Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Monday, February 4, 2013

Monday Grab Bag: I need some Advil

I'm suffering from a massive hangover today, and it has nothing to do with what went on at my Super Bowl party.  Nope it's all about the Buffs, and their ugly loss in Salt Lake City.  My body is rejecting the losing toxins, and, as a result, my head is pounding.

Today in the bag, I'm recapping the SLC hiccup, the women's rebounding victory in LA, and, of course, the Super Bowl.

Click below for the bag...

Disaster in Utah - 

Did the Buffs really just lose to Utah?

Yep, it's not a nightmare, CU did drop one of their few remaining road pick-up opportunities over the weekend, falling 58-55 in SLC.  It was another offensive horror show on the road, with CU struggling to find any consistency on the offensive end.  Starting with just under five minutes to go in the first half, CU would go without a made field goal for a full 10 minutes of play.  That drought allowed the Utes to go on a 19-2 run which all but ended the game.

Overall, the Utes used a 28-4 spurt to build a 49-27 lead (22 points, to Utah... *smh*) before the Buffs could right the ship at the12 minute mark.  Through that shit-storm, CU went 2-15 from the field, and committed five turnovers.  The truth remains, if CU isn't scoring hustle points, their half-court offense isn't competent enough to jump-start the engine.
The Buffs were consistently frustrated with the ball.  From: the BDC
To their credit, the Buffs didn't give up, and managed to crawl back into the proceedings.  Solid defense held Utah without a made basket over the final 10:44 of play, enabling CU to go on a 24-7 run over the game's final stretch.  The Utes were trying to give the win away, and looked like the Buffs did in Arizona last month.  It was too little, too late, however, as the deficit incurred in the game's middle third prove too high a hurdle to clear.

If you're looking for silver-linings, I'm hard pressed to serve some up.  'Dre did manage his ninth double-double of the campaign, notching 10/12 with four steals and two blocks in defeat.  Spencer Dinwiddie also had a nice stat-line, dropping 18 points to key the comeback.  Neither, however, were without fault.  'Dre gave up four turnovers, and Spencer missed a pair of costly free throws before coughing up the ball with a late chance to take the lead.  Throw in 21% shooting from Ski, and the game was as ugly as you would expect.

The loss, CU's first against a team from outside the RPI top-100, puts the team on the wrong side of the bubble headed into February.   Unless something drastic happens to break the mediocrity, this group is NIT bound.

Women get up off the mat -

It had been a rough two week stretch for the Buffs on the road against top-25 competition.  Visiting #7 Cal, #6 Stanford, and #18 UCLA in succession was good for three quick losses, two of the blowout variety.  A road-trip concluding visit to USC, however, offered a dose of respite, but not before some nervous moments.

The Trojans actually jumped out to a 31-26 halftime lead before CU responded with a near-perfect second half.  CU outscored their opponents 39-18, and held the Trojans to 21% shooting in the final 20 minutes to secure the 61-49 win.  It was a victory the ladies sorely needed, and now head home for a more comfortable double-dip with the Oregons.

For the season, CU is 2-5 vs California schools, and 14-0 vs everyone else.  Since the Buffs only play teams from outside of the Golden Bear Republic for the rest of the regular season, I'll take it on faith that they'll finish the year 24-5.  Bring it on.

Super Bowl - 

San Francisco had forgotten to show up for the biggest game of the season, and Baltimore was putting the screws to them. Already down 21-6 at half, San Francisco sat idly by as a 108-yard kickoff return by the Ravens' Jacoby Jones on the restart made the score 28-6.  As an unbiased observer, my mind was beginning to wander, and the "Cards Against Humanity" deck was threatening to make an early appearance.

Then, the damn power went out.  Thank God, too, otherwise that game would've been over before the 10 minute mark of the 3rd quarter. 
Turning point. From: ESPN
My completely uneducated theory was that the magnetic power of the Destiny's Child reunion was too much for the New Orleans power grid to handle.  One other possibility was that Roger Goodell flipped the switch himself in order to appease the great advertising gods who feared declining viewership as the game was quickly slipping away from the 'Niners. Also, this.

Regardless, there was a whole new dynamic once the lights came back on, and San Francisco suddenly had life. They used that life to score on three straight drives to cut the Baltimore lead to 28-23.  As the chaotic third quarter came to an end, it was anyone's game.

For a time, I thought the 'Niners were going to complete the comeback.  SF QB Collin Kaepernick's 15-yard TD scamper with 10 minutes to go cut the lead to two measly points.  After a blown two-point-conversion and a Baltimore field goal, 'Niners running back Frank Gore appeared to put San Francisco in position to win with a 33-yard rush inside the Ravens' 10-yard line.  But, much like the Buffs in SLC, the hole dug was too deep to climb out of.  Poor game management and blitz pick-up by San Francisco kept them out of the end zone, and Baltimore escaped with the 34-31 win.
Flacco got MVP.  I would've gone with Jones.  Meh.
If you're a 'Niners fan, you're probably screaming about CU's own Jimmy Smith holding WR Michael Crabtree on the deciding 4th-down failure.  There certainly was a lot of contact (Jimmy was just giving him the Hug of Victory), and I probably would've thrown the flag.  I admit, you got a beef.  Still though, without that power outage restarting momentum, San Francisco probably loses by three or more scores. So, whatever. 

Happy Monday!


Aaron Jordan said...

What do you think the Buffs need to do to be on the right side of the bubble?

Would an Oregon or Arizona upset be enough?

RumblinBuff said...

They were probably still on the "right side" of the bubble before the Oregon win, but the resume was softening fast. The Oregon win lowers my blood pressure significantly.

A series of home games (5 of the last 7) was always going to prop up the resume, but I had stated multiple times that the only way CU could be denied was if they had at least 1 100+ RPI loss. Utah was that loss, putting Tournament prospects in danger for the first time all season. The Oregon win makes up for that.

At the end of the day, the Buffs have a strong RPI (top-20), a strong strength of schedule (top-15), and have many quality (top-100) wins under their belts (CSU, N-Baylor, Air Force, @Oregon, Stanford, Cal, N-Murray St) That's the resume of a Tournament team if the season ended today.

What's more, a sweep of the Arizonas at home next week (I'd give that a 65% chance), and it becomes a mortal lock.