Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tuesday Grab Bag: Summer has arrived

Summer has finally started to heat up the Boulder Valley, leaving me, much like Morbo, pleased, but sticky. I know!  How bout trying to stay cool with some extra cool basketball links!  Friend of the blog Adam Butler has a write-up on the new basketball rules that is well worth your time. Still not enough?  The New York Times has a fascinating piece up on the Triangle Offense.  That'll kill some time as the sun slowly slips down behind the mountains. Both best enjoyed with a Manhattan and some shade; you're welcome.


Today in the bag, I'm talking Josh Tupou, the Women's World Cup, and The US Open.

Click below for the bag...

Josh Tupou Suspended - 

The Josh Tupou saga has been an interesting one to follow this offseason.  The eminently talented defensive tackle from SoCal was charged with misdemeanor assault in the wake of a Valentine's Day dust-up on the Hill.  Accused with tackling, then punching a fellow student, Tupou argued (through his attorney) that this was all a case of mistaken identity.  By mid-April the charges had been dropped without prejudice, and the Buffs were back to expecting Tupou to anchor their front-seven this fall.  That, however, is not the end of the story.

As first reported by BSN Denver's Ryan Koenigsberg, the school decided this past week to suspend the senior to be for the fall, despite the dropped charges.  The move, while not expressly a result to the incident in February, is, undoubtedly, related. CU declined further comment in the press, citing privacy laws.
The Buffs are going to miss Tupou this fall.  From: the Post
It's anyone's guess where that leaves Tupou's career in Black and Gold.  Theoretically, he could redshirt and return for a super-senior season, but the two-year starter could just as easily transfer out, looking for greener pastures elsewhere.  Regardless, Colorado now looks towards 2015 without their presumptive up-front star and best pro prospect. Just another two steps backward for a program continuously stuck shifting between neutral and reverse.

I have no idea what the 'real story' of that night in February is, or Tupou's de facto guilt or innocence (or, for that matter, any of the other CU players at that party).  I do know that CU took a unilateral move outside of the scope of the legal system, which leaves me scratching my head. Certainly, college towns across the nation have a long and storied history with sweeping criminal activities under the rug (*cough* Jameis Winston *cough*), but I find it odd that Tupou is cast aside while the legal system still, technically, has an open case. The kid's career, both collegiate and professional, has been spiked, and yet the evidence is suspect enough for the Boulder DA's office, no friend of Colorado Athletics, to pause.  Seems to me that the University stepped ahead of justice here.

US Women vs Colombia - 

I can't be the only one still unconvinced by the US Women's National Team's performance at the 2015 Women's World Cup.  After a lackluster first half against Colombia in the Round of 16, the ladies did find a way to advance with two second half goals, but I was left with only more questions.  The game changed dramatically on a 47th minute red card awarded against the Colombian goalie, and, while Abby Wambach missed the resulting penalty kick, the Colombians were never going to hold against the US with only 10 on the pitch. Through those first 47 minutes, however, the team looked to be on the verge of a humiliating defeat, with the pessimist in me fully expecting a late, backbreaking goal allowed to a side considered to be well below the class of the powerful US.
Despite the inconsistency, the ladies keep winning.  From: the Guardian
I guess that's the thing, though.  The US has not looked particularly strong this month, but have continued to roll.  They finished first in the 'Group of Death,' and have still only conceded a single, solitary goal (all the way back in their first match with Australia).  While I've questioned their execution in the midfield and final third, there is no doubt that their back four (and Hope Solo) are world class.  If you can't score, you can't win, and opponents still struggle to solve that defensive equation.  Three more wins means a trophy, and, as the saying goes, defense wins championships...

Going forward, however, things only get dicier.  Star midfielders Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday are out of the next round with yellow card accumulation, leaving an already inconsistent midfield group short-handed headed into the quarterfinal meeting with China.  You can see the talent in these women, and they're fully capable of more. I'm just wondering, with a depleted midfield, will they finally be able to show it before it's too late?

Spieth wins US Open - 

I was transfixed by the action over the weekend from a windswept, water-deprived splash of grass in the Pacific Northwest.  The 115th US Open was underway at Chambers Bay, and Jordan Spieth - he of the Masters winning Spieths - was shining brightly among the mottled browns and grays of the course.  He barely managed to avoid an 18-hole playoff, thanks to a three-putt on 18 by Dustin Johnson, earning a one-stroke victory and his second major title in as many tries this year. The win cements his status as the up-and-coming golf talent of the decade, and puts him halfway to the first Masters-included Grand Slam in golf history.
Spieth keeps winning. From: The Washington Post
As good as the 21-year old Spieth was in Washington, the bigger story of the weekend was the course. Chambers Bay was an ugly, sophomoric prank of a golf course.  Between rattling trains, dead grass, slate gray bunkers that you needed a ladder to climb into, and 'greens' that existed in mid-upheaval, the USGA did themselves no favors with the venue.  Sure, the US Open is supposed to be the most difficult challenge in golf, and the Association actively tries to get it so the champion finishes at or near par (Spieth came home at -5, fwiw), but this was beyond the pale. You want the course to be a star on par with the competitors, and this one was an absolute failure.

Speaking of failures, I give you Tiger Woods.  The former best-in-the-world finished +16 over, missing the cut and shooting better than only five other golfers.  He's still playing around with new strokes and a new mental approach, but the guy is no where near competitive.  More rounds are required to get him back on the road to respectability, but it's sad to see him struggle like this.  I was first drawn to the game by his dominance, and it's not the same without el Tigre.  Avert your eyes!

Happy Tuesday!

No comments: