|My view. Note the lack of blue dots.|
Today in the bag, I'm talking Askia's Miracle, some women's hoops, and wrapping up the women's volleyball campaign.
Click below for the bag...
Bedlam in Boulder -
|It was a show worthy of the setting. From: the BDC|
The game had everything; emotional swings, surprising twists, and a climactic finish; a story a dramatist would be proud of. Perfection is not necessarily what your're looking for, so we can forgive things like KU's 14 turnovers and CU's 60% shooting from the charity stripe. It was well played throughout, and featured two teams playing at close to their best. If you spent more than face value to get into the CEC this weekend, you got well more than your money's worth.
It took a while for Colorado to settle into the game. Kansas was efficient from the tip, and utilized athletic big man Joel Embiid to impose their will inside the paint. The 7-foot freshman had a fantastic first half, scoring 10 points in the first 13 minutes of play. Throughout the game, KU would score 46 points in the paint, playing to expectation, and the early play of Embiid helped the Jayhawks jump out to first half leads of 9-3, 18-9, and 25-19.
|Embiid was too much for Colorado in the early-going. They needed to resort to desperate measures to counter him. From: the BDC|
The thing is, it worked like a charm. The combination of the pride-swallowing zone defense and the lanky presence of CU's seldom used 7-footer negated Embiid, and returned the game to an even playing field. Kansas was forced to become a jump-shooting team and struggled with the change for the next 20 minutes of play. They settled for lazy passes around the perimeter, and ugly outside shots. After the switch, KU went a shockingly bad 2-16 from beyond the arc, Embiid never scored again, and Colorado came from behind to take a 33-30 lead into halftime. Not too bad for CU's version of a flying pig.
|Ben Mills, yes BEN FREAK'N' MILLS, changed the dynamic of the game. From: the BDC|
Enter: Askia Booker. The oft-maligned shooting guard collected the corner-baseline inbound from Xavier Johnson, took two dribbles, Euro-stepped his way into space, and heaved up a running-28-footer as the clock ticked towards zero.
|You'll be seeing this for years. From: SBNation|
|Four picutres easily worth 4,000 words. From 14er @ AllBuffs.|
It's an incredible moment. I'm so happy for Ski, who silenced his critics, Boyle, who finally topped his alma mater and notched a signature win, the fans, who needed to see some demons exorcised, and the program at large, that can now move forward having put the ghosts of seasons past to bed.
All that said, the focus must now be on moving forward. Far too often you see teams lose focus in the wake of big victories, and drop the next game. Elon hits Boulder on Friday, and a loss to them erases much of the national good will engendered by the win over Kansas. The Buffs need to maintain focus to ensure that they head to Las Vegas with a 10-1 record.
Women's basketball on a roll -
It's becoming easy to take them for granted, but the women's basketball team is on a roll. It's been three years since their last non-conference loss, and, sitting at #11 in the current AP poll, they're one of the biggest names on the national radar.
The team is so good at this basketball thing that even legitimate distractions can't shake their winning groove. On Saturday, they had to wait as the aftermath of one of the most dramatic finishes in men's basketball history was cleared from the court, and then had to sit through a 20-minute delay caused by a burst water pipe. Undeterred, they made quick work of the visiting University of Illinois, claiming a 79-56 win, their 8th of the season.
|Reese and the Buffs had to stay focused to beat the Illini. From: CUBuffs.com|
With distractions and the Illini in their rear-view, the team hosts the Denver Pioneers this week before embarking on their toughest road trip of the non-conference campaign when they head to Louisville to play the #7 Cardinals. If they can nab a win on that trip, you'll know this team is for real, and can compete for a Pac-12 crown.
Volleyball ends their run in the round of 32 -
The volleyball team saw their season end in Minnesota this weekend, but not before notching another upset to cap a wonderful campaign.
Friday afternoon they faced off against old Big XII rival Iowa State in what was a semi-neutral game in Minneapolis. The Cyclones took the first set, but Colorado stunned ISU with a near-perfect second set (25-16, 76% attacking) to swing momentum. From there, the Buffs held off furious charges down the stretch of sets three and four to claim victory, and move onto the second round. Helped by the absence of the Cyclone's normal starting outside hitter, the Buffs held ISU to an attack percentage under 15%.
|CU overcame a hot start from the Cyclones to survive and advance. From: Cyclones.com|
It's disappointing to see the team come up short against the Gophers, but I can't help but applaud their efforts this season. Volleyball had been an afterthought over the past few years, as mounting losses had shown them to be far behind conference competition in the dominating Pac-12. This year could stand as a turning point for the program, as they gained respectability by notching nine conference wins (nearly double their combined total from '11 and '12), including major upsets of #11 UCLA, #25 Arizona, and #1 Washington. With key players like Taylor Simpson, Kelsey English, and Nicole Edelman returning next fall, hopefully they can continue to grow into a sustainable program.