Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday Grab Bag: Big Saturday on Campus

After an extra day of expectation, I finally received my basketball tickets Saturday afternoon.  What is usually a day of celebration was marred, however, by the spartan design of the stubs this year.

Previously, the tickets had been basic, but functional, at the very least going so far as to put opponent logos somewhere on the face.  Recent season have seen flashier designs, with more risks taken outside of the old template. You can see the design progression in this sample of stubs from each of the preceding six seasons:

Note the use of gray and space in '11-'12 and '12-'13, improve on the the stoic style of the Bzdelik years.  Across the seasons, you can also note that the tickets look printed for a purpose, with each game getting the special treatment of the opponent and permanent inking.

Unfortunately, when you look at a ticket sheet for this season, you're greeted by this bland slosh of muted tones and hastily applied ribbon toner from the 1980s:

What happened?  Where's the color?  Where's the opponent logos?  These look they were printed up on short notice at a high school. 

My only guess is that this is a result of the awkwardly announced 10% cuts requested by interim AD Ceal Barry over the summer.  I suppose it's better to have shitty tickets than a slash in the recruiting budget, but it doesn't change the fact that I'll have to look at these ugly things every time I head up to the stadium this winter.

Now, are the look of season tickets a big issue?  Of course not, but, damn it, I thought after selling out season ticket packages for the first time ever that the basketball nuts of BuffNation had proven that they deserved better than this.  I expect something flashier in 2014-15.


Today in the bag, I'm wrapping up a strong weekend from CU athletics by talking the win over Charleston Southern, the basketball scrimmage, and the latest recruiting coup for the basketball program.

Click below for the bag...

Buffs beat Charleston Southern - 

In front of a sparse crowd, Colorado easily dispatched Charleston Southern 43-10, marking their biggest win in years, and evening their overall record at 3-3.

From the opening possession, it was easy to see that the Buffs were miles ahead of the Bucs athletically.  The top-25 FCS team just didn't have the horses to compete, and all that would be required for a CU win was an application of athleticism.  That application came in the form of running back Michael Adkins II, who set a freshman school record with four touchdown dashes.  In total, the speedy change-of-pace back played off of bruising runs from Christian Powell for 137 yards on only 13 carries.  Overall, CU would notch 232 rushing yards on the day on an average of seven yards per carry.  More than enough to spur the team to a blow-out victory.
Adkins was far too explosive for the Buccaneers.  From: the BDC
The strong day from the runners allowed true freshman quarterback Sefo Liufau an easy time of it in his first collegiate start.  He completed 14-20 passes on the day for 198 yards and a touchdown.  Nothing too exciting, but efficiency is all that was warranted against a sub-standard opponent.  The Colorado offense never turned it over, and ChaSo never had a chance to leverage their time of possession advantage (36:47 to 23:13) past the breaking point.

While the offense was humming along behind a big day from the running game, the defense struggled throughout the first half.  They were so bad that coach Mike MacIntyre openly said their performance 'sucks' during the halftime interview on KOA.  The problem was poor technique and execution on the speed option attack of Charleston Southern, which had allowed the Buccaneers to produce 128 rushing yards in the first half, keeping the clock moving, and the ball out of the hands of the efficient CU offense.  Luckily, halftime adjustments put those concerns to rest, and the Bucs were held to only 25 rushing yards and no points in the second half.
The defense stiffened in the second half, and any hint of an upset was washed away.  From: the BDC
Beyond the joys of another win tucked under the team's belt, I don't really know what to make of this performance.  Charleston Southern was so woefully undermanned that it's impossible not to take the results with a large grain of salt, and I don't know how much of what we saw Saturday will carry over to the vital homecoming matchup with Arizona next weekend.  If anything, the game offered an opportunity for the young Buffs to get a few extra reps in against a beatable opponent, building their confidence for the tough conference slog ahead.  In that respect, it's worth its weight in gold.

Basketball scrimmage -  

Prior to the football game, the basketball diehards of BuffNation gathered at the CEC to take a early look at the team... and I mean early.  The open-house scrimmage tipped-off a little after 9am, and, after a slow start (Boyle, yelling: 'WE WEREN'T READY AT 9 O'CLOCK!'), proved to be an exciting showcase of things to come.

The roster was split into two teams, 'Team Black,' coached by assistant Jean Prioleau, and consisting of Josh Scott, Xavier Talton, Jaron Hopkins, Tre'Shaun Fletcher, Dustin Thomas, Beau Gamble, and Ben Mills, against 'Team White,' coached by assistant Mike Rohn, and consisting of Spencer Dinwiddie, Xavier Johnson, Wes Gordon, Chris Jenkins, George King, Eli Stalzer, and Kevin Nelson (returning starter Askia Booker was out with an illness, and spent much of the scrimmage with his Dre Beats on, barking orders and encouragement).

Surprisingly, despite having the nation's #1 junior, Spencer Dinwiddie, 'Team White' was bullied throughout the 32 minute scrimmage, and lost 77-51.  It wasn't even that close.

The key for 'Team Black' was a stifling defense, timely shooting, and a dominating performance from Josh Scott.  The sophomore big man has put on some weight, and finally looks like a man capable of pushing around the big-bodies of the Pac-12.  He put on a display of scoring, rebounding, shot-blocking, and passing that had those in attendance drooling.  He scored 24 in the scrimmage, and was essentially un-guardable.
Scott, now bulked up, dominated the early morning scrimmage. From: the AP
Also staring for Black was Xavier Talton.  The sophomore point guard has continued his upswing from last winter, and looks like a capable back-up to Dinwiddie.  Talton dropped 16 in the scrimmage, highlighted by four made three-pointers, but it was his defense and handling of the offense that impressed me the most.  He went full-bore, keeping the energy up with a strong hand on the shifter.  If that's what we can expect from him this season, I'll be very happy.

Of the four true freshman, the best was Jaron Hopkins, who showed off a superior level of athleticism.  His jump shot doesn't look ready yet (he air-balled a three), but he has a good handle, quick first step, and a strong feel for the game.  The same can be said for scrimmage teammate Tre'Shaun Fletcher, who didn't wind up in the scorebook that often, but was consistently in the right place to make an impact on both sides of the ball.
Jaron Hopkins was the most impressive of the four true freshman Saturday morning.  From: the BDC
Of course, in an intra-squad scrimmage, when one player looks good, a teammate is going to look bad.  Chris Jenkins and George King had rough mornings, each looking out of sorts as 'Team White' fell behind. That doesn't mean, however, that they're going to be ineffective this season.  Particularly in the case of Jenkins, it may just have been a case of an off-day.  I'll reserve judgement.

While I was happy with much of what I saw, Coach Boyle was less so, particularly with 'Team White,' saying:
"You'd like it to be more competitive. I thought the white team didn't have much fight in them, they got shellacked, and we talked about that with the team. Nobody's interested in their excuses or why it happened. All we know is it happened and we all have to live with that.

"To give up 77 points in a 32 minute scrimmage is not Colorado Basketball. 77 is too much in a 40 minute scrimmage, so the defense and rebounding pride that we have in ourselves wasn't there." -link ($)
Certainly, production from White, particularly from Dinwiddie and Johnson, left much to be desired, but I don't honestly think they're about to take a step backwards this season.  Moreso, it's a case of Scott, Talton, and Hopkins stepping up to prove a point.

With only 17 days to go til the season opener, the team still has a little time to get running on all cylinders before the fur starts to fly.

Tory Miller -  

Late on Saturday, as the football game was wrapping up, word swept through the crowd at Folsom that Coach Boyle had landed his second recruit for the class of 2014 in the form of bulky power forward Tory Miller. Needing a big man to fill out the roster, it was imperative that CU come through with one of their targets. Standing at a reported 6-8, 245lbs, Miller fits the bill, and should compliment the other half of the recruiting class, the flashy Dominique Collier (an AAU teammate of Miller's), quite well. 

Originally from the Kansas City area, Miller has been playing his high school ball at a New England prep school.  He's rated as a three-star recruit by most services, with the potential to up that grade through his senior year performance. Miller is a solid finisher with a big upside who ESPN notes has good hands for his size.  Tory suffered an ACL injury during his freshman year, but it doesn't seem to have slowed him down.  Helped by his big frame, Miller could fulfill the promise of another three-star, big-body recruit who never made it at CU - Damiene Cain.

The future Buff announced his commitment through twitter, spurning reported offers from Marquette, Arizona St, and Iowa.  He should complete the 2014 class, but I've said that before and been burned by late adds Eli Stalzer ('12) and George King ('13).  Never say never, so I'll consider recruiting still incomplete for the time being.

Welcome aboard, Tory!

Happy Monday!

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