Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tuesday Grab Bag: Ducked in Eugene

The shortened holiday week has me scrambling, so straight to the action this afternoon. Today in the bag, I'm talking the blowout in Oregon, the situation with Bryce Peters, and how the rest of the Pac-12 is shaping up as they head into the home stretch.

Click below for the bag...

Buffs blown out by Ducks - 

Sometimes you just get beat.  That's the lesson I would advise you take from Saturday's 101-73 ass-kicking in Eugene at the hands of the Ducks.  Despite a decent start to the game, it was quickly proved that the Buffs had nothing close to what they would need to hang with the hosts in their raucous gym, and the momentum began to swell in an ugly direction.  By the time it was over, you could safely say that Colorado was lucky not to have been saddled with a worse scoreline, a matter which is of little consolation.

It didn't help that the Buffs were short-handed in the backcourt, with Bryce Peters riding the pine on a DNP-CD, but I doubt it would've mattered much.  Oregon came to play in this one, hungry for revenge over CU's run-away win in Boulder from earlier this year.  Sure, the Buffs started well, and even held a 25-23 lead with nine minutes to play in the first half, but a statement 41-9 run from the Ducks (one that straddled halftime) put the matter to rest.  Colorado was rocked by repeated haymakers from the Swooshlings, with Oregon pouncing on both ends of the floor.  Against staggering stops and flying attacks there was nothing the Buffs could seemingly do to stem the tide.
Ouch.  From: the Register Guard.
I said before the game that three-pointers and foul trouble would tell you a lot about this final result. The Ducks certainly soared on the first measure, hitting 55% of all attempts from deep, and avoided any major issue with the second (just Chris Boucher, who fouled out, had more than four on Saturday), making their path to victory clear.  One issue I didn't expect to be so damning, however, was rebounding.  The Buffs had played with UO on the glass in Boulder to the point that I thought that trend could continue, even with the venue shift.  Not so much, as it turns out; Oregon was +14 overall, and not a single Buffalo finished with more than four boards -- not a good look.  With Oregon hitting the majority of their shots, and Colorado collecting just seven of their own misses, there's not much room for headway, and it showed on the scoreboard.  25 UO assists on 34 made baskets was similarly impressive, and just another sign that CU was in an uphill battle in the MATT on Saturday.

Individually, George King had a nice game offensively, putting up 18 points on 10 shots against just one turnover.  Dom Collier also posted some solid numbers, finding 13 points, and Josh Fortune chipped in 11 off the bench on a very efficient 3-4 from the field.  Realistically, though, it's hard to take many positives from this one; the team was beaten, soundly, in all aspects.
Buffs left searching for answers in Eugene.  From: the BDC
In the end, this probably lays to rest all the cockamamie schemes people had been concocting for Colorado to sneak into the Dance without having to first win the Pac-12 Tournament.  That doesn't mean the season is over, though.  Beyond just the prospect of the conference tournament in Las Vegas, CU is still fighting for post-season positioning in the NIT.  Before the weekend, had the team as a 7-seed; barely in the field.  The Buffs have a good opportunity with three remaining home games to improve that position, and even potentially earn themselves a home game or two in the oft-forgotten tournament.  With a bevy of seniors on the roster, both the Pac-12 Championship and potential positioning in the NIT are a lot to play for.  We'll just have to see if they can answer the call.

Bryce Peters out indefinitely - 

As was mentioned above, freshman guard Bryce Peters missed the game in Eugene, suspended for the ever-mysterious 'violation of team rules.'  The Daily Camera's Pat Rooney had the scoop, the benefit of his traveling beat, but that didn't mean he had much information to go along with it.  In that vein, Bryce's suspension mirrors the recent bench bids of Xavier Johnson and Wes Gordon -- everyone within the program remains mum as to the how and the why.

Contrasting the situation with the fifth year seniors, however, what comments the program is willing to provide carried a decidedly more serious tone. Speaking after the game, Coach Boyle was direct: "[Bryce's] going to be out indefinitely until we decide he's going to come back. He's out right now."   Whereas XJ and Wes were 'day-to-day' (with a hint of a wry smile on Tad's face), this is a darker style of laconic than I'm used to hearing from Coach.
Peters will sit for a bit.  From: the BDC
At this point, my biggest question is 'what the hell is going on?'  There's obviously a behind-the-scenes issue, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't interested. I certainly don't begrudge the program for maintaining their silence, as long as no laws were violated.  If this is purely organizational discipline, Coach Boyle and crew owe the public nothing.  My base curiosity is piqued, however. 

Because, couched comments aside, it's a concerning image for the freshman.  As Rooney reminds us, this is Bryce's third suspension this season (the first two games to start the season, and a first half sit against Portland), which is not the kind of early impression you want to leave with either the coaching staff or the fan base. Peters is a very promising player on the court, but there's a very glaring need for him to figure out life off of it. Stones and glass houses, and all that -- I certainly didn't have everything figured out as a freshman (or a sophomore, junior, or senior, for that matter) -- I just hope he can turn it around, because I want players to succeed in Boulder, in all aspects of their collegiate career.  Off the court comes first, though, as it must.  After that, I hope that everything is all right, wrongs can be atoned for and/or righted, and Bryce can return to the court, whether this year or next.

Around the world of Pac-12 Basketball - 

- Oregon State 68 - Utah 67 -

Oh, Utah.  OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, Utah!  The Utes, who some foolishly still thought had a shot at an at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament, turned in the mother of all disqualifying acts on Sunday, losing a game to the previously winless (in conference play) Oregon State Beavers (RPI ranking: 291). That's a bad loss with a bullet; three bullets even.  This kind of thing may even cost them a home game in the NIT; it's that bad.  In an echo of the old fake Dan Beebe twitter account, please send sandbags and dinghies SLC's way as they deal with an epic flood of #UTETEARS.
I'm confused.  From: Oregon Live
For the Beavers: congrats!  I'm quite honestly happy to see them break their duck.  A smooth layup from Stephen Thompson with 10 second to go capped a 27-13 run to end the game.  The sophomore guard was on fire all evening, finishing with 31/4/3/2 to power State.  Individual pieces of talent were never OSU's issue this season -- the quantity available and keeping them all healthy were.  Thompson will be a huge cog in the wheel for the Beavers as they hope to improve next season.

- UCLA 102 - USC 70 -

I almost spent the relative equivalent of a fortune to attend this game over the weekend.  Despite the allure of a game in Pauley, I'm glad I decided against it.  The Bruins, despite some early struggles, were decisively a step ahead of their cross-town rival in this one, and turned the affair into a rout. Over the final six minutes into the halftime break, UCLA would go on a 21-8 run, one which they only continued to build upon in the second half.  Senior Bryce Alford was again incredible, pouring in 26 and six assists to lead the team to their first win over the Trojans in five tries.  The victory also essentially locks the Bruins into the 3-seed in Las Vegas, as they're now two games and a tie-breaker up on Cal with four to play.

- Arizona 76 - Washington 68 - 

Ho-hum, another win for the 'Cats. Markkanen and Trier combined for 47, more than making up for the 26/2/6 produced by Markelle Fultz.  All that separates them from the Pac-12 regular season crown at this point are three more wins in the State of Arizona. Oregon holds the tie-breaker, but I don't see it mattering much when all is said and done.  As long as the UofA can beat UCLA on Saturday, it should be all but wrapped up headed into the final weekend.
Markkanen too much for UW.  From: the NCAA

- Stanford 73 - Cal 68 - 

I don't really know what to make of this result.  For the Golden Bears, it's not a great loss to take while trying to earn an at-large bid. But the Cardinal's RPI ranking is solidly in the top-100, so maybe it's not all that damaging, after all.  Aesthetically, however, I don't think all that highly of Stanford, and it hurts Cal in the eye test; I won't be moving them all that far along in my bracket, come Selection Sunday.  I would like to point out, though, that Stanford shot 30 more free throw attempts than their Bay Area rival.  What, did Cal head coach Cuonzo Martin forget to make his quarterly donation to the Pac-12 referee association's 'charity fund?'

Happy Tuesday!

No comments: