Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Sunday, February 28, 2016

2015-16 CU vs ASU Basketball Preview: Sending the Seniors Out in Style

There was a moment early on in Wednesday's game between Colorado and Arizona that the hair on my neck stood straight up.  The air was thick with anticipation, the packed student section was frothing, and the home crowd in South Campus was jumping at every opportunity to make their presence felt. The CEC was alive in a way it hadn't been all season, and really not since the Oregon game in early 2014. Blood was in the water, and BuffNation, like a once dormant shark, had woken up with a ravenous hunger.  It startled me.  Sure, this was a big game, and a big time crowd was to be expected, but this was more than that.  There was an anger in the tone; a fan base not willing to take any shit that particular night.  Every time the patches of Arizona fans spoke up, they were quickly shot down. Every time the refs blew a whistle there was a ravenous bellow.  The fans in attendance were playing for keeps; it's a club I didn't think we fans still had in our bag.
The Buffs met Arizona at the top of the mountain, and sent the champs tumbling back down.  From: CBS Sports.
It's an energy that fed and informed the proceedings.  After a minute or two of tentative start, the Buffaloes snapped into a fiery activity that stood up for the rest of the action.  They hounded the mighty UofA on the boards, playing to a draw while snatching 14 amazing offensive rebounds against the best defensive rebounding team in the country.  They dug in and played spirited defense, running shooters off the perimeter, and forcing 11 turnovers.  And, more importantly, they played composed offensive basketball, keeping the rock in their own hands (only nine turnovers) to forestall any ugly fast break opportunities.  There were some familiar struggles, of course, with the team scoring just two points in the final six and a half minutes of the game.  But, with an old-school crowd at their backs, the Buffs would not be denied.  In the end, both the team and the denizens were rewarded for their efforts with a 75-72 win over the #9 Wildcats, a victory that seems to clinch a spot in the NCAA Tournament for CU.

The Big Damn Hero for the evening was Josh Scott.  In his penultimate home game as a Buffalo, he was everywhere on the court, playing with a hungry intensity that you don't always see from the calming senior. He would finish with a mighty 26/9/3, as the Colorado native carried the team on his back, particularly in the second half.  On one stretch, from 10:07 to 6:36 of the second frame, he scored on five of six possessions to help keep Arizona at arms length, a stretch that proved to be decisive.  Overall, J40 would finish with 12 of the team's final 14 points, playing an oversize David to 'Zona's Goliath. He was supported in his efforts by his running mate, Wesley Gordon.  The lanky power forward from the Springs continued his burgeoning run of stellar play, chipping in 8/12 and a whopping total of six assists.  This was a forwards-first performance from the Buffs, and Scott and Gordon lived up to their billing as one of the best front court duos in America.
Josh Scott would not be denied.  From: the BDC
Of course, the only thing anyone could talk about in the days following this win was how the students rushed the court in the happy moments after the game.  Arizona head coach Sean Miller made sure of that, using his platform to complain about the lack of security, and concern-troll over the potential for reactionary violence by one of his players that feels threatened. The interesting thing to me, however, is that Miller, for all his protestations of worry for his charges, did absolutely nothing to help get his team off the court after the game.  He just stood there in a stupefied, simmering silence, seemingly too frustrated to do anything normal like direct his team while the kids continued to pour onto the court. He didn't even move to go and shake Coach Boyle's hand, he just... stood there.  Maybe he was angry with himself for blowing all four of his timeouts before the nine minute mark of the second half, leaving his team with scant opportunities to re-group in the key possessions of the end game sequence.  Maybe he was angry with himself for taking a tech early in the second half, costing his team two points that they would desperately need later.  Maybe he was searching for a ref to yell at, 'cause that's what coaches do.  And, finally, maybe he was really just angry at the C-Unit for acting like students, and the semi-professional security staff for doing nothing to prevent it.  All I know is this: Sean Miller was as contributory to his players uneasy circumstance as anything.
Such a cool scene, I don't really care what anyone else thinks about it.  From: @B_Brynestad and @CUSnowBuff

However, I am particularly tired of this ground, and it distracts from what was, otherwise, a very entertaining basketball game.  Was it the most well-played exhibition of the sport ever put on? Certainly not.  What it was, however, was a high level experience for all of those willing to make the commitment to show up.  I'm happy I was there to see it, and I hope the thousands of other students and fans who hand't been making Colorado Basketball a weekly part of their winter lifestyle will use this as an impetus to return both this afternoon and next season.  With that atmosphere at their back, CU becomes a deadly serious basketball entity, one that few are going to be able to contend with.

Looking forward, it's time to bring the home portion of this season to a close.  Arizona State comes to town for the home finale, looking to spoil the surge in emotion generated in the wake of the win over the UofA.  It wouldn't be the first time, either.  Back in 2013, just days after the Valentine's Day Massacre, the Sun Devils clipped the Buffs in over time; a loss that ultimately cost the team a first round bye in the Pac-12 tournament, and left them playing Arizona, again, in the quarterfinals.  It'll be up to the Buffs to make sure history doesn't repeat itself.


Hype Music for the Evening: "Hell" by Streetlight Manifesto

The original version of this song is by the Squirrel Nut Zippers, and is fantastic, and makes for a SPECTACULAR basketball band song (sadly lost from the CU book, as far as I can tell).  This version, by Streetlight, is a masterpiece, somehow improving on the original.  It's a cherished centerpiece of my ska rotation, and deserves a place in yours, as well.  Enjoy!


Tip-off from the CEC is set for 2:30 this afternoon.  There is no excuse not to follow-up Wednesday's crowd with another just as strong for this one.  The senior class, and particularly Josh Scott, deserves as much for their final home game.  For the alums, that means use your damn tickets. For the students, that means take advantage of a number of promotions, including $1 tickets, free food, and giveaways of sunglasses and rally towels.  Fill the Keg, no excuses.

For those unwilling or able to heed the call, the action can be found on either Pac-12 Networks or 850 KOA.

Click below for the preview...

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The 2016 Senior Class

Before I get to the celebration of a joyous win over Arizona, or my preview of the season's final home game against Arizona State, it's time to take a step back and remember a quartet of seniors who will run out of the north tunnel for the final time on Sunday.

Just shy of four years ago, Colorado Basketball put the finishing touches on what still stands as the most highly rated recruiting class in the modern history of the program.  Capitalizing on a dramatic, 24-win season that culminated in a run to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Coach Boyle and staff landed what was rated by many as a top-25 class in the country.  The buzz surrounding that class was so palpable that the administration did what they haven't since: held a spring recruiting luncheon to celebrate the achievement.

It was a six-member class built around two national top-100 talents - Josh Scott and Xavier Johnson - one of whom, Scott, was the one of the brightest talents ever to emerge from the high school ranks in Colorado.  That pair of four-star blue chippers was joined by an additional two more in-state high school champions - Wes Gordon and Xavier Talton - who were well known around the Centennial State as gritty, capable performers.  The group was finally rounded out by a set of two out-of-state, enigmatic guards - Eli Stalzer and Chris Jenkins - who were under-the-radar adds, but none-the-less embraced by a happy, expectant BuffNation.

Of course, at is is often wont to do, attrition has taken its toll.  What was once a solid sextet has been broken up, and three of those original six are not taking a bow this weekend.  Wes Gordon went the redshirt route his first year in Boulder, and still has a senior season to play.  Xavier Johnson is still with the program as well, sitting out this year recovering from an Achilles tear; his future is uncertain, but he could also be honored in Boulder a year from now after a medical redshirt season.  Chris Jenkins, though, left the program entirely after his own redshirt in 2013, choosing to play closer to home with the Detroit Titans (for those wondering, Jenkins is averaging 13/6 and shooting near 45% from deep in this, his junior year).

That leaves us with three scholarship players to honor this week - Josh Scott, Xavier Talton, and Eli Stalzer - along with a standout walkon, Brett Brady. Scott is, obviously, the highlighted name on the list, soon to go down as one of the best to ever wear a uniform emblazoned on the front with 'COLORADO;' all, however, are true Buffs.  As a group, they've won 80 games (to-date), helping bring the program to two NCAA Tournament appearances, and place them on the verge of a third.  They've been on the court for program-defining wins over Kansas, Arizona (twice*), Oregon (four times), and Baylor; a non-conference tournament title at the 2012 Charleston Classic; and three satisfying wins against little brother. They are, undoubtedly, winners; cornerstones of one of the greatest stretches in the history of the program. And all four have left their own mark on Colorado Basketball, and deserve a final standing ovation in tribute of careers built on hard work, effort, and class.

After the jump, I'll give my thoughts on the careers of all four, while also taking a look at what I best remember from their time here.

Click below for the post...

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

2015-16 CU vs Arizona Basketball Preview: Tad Still Wants to Fight Somebody

Before the preview, a few required readings/listenings for your Wednesday...

First, if you haven't already done so, do yourself a favor and spend some time consuming Ted Chalfen's piece on Colorado Basketball's attendance rollercoaster.  It's a well thought out ride through the last few years of the program, examining the hows and the whys of a successful program with a suddenly absentee fanbase. Very much deserving of your time and attention.

Secondly, I was on a podcast!'s Adam Butler and Spencer Smith had Ryan Koenigsberg and myself on their always excellent Podcast of Champions Monday night, and the resulting hour-plus of content is a great listen.  The four of us cover topics ranging from thoughts on the CU/Arizona game to the role of 'Blackout' games in college sports.  I even get a White Sox mention in, cause I'm weird like that.  Once you're done reading Ted's piece, give it a listen.

Now, with the plugs done (both shameless and otherwise), let's get to it!


Hype Music for the Evening: "Paint it Black" by The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones have a great idea of how to properly prepare for a Blackout game (or, a 'wear black game,' if you're lame -- as if the kids aren't going to drink anyways, LOL).  Enjoy!


Tip-off from the CEC is set for 7pm this evening. Get your ass to the gym before tip, and remember to WEAR BLACK!  Coverage for those lost souls not able to attend can be found on the Deuce, ESPN2, with the radio call on AM 760.

Click below for the preview...

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Tuesday Grab Bag: Don't Look at the Bad Basketball, Look at the Puppies!

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!
There, all better now.  The cuteness has cured a weekend of awful basketball.  Like frickin' magic!


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...

Saturday, February 20, 2016

2015-16 CU vs UCLA Basketball Preview: Buffs Look to Recover From Knockout Blow

It was all going so well.  The Colorado Buffaloes were playing good, if not great, basketball on the road against the USC Trojans Wednesday night, looking to claim a victory that would clinch their Tournament bid and keep faint hopes of a Pac-12 title alive.  With nine minutes to play in the ballgame, a Wesley Gordon jumper had staked the Buffs to a 60-45 lead, a margin, surely, even Colorado could protect down the stretch.  Unfortunately, the basketball gods turned a sour eye towards the faithful of BuffNation, and the Trojans started to mount a comeback.  By the U8 timeout, the lead was down to 10; by the U4 it had shrank to three. When a Jordan McLaughlin sank an open corner three with 2:55 left, it gave the Trojans the lead, and the Buffs were left cowed and broken as they slumped into a Tad Boyle timeout. Eventually CU would settle into a 79-72 loss, leaving me with just one reaction:

I don't really have all that much to say about it.  The Buffs simply spit the bit. According to KenPom, once Colorado took that 15-point lead, they had a 94% chance of winning the game.  It took a concentrated effort of turnovers, missed front-ends, poor defense, and impotent guard play to spike that lead.  If it didn't break my heart, I'd have been impressed by totality of suck on display down the stretch.

If you're looking for some positives, look no further than the healthy, successful return of Josh Scott to the lineup.  Coming off the bench, Jelly put up a solid 17/3 in 23 minutes, showing off a number of deft and power moves around the rim that proved he was recovered from his ankle injury. Accompanying his performance, Wes Gordon stayed hot, putting up 13/7 and really powering the surge that built that fleeting lead.  The problem was that their efforts in the paint were counteracted by some flat awful guard play.  Dom Collier had one of his ugliest games in a CU uniform, turning the ball over six times and committing four fouls against just one rebound, with no points or assists to show for his 18 minutes.  His fellow backcourt mates weren't all that much better, with George King matching Dom's turnover numbers (Colorado had 20 total, #sigh) and Josh Fortune needing 11 shots to get to 10 points.
That turned in a hurry.  From: KenPom
That's the rub of this game.  While the Buffs had built that big lead, mostly due to another abnormally massive rebounding advantage (37-21 for the game), they weren't exactly blowing the doors off the gym.  Turnovers remained a problem, scoring was inefficient (outside of the two post players), and I was preparing to write a wrap-up that stated that CU had pulled a rabbit out of their hats.  The illusion went wrong, however, and the Buffs were booted from the Alliance of Magicians, unceremoniously. In many ways, they got exactly what they deserved.  College basketball is all about guard play, and Colorado had an especially putrid run of it Wednesday night.  On the USC end, McLaughlin and Julian Jacobs combined for 42 points, and served as a pair of spark plugs for their teammates.  It was that duo that walked away with the win, and with good reason.

CU now turns to another late evening tip with the UCLA Bruins.  If they have any realistic designs on claiming a top-four seed int he upcoming Pac-12 tournament, they're going to have to nab this one, and earn a split in LA.  The only problem?  They've yet to win in Pauley.  Oh boy.  Better get to it...


Hype Music for the Evening: "You see me" by Childish Gambino (lyrics NSFW)

Asian girls everywhere... UCLA.  Gambino, also known as Donald Glover of "Community," is a legit EGOT threat.  Dude can do it all.  This one, purely picked for the hook, is a personal favorite.  Enjoy!


Tip-off from venerable Pauley Pavilion is set for 9pm this evening.  Coverage can be found on FOX Sports 1, with the radio call on 850 KOA.

Click below for the preview...

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

2015-16 CU vs USC Basketball Preview: The Trojans Got Good, Somehow

Tonight is an interesting scenario.  See, Colorado hasn't lost to USC since joining the conference in 2012.  A perfect 7-0, many in convincing fashion.  But, these 2016 Trojans are a different breed from those CU has faced in the days of the Pac-12.  They're better, deeper, more talented, and certainly one of the stronger teams in the league this winter.  If CU's going to earn that top-four spot, they have to win at least one this week in Los Angeles.  History says it'll be against the Trojans in the Galen Center, but can the Buffs topple the new-fab USC construct?  Well, you'll have to read the preview to find out.


Hype Music for the Evening: "Life is hard on the road" by Bang Camaro:

Unless you are a diehard Rock Band aficionado, like myself, it would surprise me to learn you have ever heard of Bang Camaro before.  A ridiculous combination of nostalgic 80s hair metal and upwards of 20 dudes singing in chorus, BC is a novelty, but a well-loved one in my collection.  This track, aptly about the difficult life on the road, is perfect for a key road trip to SoCal.  Enjoy!


Tip-off from the beautifully appointed Galen Center is set for 9pm this evening.  Coverage is on ESPNU, so there's a good chance you will have something in common with the broadcasters -- neither them or you will actually be in the arena!  To hear from someone who, guaranteed, will be in Los Angeles, check out Mark Johnson and the radio call on AM 760.

Click below for the preview...

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Tuesday Grab Bag: Where have all the students gone?

Another busy, holiday-shortened week, another brief intro. Straight to the action!

Today in the bag, I'm talking the big win over the Huskies, the weekly peek around the other Pac-12 results, and student attendance.

Click below for the bag...

Saturday, February 13, 2016

2015-16 CU vs Washington Basketball Preview #2: It Was Lorenzo Romar Who Let the Dogs Out

There was a moment, late in the first overtime of Colorado's eventual 88-81, double-OT win over Washington State, that it dawned upon me that the Buffs might actually lose to the Cougars.  Even up to that point I was in denial; "No, certainly this is not real life.  Something will happen to forestall this crap," I thought.  "CU just can't lose to the worst damn team in the league!"  Then WSU guard Que Johnson hit his and-one layup, free throw combo to stake his team to a 77-74 lead with only 21 seconds to play.  Suddenly, the loss seemed very real, and very damning.  An empty, cold feeling only deepened when the teams traded free throws over the next 13 seconds of clock to leave the Buffs down 78-75 with just eight to play.  Sure, there was still hope, but it was no longer something that I could stomach to let live in my mind.

Then, George King went and did something ridiculous:

His shot came out of nowhere.  Every dribble to his right seemed to take him deeper and deeper into trouble against lanky Cougar forward Josh Hawkinson.  King was seemingly in no man's land, and was about to take the Buffs' post-season dreams down with him.  Even his release - off-balance, fading away - was awkwardly wrong.  Then the ball soared goalwards, and it was pure. Sure, Colorado would need to surge ahead in the second overtime, but that seemed mere formality at that point.  Win saved, season saved.

It was a moment of brilliant absurdity from an otherwise ugly, awful, forgettable game.  At home, against by far the worst team in the Pac-12, Colorado struggled for most of regulation, eschewing the attacking play that had served them well in the opening minutes for a stilted, conservative style that got them nothing but contested looks at the end of the shot clock. Further, injuries to Josh Scott (didn't suit up) and Tre'Shaun Fletcher (played, but eventually sat), along with foul trouble from starting point guard Dom Collier, left the Buffs with a six-man rotation late in the game.  As a result, Washington State shot an asinine 55% in regulation against CU, who, in turn, missed almost everything in the second half (33% shooting, 0-5 from deep). The team looked tired, out of ideas, and on the ropes.

The King shot, then, exists as a moment of salvation.  Colorado deserved to lose that game, and bathe in the wrath of everything that comes with losing to a team outside of the RPI top-180 on home hardwood.  King said no, however, leaping at a chance to take the team onto his shoulders at a time when others on the roster were looking to pass out of open attempts.  Before the game, I told friend of the blog @CUGoose that I looked at George the same way I used to view Askia Booker: a necessary evil.  Ride the Dragon, and all of that.  Someone has to take the shots, someone has to look to score when everything else has gone sideways.  With Ski now in the pro ranks, it might as well be the King. Wear your crown, kid.

So, with that mess in the rearview, it's all 'no harm, no foul.'  Those of us in attendance will remember the queasy feeling in our stomachs, but it'll all go down in history as just another win.  And, as always, a win is a win, and that's all I have to say about that.


Hype Music for the Evening: "Given to Fly" by Pearl Jam:

Pearl Jam is from Seattle.  So are the Huskies.  Whoa.

I've turned around on Pearl Jam in recent years. I remember growing up and not particularly liking them, or really any of the original 'grunge' groups (Nirvana, included).  With age, however, I've learned to appreciate them, to the point that I've routinely binged on PJ for the last four or so years.  This one, "Given to Fly," is one of my favorites.  Enjoy!


Tip-off from the CEC is set for a very football-esque high noon today.  Coverage for those unable to bring themselves to Boulder on a beautiful (if foggy) Saturday morning can be found on Pac-12 Networks, with the radio call on 850 KOA.

For reference, my preview from the first game can be found here.

Click below for the preview...

Thursday, February 11, 2016

2015-16 CU vs Washington State Basketball Preview #2: Lining Up a 3-foot Putt

I don't like the phrase 'must win,' mostly because it's over-used.  Outside of elimination games, no game is a true 'must win.'  I prefer 'better win,' as it's aimed directly at the heart of what the phrase is supposed to be implying -- you'd 'better win,' because the alternative is uncomfortable or unpalatable.

What I'm getting at is that tonight's game against the Washington State Cougars is a game that the Colorado Buffaloes better win.  Having been swept in Oregon over two ugly games last weekend, the Buffs need their mojo back.  That much is absolutely true.  But, more importantly, they need to forestall any ongoing damage their Tournament profile.  No one in the league, not even the free-falling Stanford Cardinal, can wreak as much havoc in the Selection Committee's perception of a team than the Cougs.  They are, far and away, the worst team in this conference (RPI ranking around 185), and a loss to them, particularly at home, will get printed in big, bold letters at the top of any team's resume.

Realistically, a loss by CU this evening alone won't knock them out of the Tournament, it wouldn't even necessarily put them on the bubble (most prognosticators have CU as an 8/9 or better right now, FWIW).  What it would do, however, is put a reason on paper for them to get slighted on Selection Sunday (more for seeding than inclusion), putting more and more pressure on the results over the balance of February and early March.  Better to just avoid the uncomfortable conversations, and claim an easy, free-flowing victory over WSU this evening.


Hype Music for the Evening: "Stacy's Mom" by the Fountains of Wayne (Video largely NSFW, btw. *shrugs* Proceed with caution)

Who the hell are the Fountains of Wayne?  I knew the song, but had no idea who was behind it. Anyways, hey, the Cougars are in town!  I figure this is an appropriate tune, mostly because I am the mental equivalent of a 12 year old.  Enjoy!


Tip-off from the CEC is set for 8pm tonight. A little bit of a late start, but no reason we can't all pack the CEC.  Also: puppies! Televised coverage for those scared of a little night cap can be found on Pac-12 Networks, with the radio call on AM 760.

For reference, my preview from the first game can be found here.

Click below for the preview...

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tuesday Grab Bag: Turnovers Are Bad, M'kay?

Not much to say, straight to the action today:

Today in the bag, I'm wrapping the crappy weekend in Oregon, taking a look at how the rest of the Pac-12 fared, and giving my outsider view of the Super Bowl whether you want to read it or not.

Click below for the bag...

Saturday, February 6, 2016

2015-16 CU vs Oregon State Basketball Preview #2: Will Anyone Besides GP2 Stand Up?

On the road against a top-20 team staking their claim for 'best-in-region' status, you can't rely on the refs, your opponent, or raw luck to help you succeed.  No, you have to help yourself to have any hope of competing.  Unfortunately, the Buffs did not help themselves Thursday night in Eugene, as they repeatedly shot themselves in the foot against the high-flying Ducks.  Turnovers?  Yep, 14 total, eight in the first half, turning into 21 points for Oregon.  Missed free throws?  Uh-huh, eight of 14 sent wide. Poor shooting on open looks? Sure, CU shot under 34% for the game, and 30% on three-point attempts.  All told, Colorado did not bring their A-game with them to the Pacific Northwest, and it showed throughout a perfunctory 76-56 loss to UO.
The Ducks swarmed an under-performing bunch of Buffaloes.  From: the Register Guard.
It was another case of a cold start, but, unlike the home game against Cal last weekend, there was no declarative answering run to shift the tide.  Through the first 12 minutes of the ballgame, CU had more turnovers (five) than field goals (three), and found themselves down 24-7 on the scoreboard, as a result.  They would counter here, though, and scored nine points in four possessions to claw back within 10, but any hopes of a lead-trimming run into the half were short-lived.  Oregon would respond, going on a 14-5 sprint into the break, which sealed the deal on a 19-point halftime advantage.  While Colorado would briefly compete midway through the second, cutting the deficit from a ballooned 22 down to 11, the Ducks eventually regained their footing, and the Buffs settled back into their 20-point margin of defeat.

I talked about Chris Boucher in my preview, and how his foul-limited 15 minutes of action in the Boulder leg artificially cut into Oregon's overall performance on the road.  Given a full 35-minutes in this one, he controlled much of the action.  Only seven points scored, but he also tallied 12 rebounds (helping UO trim CU's +14 rebounding margin in the first game down to only +4) and six blocks.  Josh Scott and Wes Gordon each seemed to fear Boucher's lurking athleticism, even when he was away from the play.  On a team of talented game changers, the JuCo transfer from tiny Northwest College in Wyoming may be the most unique.  Oregon needed him as Dillon Brooks struggled, again, with foul trouble against CU, fouling out with only 10 points and a single rebound.
Fortune and the Buffs struggled with the trapping zones and presses from Oregon.  From:
For the Buffs, Scott lead the way with 17/7.  George King was right behind him with 16 points, but needed 19 shots to get there.  Xavier Talton had an interesting game off the bench, recording five assists, but those were canceled out by another rough effort from Josh Fortune, who turned it over five times (please stop trying to dribble out of crap).  Overall, not a great effort from anyone in Black and Gold, certainly not what you would've liked to have seen in a game between the first- and second-place teams in the Pac-12.  The Ducks threw everything off with a combination of trapping press and switching half-court defense, and the Buffs just never got comfortable attacking it, as they had in Boulder.

Colorado will now look to regroup in Corvallis.  The goal of every road trip should be to at least get a split.  Well, that's still on the table.  It won't be easy, however.  The Beavers still boast the league's single best all-around talent in Gary Payton II, defend their home court like madmen, and are coming off a big, Tournament-chances-boosting win over Utah.  The Buffs are certainly capable of pulling off the upset, but will need to play very well in hostile territory to earn it.  Can they right the ship, and return home with the much-needed split in Oregon?  Dive into my preview to find out...


Hype Music for the Evening: "September" by Earth, Wind & Fire

Wednesday, Maurice White, a co-founder and lead singer of R&B super-group EWF, passed away. One of the most influential songwriters and performers of the 70s and 80s, he was a giant crossing multiple genres: R&B, Funk, Pop, Soul, and Jazz. In his honor, I present my favorite of the group's hits. Enjoy!


Tip-off from Gill Coliseum in Corvallis, OR is set for 6:30pm this evening.  Televised coverage can be found on Pac-12 Networks, with the radio call coming over on 850 KOA.

For reference, my preview from the first game can be found here.

Click below for the preview...

Thursday, February 4, 2016

2015-16 CU vs Oregon Basketball Preview #2: The Struggle for Relevance

There's a lot going on this week.  Yesterday was National Signing Day (with good results for BuffNation), the Super Bowl looms, and political insanity is descending for those so inclined.  There is a pass out there for you who would want it, that it is too distractive right now to focus on college basketball.  I would encourage all of you to avoid that trap, however.  Good hoops is anywhere and everywhere, as long as you can be bothered to look for it.  Take tonight's game, for example.  CU vs Oregon looks, on paper, to be a big game.  Number one in the Pac-12 vs a prominent member of the second place pack.  If anything deserves your attention this evening, it's this tilt.

Realistically, the Buffs are fighting for relevance tonight.  Even after last week's impressive sweep of the Bay Area schools on home hardwood, CU still can't manage to garner a single vote in the AP top-25 poll. Stony Brook - fucking Stony Brook - and their zero wins over Power 5 competition has a vote, but not Colorado.  Win or lose against the Ducks, the team needs to show they're as deserving of their lofty place in the Pac-12 standings (still the deepest, most competitive league in America) as I think they are.  A good showing is essential; a win monumental.  Time to pony up to the bar and get serious.


Hype Music for the Evening: "Zoot Suit Riot" by the Cherry Poppin' Daddies

Hey!  Apparently these guys are from Eugene. That's kind of cool... Anyways, I fell hard for the swing/ska/punk movement of the late-90s, and I will admit to having this album buried in a stack of CDs somewhere in suburban Chicago-land.  Even to this day this stuff gets my toe tapping.  Enjoy!


Tip-off from Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, OR is set for 7pm this evening.  Coverage can be found on FOX Sports 1, with the radio call on AM 760.

For reference, my preview from the first game can be found here.

Click below for the preview...

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Tuesday Grab Bag: Buffs Ambush Bears in First Half Surge

Football's national signing day is tomorrow! *sigh*  Nothing aggravates me more than 40-somethings opining on the whys and wills of teenagers.  Yes, the recruiting phenomena is important, and paves the way for your future as a football program, but no day on the sports calendar makes me feel so greasy for following college athletics. So a kid picked one school over another, no reason to lose your shit over it.  Be cool.

I'm not even going to try to play the recruiting expert, as I just don't care enough to follow it anymore.  But, if you are so inclined, might I suggest that you give a follow and a subscription to publisher Adam Munsterteiger?  There's none on the CU beat with better sources or a feel for this stuff, and he'll set you right.


Today in the bag, I'm talking CU's win over Cal, the round-up of action in the Conference of Champions, and some welcome news out of the women's program.

Click below for the bag...