|The Keg is open for business. From: the BDC|
Click below for the bag...
Dragons Dealt With -
I told you we'd be getting an classic dose of #TadBall. With the offense hiccuping through stretches of good and bad play in the season opener against Drexel, it was up to the old, trusted tenets of defense and rebounding to give CU a victorious start to the campaign. Thanks to a little of both, a four-point halftime lead ballooned to a 17-point decision, and the Buffs claimed a 65-48 win to start 2014-15 off on the right foot. Not too shabby.
|KABOOM! Basketball is back. From: the BDC|
The opening tip of any season is accompanied by uncertainty, and this one was no different. The assumed starting five - Askia Booker, Xavier Talton, Xavier Johnson, Wes Gordon, and Josh Scott - was almost completely scrapped in the locker room, with Booker, Johnson, and Gordon opening the game on the bench to the surprise of everyone in BuffNation. Ski, it seems, has been dealing with some injury concerns, and had been missing practice, but the others - along with freshman Dominique Collier, who didn't dress - were held back for 'internal reasons.' Thankfully, the roster juggling didn't seem to affect the team, as the surprise lineup, buoyed by strong play from Dustin Thomas (who chipped in seven boards and four assists), played well in the opening minutes, and seemed to give the team a spark whenever it reappeared.
Of course, it's hard to get too shaken from your moorings when you have an All-American-level star like Josh Scott at your disposal. The Big Fundamental had a monster game, going for 21/11/3 in under 30 minutes of action. Drexel made the odd decision not to double-team the superlative forward, and Scott made them pay. He brutalized the Dragons' undersized forwards, and seemed to be able to get whatever shot he wanted. Josh also displayed a turnaround baseline jumper that had my eyes popping, and a three-point shot that has the potential to keep defenders honest.
|The turnaournd baseline jumper is a cheat code for Scott. From: the BDC|
On the flip side, senior Askia Booker struggled. He only shot 2-14 from the field, including 0-6 from three point range. Nothing we haven't seen before - when Ski is good, he's real good; when he's bad, he's real bad - but I do want to note that, as hard-luck of a night as Booker had, shooting wise, he didn't turn the ball over once, handed out three assists, and played strong defense. He was pressing, to be sure, and claimed over 51% of shots taken while on the floor, but Askia didn't seem to let it bleed into the other parts of his game.
The attention now turns to this evening, and a visit from the Auburn Tigers. I'll have a preview up shortly, but, believe me, the competition level is about to shoot up. The Buffs will need their 'A' game for this one.
A Perfect Weekend for the Athletic Department -
Beyond just the strong performance from the men's basketball team Friday night, the whole of the CU Athletic Department was firing on all cylinders this weekend. From cross country, to soccer, women's basketball, to volleyball, anyone wearing Black and Gold was cruising to victory.
It started Thursday night in the CEC, where the volleyball team took down the #2 Washington Huskies in five sets. UW had been dominant in recent weeks, having not dropped a set since late October. But, a trip to Boulder can fuck with even the best of teams, and the vaunted Huskies are no different. For the second straight year, the Buffs earned the upset on their home floor. CU had to survive a furious comeback after taking the first two sets, but closed well in set five, culminating in a 15-11 win. The Buffs followed up that headline-making upset with another five-set win over Washington State on Sunday.
|Volleyball earned a key sweep this weekend. From: the Times Call|
Out on the pitch, the women's soccer team, having made the NCAA Tournament, were playing host to BYU in the first round. On a snowy, blustery day, a pair of goals from the Buffs were all that was needed, as a tight seal around the net from goalie Kate Scheele kept out any challenge from the Cougars. Olivia Pappalardo opened the scoring early in the first with a brilliant curler from the top of the box, and Madison Krauser added some insurance after halftime with a cheeky slice across the face of the goal. The 2-0 win gets the Buffs a date with 2-seed North Carolina in Chapel Hill on Friday.
|Survived and advanced. From: CUBuffs.com|
Singing Day came and went -
In a departure from the norm, the CU men's basketball team failed to sign anyone in last week's early signing period, and still hold their lone available scholarship for next fall. This was not unexpected, as the only verbal commitment the program had been able to secure in this recruiting cycle was from 2016 recruit Deleon Brown. Still, the quiet signing day left me a bit restless.
Recruiting is not done, however, as Coach Boyle and staff still have some irons in the fire headed towards the late signing period in mid-April. Most notably, the pursuit of Tyler Dorsey continues, as the five-star guard out of Pasadena, CA has delayed his decision, despite making all five of his official visits. CU is jostling with Kansas, Cal, Oregon, and ASU for his signature, and the Buffs are considered a strong contender, but the assumption is that Dorsey wants to play wait-and-see with the programs as they run through their schedules. In this case, a strong season in Boulder could be the key to landing this national recruit.
|Frankamp is an interesting option for 2015's open scholarship, but I wouldn't hold my breath.|
Regardless, the quiet early signing day is not the final word on the matter for the class of 2015, and I would expect some good news from the recruiting front over the next few months. There's a lot of talent still out there, and someone is going to find CU's combination of success, coaching, and location irresistible.