Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Friday, January 31, 2014

2013-14 Utah Basketball Preview #1

AllBuffs hoops moderator and friend of the blog James Lucas has repeatedly said over the last few weeks that the season begins anew on February 1st against Utah.  He's not wrong - playing the SoCal and Arizona schools in the immediate aftermath of losing Spencer Dinwiddie was never going to go well, and the results proved that CU was in desperate need of a breather and a winnable home game.  We'll get a much better picture of what this team will be going forward after tomorrow's action.

These are not your slightly older brother's Utes, however.  They're an actual basketball team now; a credit to their conference, rather than an anchor.  Playing them is no longer a guaranteed victory.  CU will have to play a focused, disciplined basketball game to emerge victorious tomorrow afternoon.  They'd better get it too, as the slippery slope to the finish only gets steeper from here on out.


The Buffs are back on the hardwood starting at high noon on Saturday.  Coverage can be found on the Pac-12 Network, with the radio call on 850 KOA.

Click below for the preview...

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Quick post: Bye week musings

College GameDay

For a while there, I was getting worried.  The only good news of note to flow out of the athletic department in the month of January had been the verbal commitment of four-star wide receiver Shay Fields.  Good for the football program, and all, but, damnit, it's January!  No time to be talking about the gridiron.

Luckily, Wednesday brought the official news that ESPN had made the only decision that made sense, and made their own commitment to bringing College Gameday to Boulder on February 22nd.  The traveling roadshow will be at the CEC in anticipation of the Senior Day showdown between the Buffs and Arizona Wildcats.  The selection had come down to CU or Stanford for their tilt with UCLA.  While Colorado has been in a tailspin of late, even the Woldwide Leader wasn't about to lock in a trip to Palo Alto and that student section in absentia.

More than anything, I look at this as a sign of respect for the C-Unit.  There are plenty of good basketball teams across the country who aren't getting the honor of hosting GameDay.  What drew the eye of Bristol was the raucous home court advantage created in the Keg, and the students are a vital part of that atmosphere.  Kudos to the leaders of the C-Unit, young and old, for building a notable force.  The trick, now, will be maintaining the deserving energy through the month of February, and showing up at the crack of dawn (8am) to make the show an impressive sight to the rest of the basketball world.

You wanted it, you got it.  Now make the most of it.


The return of TadBall

Almost as a threat, Coach Boyle was quoted in the Daily Camera saying:
"We don't have anything that we can hang our hat on, night-in and night out. That's always been and always will be defense and rebounding, as long as I'm the coach. I've done a bad job of keeping these guys focused in those two areas. That's where we've got to get back to basics."
Uh oh... I've seen this movie before... #TadBall is coming.

I guess it's simple arithmetic.  Without Spencer Dinwiddie, CU can no longer afford to trade shot attempts with teams over 70 possessions.  *sigh*, but I was just getting used to watching the Buffs play offense like they mean it...

To his credit, Boyle couched his return to defensive principles with a pledge that 'We're not going to take the air out of the ball and try to make it a 50-50 game,' but I'm not so sure that's realistic.  This is a young team playing too fast at the moment, and it shows.  I'm not saying some combination of Askia Booker, Jaron Hopkins, and Xavier Talton can't effectively run the point in the Mayor's stead at some point, but, outside of the USC explosion (hoo boy, the Trojans are bad), they have yet to figure it out.


Bye week viewing

As always, the bye week, when CU sees their weekly schedule cut in half to play their travel partner, strikes me as hollow.  I guess I'll have to fill the brief basketball void with the remaining slate of conference play. Tonight we have USC @ Oregon St and UCLA @ Oregon on the docket, and those teams will be hard pressed to match the excitement generated last night.  

The UofA/Stanford game was particularly fantastic. The Cardinal pushed the #1 team in the land to the brink, but couldn't hold on to a lead that they had enjoyed for most of the second half.  A last-second three from Chasson Randle threatened to send the game to over time, but disappointingly back-rimmed.  Arizona escaped Maples with a 60-57 win, keeping their record-setting start to the season intact.

The ASU/Cal game was also a solid two hours of entertainment.  After a rough start, the Bears rallied to push the game to overtime.  Jahii Carson did his thing in the extra session, however, scoring 11 of his game-high 29 points in the five minutes of bonus basketball.  ASU earned a satisfying 89-78 victory, and took a little step closer to making the NCAA Tournament.

Of tonight's games, UCLA/Oregon is, by far, the most interesting.  The Ducks finally righted the ship this past week in Pullman, earning their first win in six tries. A win over the Bruins this evening would further solidify that narrative.  Tip-off is set for 7pm, and the action can be seen on ESPN2.

Feel free to avoid the USC/OSU game, which tips off at the same time on Pac-12 Networks.

Happy Bye Week!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Monday Grab Bag: It's worse

Not a good weekend series for the Buffs in Arizona.  It was so disorienting for yours truly, that I ended up acquiescing to my roommate's demand that we watch the Bachelor and the Grammy's last night.  Not only did I allow this shit to go down, but I sat there and watched that garbage.  Me!  Watching the Bachelor!  *shivers*

(Note, the term 'watching' is being used in the loosest definition possible.)

To make up for this, I'm going to cook meat over a fire, watch war movies, and grunt responses to any question posed.  I've got a reputation to maintain, after all.


Today in the bag, I'm talking about the flatlining in the desert, opportunity lost back at the CEC, and the weekend that was in Pac-12 basketball.

Click below for the bag...

Saturday, January 25, 2014

2013-14 Arizona State Basketball Preview

Well, it could've been worse.  Running up against a world-class defense in foreign territory, the Buffs were blitzed by the Arizona Wildcats in the early going of Thursday's game.  They kept their heads down, however, and found some traction in the second half, keeping the score from appearing to be a complete blowout.  The 69-57 final isn't an ideal, but it's a suitable result for where the team is at this moment.

I'm a little frustrated by the large number of turnovers.  CU coughed up the ball 16 times, all from their top-six players.  You could really see the absence of Spencer Dinwiddie here. Without the calming influence of the regular point guard, the Buffs struggled to find avenues of attack against the vaunted Arizona defense, and played -15 basketball in the first half.  Settled down at halftime, they played much better after the break, but the damage was done.
Arizona corralled CU far too easily in the opening minutes on Thursday.  From: the BDC
Of course, the game wasn't the big story yesterday morning.  CU losing by 12 at McKale was never going to make waves, one way or the other.  I think anyone looking at this objectively knew that CU was going to lose, it was just a matter of degree.  What did make some waves were the post-game comments uttered by star CU forward Xavier Johnson.

Now, Xavier had a good game.  He scored 21 points on 7-12 shooting, leading all scorers on the evening. It's understandable that he'd be individually encouraged by his effort, but he let the moment get the better of him once retired to the media room.

It started off innocently enough.
"They are the No. 1 team and they just beat us, so I can't really talk." 
Had Johnson ended it there, everyone, from players to fans to media, would've woken up yesterday focused on ASU.  Instead, the press conference continued.  
"[...] but everybody has their lapses, you know? We have better players than them, I think, even down a player - two great players."  
They're the number one team in the nation, Xavier.  I think you're good, too, but you've now lost three of four.  Combined with what I saw last night, I think reality contradicts your argument.  *sigh* Oh, but he continues... 
"We were playing the No. 1 team in the nation, but they're not that good."  
*rolls eyes* Sure, why not?  It only took the 'Cats a media timeout to wipe the floor with you guys, but sure, 'they're not that good.' 
"We didn't come with the right mindset."  
At least some humility after a defeat.  Anything else for the class? 
"The good news is we get another crack at these guys, at our place. That'll be a 20-point blowout."


Huh?  What comments by Xavier?  Nope, nothing to see here... *sticks hands in pockets, whistles*

Wow, sure glad no one said anything monumentally stupid after that Arizona game.  I think we have a good shot at beating them in a month, and I'd hate for anyone to undermine that opportunity by giving the Wildcats a hearty helping of bulletin board material...

Anyways, today's game with Arizona State is huge.  While beating Arizona was too much to ask for, the Sun Devils offer a more reasonable proposition.  It won't be easy, however.  ASU has proven to have Colorado's number since the conference shift, winning three of the four meetings, including a sweep last season.  A win in Tempe would be a well-earned, and much-needed scalp.

Tip-off from the Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, Arizona is set for 5pm this afternoon.  Televised coverage can be found on Pac-12 Network, with the radio call on 850 KOA.

Click below for the preview...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

2013-14 Arizona Basketball Preview #1

As far as I can tell, CU has never beaten a team ranked #1 in the AP poll.  I've looked through the record book, which only goes back through the 1950s, and count 15 attempts and zero victories. The closest, of course, was the overtime thriller with Kansas in 2010.  Beyond that and a couple of close-ish calls in the 50s, however, CU has rarely been a challenge for the #1 team in the land.

It won't be easy to break that history this evening.  Arizona is more than worthy of their '1,' and McKale is one of the best home court advantages in the country.  To pull off the upset CU will need to play near-perfect basketball.  Stranger things have happened, but the odds are stacked against them...

Tip-off from the McKale Center in Tucson, AZ is set for 7pm this evening.  Televised coverage can be found on ESPN2, with the radio call on 850 KOA.

Click below for the preview...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Quick Post: CU/Arizona Q&A at

As is tradition, friend of the blog Adam Butler from reached out to BuffNation for some answers on the eve of the CU/Arizona game. @JGIsland, @CUGoose and myself were more than happy to oblige, and our answers have been posted.  I highly encourage you to pop over and get informed prior tomorrow's showdown in Tucson.

A small sample:

"Most important player: Askia Booker, Josh Scott, other?

(Me): Tough one. Both are vital to the Buffs without Dinwiddie, and both have stepped up in his absence (Scott – 39 points, 16 rebounds last weekend; Booker – 34/8/8; combined – 61% from the field). Both are team leaders, and a quiet night from either severely limits Colorado’s ceiling. 

In reality, the answer is Scott, if only because there are few players in the conference that can actually guard him. He demands a double-team on the block, which opens up opportunities for others, and his 15-18 foot jumpers make him a very difficult assignment. Askia’s transition into a more efficient player will be very important, but the offense (and, to an extent, defense) now runs through Jelly. 

It must be said, however, that they can’t do it alone. Just look at last Thursday’s game against UCLA. The pair had a fantastic game (40 points combined), but CU rarely threatened in the second half. The culprit was the 16 point, 13 turnover, 22% shooting effort from the rest of the roster. Whether it be Xavier Johnson, Jaron Hopkins, or the rare assertive offensive night from Wes Gordon, someone else has to contribute for CU to compete."

Thanks, as always, to Adam for the forum!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Monday Grab Bag: Exhale, and return to breathing normally

No time for idle chatter, straight onto the bag!

Today in the bag, I'm talking the rebound victory over USC, more struggles from the women's team, and football's championship Sunday.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, January 17, 2014

2013-14 USC Basketball Preview #1

There's still time to get better, but Thursday night's effort against UCLA just wasn't good enough for the Colorado Buffaloes.  They struggled to keep pace with the Bruins all night long, having to work twice as hard for the same output.  Finally, midway through the second half, the dam broke, and UCLA raced home for a 69-56 win.  I expected as much, but that didn't make the reality of the situation any easier to digest.
Everybody having a good time?  No?  Okay then... From: the BDC
The holes left in the roster from injuries to Spencer Dinwiddie and Tre'Shaun Fletcher were brutally on display.  Without Dinwiddie, the offense devolved into a two-man show between Askia Booker and Josh Scott.  Without Fletcher, Colorado could do nothing but play small when going to the bench against the towering Bruins.  Accordingly, you saw 17 turnovers, second half shooting under 35%, and 15 allowed offensive rebounds.

I knew CU would be challenged offensively, but I'm starting to fear it might be worse than anticipated. Outside of Booker and Scott - who had truly fantastic nights, combining for 40 points despite getting the majority of defensive focus - seven Buffs combined to tally 16 points and 13 turnovers on 22% shooting. Somebody, anybody other than the remaining two stars needs to prove that they can score the ball, or the Buffs will struggle the rest of the way.
Ski was brilliant on Thursday.  CU will need more of that.  From: the BDC
Look, UCLA is a damn good team, and it's grossly unfair to blame the team for a loss to them, but the season doesn't stop because Spencer is wearing a #BUFFSTAPE shirt on the bench.  The world keeps spinning, and these kids need to find a way to grow up real fast before the things they've worked since August for slip from their fingers.

The real fucked up thing is I know these guys are better than they showed last night.  Xavier Johnson (who played through some tendinitis in his knee) and Wes Gordon certainly are, despite disappearing last night, and Jaron Hopkins and Xavier Talton have better days in front of them, as well. Given time, CU will learn to live with the roster they have, just, for the present, it's an ugly mess.


Turning my attention towards Saturday, the Buffs won't have long to work on righting the ship.  There's only about 40 hours between last night's horn and tomorrow's tip.  It's a 'better win' game against USC Saturday afternoon, too.  If CU can't pull one out against the lowly Trojans at home, the final two months of this season could get real long, real fast...

Tip off from the CEC is set for high noon on Saturday.  Televised coverage will be on Fox Sports 1, with the radio call coming from 850 KOA.

Click below for the preview...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

2013-14 UCLA Basketball Preview #1

This has been the toughest week in the recent history of Colorado Basketball. Nothing else compares.  Hell, I'm still reeling, and I've already wasted 1,000 words trying to get over it. I think that the opportunity to retake the court after three days off will come as a welcome relief to the team. The loss to injury of star guard Spencer Dinwiddie and emerging reserve Tre'Shaun Fletcher have dominated the story lines since Sunday afternoon, and I'm sure the players would like to put everything behind them by actually playing some basketball.

With that understood, tonight's game against UCLA is huge.  Despite protestations to the contrary, this team is not dead in the water.  They have an opportunity to rally around each other and fight through adversity. At the very least, the level of effort they show tonight will be very telling as to which direction the season will go. A strong performance, even a losing one, could forestall any doom-and-gloom that is threatening to infect BuffNation; conversely, a ugly, lifeless, sloppy performance could come as a self-fulfilling prophesy that could signal the start of a long-term slide.

Regardless, I'm excited to get back into the CEC and watch some hoops.  The sport has been significantly less fun to follow since Sunday afternoon, and I need the energy of the arena to remind me why I put so much passion in to watching this goofy little sport.  With the C-Unit in town, and a capacity crowd expected, I don't expect to be disappointed.


Tip-off from the CEC is set for 6pm this evening.  Traffic will be a mess, so plan accordingly. Also, WEAR WHITE! Coverage for those without tickets can be found on Pac-12 Networks, with the radio call on 850 KOA.

Click below for the preview...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Puke and Rally

There are no words, at least ones worth putting to paper, that can adequately describe my feelings when I saw Spencer Dinwiddie collapse in Seattle on Sunday.  I was stunned into numbness.  It struck me to my very core.  Surely, much of that is borne out of, what Adam Butler termed, the 'selfish joy' of getting to watch the young man ply his trade on the hardwood, but it goes deeper than that.

I feel for him.  It's genuine heartbreak.  With the understanding that Dinwiddie is an honestly good kid who worked extremely hard to get where he is today, to see him reduced to tears for playing the game he loves... it's hard to comprehend.

With the diagnosis now official, at least there's finally some direction to the story.  Spencer is done for the year, and, after surgery, will be able to focus on his recovery.  As with all things in life, the narrative doesn't end, it just transforms.  He will be back, and we will all get to share in that 'selfish joy' once again.

Get well soon, Spencer, the whole of BuffNation is behind you.

For the Buffs, the scenario is the same.  With both Spencer and freshman forward Tre'Shaun Fletcher having succumbed to the Hec-Ed voodoo, the program has been clouded by an immediate, suffocating fog.  But that is not the end of the story.  While dreams of a league title are now pure fantasy, the season continues, and the competition isn't going to let up just because CU is wounded.  (If there was any doubt about that, go back and watch the film of the Huskies circling like a pack of wolves on Sunday). While the Pac-12 party rages on, it's time for the Buffs to puke and rally.

This is going to be the toughest coaching job of Coach Boyle's tenure at CU.  He set the terms yesterday afternoon saying:
“We don’t have the star system here. Spencer was our leading scorer and leading assist guy, he led us in steals. There’s no question he was important to our team. I’m not trying to minimize this loss, but I just want our players to realize they’re here for a reason: they’re capable as well. When one guy goes down, the door opens for one, or in this case, maybe two or three more.” -link
It's going to take a team effort to make up for the loss of Dinwiddie and Fletcher.  It's going to take a huge leadership statement from players like Josh Scott, and it's going to efficient performances from players like Askia Booker.  More importantly, it's going to take the emergence of replacement players like Jaron Hopkins and Xavier Talton.  

Colorado needs to show that they can get back on their feet, and quickly, before the season falls off the rails. The Selection Committee is watching, and have made their stance on injuries pretty clear in years past.  For CU's purposes, while they won't completely throw out the first 17 games of the season, what the Buffs from this point on will determine their fate.  They need to give the committee a reason to keep them in the field. The performance in the second half against Washington is forgivable, but the team needs to give some indication that they have a plan for life without Spencer.

Looking at the schedule, I think if Colorado can find a way to go .500 over their final 14 games they'll be in the Dance. That would put them at 21-10 (10-8), and, at least, signal that they aren't completely adrift when faced with adversity.  How does CU get to 7-7 down the stretch?  Well, look at the schedule.  I figure there are four reasonably winnable games remaining (USC, Utah, WSU, @USC), along with four games that would seemingly take a miracle for the Buffs emerge victorious in (@Arizona, @UCLA, Arizona, @Cal). That leaves six toss-up games that will determine their Tournament eligibility: UCLA, @ASU, UW, ASU, @Utah, and @Stanford.  Colorado only needs to take three of those, a doable proposition.

It has to start Thursday night against UCLA.  We're going to learn a lot in two days time, much of which will be a simple answer to the question 'what are these kids made of?'  A strong performance against the Bruins will send a clear message, and come as a huge lift to the spirits of the team and BuffNation.  Don't count the Buffs out entirely.  With the CEC and a returned student section at their backs, anything is possible...

Monday, January 13, 2014

Monday Grab Bag: Black Sunday

There are moments in sports where the outcome of a game becomes meaningless.  Such was the case Sunday when Spencer Dinwidde fell to the floor clutching his knee.  Time stopped, the game fell away, and a haze of uncertainty fell over BuffNation.
It's just not right.  From: USA Today
The obvious is that the whole situation did not look good.  The injury occurred in a non-contact situation, where Spencer's knee seemed to give out from under him as his shoe slipped on the slick floor at the Hec Ed Pavilion in Seattle.  Spencer wasn't the only one to lose his footing, and I can't help but wonder if the coaching staff should've made an issue of it.  Regardless, dreams, both individual and organizational, came to a screeching halt.

The fear is that Dinwiddie is done for the year. It's a knife to the gut, a painful reminder that success is fleeting.  In the coming days I'll be able to consider what this means going forward, but, for now, all of my thoughts and prayers go out the the 'Mayor of Buffaloes.'  Get well soon, Spencer.


Today in the bag, I'll pick up the pieces from Seattle, check in with the spiraling women's team, and touch on the NFL playoffs.

Click below for the bag...

Saturday, January 11, 2014

2013-14 Washington Basketball Preview #1

Wednesday night, in front of a dead crowd and a mostly-empty arena in Spokane, Washington, the Buffs played down to their competition, allowing an obviously inferior Washington State squad to push them into overtime.  Compared to the team we saw beat Oregon at their own game last weekend, I almost didn't recognize the Colorado squad on display.  However, in spite of a lethargic performance that seemed doomed to end in a loss, CU closed well down the stretch, and powered through hot shooting from the Cougars to claim a 71-70 victory.

WSU almost pulled off the upset by knocking down a shockingly high percentage of three pointers. Coming into the game, the Cougars were shooting barely over 30% from deep, but were allowed to shoot near 60% from range in Spokane.  You saw players like Dexter Kernich-Drew (26% coming in) and Royce Woolridge (18% coming in) hit trey after trey.  More than luck, it was simply a product of the Buffs leaving the shooters wide open.  Another team allowed to stay in the game through their perimeter play, *sigh*.
Anyone want to guard the shooter?
Outside of WSU's hot shooting, the story of the night may very well be the pseudo-absence of CU's talismanic point guard, Spencer Dinwiddie.  The Mayor was nigh nonexistent for most of the game, failing to take a shot in the first half, and only scoring after 32 minutes had been played.  Said Coach Boyle of the performance, 'he was not in Spokane Arena tonight mentally, physically, he was somewhere else. I don’t know where it was, but he wasn’t here.'  Athletes have off nights, but there was something almost worrying about how muted Dinwiddie was.  To my eyes, he looked like he wanted to be anywhere but playing in that game, which is not the attitude you usually see from him.

Without their best player playing to his capabilities, the Buffs had to turn to their other stars.  Josh Scott, Askia Booker, and Xavier Johnson obliged by all scoring in double figures.  It was Scott who can be said to have won the game through his dominating performance in overtime, scoring eight of his team-high 19 points in the extra frame.  Booker, while a ugly 2-12 from the field, was terrific at getting to the free throw line, going 13-14 from the stripe.  Johnson also did a good job getting to the line, and was generally difficult for WSU to matchup on defense.
Without Scott, the Buffs would've wound up losing on Wednesday.
Nights like Wednesday aren't unheard of, particularly in college sports.  While there is no excuse for letting a team like Washington State (without their best player, no less) push you around, at least the Buffs found a way to win.  I've seen versions of that game before, and in almost every one, CU has taken the loss.  No, this time, Colorado came back and escaped with the win.  A testament to their talent and will.

Hopefully, lesson learned, the Buffs will put together a better showing Sunday afternoon in Seattle. Washington has been playing better as of late, but they should still be a beatable proposition for a CU team playing somewhere in the vicinity of good basketball.  A win over the Huskies would go a long way towards erasing the doubts generated by the Scare in Spokane.


Tip-off from the verbose Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion is set for 1pm on Sunday. The Broncos play at 2:40, so I don't actually expect anyone reading this to plan on watching the game.  It's OK, do your thing.  If you do still plan on watching the Buffs, however, you can find the action on FOX Sports 1, with the radio call on 760 AM.

Click below for the preview...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2013-14 Washington State Basketball Preview #1

I've always thought the phrase 'must win' has been grossly misappropriated in sporting culture.  Unless a team is facing elimination, no game is a 'must win.'  In fact, what we mean is 'better win,' as in '[random team] better win, or the consequences will be dire.'

Such is the case tonight as Colorado travels to Spokane, WA to take on the lowly Washington State Cougars.  A loss by Colorado does nothing tangibly harmful to the season.  The most important games of the season will still be played in March, and CU will still be one of the top-25 teams in the country.  There is no 'must' involved.

They had better win, however, as the consequences are awkward.  A top-15 team should not be dropping games to a team as sorry as Washington State, regardless of circumstance.  It would take a number of strong road performances to overcome the narrative damage done by a stumble against the Cougs, which is exactly why the game tonight is so important.  CU has a nice, winnable contest to ease themselves into conference road-work with.  If they can't make this three-foot putt, how are they supposed to battle the tougher greens in Tucson, Los Angeles and San Francisco?

Best to just take care of business, no questions asked, and move on.  Leave 'Coug'd it!' to the professionals.

So, just why is the game being played in Spokane?  I have no idea.  What I do know is that Spokane and the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena is one of the eight regional sites for the 2014 NCAA Tournament. Funny enough, this may not be the only game Tad Boyle and crew get to play in the Lilac City this season... Tip-off is set for 7pm tonight.  Coverage can be found on Pac-12 Network, with the radio call on 850 KOA.

Click below for the preview...

Tuesday Grab Bag: Into the top-15

You may notice that this grab bag is being posted on Tuesday, rather than in the traditional Monday afternoon time slot. I do apologize for the abrupt scheduling change, but it was necessary.  One of the reasons I wanted to push back the bag this week was to include the national title game.  It seems simpler for me to do it in a bag format then to make a separate post simply for the purpose of wrapping up the game. Look for that at the tail end of today's post.

The other reason I wanted to push it back, however, was schedule crunch.  Between work, alumni band, and actually following basketball, I had fallen a little behind, and didn't have enough prepared to put together a quality post.  Never wanting to put up substandard product, and rather than press, I just gave myself an extra day - the benefits of not having to answer to anyone!

As tired as I am, it has all been for a good cause.  Over the past two games, the alums and I have been helping out with the basketball band in the hopes of keeping the sound amped up through the last vestiges of winter break.  If you've been at the games, I hope you enjoyed the performance emanating from the south end of the stadium. I think the eclectic mix of alums and current members made for a good group.
Yep, that's me.  H/T to @JGIsland for snapping the pic!
Of course, alumni band season is not over yet.  We'll be playing for the two women's games this week against Cal and Stanford.  They are huge games for the ladies, and the team deserves a full stadium's worth of support.  If you can, I highly suggest you make the effort to head up to the CEC.  The women play Cal Friday night, and Stanford Sunday afternoon.  I hope to see you there!


Today in the bag, I'm talking the men's win over Oregon, the women's inconsistent trip to SoCal, the national title game, and baseball's hall of fame.

Click below for the bag...

Saturday, January 4, 2014

2013-14 Oregon Basketball Preview

Well, that went about as expected.

Oregon State is a team designed to frustrate Colorado, which is exactly what they did Thursday night throughout CU's 64-58 win.  Through their zone defense (interestingly enough, a 2-3, rather than their knuckleball 1-3-1) and occasional spates of press, the Beavers do a great job shackling a fast-break team like the Buffs into uncomfortable half-court situations.  Far too often through the course of the game, CU would find themselves with a short shot clock, and little, if anything, moving towards the basket.  As a result, the Buffs became perimeter-happy and passive for large stretches, settling for desperation heaves, rather than working for quality shots underneath.
Josh could've used the ball more, as usual.  From: the BDC
For a while, it looked like CU was going to get uglied into a second-straight home loss to OSU.  The Beavers controlled much of the first half, sustaining a lead through the first 10 minutes of play.  The insertion of Xavier Talton at the point, however, seemed to kickstart the Colorado offense, as the direct point guard sped right at the OSU zone.  From then on, it was CU's game to lose, and, while it may not have pretty, they avoided the embarrassment of a loss.

Colorado was lead by a combination of Josh Scott, Askia Booker, and Jaron Hopkins.  Scott, once again, proved to be be more than capable of banging with quality big men, as he dropped 13/10 while helping to hold OSU's heralded front line trio of Devon Collier, Angus Brandt, and Eric Moreland to only 14 combined points.  Booker didn't show the efficiency he had been in recent weeks, but collected four rebounds with as many steals and two assists to go along with his 13 points; another all-around performance from Colorado's bulldog two-guard.  Finally, Hopkins provided a much needed scoring spark off the bench, notching 13 points on 5-8 shooting.
Hopkins' aggressiveness served him well on Thursday.  From: the BDC
The key here is not that CU struggled against the Beavers.  The key is that they found a way to escape with the 'W.'  They weren't able to accomplish that last season in a similar situation against Oregon St, giving me hope that the team is more capable of coping with uncomfortable situations than they were in '12-'13.

Having survived the conference opener, the attention now turns to Oregon.  In what is most certainly the marquee matchup of the first round of Pac-12 play, the #10 Ducks and the #20 Buffaloes meet in what is one of the more highly anticipated games of the entire college basketball weekend.  The winner not only gets to start out their conference slog 2-0, but will also enjoy a major boost to their national profile and Tournament resume. Regardless of who ends being that winner, I'm expecting a fast-paced, entertaining display of basketball.  Should be a hell of a show.

Tip-off from the Coors Events Center is set for 3pm on Sunday.  Coverage can be found on Fox Sports 1, with the radio call on 850 KOA.

Click below for the preview...

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013-14 Oregon St Basketball Preview

The Buffs have a good chance this week to make some noise in the Denver sports market.  With the Broncos on the bye, the Avalanche mired in a slump, and the Nuggets doing... whatever it is the Nuggets do, there is a small gap in the calendar when CU can be the talk of the town.

It's time for Colorado to defend their top-25 ranking with authority, and make a statement to the causal sports fans in the area that they are worthy of the region's love.  This is a team that the entire state can be proud of, and they deserve the spotlight.  A pair of home wins to open conference play on a quiet post-holiday weekend should be enough to make a statement, and fix the Buffs in the collective sports consciousness of this metro area, if only for a little while.


Tip-off from the CEC is set for 8pm this evening.  For those unable to make it up to Boulder, televised coverage can be found on ESPNU, with the radio call on 850 KOA.

Click below for the preview...