Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

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...

Disaster in the Desert - 

The hits just keep on coming.  CU headed to Tempe, AZ mired in a tailspin, and did little to reverse their fortunes, playing listless, sloppy basketball against the ASU Sun Devils on Saturday.  Falling behind early, the only thing they ever challenged was a 30-point margin of defeat.  Luckily, it never got that bad, but the 72-51 loss was ugly enough.

Backcourt play was the key.  Still struggling to find their footing win the wake of Spencer Dinwiddie's season-ending injury, Colorado's starting combo of Askia Booker, Jaron Hopkins, and Xavier Johnson combined to commit 16 of the team's 19 overall turnovers.  Hopkins, playing his second straight game in his home state, was particularly shaky, having as many points, rebounds, and assists as he did turnovers (4/1/0:5). Coach Boyle was particularly blunt in the post-game, saying “This was just a bad game overall. There was nothing we can point to that we can even look at as a positive."  I'm right there with him.  The effort against ASU was beyond awful.  More then just missing their best player, they were missing their will to compete.
The Buffs could do little to slow down the Sun Devils.
I wasn't expecting an easy trip to Arizona this weekend.  In fact, I was expecting two losses, probably in blowout fashion.  But the way Colorado took their losses - looking scared and rattled through the opening minutes against the UofA, and looking listless and sloppy against ASU - was simply demoralizing.  This team can't control the talent situation on the court, but it can control their execution and effort, both of which were, at times, completely absent against the Arizonas.

Barring a miracle run in February, any hope of the NCAA Tournament has been dashed (I think they'd need at least six wins out of their final ten, with only five home games remaining), but the Buffs are still playing for post-season positioning (NIT) and confidence headed into next year.  It would be a shame for them to let the season get completely out of hand down the stretch.  With a week off before their next game - at home against Utah - it's a welcome opportunity for the team to circle the wagons, and re-focus on playing good, solid, Colorado basketball.

Women miss golden opportunity to reverse their fortunes - 

The women's basketball team had a great opportunity to halt their losing slide of the last month yesterday afternoon against Arizona State.  Coming in off of a perfunctory 68-47 victory over a really bad Arizona squad - incidentally, their first win in three weeks - CU had the 14th-ranked Sun Devils on the ropes at the Coors Events Center.  A final minute turnover and a pair of made free throws from ASU's Adrienne Thomas, however, doomed the Buffs to a 68-66 loss, their seventh in 10 tries.

Damn, the Buffs really needed this one.  January has been completely unkind to CU, and a win over the top-15 Sun Devils would've come as a breath of fresh air to a team in dire need of a happy weekend.  They certainly had their chance.  With the ball, in a tie game, and only 21 seconds to play, the expectation is that CU is going to win or head to overtime.  It's almost inconceivable that there could be a scenario where the Buffs lose in regulation.  Yet, there was Brittany Wilson, coughing up the ball for the second time in the final minute, giving ASU the fateful final possession.
Wilson had trouble holding onto the ball in crunch time. From: the Post
If there was any silver lining to the weekend of missed opportunity, it was the continued stellar play of Jen Reese.  The junior forward from Oregon went for 44/15 over the two games (tying her career high twice), and almost single-handedly got the Buffs the double victories.

CU next has the home-and-home with Utah this week.  The Utes have been equally as bad as Arizona this year, and the Buffs must capitalize, claiming both wins.  If not, any hope of a trip to the Tournament is probably lost.

Around the Pac-12 - 

- Washington 87 - Oregon St 81

The team that had the best weekend may very well be Washington.  Hosting their southerly neighbors, they managed to earn the sweep, keeping pace with the top of the table.  The happy sweep was almost not to be, as they fell behind the OSU Beavers by as many as 12 in the second half of Saturday's game.  A career-high 32 points scored by freshman guard Nigel Williams-Goss, however, got the Huskies over the hump.
Williams-Goss was on fire yesterday in Seattle.

Arizona 65 - Utah 56 - 

I have to give Utah credit, they pushed the UofA to the brink yesterday evening.  Unfortunately, as has often been the case this month, they're close, but not quite able to beat the quality teams that they push for 35 minutes.  One thing to take away, however, is that Utah is for real, even with a 3-5 conference record.  I really like this team, and look for them to have a strong February.

- UCLA 76 - Cal 64

What happened to Cal?  Prior to this weekend, they were looking like the only team capable of challenging Arizona for the league title.  Now, after an 0-2 trip to SoCal - including a humiliating loss to the dreadful USC Trojans on Wednesday night, and a double-digit loss UCLA yesterday - they've completely fallen off the pace.  Now two games back of the Wildcats, Cal is resigned to the peloton with the rest of the conference.  Congrats on your title, Arizona.  Try not to get too bored before March.
That happened fast; Cal is suddenly mortal again.

- Oregon 71 - Washington St 44

Welcome back to the land of the living, Oregon.  After a season-crippling string of five-straight losses, including a defeat at the hands of in-state rival Oregon State, they finally got back on their feet with a commanding performance over the WSU Cougars.  The Ducks are far from fixed, but they still lurk in the bottom half of the conference, ready and waiting to pounce on any team that forgets how potent they can be.

Happy Monday!

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