Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Monday, February 3, 2014

Monday Grab Bag: Broncos party like it's 1990

I have a strong feeling many reading this won't sympathize, but I had a pretty solid sports weekend.  All the teams I was rooting for (except for the Blackhawks) won, and I made some money betting on the Super Bowl.  That's about all I could ask for, so I'm counting the weekend as a win.

For the rest of you, pick your heads up.  I've always said that I'd rather get blown out than take a close loss. Whatever it was that the Broncos were doing yesterday will be forgotten by Wednesday, whereas the sting of a nail-biting defeat would've stayed with you for months.  And hey, it could've been worse.  Trust me, I marched at 70-3, there's always a worse...


Today in the bag, I'm recapping the happy little win over the Utes, talking Pac-12 hoops, and putting the Donkeys to rest.

Click below for the bag...

Buffs fight back against Utah - 

Well, I had that one wrong.  Anything but a sluggish bore, Saturday's game against Utah was actually a thrilling exhibition of entertaining basketball. When 40 minutes wasn't enough to settle matters, rather than roll my eyes, I was excitedly looking forward to the deciding overtime period. Thankfully, with their backs up against the wall, CU focused their desperation into a winning effort, and walked away with a well-earned 79-75 victory.

While Askia Booker and Josh Scott lead the way, as usual, this was a total team effort from the Buffs.  They needed every bit of it, as CU had to come from as many as 12 points back in the second half. Five players finished with double-digit points, and combined they out-rebounded their travel partner by 18.  This balanced attack more than made up for 15 ugly turnovers.
It got a little scrappy out there, but CU kept their heads, and found a way to win.  From: the BDC
With Jaron Hopkins struggling (he had as many turnovers and fouls committed as minutes played), the Buffs needed one of the reserve guards to step up.  Responding to the call, Xavier Talton stepped up to have what is easily his best performance in college.  He hit four of five shots from deep, collected 14 total points (all on jumpers), and even added two blocks.  Talton was a force on both ends, and, in addition to his scoring, helped put the clamps on star Ute guard Delon Wright in the second half.

Also chipping in some vital minutes was power forward Wesley Gordon.  He not only put up satisfying individual numbers (12/6), but all but erased Utah's Jordan Loveridge.  Gordon was primarily responsible for holding the star forward to a very quiet 4/4 performance, well below his usual 16/8 average.  If Loveridge is even close to his usual self, CU loses that game.
Whatever it takes.  From: the BDC
Colorado had to dig deep for that one, and came through with a gritty performance when they needed it most. With two winnable home games on the horizon (Wednesday against WSU, Sunday against UW), CU could be in position to right the ship headed into the final, difficult stretch of the schedule.

Elsewhere in Pac-12 Basketball - 

- Cal 60 - Arizona 58 -

The game of the weekend went down in Berkeley, where the Golden Bears handed the #1 team in the land their first loss of the season.  It didn't help that Wildcat power forward Brandon Ashley broke his foot in the opening minutes, but Arizona still seemed capable of winning that game up until the final second of regulation. It was Cal star Justin Cobbs with the dagger, as he hit a ridiculous, contested fade-away jumper with only 0.9 remaining on the clock, but it was the front-line pair of David Kravish and Richard Solomon who were the real difference.  Without Ashley to check them, they poured on a combined 26/18/6/4/6 line.  If the Cal forwards play like that, the Bears are unbeatable.
Cobb's shot was ridiculous, but don't overlook the contributions from Kravish and Solomon.

- Washington St 72 - Washington 67 -

Ouch.  The Huskies had been playing with an outside shot at the NCAA Tournament in mind, but those dreams are dashed after an embarrassing loss at the cellar-dwelling Cougars.  With the return of DaVonte Lacy, WSU is a different animal then they had been without their leading scorer, but it's still inexcusable for a top-half team to be losing to them, regardless of venue and circumstance.

- Oregon 78 - USC 66 -

My spidey-sense was tingling as the Trojans lead the once-successful Oregon Ducks by four at the break. The Ducks, staring down the kind of loss that implodes Tournament hopes, rebounded in the second half by playing +16 basketball to secure the win.  The problems still persist, however, as the Trojans were allowed to shoot near 50% from the field.  Had USC been able to get anything more than 20% shooting from range and 64% shooting from the line, maybe they would've challenged deeper into the contest.
The Ducks struggled to lift off against USC

- Oregon St 71 - UCLA 67 -

In the biggest non-surprise surprise of the weekend, the Bruins did what they are wont to do, and took a really ugly road conference loss at the Beavers.  Props go to OSU head coach Craig Robinson who avoided the popular convention ('style'), and fouled up three in the final seconds to keep UCLA from having any shot at winning.  The numbers favor the foul, regardless of what stubborn coaches and clueless color commentators would have you believe, and the Beavers kept the Bruins at arm length as a result.  I knock Robinson a lot, so it's important that I point out when he does things right - good work, coach.

Super Sunday - 


I am, admittedly, not very sympathetic to Bronco Nation.  You guys are beyond insufferable 24/7/365, and I've been waiting all year for the trap door to fall out from under the Blue and Orange for mostly selfish reasons.  That said, even I, the master of the schadenfreude, was cowed by the ass-whuppin the Seahawks laid down yesterday evening.  I mean, GODDAMN, 43-8? Is that even legal?

That was some old-school, medieval-level shit Seattle did to the league's best offense, controlling the game from the opening kick to the final whistle.  Even granting that Peryton Manning is often capable of football magic, at no point did I feel a comeback was coming.  It was utter domination.

I had more bombs to lob, but I'm just too stunned to continue.  Best to just end it here, with friendships still intact.  Pain management is important, BroncoFan; don't try to be a hero.  Apply whiskey, liberally, and repeat until the draft.  You'll feel better, I promise.  If that doesn't work, again, there's always LSD.

Happy Monday! 

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