Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

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!

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