Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Tuesday Grab Bag: Game Week

While everyone was distracted by the looming spectacle of college football's opening day, Tad Boyle was hard at work, adding talent to the CU Men's Basketball program.  Seemingly out of nowhere, the Daily Camera reported on Saturday that the Buffs have added 6-7 Dutch swingman Alexander Strating to the roster as a preferred walk-on for the 2016-17 season, with an eye towards putting him on scholarship for 2017-18.  A brief internet search for young Alexander, who I will be calling 'the Flying Dutchman,' returned few results, but did unearth this brief highlight film:

I'm always cautious, in regards to game film, but I do see a wiry player comfortable with a jump shot.  What comes after that - the ability to defend, the ability to score in traffic, the ability to play a number of positions - will be far more telling, yet not discernible from the tape at hand. The offer list (UC Riverside, DU, and Loyola) is not very impressive, but those kinds of things aren't always telling when they pertain to an international recruit. For now, a default to 'In Tad we Trust' will have to suffice, and it is telling that Coach Boyle spent one of his precious 2017 scholarships on this veritable unknown; he has to have a good feeling here.

While Alexander's on the roster this fall, there's no doubt in my mind that he will be redshirting.  He'll need time to adjust to the American game, as well as put on a few pounds.  So, until the fall of 2017, we'll just have to wait in anticipation.

Welcome to the program, Alexander!


Today in the bag, I'm talking my annual football goals, the first results from the world of football, and the fortunes of the soccer and volleyball teams.

Click below for the bag...

Goals for the 2016 Colorado Football team - 

With kickoff of the 2016 season imminent, I present my typical six-pack of goals for the coming campaign.  Take these as you will, but only one really matters...

#1 - Make a bowl - 

Making a bowl game, let's be honest, is the most important goal in town, and has been for some time.  The infamous bowl-less streak, inching closer to a full decade, is paired with a full 10 seasons of sub-.500 records, and sits as an ugly black eye on the face of an otherwise proud program.  This futility to even brush mediocrity is especially frustrating in the era of 41 bowls and multiple bids for teams with losing records. It's time to see this run end, and for the Buffs play after Finals.  It doesn't matter the bowl, it doesn't matter the opponent, just get it done.
It's time for the Buffs to get to one of these damn things. From: the Seattle Times
As an extension, if the Buffs can't make a bowl game, the Athletic Department will need to assess the direction of the program, and take a long look at weather Mike MacIntyre really is the answer at head coach.  In my eyes, it's not as clear cut as that - i.e., if the Buffs sit at home in Dec, then Mike has to go - but the discussion at least needs to be had, based on how close CU came to the promised land.  That shiny new practice facility demands results...

#2 - Beat Utah - 

I continue to emphatically look at the Utah game like it's the closest thing to a 'rivalry' affair on the schedule.  In the parlance of the times, 'don't @ me.'  This year, that after-Thanksgiving fixture may mean even more, as I project Colorado will enter it with five wins.  Should they prove capable of finally upending the Utes -  something CU hasn't done since 2011, and not in Boulder since 1961 - it'll help them achieve the only goal that matters.

#3 - Attendance average over 40k per home game - 

CU hasn't averaged over 40k in home attendance since the Jon Embree era... which is pathetic.  Hell, even I, the great football denier, am back on board this fall, having purchased a season ticket for the first time since 2012.  There's really no excuse, for those of you who may have drifted away since the great cataclysm of that winless home slog, to not give #TheRise a try.  It's important, too, to fill Folsom on a weekly basis.  Packing the stands makes needed victories against teams like Washington State, Oregon State, and UCLA all the more reasonable.
A packed Folsom would be helpful... From: Wikipedia
#4 - Chidobe Awuzie makes All-Pac-12 1st Team - 

Chidobe was the only returning Buff to earn an All-Conference selection last fall, landing on the Pac-12's Second Team. In my mind, he's clearly one of the nation's best defensive backs, deserving of as much praise as can be doled out.  As he works his way towards professional opportunities, his profile would only be helped by a First Team selection this season.

#5 - Sefo Liufau plays in and completes all 12 games - 

Whatever your thoughts on Sefo, we all know he's a warrior.  He battles through more pain than just about everyone, and won't come off the field unless it's absolutely necessary.  The fourth-year senior starter, however, missed the final two games of his junior year with the lisfranc injury that had him down all offseason.  Those were winnable games, against WSU and Utah, that could've turned out differently, had the normative starter been healthy.  CU needs to make sure he stays on the field for all 12 regular season games by leveraging a veteran offensive line and a respectable rushing attack to keep his jersey clean.
Gotta keep Sefo in the game, and off the turf.  From: Zimbio.
#6 - Phillip Lindsay rushes for over 1,000 yards - 

... to that end, wouldn't it be nice to see Phil Lindsay crack a nice, round 1,000 yards of rushing?  It doesn't hurt here that Phil is one of the Buff-iest Buffs to ever Buff, and is an easy guy to root for.  In my eyes, as goes Lindsay, so goes Colorado, so here's to a productive season!

Around the world of college football - 

When I say 'around the world,' here, I really mean it.  The college football season began a hemisphere away in Sydney Australia, as Cal - and BuffNation's favorite back-stabbing QB, Davis Webb - kicked off against the Hawai'i.  The game, played in the odd, international location, is part of the Pac-12's continuing effort to spread the gospel of American college sports to... people who are never going to fully embrace it.  But, odd scheduling decisions be damned, Cal will certainly take the opening result, a 51-31 final that loses nothing in translation back to the States.

Hawai'i actually looked kind of decent in this one, outside of a disastrous stretch before the end of the first half.  A succession of 17-straight points scored by the Bears, however, sealed the deal, as Cal leveraged 630 total yards of offense into a satisfying final line.
Hi, Davis!  From: CalGoldenBlogs
The headline story, of course, was the play of Webb in his Pac-12 debut.  The graduate transfer from Texas Tech, who flirted with CU long enough to draw the ire of Buff fans for leaving, had a monster day Down Under, throwing for 441 yards and four scores on 38 of 54 attempts.  Certainly, the depth and quality of the Warriors' backfield leaves much to be desired, but the results speak for themselves, and Webb looks to be a solid addition for the Golden Bears.

The continental regular season will start in earnest this weekend, as the rest of the country will have their first games.

Soccer and Volleyball have up-and-down weekends - 

After a serene 2-0 start to the season in the Centennial State, the CU Women's Soccer team hit the road for two games against former Big XII rivals.  Unfortunately, as easily as the wins came in the opening week of play, the results dried up away from home, with the ladies dropping both games in frustrating fashion. 

First came the Friday night 1-0 loss to KU in Lawrence, where an early Jayhawk goal stood up, despite a flurry of chances for CU in the second half.  Looking to rebound, the Buffs then headed to Columbia for a tilt with Missouri on Sunday.  However, after playing 90 minutes to a draw, they fell under the wheel of an overtime goal to lose a 2-1 decision.
Kornieck is off to a flying start to her CU career.  From:
I had the opportunity to catch the second half and overtime of the MU game on the ESPN stream, and saw a CU team easily capable of earning the needed points away from home.  Freshman attacking mid Taylor Kornieck still looks like a rising star, as the broadcasters were quick to note, and goalie Jalen Tompkins stood on her head through an incredible 12 saves, many of which came from point-blank range.  The Buffs just couldn't capitalize on opportunities, however, and that overtime goal was pretty much inevitable. Luckily for CU, the schedule lessens up a bit, as their next five games are at home, starting with Thursday's match with Michigan State (4:30p kickoff).  Take at least 10 points from that set, and the season is back on track.

Turning to volleyball, the Women's team, looking to impress after a notorious snub from the NCAA Tournament last winter, took two of three at the Portland State Invitational.  The best game of the set was the opener against Texas Tech, where the Buffs stormed back in sets four and five to claim victory.  Unfortunately, they couldn't keep the mojo running the next day against homestanding Portland State, as CU dropped a heartbreaker in five sets.  The finale, a three set sweep against Long Beach State, salvaged a solid trip for the ladies. Senior Katelyn Cuff lead the Buffs in all three games, capping the trip with a dominant .818 hitting performance against the 49ers.

CU will return home for a pair of games to open their CEC account this weekend against Penn State and Illinois.  You can catch all of the action on Pac-12 Network, starting at 7pm on Saturday and 6pm on Sunday, respectively.

Happy Tuesday!

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