Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday Grab Bag: A Rose with a broken stem

Ah, what a busy weekend!  I got some sun, ran a bunch of errands, and saw My Bulls lose any shot at a title... all within a few hours.  How fantastic!

Today in the bag I'll be talking up the Buffs headed to the NFL, mourning the loss of the Bulls playoff hopes, and taking a quick swing around the world of baseball.

Click below for the bag...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Quick Post: '12 NFL Draft Preview

If ESPN's media juggernaut hasn't hammered it into your brain yet, let me remind you that the 1st round of the NFL draft is tonight.  Spaced over three days, the draft now dominates the late spring sports calendar, allowing the NFL to spread its money-printing tentacles well past the completed season's expiration date. 

It's fascinating to me how the draft has grown from a televised mass teleconference, to an entity unto itself.  Just think, there are people out there who care more about what goes on tonight (names being read over sparkly highlight packages) than the very entertaining NHL playoffs (Caps over Bruins!).  Champions are being ousted, and people will drop everything to watch a glorified press conference.  *sigh*


Unlike last year, I don't even have the prospect of multiple Buffs being selected to hold my attention.  In fact, there is a slight chance the draft will pass by without selecting a single Buffalo.  Of all the 28 seniors, the largest graduating class in program history, only big Ryan Miller is considered a solid draft possibility.  I guess if only one Buff is going to be drafted, it might as well be him.  Ryan Miller is a Buff's Buff.  Through some of the darkest days in program history, the big man gave his all for the Black and Gold. 
Some team (maybe the Broncos?) will get a solid guard with their late-round pick of Miller.
The Colorado native definitely has NFL size and talent, but his stock is held back by the position he plays.  Offensive guards are considered an interchangeable group, with very few early round picks typically spent on OG's.  The simple truth is that if Ryan was a LT, he'd probably be selected on the first two days.  As it is, Buff Nation will have to spend a fitful Saturday afternoon, hoping to see his name scroll across the screen.

Other high profile members of the '11 senior class, like Speedy Stewart and Tyler Hansen, will probably end up as un-drafted free agents.  Still with a shot at an NFL roster, but outside of the draft's spotlight. 

For his sake, Coach Embree believes upwards of seven or eight Buffs will end up in NFL training camps this fall.  I hope he's right, because I thought there was more talent on the team than the resulting 3-10 record would have you believe. Many of those kids deserve a solid look from pro scouts.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday Grab Bag: A perfect weekend

Apologies to Buff Nation, but today's grab bag will start off with the 21st perfect game in baseball history.  I will, however, also be talking about how CU gets its funding.

Click below for the bag...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

(UPDATED) Quick-Post: Mike Bohn's media roundtable

You keep ringing that bell, Texas Tech dude, and let the whole world know that there's breaking CU news.
You like-a da awesome?  I get you more awesome...

Mike Bohn gathered up the CU media at Blake Street Tavern this afternoon to direct download teh awesome about the future of the athletic department.  Throughout the media roundtable he hit upon juicy topics like: the eagerly anticipated Folsom expansion, other facility upgrades, further sport expansion, and future travel plans for the C-Unit.

Since I was not invited (with good reason... too much drool), allow me to link to the pertinent tweets from the assembled media horde.  (Big shout-out to's Sean Niehoff, who was the most effusive with his tweeting this afternoon.'s Will Whelan also deserves direct mention.)

Folsom Expansion: First and foremost, Folsom will be seeing a "transformational" facilities upgrade in the near future.  Rumors and speculation surrounding possible Folsom upgrades had been rampant since photos of an expanded Folsom model leaked on National Signing Day.  Furthered by the fact that big-time CU athletics booster George Solich was soon to come into a few extra billion in cash, many in Buff Nation believed related upgrade announcements were just over the horizon.  It seems that we'll only have to wait until September to see these dreams become a reality.
The important news is that this is the first public acknowledgement of the upgrade possibilities from the athletic department.  Considering that, I have no problem with waiting a few more months for all the details to be hashed out.  What's more, an announcement in September could be unleashed in such a way that it overshadows the Rocky Mountain Showdown, making the CSU upgrade saga seem childish by comparison.  The University of Colorado: where serious people make serious shit happen.

(UPDATE) In the follow-up BDC article, Bohn is quoted as saying, “It's not a dream, it's not a vision, it's a project we're working hard on. It's our No. 1 priority.”  Further clarification on the facility: "[...] the project will include a permanent indoor practice facility that would be used primarily by the football team, but would also benefit many of the other 16 athletics programs in the department."

Further facility upgrades: The sorely needed video board upgrades will be installed after the Bolder Boulder.  Additional major facility upgrades could include the CEC, where expansion of team specific facilities are being eyed.  This, along with the addition of a basketball specific strength and conditioning coach, proves we're serious about maintaining the gains made in hoops.  Finally, the practice bubble will be getting some new turf put in around July.

Sport expansion redux:  Let me tell you, this will never go away.  Sooner or later, the athletic department is either going to cave, or throw a fit. *cough*I-want-a-baseball-team*cough*  For his part, Bohn hoped to assuage the conversation by hinting that it's off the table without further donations.

So you're saying there's a chance...  Not for nothing, but PowerBall is up above $100 million this week; should I win that, we'll have a baseball program by Sunday morning.

The C-Unit will be let loose on the Strip: The final piece of awesome is the announcement that the C-Unit study abroad series, which featured stops in Los Angeles and Albuquerque last month, will continue in 2012-13.  That means the University will be sending kids on a trip to Vegas!

Now before the Helen Lovejoy's of the world start screaming about the children, I imagine the trip will be as heavily structured as this past year's were, and that the students won't be allowed anywhere near a gambling floor.  Still, the prospect of an all expenses paid trip to the City of Sin should have plenty of students showing up for every game this year.

Go Buffs!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Quick Post: Smotrycz to Maryland

Evan Smotrycz has announced his decision to transfer to Maryland.  If you haven't been following along, the 6'9" swing forward from the University of Michigan, a former 4-star recruit out of New Hampshire, had CU listed in his final three schools.  He would've been a nice addition to the Buffs frontcourt, especially considering that his first year of eligibility ('13-'14) will probably be the first year post-'Dre.
Good luck to you, Evan.
Still, with the impending non-transfers of Shannon Sharpe and Ben Mills, I'm not sure a scholarship was available for him had he favored CU.  Additionally, this leaves the coaching staff with at least one probable scholarship to spend in the talent rich 2013 recruiting year.

As an aside, by picking Maryland, Smotrycz chose Terp coach Mark Turgeon over our own Coach Boyle.  All together Turgeon has now bested Coach Boyle (a former assistant) in two games and a recruiting battle.  The Master one-ups the pupil once again.

Monday Grab Bag: The Spring Game Has Sprung

Spring football is finally behind us.  Before I swear off football discussion for three months, I'll dive into the subject one last time.  Today in the bag, I'll wrap-up the Spring Game, discuss the not-yet-started QB battle, talk recruiting news, and briefly mention some notes from the world of baseball.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday Beer Post: 2012 Gameday Beer-o-the-week - Spring Game Edition

Each week throughout the football season I'm going to suggest a good beer for the ubiquitous pre-game tailgate. Let's be honest, with tailgates it's not always top quality that you're looking for. To steal a phrase from the heinous beer terrorists at Budweiser, you want "drinkability." (or what a real beer connoisseur calls "a session beer") So, be warned, these may not be "the best" beers around. But,     in the words of Dave Chappelle as Samuel L. Jackson "IT'LL GET YOU DRUNK!"

The Beer Post is back!  And just in the nick of time, too, because I'm going to need something to get me through the glorified scrimmage kicking off tomorrow night.

If I haven't made myself clear by now, I can't stand the practice of holding a Spring Game.  Unlike baseball or basketball, where exhibitions can be mildly entertaining, and exhibition of football is mindless fodder for those easily suckered (some schools actually charge for the privilege of attending theirs).  Football is a sport that can only achieve watchability when everyone on the field is giving their all, and that's just not possible in an exhibition setting.  Dress it in gameday garb all you want, the whole thing is a waste of time for us, the spectators.

But a tailgate?  Well, that's always in season, and, barring some inclement weather Saturday afternoon, it's on like Donkey Kong.

For the Spring Tailgate this year, I'm planning on bringing a beer that I was only recently introduced to.  A variant on the ubiquitous American Pale Lager, this brew is one of the first craft offerings to be mass produced in conveniently drinkable 16oz tallboy cans.  I'm naming New Belgium's Shift Pale Lager as my tailgate beer-o-the-week.

It may look like every other American-style lager you've seen pitched to you in billion dollar ad campaigns, but the kind folks at New Belgium have added something I like to call "flavor" to what can be a very bland style.  It starts with a nice kick of hops before leveling off to a very light malt flavor.  Light yellow and clear, with about 5% alcohol, this beer is the very definition of a "session-beer."

So, when dusting off the tailgating equipment tomorrow morning, give a thought to grabbing a 4-pack of Shift tallboys. They'll help with wash down the bad football aftertaste that's sure to come with the Spring Game.

Happy Friday!  Go Buffs!  Beat Ourselves!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

2011-12 Review Part 2: The finishing touches

Following up on last week's narrative effort, I will conclude my look back at the 2011-12 mens basketball season by delving into player performance and team-wide statistical analysis. Let's jump right back in, shall we?

Click below for part two of my season review...

Monday, April 9, 2012

Quick Post: ... and I would've gotten away with it, too, if it weren't those pesky recruiting violations

Ah Baylor.  Once again you've crossed into my consciousness with your outright dickishness.  

Over the past few years Baylor, once the athletic laughing stock of the American Southwest, suddenly became a Waco behemoth, seemingly capable of no wrong on the court.  Football? Check.  Men's hoops? Check.  Women's basketball? Double-check.  A combined 80 wins this past season in football, mens and womens basketball set an NCAA record.  Sic 'em, indeed.

Of course, everyone knew, with a wink and a nudge, that Baylor had accomplished these feats with typical SWC aplomb (read: they cheated), but the proof was lacking.  That is, it was lacking until today.

Finally getting around to it, the NCAA has let it be known that the saintly Baptists in Central Texas are just as scum ridden as the rest of us heathens.  1,671 acts of impermissible contact with recruits across nine different sports (including equestrian!), the illegal hiring of recruiting services, and an assistant coach encouraging witnesses to lie?  Not very Christian of you, Baylor.  The NCAA even threw in the old "failure to monitor" chestnut to top the sundae off.

The Bears tried to sweep this all under the rug by self imposing a few extra recruiting silent periods and a few empty scholarships.  However, since the mens basketball program was still under probation when some of these major violations were alleged to have taken place, we might just hear more about this in the coming months.

No wonder El Jefe and his millions of "Pac-12 Funbucks"© wanted nothing to do with them two years ago.

Monday Grab Bag: Alright, fine, I'll talk about football

I hope everyone's Zombie Jesus Day was enjoyable.  Look for the second (and final) part of my basketball season wrapup either Wednesday or Thursday, with a special edition of the Friday Beer Post on Friday in anticipation of Saturday's Spring Game festivities.

Today in the bag I'll finally get around to talking some football, recap my Masters experience, and talk about baseball's opening weekend. 

Click below for the bag...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

2011-12 Review Part 1: A hell of a ride

It's easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of March.  The beauty of the collegiate game is that, with the lose-and-go-home tournament format, anything is possible at the end of the year.  In 2012, CU finally took advantage of that system, and ran the table in LA, securing the program's first conference title in over 40 years.  That alone makes the season a resounding success.

However, to properly understand the value of a season, you need to pull back your lens and refocus on the year as a whole.  After the jump, I'm going to go on a narrative journey through the 2011-12 basketball season, delving into the story lines to get a better appreciation for how the season developed.  Next week, I'll conclude with some thoughts on player performance, and an overall look as the team's statistical trends.

Click below for part one of my season review...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Quick Post: One shining moment

That's all folks.  Season's over.

The validation of the one-and-done philosophy is complete as Coach Cal and Kentucky have their title.  It played out exactly as I expected.  Kentucky kept Kansas away from the rim, got some easy transition baskets, and generally kept KU at bay for most of the game.  A late Kansas comeback notwithstanding, the Wildcats dominated for 40 minutes.
Deserving champs.
The story, of course, was the play of freshman sensation Anthony Davis.  The Chicago native (!) struggled offensively, only scoring six points, but still managed to dominate the game.  All told, the probable #1 pick in this summer's NBA draft provided 16 rebounds, five assists, six blocks, and three steals in his MVP-worthy performance.  That only extends the fact that, throughout the tournament, he blocked or altered 18.2 percent of opponents' 2-point field goal attempts.  The way he can affect a game without scoring is incredible. 

Kudos to Kentucky, they were the best team all season, and rode that potential to a title.  It's a shame that we'll never see any of those players play another minute in college, but that's life.  At least the hoops world got one season of them together.


Stray observations...

- "There were times early in the season when Self and his old buddy and mentor, Larry Brown, would stand around at practices and wonder whether this was a team that could even make the tournament. It did. Won its eighth straight conference title, too." (-link)

That's a nice pile of revisionist bullshit that Bill Self has spun.  Kansas was a top-15 team in preseason polls, and early "set-backs" include neutral site defeats to Duke and Kentucky.  Hardly the resume of a non-tournament team.  Kansas is Kansas, and they'll always have the level of talent required for a Tournament berth.  If anyone wearing a goofy-looking chicken tells you KU overachieved this season, kick them squarely in the balls.

- CU made One Shining Moment; this year continues to amaze.  Check out the 1:50 mark of this video:

Carlon Brown is awesome.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Quick Post: Football season ticket renewals

Hey football season ticket holders: if you haven't checked your inbox today, you may want to get on that.  Ticket renewal forms went out today, and the athletic department wants your money in by April 13th.  That's less than two weeks away!

Much like last year, CU is incentivizing early return of your payment.  The sooner you get your money in, the better your chance of winning Buff swag.  Enter by the following dates to be entered into a drawing to win prizes:
  • By April 4th - An official jersey.
  • By April 7th - A replica helmet.
  • By April 10th - A CU polo.
  • By April 12th - A CU sweatshirt
In addition to the prize drawings, there are a few new items listed on the online renewal form.  The first (and probably most laughable) is the line for the Pac-12 championship.  Should CU host (lol), they want your request in RIGHT NOW!  It's a zero dollar commitment, but still... wtf?  Why isn't this handled like post season tickets are usually handled (i.e. as needed)?  Also on the form are lines for CSU game upgrades (can we upgrade the opponent too?) and road ticket requests.

Despite the rocky season last year, CU fans turned out in droves.  That level of fan commitment must continue as the Embree regime moves forward.  So, get to renewin'!

Monday Grab Bag: Championship Night

I'm still efforting the completion of my season-in-review post.  I'm hopeful that I can release it Wednesday. 

In the meantime, check out today's bag where I'll be talking Final Four and tonight's title game, status quo on the mens roster, the continuing coaching carousel, and the long-awaited return of baseball.  (That's right, I'm still not talking football.)

Click below for today's bag...