Clock below for the bag...
Buffs miss chance to break slide against USC -
The struggle bus continues to roll on, unabated, over at the Coors Events Center. Faced with a beatable opponent on home hardwood, Colorado started strong in their game against USC, roaring out to a 22-11 lead mid-way through the first half. Inattention to the #TadBall staples of defense and rebounding, however, cost them dearly, as the Trojans chipped away at that lead with both with points inside and second looks off the glass. Eventually, USC took charge, leveraging control of the game in the final frame. Some last minute gasps of air gave BuffNation hope, but CU eventually fell 71-68 in Boulder. The losing streak to start Pac-12 play is now up to five.
|If you do this for long enough, the pain fades away...|
Into the second half, the worrying trends defensively and on the glass only continued, anchoring Colorado into an see-saw battle that they couldn't escape from, even with USC struggling from the floor (shot under 40%, only 3-19 from deep). As the media timeouts flew by, the Trojans got more and more comfortable, and eventually started building a multiple-possession lead. At this point, the Buffs seemed checked out, having gone over five minutes without a made field goal. So, with three minutes to play, I figured it was all over with Southern Cal holding a seven-point lead and under three minutes to play.
|Victory, again, eludes the Buffs. From: the AP|
But, it wasn't to be. Colorado couldn't get the stop they desperately needed on the ensuing possession, with the Trojans going back to Metu in the paint after spending most of the half forgetting he was available. He nailed a hook to retake the lead, which put the onus back on the Buffs. They buckled under the pressure, first with a failed layup attempt from King, then an awkward desperation heave from the junior after nothing else materialized. Game over; season in full tailspin.
|Colorado wasn't ready for Chimezie Metu. From: Stamford Advocate|
In the end, however, CU is left with a harrowing, ugly truth. They are now 0-5 in Pac-12 play, having earned every bit of that record, and well adrift from the prospect of any meaningful basketball. Coach Boyle put it down to a lack of leadership, which is hard to argue with, but the cause almost doesn't matter. Fact is, there's really no fix to this beast, at this point. With this many seniors, and a three weeks of conference play already behind them, it is what it is. Hopes of the NCAA Tournament are gone, and even the NIT would take a strong closing run, at this point. From here on out, they're a bunch playing for pride. It sucks to say, it sucks to contemplate, but there it is.
Around the world of Pac-12 Basketball -
- UCLA 83 - Utah 82 -
The only game in the Pac-12 of any consequence or drama this week took place in Salt Lake City on Saturday. UCLA, fresh off their high-flying display in Boulder, took on the Utes in a nail-biter that came down to the final series of possessions. The result would turn on a blatant no-call from the refs as Lonzo Ball whacked Kyle Kuzma on the arm during a put-back attempt. The foul would've put Kuzma on the line with a chance to give his team the lead with two made free throws. The adjudicatory respite was all the Bruins would need to circle the wagons, as they escaped Huntsman with a huge win and sweep in the Rockies.
|UCLA survives with some #Pac12Refs mishegas. From: BlockU|
- Oregon 85 - Oregon St 43 -
If you're looking for some laughs, a quick perusal of this stat line might be just what you're looking for. The problem is, of course, that this Colorado team still has two games to play against the Ducks, but that worry is for a future date. In the mean time, just marvel at the absolute ass-kicking the team from Eugene put down on their in-state rivals. The Beavers, already struggling this season, have been without star forward Tres Tinkle since Thanksgiving break, with his return still far afield. In his absence, they're barely half as good as the Ducks... which kind of makes sense, if you think about it.
- Stanford 76 - Washington 69 -
Rounding out a rather lame weekend of Pac-12 action, the Cardinal managed to defend their home floor against the invasion from Seattle. I don't pick this game to spotlight because I care even slightly about the outcome. Really, both of these teams are garbage, and even the possibility of a trainwreck couldn't have gotten me in that band-less gym in Palo Alto to see it. Nope, I'm simply mentioning this one because CU next travels to visit the 'Dawgs in the Northwest.
|Fultz can rise above the competition, even if his teammates can't. From: the AP|