After a weekend like that, with the Buffs getting out-scored 111-65 over the final 49 minutes of action in Los Angeles, I feel the need to drive back into a familiar trope. Yes, it's time for the return of CUTE PUPPY PICTURES to salve BuffNation's collective wounds!
|I don't know what that stuffed animal did to that puppy, but GET HIM, PUPPY! GET HIM!|
|Just the most adorable puppy ever!|
|Awwwww, this one fell asleep!|
Today in the bag, I'm wrapping the action in LA, talking about how the rest of the Pac-12 fared, and touching on a recruiting note.
Click below for the bag...
Buffs blown out by Bruins -
Coming off one of the more painful losses the program has suffered in the #RollTad era, the Colorado Buffaloes were looking for a rebound performance Saturday night against the UCLA Bruins. But, with their backs against the wall and hopes for a top-four seed fading fast, the Buffs hit the hardwood of Pauley and immediately started to get their asses kicked. Some hot three point shooting kept them within reach of the Bruins for much of the first half, but the inevitable late-half collapse hit like an uppercut from Mike Tyson, and CU was laid out on the canvas in the final minute before the break. The second frame contained nothing of note, and Colorado took a 77-53 loss on the chin.
|The Bruins blew past the Buffs. From: @UCLAMBB|
With a result like that hanging in the air like skunk spray, it's time from some analysis from Coach Boyle: "[UCLA] opened up a can of whoop on us and they gave it to us in every way." Yep, pretty much. This whole road trip, including the USC collapse, was a treatise on the importance of point guard play, both defensively on the perimeter, and offensively in facilitating ball movement into effective areas of the court. Colorado had little to show on both ends over 80 minutes of play, and got roundly thumped for their efforts, particularly over the last 49. In retrospect, I wonder how this glaring weakness - lead guard play - something that I talked about all the way back in my season preview, wasn't exposed and attacked sooner. I suspect, however, that this won't be the last time that a lack of leadership in the backcourt will come back to haunt CU (oh, look, Arizona is coming to town).
|As a result of ineffective guard play, CU struggled to get anything inside. From: SeattlePI.com|
Around the world of Pac-12 hoops -
- Utah 80 - USC 69 -
While Colorado was floundering in the City of Angels, the Utes were a big winner over the weekend, sweeping their pair of games in SoCal. The finale, this pull-away win over the Trojans, was huge. It was the first time all year USC had lost at home, and set the Utes up as a near lock for a top-four seed with their final three games of the season being played at the Huntsman Center. The star here was Jakob Poeltl, who put up a massive 29/13 line with four assists and four steals. I'm sure the NBA scouts in attendance loved that.
|Poeltl was a one-man show in Galen. From: BlockU|
- Oregon 91 - Oregon State 81 -
For the Ducks, who still stand as the league leaders, they held serve with a perfunctory win over the Beavers. The game was essentially over early when OSU's Gary Payton II was whistled for two fouls in the first five minutes of the action. He was forced to sit, as a result, and Oregon briskly pulled away. Some late activity from the Beavs closed the gap to make the final respectable, but this one was never in doubt.
|Behind Brooks, the Ducks continue to roll. From: 247 sports|
- Arizona 99 - ASU 61 -
But, and this is very important, Arizona still lurks. The Utes main argument in this title chase is that they get to host the UofA, but that also means that they have to come through and actually beat the Wildcats, something no team has done since January (*cough* Oregon *cough*). Cutting through the clutter, Arizona still boasts the most talent, the best home court advantage, and the best head coach of any team in the league; even though the Ducks hold the tiebreaker, and the 'Cats have to go on a tough road trip this week, there's no reason to count them out.
|ASU had nothing for Arizona in the paint. From: AZCentral.com|
- Cal 80 - Washington State 62 -
Also, this game happened. The return of Ty Wallace to the Golden Bear bench has proven vital, as Cal has won four straight with him back in the lineup. This includes massive wins over Oregon (at home) and Washington (in Seattle). As a result, in the lead-up to the Pac-12 Tournament, it's important to note that the Bears are on fire, and will be a very dangerous entity in Las Vegas. They play some of the best overall defense in the league, completely erase transition basketball, and have a senior point guard back running their show. I cannot wait to put some money on them as my dark horse entrant; someone please give me 10-1 on these guys.
|Oh, hey, look who's back. From: SFGate.com|
Dallas Walton commits to Colorado -
Back before the Buffs slumped in SoCal, they got some happy news from the recruiting trail. Arvada West's big seven-foot center Dallas Walton committed to play his college hoops in Boulder, joining guards Deleon Brown and Bryce Peters in the 2016 recruiting class. While Brown and Peters are already signed, we'll have to wait until mid April for Walton to officially become a Buff, but this seems about as official as any verbal commitment can get. The phrase 'dream school' was dropped in a number of articles regarding his decision, after all, and Walton has been going to CU games since he was a kid.
|Walton commits to the Black and Gold! From: the Post|
There are a couple of concerns, however. First, Dallas is a two-time sufferer of ACL tears in his left knee, which cost him most of his sophomore and junior seasons at A-West. There's nothing scarier for a basketball prospect than 'two ACL tears in the same knee,' and you have to wonder how that knee will handle the stress of four years in the Pac-12 (though video proves he can still finish above the rim, albeit as a two-foot leaper). Secondly, he's a little undersized, coming in with only 215 lbs on that seven-foot frame. A svelte youth can become a bulky collegian very quickly, but, after four years of watching Ben Mills struggle to put on any weight and get pushed around in the paint, there's no sugarcoating the fear. Still, I like the upside, he's a local product, and a fun story.
Welcome aboard, Dallas!
With Walton in the fold, Colorado will have used the three known available scholarships for the 2016 class. The lone question mark separating the class from completion (other than unexpected attrition) is the decision by Xavier Johnson to either explore his professional options after four full years in Boulder, or avail himself of the opportunity to play a redshirt senior campaign in 2016-17. For the record, while I have absolutely no inside information on this subject, I expect Xavier to take his degree, and hit the professional trail. That would leave CU with one more scholarship to fill in the class. The Buffs seem to still have a few irons in the 2016 fire, just in case, so we'll just have to see how the XJ decision shakes out.