Was there sarcasm? Oh yes. Catty generalities? You betcha! Allusions to ski slopes and pot smoking? Indeed. And those were just my tweets!
Having covered this territory last year, I'm disinclined to waste another 1,000 words on the subject, so I'll abbreviate. Suffice to say: kids aren't coming in the ways they used to. Whole swaths of the south end of the arena were bare over the recent homestand, and it's only getting worse. At a time when the loyal and the passionate are trolling for votes, the empty seats undercut any claims of being the 'Student Section of the Year,' and generally elicit eye rolls.
|The students at tip of the Utah game. It was worse on Sunday.|
This frustration is not leveled at those who show up. The 500-1,000 kids who work their butts off in support of the team deserve the traditional kudos. It's the other 2,000 fans who have decided to spend their hoop nights elsewhere that are raising my temperature. At the end of the day, on a night when the founding fathers of the C-Unit were being honored, the student section was maybe 1/3 full... for a team with 18 wins in 3rd place in the Pac-12. Simply inexcusable when compared to where the kids were only a few months ago. The team deserves better.
90% of life continues to be showing up... so, you know... show up. No excuses, play like a champion. Also, get off my lawn.
Today in the bag, I'm talking basketball, basketball, and more basketball.
Click below for the bag...
Buffs demolish Huskies -
Well, that was certainly something to appreciate. Sunday night at the CEC, CU took leads of 10-0 and 20-4 in the opening minutes, and rarely looked back en route to a 91-65 *ahem* rout of the Washington Huskies. With a brutal stretch of seven games on the horizon, the team desperately needed a performance like this. Despite losing yet another starter (Wes Gordon) on the day of a Washington game, they cruised. From wire-to-wire, Colorado wasn't just the better team, they were the dominant team.
|CU swarmed Washington from the tip. They never had a chance. From: the BDC|
The Buffs were lead, as always, by the high-flying trio of Askia Booker, Josh Scott, and Xavier Johnson. All three scored over 20 points in the blowout, and, combined, the veteran core of the squad combined for 68 points, 23 rebounds, and 12 assists.
|Johnson was as good as I've seen Sunday. From: the BDC|
Continuing the unguardable trend, the Huskies had absolutely no answer for Josh Scott. Poor Perris Blackwell was tasked with guarding the lanky Colorado Springs native, but simply wasn't up to the task. Scott was too quick, too agile for the Husky forward, and easily put up 21/8/3/3. After a shaky night earlier in the week against Washington State, Death, Taxes, Josh Scott was back in business.
|Oh my, Josh Scott is back! From: the BDC|
Look, any team is going to look good when the shots are falling, but this was a step beyond a merely strong night of basketball. After a month of questions initiated by a blow-out loss to these very Huskies, to get the emphatic closure of a 26-point victory was cathartic.
|The Huskies left bloodied and bruised for their troubles. Payback for last month in Seattle. From: the BDC|
Going forward -
Now for the cold water: it's going to be rough from here on out.
CU closes out the season playing five of seven on the road, against some of the best teams the Pac-12 has to offer. Outside of one game (on the road this coming weekend against USC), I wouldn't even call them a prohibitive favorite in any remaining tilt. It's certainly possible that the Buffs close 1-6, slapping a dour cap on an otherwise strong season.
The plain truth is that Sunday's win over Washington wasn't unexpected. Sure, the magnitude opened some eyes as the Huskies are no pushover, but CU matches up well against teams, like UW, who are incapable of clogging up the lane. Beating, or at least frustrating, Colorado is a simple proposition. Stuff the paint, stall transition, and make the Buffs work on offense to beat you. Washington did nothing of the sort, allowing near-unfettered lane access on the dribble-drive, and giving CU plenty of fast-break opportunities. This is why a team like WSU is much tougher for Colorado to play then the much more talented, yet perimeter-focused teams like UW and Oregon.
|Teams like UCLA will make life much tougher on CU|
Elsewhere in the Pac-12
- Arizona State 74 - Oregon 72 -
By far, the best game of the weekend was between the Sun Devils and the Ducks. It came down to the wire, with Oregon playing for the tie after storming back from a 20-point halftime deficit. Needing to go the length of the court in under five seconds, they called a brilliant baseline backcut that would've caught most teams unawares. The Sun Devils, however, left Pac-12 Player of the Week Jordan Bachynski (*grumble*) protecting the rim, and he cleanly stuffed Joseph Young's reverse layup attempt at the buzzer. The Ducks needed the win badly, but headed back to Eugene having dropped both games on the desert swing by a combined four points.
|Lurch is a pretty good insurance policy on the backcut.|
- UCLA 83 - USC 73 -
The fight'n' DJ Mal-Ski's, for the second game in a row, had a far superior team on the ropes at halftime when they went to the locker room with a six point lead over the cross-town rival Bruins. Their effort was lead by Byron Wesley, who posted a very strong 27/8/4 night. It wasn't to be, however, as UCLA roared back against the Trojans, who played much of the second half without injured and foul prone center Omar Oraby. Colorado could've used the win from USC to move into a second-place tie in the league, but that probably would've only accomplished pissing the Bruins off ahead of Thursday's CU/UCLA tilt.
- Utah 81 - Washington St 63 -
In a ho-hum affair in SLC, the Utes proved they're still a capable team, if only they could play every game at the Huntsman Center. For those interested, WSU's DaVonte Lacy stayed hot after his 34 point performance against CU earlier in the week, scoring 22 against Utah.
|Look! Photographic evidence that this game happened!|
Some felt that Arizona, minus the injured Brandon Ashley, could struggle at home against the athletic Beavers. I was not one of them. After a halting start, the 'Cats proved me right by hitting cruise control behind Aaron Gordon's 17 point show. They play the Devils this week; on Valentine's Day, no less. Appointment television for anyone who anyone who reads this blog. Your significant other will understand.