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


The Utah Jazz continue to allow former CU hoops sensation Alec Burks languish on the bench.  Through five games this season, Burks has only been afforded a paltry 30 minutes of action, with one DNP; most of that playing time has come in 2nd half garbage time to boot.  The Jazz seem to think him only capable of playing the 11th man role on a team floundering in the early going.

The thing is, his forgotten status is not for lack of early production.  In those scant 30 minutes of court time, Alec has 24 points on 59% shooting.  In a extremely quiet coming out party last week in Denver, when Jazz Coach Tyrone Corbin threw Burks a bone with 10 minutes in his "home" city, Alec responded with 15 points and 2 steals.  (A performance that was followed up with the head coach deciding it best not to play young Alec at all two nights later against Philly) 
Where's the court?  Where's the opponent?  The Jazz are short changing their young guard.
His Hollinger PER rating is a ridiculous 31.75.  Granted in few minutes, but still, you can't say the kid hasn't made the most of his time.

What the blazing hell is going on in SLC?  Not only are the Jazz a sub-par Western Conference squad, but they're currently awash in a hardcore youth movement.  A first-round draft pick, who is being paid a hefty, guaranteed sum, for a team running a serious youth-movement should certainly figure to see the court in a rational world.  (I keep forgetting that this world is irrational)  Does the world really deserve the punishment that is 20 minutes per night from Raja Bell at Alec's expense?

Did Alec forget his P's and Q's in Mormon-land?  Was he caught drinking, *gasp*, a beer (although... he isn't 21 yet...)?  Perhaps Coach Corbin just can't get his name right, constantly telling the scorer he's putting in 'Alex,' only to realize, too late, that there is no 'Alex' on the roster? 

Whatever the reason, it's bullshit, and the Jazz need to free the wunderkind from Grandview, MO to roam the land of the NBA giants.  Tonight would be a great time to start, as the Jazz host the Milwaukee Bucks, who themselves seemed destined to draft Alec over the summer.
You spent a first round pick and millions of cash on the kid; the very least you could do is play him.
If the Jazz don't want to use him this season, I'm sure Coach Boyle would welcome him back to Boulder, where his talents are appreciated.

C'mon Corbin, sack up and #FreeAlecBurks

Tuesday Grab Bag: Happy New Year!

Wow, Utah is a steaming pile of shit.  The Pac-12 would be wise to pump out a press release disavowing their actions this season.  They're so bad that the university is considering a name change. I have honestly never seen a worse power conference squad.  If they win a conference game the rest of the way, there needs to be an investigation, 'cause the losing squad probably took a dive.

In the year's first post, I'll be taking a look back at the historic ass-whupping laid on the heads of those hapless Utes, yet another win from the womens team, and a quick look at the end of the NFL regular season and the crux of bowl season.

Click below for the bag...