Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pulling a rabbit out of the hat: How CU can win the Pac-12 tournament

A few weeks back, I famously pulled Arizona out of my hat, thereby all but anointing them the winners of the Pac-12 tournament.  With that tournament finally on the horizon, I need to take a more measured look at the Buffs best (really only) shot to make the Dance.

After the jump, I'll be talking CU's league positioning, and what needs to happen in order for the Buffs to have a shot at a miracle NCAA Tournament berth.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Grab Bag: Pride restored

Spring is quickly approaching.  Conference tournaments start this week, brackets are just over the horizon, and actual baseball will start being played on Wednesday.  Forget bowl season, this is the most magical time on the sports calendar.  Bring it on!

Today in the bag, I'll recap the win over Cal, look into who that masked man is, and take a spin around the rest of the Pac-12.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Cal Preview #2

I'm a big fan of dark comedies.  Cohen Brothers?  Hell yeah.  Wes Anderson?  Bring it on.  Dr Strangelove? That's my shit!

Last night's game against Stanford stands amongst the the best of them.  CU couldn't hit a layup, and the Cardinal was even hitting school-yard bullshit when they didn't even care. It was a perfect storm of fail. 

If you can't laugh watching a team fail as spectacularly as the Buffs failed last night, then you take this shit too seriously.  A failure as complete as that effort deserves a defense mechanism, and laughter is the best mechanism... or medicine, I can never keep that one straight.


It's twice now that Stanford has put the Kai-bosh on the Buffs, making them look like a high school team in the process.  I'm astonished that the team put forth such a half-assed effort, and I'm astonished that the coaching staff allowed them to do it.  I guess at some point, everything catches up to you.

Stanford whupped CU, and good.  Beat CU by 20 once, shame on you, do it again, in CU's home gym no less, and the whole mess falls squarely on the Buffs shoulders.

I guess it's time to ask, how will the Buffs respond?

Last post-Stanford debacle was afforded a soft landing through the blessing of a home game against Arizona State.  Not so lucky this time.  Sunday is still set for the previously un-spoiled CEC, but the opponent has a lot more bite.  Enter my continuing favorite to win the league: the California Golden Bears.  There's not a more veteran, tough, capable team in the conference.

By far the most "Tournament-acceptable" team in the Pac-12, Cal has been playing up to the standard of a team capable of beating anyone, anywhere.  What's more, they're still playing for a conference title, even if the Buffs no longer are.  This is not the kind of team you want to be searching for confidence against.

After last night, this Michael Scott .gif properly portrays my feelings about having to play Cal after getting boat-raced by the Cardinal.

But hey, that's why they play the games, right?  Tip off from the sold out CEC is set for 3:30 (please do remember that this game will be played on Sunday).  If you aren't one of the 11,000+ to hold a ticket, you can catch the broadcast on ROOT Sports.  Mark Johnson can be heard on 850 AM.

My preview of the first game can be found here.

Click below for my preview of the rematch...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Quick-post: Wrapping whatever the fuck I just watched

Inspired by the effort the Buffs put forth this evening, I'm mailing in this wrapup.  In lieu of actual discussion of CU's 74-50 home loss to Stanford, I now present to you this episode of the classic television series "Alf."  Enjoy.

Cal preview should be up sometime tomorrow.

Stanford Preview #2

For the first time this season, the Buffs enter a rematch looking for revenge.  The Cardinal blitzed the Buffs last month, looking near perfect in the process.  The loss drove Coach Boyle to call his team "mediocre," and sent Buff Nation into a tizzy of self flagellation.

What a difference a month makes.  Despite the sweep in NorCal, the Buffs have played well enough to find themselves alone in 3rd place headed into the final two weeks of conference play.  This team has proven well above "mediocre," and has put the memory of that second half disaster in Palo Alto to rest.

With an unthinkable conference title still a possibility, the Buffs now host those same Stanford Cardinal to kick of the final stretch of the regular season.  Into what will surely be a mad house, the Buffs step with revenge on their minds.

The biggest week of the season tips off at 8:30 from the stuffed CEC.  If you couldn't find a ticket for the game, you can still watch the action on ROOT Sports.  Those who prefer Mark Johnson, and the radio call, can find him on 760 AM.

 My preview for the first game can be found here.

Click below for my preview of the rematch...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pac-12 Coaches Death Match Tournament

Adam Butler over at has come up with a way solve this muddled rush to the Pac-12 title.  His proposal: have the coaches duke it out in a no holds bared, ThunderDome approved, Death Match extravaganza.

I, of course, like Coach Boyle's chances, but hobo look-a-like, and donor-fighter, Kevin O'Neill from USC has to be the winner. 

You can pop over to Adam's site to vote for Coach Boyle in his first round matchup against Cal's cancer surviving Coach Montgomery.  Nothing against cancer survivors, but I got to think a hale and hearty former D-1 athelete can take one down.

The 2012 Senior Class

Time flies.  It's the final home weekend of the regular season, which means it's time to honor the latest departing senior class.

When Austin Dufault, Nate Tomlinson, and Trey Eckloff showed up on campus four years ago, concepts like "title chase" and "NIT Final Four" were as alien as a proper practice facility.  Yet, at the end of their careers, they work out in a state-of-the-art gym to prepare for a run at back-to-back 20-win seasons, with high-profile trips to Maui and NYC in their back-pockets.

The three 4-year players have been at the heart of a basketball renaissance on the Front Range.  Now joined by a fourth elder statesman, senior transfer Carlon Brown, the group gets a paltry 80 minutes of basketball to say farewell to the gym they have called home.

After the jump, I'll give my thoughts on each senior, while also taking a look at what I best remember from their careers.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday Grab Bag: Presidents' Day Edition

I spent Presidents' Day weekend up at Steamboat, enjoying a brief respite from the work and worries of the Front Range.  You wouldn't have found me up on the slopes, however.  I flat refuse to ski, as I find the sport akin to a masochistic death wish.  Why anyone would want to hurtle themselves down a perfectly good mountain is lost on me.  No, I spent my time in the hot tub, walking around town, and watching the Buffs struggle against Utah. 

That mini-cation in the rear-view, it's time to focus on the stretch run.  Today in the bag, I'll be wrapping the win over Utah, searching for Carlon Brown, and talking about the recently uncovered CU fanbase.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, February 17, 2012

Utah preview #2

Poor, poor Utah.  The conference season hasn't been any kinder to them than non-conference play was.  While they were able to score home upsets over two teams from the bottom quarter of the conference, overall they sport a horrendous 5-20 (2-11) record.

Statistically, they remain in the bottom portion of nearly every major category, while residing in the low-300s in efficiency ratings.  Even the worst of Jeff Bzdelik's excellent losers couldn't hold a futility candle to these guys.
Sad Ute is still sad.  From: the BDC
It's a basketball oddity to see a power conference team this awful.  If there is a poster child for the Pac-12's ride to 1-bid purgatory, it's this Utah squad who are not only embarrassing themselves, but depressing the overall quality of the league.  When you look at Pac-12 RPI's, remember that wins over pathetic squads like Utah and USC, both possessing RPI's in the solid 200s, almost hurt more than they help.

If only one Pac-12 team hears their name called on Selection Sunday, at least a portion of the blame needs to fall on the collective shoulders of Utah and USC.  What the fuck, Utah; at least USC has an excuse with their injury issues.


After a full week off, it's time for the Buffs to once again hit the hardwood.  Tip-off from the Huntsman Center is set for 3pm on Saturday.  The action can be found on ROOT/FSN affiliates, while 850AM will be hosting the Mark Johnson-led radio broadcast.

Click below for the preview...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Quick Post: Thorburn on 'Dre

Last night Ryan Thorburn of the BDC dropped a lengthy article on Andre Roberson and his record-setting rebound pace. 

The lightly regarded recruit out of Texas is shooting up the CU record books in numerous categories.  At this point, only time and how long he stays in Boulder stand between him and all-time records in rebounds, steals and blocks.

The article really is a good read, tying in CU's history with its present; give it a look.

Off-night preview

Where was this off week during football season?

You might be saying to yourself: "NO BUFFS GAME TONIGHT!?!  BUT HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO PASS MY THURSDAY EVENING!?!"   Why not try some mildly interesting Pac-12 action? 

Tonight's conference slate is headlined by a bout between contenders Oregon and Cal.  Beyond that marquee matchup, there are much less promising games between Arizona/Washington St, Arizona St/Washington, and Stanford/Oregon St to keep an eye on.  The Arizona's can be seen on a variety of FSN affiliates, while you may have to search a bit for any coverage of the headlining Oregon/Cal game.  Stanford/OSU is a battle for the middle, and doesn't hold any tile-race implications.

Click below for my preview of non-CU hoops...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Quick Post: What to do with Pac-12 "bye" weeks

In case you haven't noticed, there is no Thursday night game this week.  The Buffs are taking a week off before playing Utah on Saturday.  With the current "travel partner" set-up in Pac-12 scheduling, CU will see that twice a year.

Some teams, like UCLA, are using the "bye" week as an opportunity to play a nationally televised game with a nonconference opponent (in this case, UCLA vs St John's on CBS).  Coach Boyle would like to see the Buffs face a similar "bye-week" schedule in the future, saying yesterday:
"I kind of wish we had (a marquee nonconference matchup) this week. I think that would be good for our league, especially with our disappointing nonconference slate." -link
I hate to break it to Coach Boyle, but that kind of made-for-TV, mid-February matchup is probably out of reach for this program until it starts going to the Tournament on a regular basis.  Benefit to the conference's national perception aside, it's just not going to happen.

The only reason that UCLA and the Johnnies, with their combined 24-27 (11-16) record, are afforded a prized afternoon slot in the middle of Bubble-watching season is because they represent the two largest media markets in the country.  (It certainly doesn't hurt that UCLA is UCLA, and that St. John's coach Steve Lavin has a schload of connections within the television industry.)  While I guarantee no one outside of those fan bases will watch that game on Saturday, way back in the summer, when it was scheduled, I'm sure it looked enticing to the big-wigs at CBS Sports. 

The Buffs are nowhere near a position to arrange something like that.  CU has neither have the history justification, the television market, or connections to warrant a marquee scheduling like that.  It would take years of building a reputation for quality basketball to crack a nationally televised Saturday slate in February.

What's more, I would tend to think that a week of rest and preparation at this point in the season would help more than another nonconference game would.  The final five games of the season are vital to both a title chase, and positioning for the conference tournament (which is probably CU's only path to the Dance).  Muddling up that focus with a nonconference distraction is self-defeating.

Take the "bye" when afforded, and rest up the legs.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Quick Post: On the evolving Pac-12 Network

Work began on the future home of the Pac-12 network yesterday, with the expectation that the operation will be up and running for the fall.  It's an exciting time in a conference seemingly bent on sports-world domination.
The new secret lair... located on Third St in San Francisco.  from:
The new home of Pac-12 Enterprises, who will produce both the Pac-12 Network and digital distribution content, is a symbol of what CU left the rotting corpse of the Big XII for.  In addition to more money, CU's new home offers a sense of inclusion and forward thinking that was beyond lacking when UT was running the show.  The Big XII continues to be years behind competitors in terms of distribution and market expansion.  With the Pac-12, CU is a part of the new frontier of sporting consumerism.

So, what exactly does this mean to you, the consumer?  It will be easier to follow the Buffs than ever before.

No longer will games go un-broadcast.  The Pac-12 network will be on the basic cable tier in home media markets, with every regional network available on expanded sports tiers.  While satellite provider agreements are still in the works, I have no doubt that sports friendly DirecTV will be involved. Additionally, through the philosophy of "TV everywhere," everything broadcast on the various Pac-12 networks will be available online or on your phone. 

If you want to pay for it, you will be able watch the Buffs, wherever you may roam. This point was underscored for me when I looked up my ISU live-blog from last-year.  No more blackouts!
I'm talking Scrooge McDuck money.  Straight cash, homey!
All told, the Network and digital distribution could mean an additional $15+ million per year into the Buff Treasury.  The digital media rights, along with the Pac-12 Network system, are all in addition to the $2.7-3 billion television deal signed last May.  That deal alone should bring in $15 million to CU starting this fall, with that number only going up in future years, via a built-in escalator clause.

The CU athletic department is about to be seriously rolling in the dough.  As if you didn't already know that.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday Grab Bag: Trap left unsprung

It seems that Admiral Ackbar was wrong.  It took the Buffs a while, but they escaped Tempe unscathed.  One last easy road test remains before the season's final four games test my hairline.

Today in the bag I'll recap the win over ASU, take a look around the top of the Pac-12, touch on the Jeremy Lin phenomenon, and drop some site news.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Arizona St Preview #2: Dancing with the (Sun) Devil in the pale moonlight.

Well, that mostly sucked.  How did everyone deal with the loss last night?  I watched Stargate.  Yep, that's right, fuckin' Stargate (on BluRay!).  I make no apologies.

Before I jumped into the adventures of Messrs Spader and Russell, I did get a chance to watch the Buffs do exactly what I feared they'd do when faced with a squad like Arizona.  While the Buffs were able to scrap a bit to keep it close, even into the start of the 2nd half, by the end of the game their energy and composure had run out.  The 71-57 final probably ends any hope of an at-large bid to the Dance.
CU just couldn't stay with Arizona down the stretch.  From: the BDC
The game did start alright, with the Buffs building a 5-point lead in the first six minutes, but CU quickly fell behind before halftime, finding themselves lucky to be down only six at the break.  With both teams shooting 40% from the field at half, a 12% gap opened up in the second half sealed the result.

It certainly didn't help that the Wildcats shot 21 more free throws than the Buffs did.  With the Buffs so reliant on getting to the line, that kind of freebie disparity is a recipe for disaster. 

One big positive is that the Buffs once again held the 3-reliant 'Cats to sub-par shooting from beyond the arc.  Kenpom may have shown ($) that 3-point defense is luck dependent, but I can't help but notice that CU has held 'Zona to 6-36 3-point shooting in two games.  That's a full 20 points below their season average.

Additionally, 'Dre did get yet another double-double, but CU was crushed on the boards by 12.  The Buffs seemed to struggle all night with finding the bottom of the net, shooting a paltry 37% from the floor.

Eventually, this program needs to grow to the point that it can win games like last night.  Until then, the Buffs are just an average team with a very strong homecourt advantage.


That disappointing result is in the past now, and focus must be turned onto the struggling ASU Sun Devils.  It is beyond vital that CU bounce back from the Tucson disappointment, and reclaim some momentum before next week's trip to Utah.  Tomorrow's contest in Tempe appears very winnable on paper, and is essential to the Buffs chances of getting a first round bye in the conference tournament, and grabbing a 20th win.

Tip-off from Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe is set for 4:30 tomorrow.  The game can be seen on ROOT Sports, and heard on 850 AM.

My preview of the first game can be found here.

Click below for my preview of the rematch...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Arizona Preview #2: Time to put up or shut up

It's February.  Football's done, and pitchers and catchers haven't even reported yet.  It's time for college basketball to hit the national spotlight.  Right on cue, tonight's game against Arizona is set for national TV.  Full-on ESPN no less; the BasketBuffs have arrived at a much larger stage than I'm used to.

It's not like it's an accident that the Buffs are finding themselves in the featured primetime game on the World-wide Leader.  As the #2 team in a "power" conference, this level of coverage is to be expected.  If anything, it's a gift.  The Buffs have a chance to make a statement on national television - this is a new breed of Colorado basketball, everyone come look at how awesome this is.

If CU has any thoughts of grabbing an at-large big for the Dance, this is a must win game.  What's more, a win, and the Buffs are not only in serious contention for a league title, but one of the favorites to capture it.   It's a tough trip, to be sure, walking into the home of a perennial league power, but this is the kind of game that serious basketball teams find a way to win.  Plus, they're a rival now, or something.

Tip off from the McKale center is set for 7pm.  If you can't find ESPN on your television package, you should seek medical attention immediately, because, I promise you, it's there.  Mark Johnson can be heard on 760 if the ESPN crew gets too annoying.

My preview of the first game can be found here.

Click below for my preview of the rematch...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

How I think the Pac-12 race will shake out

Adam Butler, from, re-tweeted a scary scenario yesterday.  There's a surprisingly decent chance that the Pac-12 could see a 5-way tie for first place come Sunday evening. 

That scenario only underlines the chaotic nature of this season's inaugural Pac-12 race.  No one team has proven consistent enough to claim the title of front runner, and the current leaders all face tough road stretches to end the year, leaving the final outcome muddled and frantic. 

With everyone having played each other, and only a month of hoops remaining on the schedule, I think it's an appropriate time to try and make sense of it all... before the conference further confuses things.

I might as well start with the current leaders, Washington.  They may sit alone in 1st, buoyed by a 5-game win streak, but they reside behind a massive tie-breaker 8-ball, having lost to each of the teams currently residing in 2nd (Cal and Colorado).  Much like the Buffs, they play most of their remaining schedule on the road (five of seven).  Add to it some serious free throw shooting woes, and I can't see them holding on to their tenuous lead.
Wroten and the Huskies currently lead, but will it last?
Cal, a preseason favorite to win, embarrassingly holds a loss to Washington St on its resume.  They're .500 over their last four contests, and seem to be wearing thin a bit.  Along with Washington and CU, they're stuck on the road for most of the stretch run, playing five of their final seven games away from Berkeley.  That includes a key matchup with the Buffs at altitude. 
How'd these guys lost to WSU?  Worst loss amongst the leaders.
Our Beloved Buffs sit in second, tied with the aforementioned Cal Golden Bears.  CU holds a nice looking tie-breaker over Washington, and don't have to play a return trip in Seattle to defend it.  The road will determine the Buffs fate, however, as they will, along with the other leaders, play the majority of their final games away from home.  Considering the Buffs have struggled outside of the CEC, I can't imagine that ending well.
Home wins have kept the Buffs near the top of a conference for the first time in 15 years.
Oregon makes for an interesting case.  They're the only team in the league who has proven capable of winning on the road, holding four big road victories in their back pocket, including a very enticing result over Arizona in Tucson.  The problem is, much like Washington, the tie-breaker scenarios are none too kind; UW, Cal, and CU all holding the advantage over the Ducks.  Oregon does still have time, however, as they have games remaining against all three that can even up the score.  Their closing schedule includes four of seven at home, but the full road-trip to the Bay Area remains to be played.
The Ducks have proven to be the toughest road team in the league.
Which leaves Arizona as the final contender.  Everyone seemed to forget 'Zona headed into conference play, with a few high profile non-con losses.  The Wildcats, however, have plugged along, carried by strong defense and timely shooting.  Their recent sweep in NorCal is the most encouraging set of road results in the conference to date, and that win over Cal gives them the permanent tie-breaker over the Golden Bears.  While a tricky trip to the Washington's remains, four of the final seven are at home.  Injury issues may play a factor.
The 'Zona win at Cal dramatically altered the Pac-12 race.

That buzzing sound in your ear is a stress induced headache, brought on by the exceedingly mediocre set of Pac-12 contenders.  As I said at the outset, no one looks comfortable at the top, so much so that the only possible outcome is a tie.  I think 5-way is a little extreme, but some manner of sister-kissing will rule the Pac-12 at the end.

I think Washington is about to fall hard.  I could easily see them losing both games in Oregon this weekend.  Same with the Buffs; the road is not the place CU wants to find themselves right now.  Look for both CU and UW to fall off the pace.

Oregon, being the only team proven capable of winning on the road, must be considered, but they've looked awkward against teams like Utah and USC in victory.  Not as statistically strong as the other contenders, I think a few too many splits down the stretch will keep them with the Buffs and Huskies, and off the lead.

I like Cal and Arizona to tie for the title, with 'Zona getting the nod due to the tie-breaker.  While they've slowed a bit over the past two weeks, the Golden Bears are still a strong team on paper, and their toughest remaining pair of games, against the Oregon's, is at home.  Arizona's recent performance in the Bay Area has me convinced that they can slog through to the kind of victories needed to claim a title.

As for the conference tournament, I feel that it is the definition of a crap shoot, with any of eight teams capable of catching fire, and their opponents, at the right time.  Certainly, hoop challenged squads like Utah, USC, ASU, ans WSU are out of it, but I could envision even roller-coaster groups like UCLA and Oregon St having a good stretch of games towards a title.

To that end, with randomness the call of the day, I decided to literally pick a winner out of a hat.  I tossed 16 slips of paper (two per team) into a well-worn cap of mine left lying around the office.  After ensuring the mix was well tossed, an underling was asked to pick the winner and a runner-up.  The results, Arizona over UCLA in the final.  Book it.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Banners and Honoring Achievements

On both Twitter and Allbuffs, I got on a kick about what the CEC rafters should look like.  Here are my more fleshed out thoughts.

Throughout my adolescence, three Whits Sox teams, more than any other, defined my understanding of the franchise.  The '83 (although they were slightly before my time), '93, and '00 teams, all division champions, proved, at least in my mind, that the Sox were more than just some hardball afterthoughts.  My SouthSide heroes are never going to be the Yankees or the Red Sox, putting up pennants and making the post season every year, so a 90+ win season, with a brief appearance in October, was more than enough for my child self.

The flags flying over the outfield facade to commemorate those teams meant a lot to me; certainly a lot more than the '59 AL Champions banner or the 1906 and 1917 World Series Champions banners. Those were teams I could relate to, with stars who I grew up wanting to be.  I thought nothing could diminish their places in my heart.

And then, the franchise went and won the Damn World Series.
Me and the World Series Trophy.
While nothing puts a first round exit in perspective like a ring, the story of who the White Sox are is as incomplete without the '93 squad as it would be without the '05 team.  I cannot stress enough, what little history you have needs to be honored.  Worry about banner crowding in the future.

This is where the Buffs come in.  The CU Mens basketball program may one day win a string of league titles that puts recent accomplishments in diminishing perspective.  Until then, however, we need to naively honor what we have. Teams like '02-'03 and '10-'11 may not make the Kansas roster of below average squads, but for Buff Nation, they're program defining seasons.
Coach Patton and that '02-'03 squad deserve their banner back up in the rafters at the CEC.
Don't forget the players, they deserve honors for their individual accomplishments, as well.  Has CU basketball ever been especially good since the Sox Walseth era?  No, not to this point.  However, that doesn't mean that the players who brought the Black and Gold what little accomplishments Buff Nation can boast of should be forgotten.

I'm not talking statues here, or massive Chauncey-like murals in various corners of the arena.  A simple ceremony, with a small, felt honorarium would more than suffice.  By honoring forgotten All-Americans like Bob Doll and Leason McCloud, and more recent stars like Richard Roby and Cory Higgins, we would honor the totality of Buffs basketball.
Cory's #11 should find it's way into the rafters.
I don't think it's a stretch to claim that a player like Cory Higgins, the program's co-leading scorer who also set marks for appearances and starts, should have his number emblazoned on a banner.  He's an essential cog in the current renaissance of Buffs hoops, and a vital part of the basketball story along the Front Range.

What about players like Jack Harvey, who earned back-to-back All-America honors in 1939 & 40?  If you can't find room for his name and number, then you're just not trying.  Bob Doll, Jim Willcoxon, and Leason McCloud?  Also forgotten All-America selection from the lost era of Buffs hoops dominance.  Their teams won multiple Big Seven titles, and competed for national titles.
McCloud (far left) Doll (tallest on left) and Harvey (to his left) are bygone stars in need of honoring. From:
These guys are Buffs basketball, and should be honored.

The root of this issue for me comes from last year, when the ribbon boards were introduced on the East and West sides of the CEC.  Because the boards ate up valuable banner space, the achievements of multiple sports, not just mens and womens basketball, were cut to make space.  A circumcision of history occurred.

Banners should only ever be taken down at the point of a NCAA sanction bayonet.  Wherever they've gone, those banners need to come back.  Ski and Cross Country banners too.

Not only do I propose that the athletic department find a way to make room for those accomplishments previously honored, but I feel that it's high time for the basketball side to see an expansion.  We in Buff Nation shouldn't be ashamed of the general paucity of accomplishments, we should celebrate what we have.

Go Buffs!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday Grab Bag: "Your tears Scott, they're so yummy"

The sound of butt-hurt emanating from the Pacific Northwest rang as music to my ears Saturday night.  To get this over with, yes it was a foul.  While most refs would not blow a whistle in that situation, the crew had made a similar tight call on the previous play, which sent Olu Ashaolu to the line for a potential lead.  If the Ashalou play was a foul, then the block on Singler was a foul.
Fouled.  From: the BDC
Watch the replay, there's contact from the defender, Singler, when he was not in position.  Suck it up, Ducks.

Today in the bag, I'll be looking back at the big Buffs win Saturday night, checking in with the fading womens team, and recapping that one football game from yesterday.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Oregon Basketball Preview #1: Ridin' the Storm Out

I find this song appropriate for the weekend:

Is there confirmation that the Ducks were even able to make it to Boulder?  With the Valley blanketed by levels of snow usually seen up in the mountains, it's time to warm up the CEC to host yet another school from Oregon.

Tomorrow's game is a battle for second place.  While Washington has taken hold of a 1-game advantage, Cal has fallen into a second-place tie with both CU and Oregon.  With Cal playing host to ASU this weekend, the winner of  this game will probably stay in a tie with the Golden Bears.

It's a pretty good match-up, some even calling it the conference's game of the week, deserving of plenty of attention and a nice crowd.

Tip-off is scheduled for 7pm Saturday evening.  (Finally, a weekend game played at a reasonable hour.)  The storm should be gone by then (crossing fingers), so the roads into Boulder should have all Saturday afternoon to clear up.  Just take it for granted, and plan to head up to the CEC tomorrow night.  There's only three more opportunities to catch the Buffs at home, so there's no reason to stop supporting the team now.

If the snow has you blocked into your abode, you can catch the action on ROOT Sports.  If the radio call is more your style, Mark Johnson will be laying it down on 850 KOA, with the expanded coverage that has become the norm on the station.

Click below for the preview...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Quick Post: Licking the Beavers

I apologize for the title.  I couldn't help myself.

82-60, CU.  Just like last season, that score does the game a disservice; it was far less competitive than that.  After some early back and forth, the Buffs took control and never looked back.
Carlon Brown and the Buffs flew past Oregon St.   From: The BDC
I talked about the Buffs needing to suppress Oregon State's shooting percentage, and they did just that.  With a typically swarming defense, CU held the shell-shocked Beavers to 36% shooting.  This lead directly to OSU scoring over 22 points below their season average.  Scoring sensation Jared Cunningham was kept in check, and   supporting cast performers like Ahmad Starks, who had scored in double figures each conference game prior to tonight, was kept all but silent from the field.

Faced with a team that likes to run and share the ball, the Buffs handed them a dose of their own medicine.  Running the floor, and utilizing the break to shred the Beaver defense, the Buffs never gave OSU a chance to catch their breath.  CU even shared the ball well, spreading the rock around for a season high 19 assists on 29 made baskets.  Combined with a 43-31 rebounding advantage, the Buffs had little to worry about down the stretch.

'Dre had a fantastic night, grabbing yet another double-double (16/15), but my player of the game was Askia Booker.  With fellow freshman Spencer Dinwiddie struggling early, Ski brought the energy and pace CU needed to bust out of OSU's 1-3-1 zone trap.  "The Scrat" finished with 15 points, 3 assists, and 2 steals in only 20 minutes of play (also went 7-7 from the line).  Without him, I think the Buffs struggle to separate from the Beavers.
Ski's play was vital tonight.  From:
Good win, time to focus on the Ducks.  Stay out of the storm, it's getting nasty out there.

Go Buffs!

Oregon State Basketball Preview #1: #YouCantWinAtAltitude

Ah, the sweet confines of the CEC.  After a up-and-down trip to Los Angeles, the Buffs return to the Front Range, ready to defend the best home court advantage in the West.  What you got for me, Ozzie?

Mmmmm, that's some good metal ballad'n right there.

We all know the Buffs need to make their hay at home to augment suspect performances on the road.  While the path to a league title may be washed out at this point, a top-4 finish and a second consecutive 20-win season are readily attainable goals.  The key to achieving them is sweeping, or coming damn close to, the conference slate at altitude (Utah included).

Take care of business at home, and the rest will work itself out.


OK, so it's supposed to snow tonight.  Yes, that does make getting to and from the CEC a pain in the ass.  You know what: NO EXCUSES, PLAY LIKE A CHAMPION!

There is no reason that those of Buff Nation in the Denver-Boulder area shouldn't be on campus tonight, cheering on the Buffs.  The team needs that crowd to be as good as it's been to sweep the Oregon schools aside, and that effort starts tonight.  We've created a reputation for the best home-court advantage in the West, now it's time to cement it.  Rain/sleet/snow, whatever, nothing can stop the CEC from foaming over.  GET YOUR ASS TO THE KEG!

Tip-off is set for 7pm.  If you are afraid of snow, and don't want to deal with Boulder traffic while fighting your chionophobia (look it up), then you're saddled with the 760AM broadcast and the soothing sounds of Mark Johnson.  No TV and no beer make Homer something, something...

Click below for the preview...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Quick Post: New Practice Facility and Folsom Expansion

You keep ringing that bell, Texas Tech dude, and let the whole world know that there's breaking CU news.
Take a look at this photo:
From: @David_LaRose
I may not be an architecture expert, but I've never noticed that building on the left before.  THAT THING IS HUGE!

That is, probably, the 3-D rendering of the rumored, super-secret practice facility and Folsom Field expansion.  Additionally, if you're really eagle-eyed, you may notice that the North-East side appears to have been expanded.   If these upgrades are close to reality, they'd combine with the previously announced upgrades to the video boards to make Folsom Field, and the football program in general, as modern as can be expected.

While no one has trapped Bohn in a corner yet to ask him about the model, it's at least worth drooling over.

While CSU was out running their mouths about a 100,000-seat, on campus stadium experience (coming to a fantasy Ft. Collins near you), Mike Bohn was working behind the scenes to make real developments happen.  Gotta love that Pac-12 monopoly money.

Go Buffs!

UPDATED: Quick Post: Non-Signing Day News

You keep ringing that bell, Texas Tech dude, and let the whole world know that there's breaking CU news.
While the mass chaos of Signing Day continues to explode in everyone's face, there are a few tidbits of fresh CU news that deserve some mention.

The biggest news, at least in my view, is that Coach Tad Boyle is apparently about to receive a richly deserved contract extension.  As reported by the BDC's Kyle Ringo, details are still to come.

One of the best up-and-coming coaches in the West, Coach Boyle has proven capable of injecting excitement and success into the CU mens basketball program that has traditionally exhibited neither.  It's vital that his services be locked up for the foreseeable future, and poaching outside programs be kept at bay.  I hope that extension comes with some extra cash, 'cause the guy deserves it - he made CU basketball relevant.

(UPDATE) Coach Boyle's extension is proposed through 2016, with a 3% salary bump.  Only 3% is bullshit, DiStefano recently got 7% for no reason.

Whatever Coach Boyle wants to be paid is fine by me.
Pay that man his money...

Coach Linda Lappe, of the womens program, is also slated to get an extension.  Considering the early season success, that's not surprising.

Also reported by Ringo, CU is going ahead with plans to start-up a womens lacrosse program.  It was the logical choice, and the sport most agreed would be the first one to start once the Pac-12 monopoly money started rolling in. Since the 80s, the Buffs have dome more program hemorrhaging than program creation, so it's good to see any new sport added to our offerings.
Picture of the Pac-12 cash-money vault.

National Signing Day 2012

After months of speculation and 9th-hand information from "a guy in the know," National Signing Day is finally here.  Today the next class of Buffs becomes official, and begins to put their stamp on the program.  This is Coach Embree's first complete class, having had an entire cycle to find "his guys," so it's now make or break time for a staff considered to by many to be great recruiters.

Let's be honest, the program isn't where it needs to/should be.  Since the program hasn't been to a bowl game in the past four seasons, there's the obvious need to improve on a general level.  Exacerbating the situation, last year's 3-10 campaign underlined the fact that the Buffs were deficient in many areas, particularly speed on defense, which would keep them from competing in the Pac-12.  This recruiting cycle is really the first chance to address that. 

All told, CU is expected to sign 28 kids today.  As the Letters of Intent continue to roll into Dal Ward, you can keep up with the Signing Day happenings with this helpful link from AllBuffs.

The biggest names on the board for the Buffs this season are, unsurprisingly, projected as defensive players.  Corner Yuri Wright, from New Jersey, and Kenneth Crawley, from Tennessee, are the biggest names on the list, both being recognized as "4-star" players by the recruiting services.  Coach Embree is also grabbing an eye-popping eight defensive linemen to shore up the depleted group, which boasts only six returners on scholarship.
Wright is the headlining name of today's signees.
On offense, the biggest name is QB Shane Dillon, from California, who is the programs biggest "name" signee at the position in over a decade.  While I wouldn't expect him to see the field right away, with incoming transfer Connor Wood and returning back-up Nick Hirschman the frontrunners for the position this fall, it's nice to see the Buffs grabbing highly touted QB prospects again.
Dillon is the biggest name of the 14 offensive signees.
Joining him on offense should be fullback Christian Powell, also from California.  The big kid from Upland had "committed" to UCLA only a few weeks ago, only to reverse course and pick the Black and Gold late in the game.  Yesterday afternoon, word leaked of his change of heart, giving Buff Nation much to celebrate.  A top-5 FB prospect (a position with few high-profile names) is a huge get for the program, especially considering the offense's reliance on the position.
Look for Powell to be clearing the way for Buff RB's for the next few years.
All told, the 28 signees are a balanced group of 14 offensive and 14 defensive recruits, which will form the backbone of the program in future years.  With one of the largest senior classes in CU history leaving the program after last season, it's no wonder that this is one of the largest freshman classes in program history.

Most will not see the field this fall, as redshirts should await the majority of this class, but these are names to watch over the coming years.  Today is a day for celebration, as we welcome the newest members of the CU family.

Go Buffs!