Buff Basketball – November, 2014

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November 30th

... CU in the Arena …

Buffs race out to early lead over Lipscomb … then hold on as sloppy play returns

From cubuffs.com … Easy like Sunday morning? Not for the Buffs.From now until it opens Pac-12 Conference play in January, the Colorado men’s basketball team shouldn’t expect to experience anything like what was supposed to be a Sunday stroll past Lipscomb.

The Buffs finally dispatched their southern visitor from the Atlantic Sun Conference, 84-75, at the Coors Events Center, yet they – and the Bison – made this win harder than it probably should have been.

In a week – Sunday, Dec. 7 at 10 a.m. MT – CU plays at Georgia in its second road trip of the season. And by then, after the Buffs end their current three-game homestand with a Wednesday night encounter against San Francisco (8 p.m.), coach Tad Boyle is expecting his team to have sharpened considerably in most every facet.

As in the aftermath of his team’s 68-53 win against Air Force five days earlier, Boyle had no problem pointing to likes, dislikes, positive possessions and those that were not so much. But, said Boyle, “It’s what this time of year is all about – it’s about growing, learning and figuring out what it is that you have to improve on.”

The Buffs survived mainly because of the inside play of Josh Scott, who recorded season highs in points (29) and rebounds (13) for his 17th career double-double. Scott’s 10 field goals (12 attempts) were a career best, and he hit nine of 10 free throw attempts.

“He’s a heck of a player,” said Lipscomb coach Casey Alexander. “We knew that coming in. We didn’t defend him the way we intended to obviously . . . he caught the ball too close to the rim, got too good of looks. When a player gets that, then we’re going to get the results we got.”

Scott put his team’s up-and-down afternoon in perspective. “A win’s a win,” he said. “You know obviously there’s a lot of things for us to improve on . . . I think it was exciting as well as disappointing for this game.”

 

November 29th

… CU in the Arena …

CU women take down CSU in double-overtime

Lexy Kresl had the program’s fourth triple-double, Jen Reese scored a career high  26 points and Lauren Huggins hit three 3-pointers in the two overtime periods as the Colorado Buffaloes won in double overtime, 87-81, over in-state rival Colorado State to claim the Omni Classic championship.

Kresl finished the game with 12 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists and needed all of her 49 minutes to get the program’s fourth triple double.  Reese had 26 points, shooting 8-of-14 from the field and 9-of-10 from the line, and added 14 rebounds.  Huggins was 4-of-7 from behind the arc, with 3 triples in overtime to help the Buffs to victory.

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November 28th

… CU in the Arena …

Getting to Know: Lipscomb Bison

Colorado vs. Lipscomb … Sunday at noon, MT (Pac-12 Networks)

Bison Record: 2-3

Coach: Casey Alexander, 17-18, in his second year

Series: First meeting

Bisons’ record last season: 15-15 overall; 10-8 in the Atlantic Sun Conference (T-4th)

Players to watch … Beware the Smith twins. Two 6’5″ forwards, Martin is the team’s returning scorer, averaging 15.6 points per game, while brother Malcolm averaged 13.8 points per game last fall. The Bison return all but one starter from a team which won eight of its final ten league games last spring.

Getting to Know Lipscomb … The Bison is 2-3 with their two wins coming over the Berry College and Transylvania Pioneers (seriously). Before the Buffs get too cocky, however, the Bison did fight Vanderbilt on the road, falling 72-62. Lipscomb fell behind early, but battled back to make it a one possession game with ten minutes to play.

That being said, this should be the easiest game of the non-conference schedule for Colorado. The Buffs just need to take care of business this weekend.

 

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November 25th – Boulder           Colorado 68, Air Force 53

Colorado got its act together, along with its collective shooting touch, putting away Air Force, 68-53. A 25-0 run in the first half turned a 10-6 deficit into a 31-10 lead. The Buffs held a 37-15 advantage at halftime, but sloppy play and missed assignments allowed the Falcons to turn the final score into a respectable 15-point deficit.

Xavier Johnson led the Buffs with 15 points and nine rebounds, with most of his points coming in the first half as the Buffs established their dominance. Josh Scott finished with 13 points, but almost all of his points came in garbage time in the second half, with Scott using the foul line (7-of-8) to create most of his points. Scott had two dunks in the final nine minutes … the only baskets Colorado scored over that time, as Air Force out-scored the Buffs 21-14 down the stretch.

“There were some really good things tonight from our team”, said Tad Boyle. “There were a lot of things we can build on, and obviously some room for improvement. I was really pleased with our play in the first half, except for that first four minutes before the media timeout when we turned it over all five times we had the ball. From that point in the first half, I thought we played really well and moved the ball well … We have some things we have to get better at. Thirteen assists and 15 turnovers isn’t the number we were looking for. But, we hit our defensive numbers. We didn’t hit our offensive numbers. It’s still a work in progress with the Buffs”.

The game against the Falcons started ominously, especially in light of the record-setting 33 point effort against Wyoming two nights earlier. The first five possessions of the game for the Buffs went as follows … turnover; turnover; turnover; turnover; turnover. It wasn’t until 3:15 into the game that the Buffs were able to even get off a shot.

Fortunately for the Buffs, the Falcons were not able to take advantage. Air Force did take a 5-0 lead, but it could have been worse. A three-point play by Xavier Johnson and a three-pointer by Jaron Hopkins erased the bad start, giving CU its first lead at 6-5. Another 5-0 run by the Falcons made it a 10-6 game at the 15 minute mark.

And that was it for Falcon highlights.

A Dominique Collier three-pointer and a Wesley Gordon free throw tied the game, with a Josh Scott dunk giving the Buffs the lead for good. Over the next ten minutes of game clock, the Buffs went on a 25-0 run, turning a 10-6 deficit into a 31-10 lead. A three-pointer by Zach Kocur gave Air Force its first points in forever, with the Buffs out-scoring the Falcons 6-2 the rest of the half to take a comfortable lead into the break.

Halftime score: Colorado 37, Air Force 15

Askia Booker, who was not in the starting lineup, posted a pair of field goals, including a three-pointer, as the Buffs opened the second half by keeping the Falcons at bay. Dunks by Xavier Johnson on a follow-up and by Jaron Hopkins on a break away made it a 50-22 game at the 13 minute mark, removing any remaining doubt as to the final outcome.

And yet, the Buffs couldn’t just take care of business – they had to make the Buff Nation nervous as the game clock wound down. Not so much as to losing the game, but as to the Buffs’ ability to take out an opponent. CU head coach tried a number of different combinations as the second half wore on. That was to be expected – that’s what you do early in the season; that’s what you do when you have a big lead.

Leading up to the four minute mark, Air Force went on a 21-8 run, making it a 58-43 game . During the Falcon resurgence, the Buffs had almost as many turnovers (6) as points (8), with the Buffs missing three free throws along the way just to add a little drama. In the last few minutes of the game, the Buffs managed only four free throws, finishing the contest with a grand total of two baskets in the final nine minutes of action.

Final score: Colorado 68, Air Force 53

– Game Notes –

– The win was the fifth in a row over Air Force, giving the Buffs a 21-3 overall record over the Falcons;

– CU has now won 21 straight home non-conference games, the 15th longest streak nationally;

– The 15 first half points were the lowest allowed to any opponent since the Buffs held Fresno State to 17 in 2012;

– The Buffs had a season-high 15 turnovers, including five straight to open the game;

– The Buffs’ next game is against Lipscomb, coming on Sunday at noon (Pac-12 Networks)

 

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CU women take out Denver University Pioneers, 77-49

From cubuffs.com Lexy Kresl was in a giving mood for the first 20 minutes of Tuesday night’s game. But in a crucial moment early in the second half, there was no spreading the wealth, she would take control.

Kresl scored five straight points to stop a Denver run and in turn sent the Buffaloes rolling to a 77-49 win at Magness Arena Tuesday night on the DU campus.

Kresl recorded her first career double-double scoring 10 points and dishing out a career-high 10 assists, nine of which came in the first half, tying a CU single-half record.

Colorado (3-1) used a 12-3 run late in the first half to open up a double-digit lead. Kresl had five assists in a span of six baskets late in the period to build a 38-27 advantage at the break.

Junior forward Jamee Swan was one of the main benefactors, scoring 17 of her season-high 23 points in the first 20 minutes.

“It took us a little while to figure out how to play with (Denver’s) changing defenses,” Kresl said. “We were playing a motion offense against a zone, so once we found those areas there were a lot of gaps and we had a lot of opportunities to score.”

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November 23rd

… CU in the Arena …

Getting to Know: Air Force Falcons

Colorado at Air Force … 7:00 p.m., MT (Pac-12 Networks)

Falcons’ Record: 3-1

Coach: Dave Pilipovich, fourth year, 35-39

Series: Colorado leads the series, 20-3 all-time, including a 9-1 record in Boulder. CU has won the last four meetings.

Falcons’ last season: 12-18 overall; 6-12 in the Mountain West Conference (10th)

Key losses: The only significant loss for Air Force from last season is guard Tre’ Coggins, who averaged 16 points per game (transferred to Cal-State Fullerton)

Players to watch: Had Coggins returned, the Falcons would have returned all five starters from last season. As it is, Air Force has four senior starters in the lineup, led by guard Max Yon, who is averaging 17.5 points in the first four games. Forward Kamryn Williams is averaging 11.7 ppg., and leads the team in rebounding.

This season … Air Force lost its opener, a road game against Army, but has since rattled off three straight victories. The wins, over the Citadel, Colorado Christian, and Western State, are not exactly RPI enhancing wins, but wins nonetheless.

Need to Know … Bombs away! The Falcons like to launch three-pointers, and have been making a living at it this November. Against Western State, the Falcons hit 71.4% of their three-point attempts, making 15 of 21 attempts. The 71.4% mark was the third-best in school history, and the 15 total long-range baskets was just three off the school record. And then there is this … you can’t just guard one player on the perimeter. Ten different players made a three-pointer, and the Falcons had 30 assists on 31 baskets.

So Air Force will be a tough test of discipline for the Buffs, who are looking to bounce back from an awful performance against Wyoming. Air Force will be patient and move the ball around. Colorado will have to play sound perimeter defense, and utilize their height advantage on the inside (no Falcon starter is over 6’8″). If Josh Scott is dominating in the paint, and the Buffs cool down the Falcons’ hot shooting from distance, they should come away with a win.

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CU women facing DU on the road Tuesday night

From cubuffs.com

THE GAME: The University of Colorado takes to the road for the first time this season as the Buffaloes visit the University of Denver on Tuesday, Nov. 25, at 7 p.m. at Magness Arena.

BROADCAST: Tuesday’s game will be televised live on ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain. Marc Stout will have the call and Greg Lackey will provide the color commentary. Tuesday’s game will also air live on KKZN 760 AM. Cory Lopez will have the call with Carol Callan of USA Basketball providing the color commentary.

OPENING TIP: Colorado has allowed its first three opponents a total of five 3-point field goals on 49 attempts for a Pac-12 Conference best 10.2 percent.

ABOUT THE PIONEERS: Denver has dropped its first two games of the season. The Pioneers fell in their home opener against Hawai’i, 60-58, on Nov. 16, and then were routed at Wyoming, 82-41, on Nov. 21. Denver is averaging just under 50 points per game hitting on 31 percent from the field. Defensively, Denver has allowed 71 points per game, although allowing a modest 37 percent from the field. The Pioneers have struggled on the boards, as their opponents have enjoyed a 15 rebound per game advantage.

Denver has been balanced in scoring with six players between six and 10 points per game. Junior guard Paige Bradley is averaging 9.0 points and 4.5 rebounds an outing. Sophomore forward Jesse Spittel scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds in her season debut against Wyoming. Senior guard Jordan Johnston is averaging 6.5 points and 4.0 rebounds.

Kerry Cremeans is in her third year as head coach at Denver with a record of 23-42.

THE SERIES: This will be the 10th meeting between Colorado and Denver with the Buffaloes holding a 7-2 edge. The Buffaloes have won the last three including an 83-61 decision in Boulder on Dec. 12, 2013. Denver’s last win in the series came at Magness in a 70-69 nail-biter on Nov. 16, 2010. The series at Denver is tied 2-2.

Colorado and Denver are meeting for the sixth straight season.

Linda Lappe is 3-1 against Denver as a head coach. Kerry Cremeans is 0-2 against Colorado as a head coach.

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November 22nd

... CU in the Arena …

Buffs held to nine second half points in 56-33 rout by Wyoming

“First of all, my hats goes off to Wyoming tonight. It wasn’t even close. It was an old-fashion butt whipping.” said CU head coach Tad Boyle. “They whipped us in every conceivable way. Our guys got down because we couldn’t make a shot and it bled over to our defense. We gave up 57 percent in the second half and 52 percent for the game, while we made two shots in the second half. They were better than us tonight in every way. I can say we were bad, but Wyoming had a lot to do with that. For us to beat good teams, we are going to have to play better than we did tonight. It’s embarrassing.”

Game story from ESPN …   Josh Adams scored 14 points, including 10 in the second half, and dished out seven assists, and Wyoming continued its recent dominance at home against Colorado with a 56-33 win Saturday.

Larry Nance Jr. and Charles Hankerson Jr. added 10 points apiece for the Cowboys (3-0). Nance also had four blocks and five rebounds.

Colorado, which was close to breaking into the AP Top 25 entering the game, has not won in Laramie since 1996. Wyoming has won all four home contests since then.

The Cowboys held Colorado to a dismal 28 percent shooting from the floor. The Buffaloes (2-1) made just 12 field goals in the game.

Xavier Johnson led Colorado with 9 points, followed by Askia Booker with 8. Josh Scott, Colorado’s leading scorer, was held to just 6 points. The last time Colorado scored under 40 was March 10, 2000, in a 78-35 loss to Texas.

Wyoming held a 26-24 halftime lead but the second half was all Cowboys with Colorado making just two field goals in the half.

Adams opened the half with back-to-back 3-pointers. He scored another bucket before Colorado finally scored on a basket by Booker about 4 1/2 minutes into the half.

Wyoming built up its lead as the Buffaloes offense constantly struggled against a Cowboys defense that swarmed each shooter.

– Game Notes –

– The last time CU scored 33 points or less in a game was in 1949, a 40-31 loss to Iowa State;

– The last time CU scored fewer than ten points in a half was in 1980, a 78-45 loss to Missouri;

– The fewest field goals (12) in a game since 2000, a 78-35 loss to Texas;

– Dominique Collier made his first two shots as a Buff, a three-pointer to tie the game at 19-all, then a second three-pointer to give CU its first lead of the game, at 22-19. Over the next 30 minutes of game time, however, the entire team scored only 14 points.

CU women defeat Arkansas State in consolation round of WNIT

From cubuffs.com … Colorado used a balanced attack across the board to defeat Arkansas State 80-69 in a Preseason WNIT consolation game Saturday night at the Coors Events Center.

Sophomore Haley Smith scored a career-high 16 points to headline a Buffaloes effort that saw four players score in double-digits, four with at least seven rebounds and five with multiple assists.

Junior forward Jamee Swan matched Smith’s 16 points while filling out the box score nicely with eight rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals.

Not to be outdone, senior Jen Reese notched her second consecutive double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Lexy Kresl finished with 10 points, all in the second half.

Colorado (2-1) has plenty to work on; 20 turnovers led to 25 Arkansas State points and 33 attempts from the foul line for the Red Wolves are too much. But the ball movement in the offense was there. The taller Buffaloes succeeded early in dumping the ball to the post for some easy buckets. And when Arkansas State (1-2) began to collapse on the blocks, Colorado’s posts found open players on the outside.

“I thought all of our players understood the shot that we wanted…and they did a nice job of putting each other in position to be able to hit shots and take great shots,” head coach Linda Lappe said. “We recognized when we had a mismatch, we went at it and did a nice job of converting.  We were very balanced.”

… Colorado returns to action with its first road game of the season, Tuesday, Nov. 25, at 7 p.m. at Denver. The game will be televised by ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain.

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November 21st

… CU in the Arena …

Getting to Know: Wyoming Cowboys

Colorado at Wyoming … 4:00 p.m., MT (ESPN3 – no television except for the live stream on ESPN3)

Record: 2-0

Coach: Larry Shyatt; four years at Wyoming, 78-50

Series: Wyoming lead the series, 42-36 overall, and have a 26-11 advantage in games played in Laramie

Last season: 18-15, 9-9 in Mountain West Conference play (5th)

Key losses: The only significant loss for Wyoming from last season is Nathan Scobey, a 6’3″ guard who averaged 9.8 points and 3.4 rebounds per game

Player to watch: All you need to know about 6’8″ senior forward Larry Nance, Jr., is that he was voted to the All-Mountain West first team selection, and a member of the league’s All-Defensive team … despite not playing in the final seven of Wyoming’s 18 conference games. Back from a torn ACL, Nance is to Wyoming what Dinwiddie was to Colorado. With him, the Cowboys were third in the conference standings, and fresh off of a victory over No. 5 San Diego State. Without him, Wyoming limped to the finish, losing six of its final seven games of the season. Off to a good start against mediocre competition, Nance is averaging 17.0 points and eight rebounds the first two games this season.

This season … Wyoming, like Colorado, has opened the season with a pair of home wins. Neither of the Cowboys’ first two opponents – Northern Colorado and Western State – were real threats, and the scores (78-70 over the Bears; 61-46 over the Mountaineers) were not particularly dominant.

Need to Know … Colorado hasn’t fared well against Wyoming in basketball in its history (36-42), in games played in Laramie (11-26), and of late (0-3 in games played in Laramie since 1996). The last time the Buffs ventured north, Colorado was undefeated and the No. 19 team in the nation … and came away with a 76-69 defeat. Overall, Tad Boyle, who has a stellar 94-50 record in his four-plus years at Colorado, is 1-2 against Wyoming … 1-3 if you count a loss against the Cowboys while at UNC.

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November 20th

… CU in the Arena …

Dominique Collier may make his CU debut against Wyoming

From cubuffs.com … Freshman point guard Dominique Collier practiced with the Colorado men’s basketball team on Wednesday morning and could be available when the Buffaloes play at Wyoming on Saturday (4 p.m., ESPN3).

The highly recruited Collier – the Denver Post’s Mr. Colorado Basketball in his junior and senior seasons – missed CU’s home wins against Drexel and Auburn due to a lingering ankle injury and a two-game disciplinary suspension.

Collier said his ankle “feels better” but still requires daily treatment. He was at full speed for a full practice Wednesday morning – a welcome departure from previous weeks. “It’s been quite a while,” he said. “I’ve gone full speed but for half a practice.”

Collier, who averaged 24.3 points and 3.7 assists as a senior for Denver East, said missing the Buffs’ first two games has “been really frustrating. I’ve been trying to come back, but when I come back too soon I’m just putting pressure on (his ankle) all the time. It feels good to be back now.”

Coach Tad Boyle has been waiting for Collier’s availability and viewed Wednesday’s work as a positive sign. Boyle added, however, that the practice featured “mostly half court (work) and shooting; we didn’t go up and down much. We’ll see (Collier’s status) in full-court situations. But, yeah, he practiced, which is a good sign. Hopefully he’s without a limp . . . I hope he’s ready.”

Boyle said Collier’s availability off the bench would add depth to the CU backcourt and that, if able, Collier would be used for spot duty much as fellow freshman Tory Miller has in the first two games.

“He’ll have an opportunity to get in there and mix it up just like any freshman,” said Boyle, adding that Collier’s basketball IQ allows him to “bring that simple play mentality” and fit into the flow of the game. “He makes easy plays which are great for his teammates – and this team can use that right now. And it gives us an extra body and increases our depth.”

November 19th

… CU in the Arena …

Colorado moves up … but also down … in AP poll

In the latest Associated Press poll, Colorado moved up one spot, to No. 27 overall, up from No. 28 in the preseason poll. The thing is, the Buffs had 57 votes in the preseason poll, but only 52 votes this week.

In the USA Today poll, Colorado went from eight votes to six votes, remaining in a tie for 36th overall.

After CU’s impressive win over Auburn, if the Buffs can handle the Wyoming Cowboys in Laramie this weekend, Colorado could well be ranked in the Associated Press poll next week … but it will take some work to be ranked in the coaches’ poll.

Other Pac-12 teams in the Associated Press poll:

– Arizona – No. 2, same as in the preseason poll

– Utah – No. 25, same as in the preseason poll

– Stanford – No. 26, same as in the preseason poll

– UCLA – No. 29, same as in the preseason poll

The full Week Two Associated Press poll:

1Kentucky (49)2-01,574
2Arizona (4)2-01,491
3Wisconsin (7)2-01,475
4Duke (4)2-01,422
5Kansas1-01,306
6North Carolina2-01,254
7Louisville1-01,130
8Florida1-01,127
9Virginia2-01,065
10Texas2-01,061
11Wichita St1-01,002
12Villanova1-0858
13Gonzaga1-0841
14Iowa State1-0746
15Virginia Commonwealth1-0654
16San Diego St1-0564
17Connecticut1-0525
18Oklahoma1-0466
19Michigan St1-0443
20Ohio State1-0361
21Nebraska1-0298
22SMU1-0290
23Syracuse2-0190
24Michigan1-0177
25Utah1-0118

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November 18th

… CU in the Arena …

Josh Scott nominated for John Wooden Award, just the fourth Buff ever to be nominated

From cubuffs.com … The John R. Wooden Award, created in 1976, is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball. Those who receive the award are among the nation’s best student-athletes and must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA to prove that they are on the path towards graduation. Past recipients of the award include Larry Bird (1979), Michael Jordan (1984), Kevin Durant (2009) and Doug McDermott (2014).

In early January, the Wooden Award National Advisory Board will select 25 players for the midseason list. That number will be narrowed to 15 in early February and the award winner will be announced the week of the “Elite Eight” round of the NCAA Tournament.

To date, only three other Colorado athletes have been nominated for the John R. Wooden Award.  Alec Burks received a nomination during the 2010-11 season and made it as a Top 20 finalist. During the 2012-13 season, Andre Roberson was also honored with a Top 50 mention, as was, Chauncey Billups, a candidate in 1995-96.

Six other athletes from Pac-12 schools were included in the Top 50 nominations for the 2014-15 season (Arizona: Brandon Ashley, Stanley Johnson, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson; Stanford: Chasson Randle; Utah: Delon Wright; Oregon: Joseph Young).

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Buffs use 24-0 run in second half to blow out Auburn, 90-59 … Boyle: “The MVP tonight was our fans”

Perhaps it was because of the late hour … after 2:00 a.m., eastern time.

Perhaps it was because of the altitude … the Tigers from the Plains of Alabama had never before played at the Coors Events Center.

Whatever the reason why, it came – a 24-0 second half run – shortly after Monday turned into Tuesday, turning a close game into a rout, as the CU men’s basketball team posted a 90-59 rout over visiting Auburn.

Game story from cubuffs.com … When the clock struck midnight at the Coors Events Center, Auburn was still in the game. A bizarre hour later, the Tigers weren’t close. Say good night, good morning or goodbye.

A 24-0 run midway through Tuesday morning’s second half carried the Colorado Buffaloes to a convincing 90-59 victory in the wee hours of ESPN’s Tip-off Marathon.

Buffs coach Tad Boyle had implored CU students to turn out for the 11 p.m. tip. They listened and they were heard. Turning out en masse, they rocked the Events Center on an uncommon night/early morning of college hoops.

Boyle called CU’s students and fans — together they numbered 9,834 — “the MVP of the night . . . they were great, the energy in the building was terrific.”

It was a strange game. The first half was played on Monday, the second on Tuesday – but CU owned them both. “It was a good night for the Buffs,” Boyle said. “We played hard, smart and together.”

CU enters every game with offensive and defensive goals – “And we hit all of them tonight,” Boyle said. “When we do that, the score takes care of itself.”

The Buffs (2-0) limited the Tigers (1-1) to 18.2 percent shooting from the field in the second half and 29 percent (20-of-69) for the game. They won the rebound battle with ease – 46-31. They shot 58.5 percent (31-of-53), collaborated for 15 assists and committed just 12 turnovers.

Well-traveled Auburn coach Bruce Pearl called CU “a terrific team . . . they’re an NCAA Tournament team and we’re not there yet.”

CU got double-figure scoring from its three starting frontcourt players – Josh Scott (17), Xavier Johnson (17) and Wesley Gordon (16), with Gordon’s dozen rebounds giving him his second career double-double.

“We had some great performances,” Boyle said, with the 6-9 Gordon the first name mentioned and calling him “really good.”

“If you get Josh Scott and Wesley Gordon playing like that, you might have one of the best two big-man combos in the country,” said senior guard Askia Booker, who ignited the Buffs’ massive run with an improbable 3-pointer.

Ahead only 49-45 but threatening to pull away, Booker put teeth in the threat with seven consecutive points that pushed CU’s lead to 60-46 and all but closed out the visitors from the SEC.

 

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November 17th

… CU in the Arena … 

CU women fall in overtime in quarterfinals of the WNIT

The 79-78 overtime loss to Western Kentucky in the quarterfinals of the WNIT can be summed up in one word:

Fouls.

A total of 64 fouls were called in the game, with 34 of them going against the Buffs. Four CU players – Jamee Swan, Haley Smith, Zoe Beard-Falls, and Bri Watts – all fouled out during the game, together with three Lady Toppers.

The other glaring statistic working against the Buffs came in offensive rebounds, as in 25 offensive rebounds for Western Kentucky. The Lady Toppers had 10 of those in the first half (to three for Colorado), taking a 36-35 lead into halftime. The Buffs were also hurt by 13 first half turnovers, but were kept in the game when Western Kentucky could hit only two-of-16 from three-point range.

Western Kentucky came out hot to start the second half, building a nine point lead, at 48-39, with 14 minutes to play. The Buffs slowly chipped away at the deficit, tying the game at 53-all with eight minutes to play.

The Buffs tied their largest advantage of the game – four points – with a 67-63 lead with 1:42 to play. The Lady Toppers scored the next five points, however, and it took a Jen Reese free throw with 18 seconds remaining to tie the game at 68-all. Reese, though, missed the second free throw, and the Buffs survived a missed jumper at the buzzer, sending the game into overtime.

Colorado scored the first three points of overtime, taking a 71-68 advantage. Western Kentucky, though, went on a 9-1 run to make it a 77-72 game with only 38 seconds remaining. Jen Reese made a three-pointer and a three-point play late to make it interesting, but Western Kentucky got the two free throws it needed to secure a 79-78 win.

The Buffs were led by Reese, who had 24 points and 11 rebounds. Lexi Kresl added 20 points, and Jasmine Sborov chipped in 11 rebounds, but the efforts were not enough to overcome the 34 fouls and 24 turnovers.

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Auburn guard “doubtful” for game against Colorado

From the Montgomery Advertiser … The first road trip of the season presents a number of challenges for Auburn and another one may be added.

Guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen may not be able to play after suffering a separated shoulder in Auburn’s season-opening win over Milwaukee on Friday.

Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said Shamsid-Deen is “doubtful” to play against Colorado when the Tigers and Buffaloes get under way at midnight CT Tuesday.

Shamsid-Deen scored just two points and had one assist and one steal in a career-low 15 minutes, after injuring his right shoulder with 14:51 to go against Milwaukee. He started all 30 games as a true freshman last season.

Graduate transfer K.C. Ross-Miller, who had 13 points off the bench on Friday, will likely start in place of Shamsid-Deen.

Bruce Pearl on Buffs: “We love to run, they love to run”

From Inside the Auburn Tigers …  “It’s going to be a great challenge playing against a Top 25 program and a team that is really well coached by Tad Boyle,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. “I personally have been a big fan of his for many years.

“We go out there and we may be short-handed with Tahj (Shamsid-Deen) battling the shoulder (injury) and Antoine (Mason) battling the ankle (sprain),” Pearl said. “Colorado’s size will be a factor. We love to run, they love to run.”

Pearl on why he agreed to play a strong opponent on the road, at midnight, at high altitude for his first road game of the season:

“For me to be a part of ESPN’s 24 hours of college basketball, there are a couple of things. First of all, I’m sure when ESPN called a lot schools and said, ‘Do you want to go to Colorado and play at one o’clock in the morning Eastern Time?’ they didn’t get a lot of bite. But the big picture, I want our basketball program part of ESPN’s marathon. I want our basketball program to eventually become a part of some of the better holiday tournaments. You have to start somewhere. And the fact that we get Colorado to come back is a real treat for our fans because they are such a good team”.

—–

 

November 16th

… CU in the Arena …

Getting to Know: Auburn Tigers

Colorado vs. Auburn … 11:00 p.m., MT (ESPN2 – the late tipoff is due to the game being a part of the ESPN Tip-Off 24 hours of basketball marathon)

2014 Record: 1-0, defeated Milwaukee, 83-73, in Friday’s opener

Coach: Bruce Pearl … First season at Auburn; overall record 462-145, 19 yards

Series: Colorado leads 1-0, posting a 78-72 overtime win on November 29, 1996, in the first round of the Big Island Invitational in Hilo, Hawai’i.

Last season: 14-16 overall; 6-12 (12th) in Southeastern Conference

Bruce Pearl teams like to run and to press. Against Milwaukee in the season opener, the Tigers found themselves down at home, 55-43, with 11 minutes to go. A relentless press, though, produced nine points in 74 seconds to make it a game, with Auburn going on to put together a 19-2 run to take the lead and the game. So … Colorado, which had 14 turnovers in the opener against Drexel, had better take good care of the ball.

The Tigers are also proficient at the three-pointer, making half  (7-of-14) against Milwaukee. Drexel had plenty of opportunities to connect on threes against Colorado, but made only 7-of-29 attempts. If the Dragons had been successful half the time last Friday night …

Key losses: The biggest loss for Auburn from last season is guard Chris Denson, who averaged 19.1 points and 4.3 assists per game. Two other players, who between them averaged 13 points and 11.4 rebounds per game, have to be replaced.

Players to watch: Auburn remains a work in progress, with Pearl amassing a collection of new recruits and transfers to supplement an otherwise weak lineup. In the opener against Milwaukee, four starters played 28 minutes or more (by contrast, only Josh Scott, with 29 minutes, had more than 28 minutes for the Buffs in their opener against Drexel). Senior guard K.T. Harrell, who averaged 18.3 points per game last season, had 20 against Milwaukee to lead the Tigers. Antoine Mason, a transfer guard from Niagara – and the nation’s leading returning scorer – had 19 against the Panthers. On the inside, 6’7″ (and 280-pound) forward Cinmeon Bowers, another transfer, had a double-double in the opener, with 18 points and 17 rebounds.

Need to Know … Bruce Pearl, the flamboyant coach who was forced out at Tennessee due to recruiting violations, has been successful wherever he has coached. Pearl has taken 17 of the 19 teams he has coached to the NCAA tournament, and he is not looking at Auburn as a rebuilding project. “I’m not asking you to be patient,” he told Auburn alumni this past summer. “We’ve been patient long enough”.

In his first season at Tennessee, Pearl took a team which finished 14-17 the year before … and turned it into a 22-8 NCAA tournament team.

——-

 

—-

 

CU women take down North Dakota in first round of WNIT

From cubuffs.com … If survive and advance is the mantra used in the postseason, survive and learn could be appropriate for the opener.

Colorado overcame a sluggish start and with a strong second half prevailed 68-59 over North Dakota in the first round of Preseason WNIT Saturday at the Coors Events Center.

Senior forward Jen Reese scored a game-high 21 points and junior front-court mate Jamee Swan pitched in 16 as Colorado remained perfect all-time in season openers at home (28-0)

The win sets up a quarterfinal game with Western Kentucky on Monday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m. at the Coors Events Center. WKU coasted to a 93-57 home win over Central Arkansas on Friday.

“It’s going to be a great win for us when the end of the season comes around because they’re going to win a lot of games,” head coach Linda Lappe said. “You can see why; they don’t’ back down, they play hard, they’re physical, they’ve got a great inside game, they get a lot of easy shots, and they do a tremendous job on the boards. We’re happy to be moving on.”

Colorado entered the game knowing the key was to stop 6-5 senior post Emily Evers who averaged 19 points and 13 rebounds in two exhibitions. As advertised, Evers posted her numbers, finishing with 21 points and 18 rebounds, but the Buffaloes made her work. Evers nine field goals came on 22 attempts.

—–

November 15th

… CU in the Arena …

Post-game quotes from Tad Boyle

From cubuffs.comIn general … “Any win is a good win, and that was a good win. I looked around the country, and see who is playing who on opening night. I told Bruiser (Flint) before the game that I need to have my head examined for opening the year with Drexel. They’re a real team, tough team, athletic team and a good rebounding team. I thought our guys really battled and competed. There are some really good things that we can take from this, but like any opener, there are some things we can improve upon and learn from, and that’s what we’re going to do, is move forward.”

On holding three players out of the starting lineup … “The starting lineup was a little unusual, but I was really proud of how those kids responded. We’re cleaning up some disciplinary things. Dom Collier is out, and he’ll be out for the Auburn game for internal reasons regardless of the status of his ankle. XJ [Xavier Johnson] and Wes [Gordon] didn’t start for internal reasons. Ski [Askia Booker] didn’t start, not because of any disciplinary things, but he’s been a little bumped up in practice. He hadn’t practiced for the last week really until yesterday. Different reasons for that lineup, but we’re cleaning that stuff up and getting it behind us. Again, I can’t really tell a difference between our first-team and second-team in practice, and tonight you can make an argument that the guys that started did a better job than the guys that came in. We have some guys that can play better than they did tonight, but the strength of this team is its depth. Josh just said it, and he’s exactly right. I was proud of TreShaun Fletcher, Jaron Hopkins and Dustin Thomas stepping up.” 

– Game Notes –

– Fifth straight win in a home opener under Tad Boyle;

– Fewest points allowed in a home opener since 1949-50 season;

– The official attendance was 10,058, just shy of the home-opener record of 10,611 (vs. Wofford, 2012)

– CU has now posted 19 consecutive home wins against non-conference opponents, the third longest streak in CU history;

– Buffs are 61-9 at CEC under Tad Boyle;

– Streak with at least one three-pointer made has reached 400 games;

Askia Booker’s streak of consecutive games started ended at 68 games;

Tre’Shaun Fletcher, meanwhile, earned his first career start. For Dustin Thomas it was career start No. 7; and No. 10 for Jaron Hopkins;

Josh Scott posted career double-double No. 16 (13th on the CU all-time list);

– The first-ever game against Drexel; CU raised overall record against Colonial Athletic Association teams to 6-1.

Game Recap

November 14th – Boulder           Colorado 65, Drexel 48

Josh Scott tied a career-high with 21 points, leading Colorado to a 65-48 win over Drexel. Scott also posted 11 rebounds for his 16th career double-double, adding his second career three-pointer as the Buffs overcame some sloppy play to pull away from the Dragons. Wesley Gordon added nine points and four rebounds for the Buffs, with Xavier Talton and Xavier Johnson added eight apiece.. Tavon Allen led Drexel with 16 points.

The Buffs outrebounded the Dragons 43-34 after trailing in that department at halftime. CU finished the game shooting 42.3 percent from the field (22-of-52), while holding Drexel to 29.1 percent (16-of-55). Mostly  behind the 6-10 Scott, CU outscored the visitors 32-16 in the paint and 12-7 in fast break points.

The first surprise for Buff fans for the 2014-15 season came before tipoff. Askia Booker, Wesley Gordon and Xavier Johnson, fixtures in the starting lineup in 2013-14, were held out at the start. After the game, Tad Boyle indicated that Askia Booker, who missed the starting after 68 consecutive starts, had been sick most of the week, and had practiced only once. Gordon and Johnson, meanwhile, were held out for disciplinary reasons.

The starting five for Colorado in the 2014-15 season opener was Xavier Talton, Tre’Shaun Fletcher, Dustin Thomas, Jaron Hopkins and Josh Scott.

A dunk by Josh Scott a minute into the game officially opened the season, with a three-pointer by Xavier Talton giving the Buffs an early 5-0 lead. After a three-pointer by Drexel made it a 5-3 game, a pair of baskets by Josh Scott sandwiched around a breakaway dunk for Talton made it 11-3.

After the first timeout of the game, Askia Booker and Xavier Johnson found their way onto the court. Booker made one of his first two free throws of the season, raising the lead to 12-3 six minutes into the game. After Eli Stalzer turned the ball over in consecutive possessions, the Dragons finally got their second basket of the game, making them 2-for-12 at the under 12 minute media timeout.

Eli Stalzer’s third turnover in as many minutes was followed by a three-pointer by Drexel star Damion Lee, pulling the Dragons to within four, at 12-8. A pair of free throws by Xavier Johnson pushed the score to 14-8, with Josh Scott getting a dunk at the other end to push the lead out to 16-8. Drexel’s third three-pointer of the half allowed the Dragons to hang around, at 16-11 at the under eight timeout.

A pair of free throws for Drexel cut the lead to three, at 16-13, with Dustin Thomas then hitting one of two free throws on the other end. Damion Lee then hit a three-pointer, followed by a three from Xavier Johnson, pushing the lead back to four, at 20-16. A block of a Josh Scott shot led to a breakaway basket for the Dragons, and, with less than seven minutes to go before the half, it was 20-18. Josh Scott next hit a pair of free throws before being replaced on the floor by Tory Miller. The freshman then scored his first CU basket on a dunk, making it a 24-18 game.

Drexel’s fifth three-pointer of the first half was then offset by Xavier Johnson’s second three-pointer. A Drexel free throw, followed by the Dragons’ sixth three-pointer, made it a 27-25 game at the under four timeout. Drexel missed another three point opportunity – which would have given the Dragons their first lead of the game – before Wesley Gordon converted a traditional three-point play to get the lead back up to five, at 30-25. The next possessions had similar results, with Drexel missing a three pointer, and Gordon making a pair of free throws at the other end.

The Buff lead of seven, at 32-25, didn’t hold up for long, with a basket and a pair of free throws getting the Dragons back to within three, at 32-29. A three-point attempt which would have tied the game for Drexel was missed, with Josh Scott making one of two free throws on the other end. Both teams missed opportunities in the final minute, with Colorado finishing the first half without a basket in the final 3:34.

Halftime score: Colorado 33, Drexel 29

Other than Josh Scott, who had 11 points and seven rebounds at the break, it was a rough first half for the Buffs. Meanwhile, after missing their first six shots, and 11 of their first 12, the Dragons played better throughout the half. Drexel finished the first twenty minutes with six three pointers, and out-rebounded the Buffs, 20-19.

The Buffs opened the second half scoring with a scoop shot by Jaron Hopkins, but that was offset by a basket by the Dragons. Tre’Shaun Fletcher then got his first basket of the game to make it 37-31 game. A three point play by Xavier Talton gave the Buffs a nine point lead, at 40-31. A basket by Drexel’s Lee on one end was followed by a jumper by Josh Scott, with a transition basket by Fletcher giving CU its first double digit lead of the game, at 44-33.

A basket by Lee gave him 12 points, cutting the lead back to nine. While Colorado kept committing offensive fouls and turnover on its end, Drexel hung around. A hook shot by the Dragons made it 44-37 before Askia Booker, who had missed his first five shots of the game, converted a three point play to make it a ten point game again, at 47-37. Booker got one more free throw before a lane violation gave the ball back to the Dragons at the under 12 break.

A pair of free throws for Drexel was then followed by a three point play by Scott, giving CU a 51-39 lead. A floater by Booker pushed the lead out to 14 points at the midway point of the second half, with a pair of free throws by Drexel matched by a basket by Wesley Gordon. The Dragons’ first three-pointer of the second half cut the lead to 11, at 55-44, at the under eight timeout.

Wesley Gordon hit a pair of free throws before Josh Scott pushed his total to 18, making it a 59-44 game at the seven minute mark. The dagger was then hit by Josh Scott. One for three in his career from three-point range in his career, Scott made it one-for-one in 2014-15. Timeout, Drexel, at 62-44, with six minutes to play. With both teams substituting liberally, neither team was able to score again before the under four media break.

A layup by Drexel at the two minute mark represented the Dragons’ first basket in six minutes, making it 62-46, with a free throw and a put back dunk by Tory Miller being the Buffs’ only points in the final four minutes.

Final score: Colorado 65, Drexel 48

 

——

 

Buffs looking for a defensive stopper

From B.G. Brooks at cubuffs.com … A Colorado men’s basketball season brimming with promise opens Friday night. And what coach Tad Boyle wants as much as anything else is a promise, a pledge, a commitment from at least one of his Buffs.

By the time the Pac-12 Conference schedule begins in January, Boyle is hoping that someone – or better yet, two someones – has taken a purposeful stride to the forefront and said, “I’m your lock-down perimeter defender . . . put me on ________ (fill in the blank with a top Pac-12 scorer).”

For now, though, the sound of silence is deafening for Boyle. There have been no thundering footsteps from any player stepping forward to be the Buffs’ shut-off switch. Where’s that guy with the required “want to?”

Finding him wasn’t a problem for Boyle in seasons past; players such as Cory Higgins, Andre Roberson and Spencer Dinwiddie relished the role and said so. And Boyle was delighted.

“But (now) we don’t have anybody on the perimeter who has stepped up, anybody I could consider a defensive stopper,” he said. “And until we get that, there’s going to be nights when we say, ‘Who do we put on the best perimeter player?’

“Right now I don’t know who that is. I don’t have it answered yet. I’ll give somebody a shot, but who’s going to get it done?”

I asked him if he had likely candidates, and he answered, “Multiple . . . (Askia) Booker could be the best on-ball defender in the Pac-12, but he’s not.”

Then Boyle walked through his short list: “Jaron Hopkins — but he’s not. Xavier Johnson – but he’s not . . . there are multiple guys who have that ability. The closest guy is maybe Xavier Talton, but he’s challenged size-wise against big guards. We’re going to have to have somebody step up and take that challenge, take that ownership.”

If no new ownership of that role surfaces for the 2014-15 Buffs, then this team, lamented Boyle, will “have a mediocre year, we’ll win some games, lose some games . . .”

… more on tonight’s game at cubuffs.com

—–

November 13th

… CU in the Arena …

Getting to Know: Drexel Dragons

Colorado vs. Drexel … 6:00 p.m., MT (Pac-12 Networks)

2014 Record: First game

Coach: Bruiser Flint – At Drexel (13 years – 228-173)

Last season: 16-14, 8-8 in the Colonial Athletic Association.

The mediocre overall record is somewhat misleading, as the Dragons lost a key player early (see below).

All you need to know about Drexel is that last November, the Dragons played a pair of Pac-12 teams tough.

In the season opener, the Dragons from Philadelphia traveled to Los Angeles to play No. 22 UCLA. The Bruins, in their debut under Steve Alford, were up only one point with two minutes to play before escaping with a hard-fought 72-67 win.

In the preseason NIT a few weeks later, Drexel was ahead of No. 4 Arizona, 27-8, with seven minutes to play in the first half. The Dragons led, 29-20, at the half, and only a huge run by the Wildcats allowed Arizona to escape with a 66-62 victory in a game played in Madison Square Garden.

Key losses: Last season’s high-scoring backcourt, Chris Fouch and Frantz Massenat (5th and 6th, respectively, on Drexel’s all-time scoring list) are gone. One of the players being counted on to replace the high-scoring pair was Major Canady. The sophomore guard, however, suffered an injury to his right ankle last week, which will require surgery. Another player missing is forward Kazembe Abif, who tore his ACL last spring. Combined, Canady and Abif started 26 games last season, with Canady starting 14 of the last 15 games.

Players to watch: Damion Lee, a 6’6, 195-pound junior is the most likely post-season honors candidate for Drexel. Lee went down with a torn ACL last November, hampering the Dragons’ chances at competing for a CAA title. In 2012-13, however, Lee averaged 17.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game, and will be counted on to be a significant producer this season. Tavon Allen (11.7 ppg.), a 6’7″ junior forward, is not only a scorer, but is the leading returning assist man for the Dragons. The unknowns are two freshmen guards, Rashann London and Sammy Mojica, who will be seeing more playing time now that Canady has been lost for the season.

Need to Know … Anyone assuming that Tad Boyle scheduled an easy opener need look no farther than the recaps of the UCLA and Arizona games from last November. Colorado played a combined five games against Arizona and UCLA last season, and lost all five by double digits. Not only did Drexel hang with both UCLA and Arizona, they had a chance to beat both teams late.

That being said, this is not the same team as Drexel put on the floor last November. Two top guards and gone, and the player being counted upon to pick up the slack went down with a season-ending injury last week. Drexel traveled to China this past summer, which will help the Dragons in terms of team unity, and it also gave coach Flint the opportunity to see how his team plays without Fouch and Massenat in the lineup.

Based upon Drexel’s play in Pauley Pavilion and Madison Square Garden last November suggests that the Dragons will not be intimidated by the Coors Events Center. The Buffs have too much fire power for Drexel to pull off an upset, but this game may be closer than expected.

——-

 

November 12th

… CU in the Arena …

CU women sign four – Class ranked No. 23 in the nation

(Note … Due to the nature of CU’s current roster (i.e., full, with Askia Booker the only scholarship senior), the CU men’s team is not expected to sign any new recruits during the early signing period)

From cubuffs.com … Four standout prep stars – Monica Burich, Makenzie Ellis, Kennedy Leonard and Alexis Robinson have signed National Letters of Intent to continue their education and play basketball at the University of Colorado in 2015-16, head coach Linda Lappe announced Wednesday, the first day of the NCAA early signing period.

“This is a very dynamic, highly recruited class,” Lappe said. “When people see this class, they will see four individuals that have high character, are good students, competitors, winners, and are very skilled basketball players who also increase our overall athleticism and quickness.”

Early returns have this class ranked as the 23rd best in the nation according to ProspectNation.com. The quartet spans four states, showing once again Colorado’s national reach in recruiting. The Buffaloes pulled two players from Big 12 country, one from the Southeast and another from a Big Ten stronghold. Additionally, the class nicely fills anticipated needs – two quick, dynamic guards and a pair of forwards who can play both inside and out.

But what may stand out the most is the chemistry that has already started to develop between the four members of this class. Leonard and Ellis, despite living in different states, play for the same Cy Fair club program out of Dallas. All four played with teams at the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League.

“The first time I came to Colorado we had a chance to hang out and then after that we had tournaments together where we got to chance to visit, watch each other’s teams, and became really close,” said Robinson, a member of the Kentucky Premier program.

The class has also taken advantage of technology and social media to keep up; routinely chatting via group text.

“We all have the same goal, which is to win a championship,” Leonard said. “We’re all committed and get a long really well; we have the same desire and dreams.”

Leonard is a 5-8 guard from Southlake, Texas, who has led Carroll High School to three straight district and regional championships, compiling a record of 83-19 along the way. Leonard averaged 8.4 assists per game in 2013-14, leading Texas and ranking ninth in the country. She was the 2014 District MVP, 2013 District Offensive MVP and the 2012 Newcomer of the Year. Leonard has averaged 12 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds and 3.5 steals over her first three years.

“We are so thrilled to have Kennedy on board,” Lappe said. “She was the first commitment of this Top 20 caliber class and really helped spearhead this class. Kennedy is a smooth, quick and fast point guard who sees the floor as good as anybody in the nation. Her ability to get the ball to the right player at the right time is unmatched and her unselfishness makes her very fun to play with and to watch. She also has a nice 3-point shot and can get to the rim”

Leonard is a three-time Dallas Morning News All-Area first team performer and also a member of the TABC and Morning News All-State teams. Recently, she was named to the Morning News’ Preseason All-Area Team for the upcoming season. She is ranked as the 40th best player in the nation by ProspectNation.com.

“The coaching staff and everyone on the team showed they care for me more than just a basketball player but as a person too, and that really put me over the top,” Leonard said. “…and Boulder, how can you say ‘no’ to wake up to a place like that every day.”

Burich, a 6-2 forward, is a strong three-sport athlete for Roseville (Minn.) High School in the Twin Cities area. She averaged 15.5 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks as a junior, helping Roseville to a 21-7 record. Burich was first team Class AAAA All-State selection by the Minnesota Girls Basketball Coaches Association. A two-time all-conference selection, Burich has led the Raiders in blocks and steals the last three years, and added rebounds and assists to that resume as a junior.

“Skilled, Versatile, Winner are three words that accurately describe Monica,” Lappe said. “She is a three sport athlete and has won at every level. She is the type of player that others gravitate to because of her positive nature and uplifting spirit. She has a very high basketball IQ and has excelled at playing all five positions on the floor at the highest level. When Monica can solely focus on basketball, we feel the sky will be the limit.”

Burich just wrapped up an outstanding volleyball season. The St. Paul Pioneer Press Volleyball Player of the Year, Burich led the Raiders to a 26-6 record and fourth place finish at the Minnesota Class AAA State Tournament. She also competes in track and field.

“I loved the campus and it just had the right feel for me,” Burich said. “I didn’t have any particular criteria (for choosing a school) but Colorado feels like the right fit.

“I take pride in trying to shut down the other team’s best player; being aggressive in rebounding and creating plays. I have to work on my scoring mentality; sometimes I have the mentality of just getting other people open. But I’ll be working on that (mentality).”

Ellis, a 6-2 forward from Tulsa, Okla., averaged 12.2 points and 6.6 rebounds as a junior, guiding Booker T. Washington High School to a 22-5 record. She earned honorable mention to the Tulsa World’s All-State team – which spans all classifications – as the Hornets fell just one game short of the 2014 state tournament.

“Makenzie is a tough, hard-nosed player who will do whatever is asked of her on the floor,” Lappe said. “She is a good 3-point shooter but is also great around the basket. She is an unselfish leader who has the ability to rally the troops and can play multiple positions on the floor. She has a great attitude and we think of her as the glue that will really help bond this class with each other and with our team.

Ellis was the lone sophomore starter on Booker T. Washington’s 2013 Class 6A State Championship team. She earned All-State Tournament first team honors as well as regular season MVP awards for the Jenks Invitational, Lady Jag Classic and Super 5. She’s ranked as the 98th best player in the country by ESPN HoopGurlz, and 15th at her position.

“I really enjoyed the (Colorado team & staff) and they are all amazing people,” Ellis said. “It really feels like a family and they want to see you succeed. I knew that if I came here, that everyone would have my back and it feels like where I was meant to be.”

Robinson, a 5-10 guard from Ashland, Ky., has led Ashland Blazer High School to the last three Kentucky state tournaments, highlighted by a semifinals appearance in 2014. She is the only player in the state to be named MVP of her district tournament the past three years. Robinson is a two-time Area Player of the Year and a member of the Lexington Herald Leader All-State team.

“Alexis will be a great asset to our team and program,” Lappe said. “The intensity at which she plays is contagious. She is a super quick and athletic combo guard who can really defend, has a tremendous mid-range game, and is a true triple threat player. She is extremely skilled, a very hard worker, and one of the most competitive players I’ve ever recruited. ”

Robinson is a candidate for Kentucky’s Miss Basketball Award this season. She enters her senior campaign already the Kittens’ all-time leader in steals with 242 and on pace to challenge team marks for points, rebounds, assists and blocks. Rated by ESPN HoopGurlz as the 91st best player in the nation, and 21st guard, Robinson’s career numbers are 1,384 points, 669 rebounds, 504 assists and 170 blocks.

“I fell in love with the environment,” Robinson said. “I like the coaches and we really connected well. I like coach Lappe’s style; the energy she brings to practice. She likes to get out there with the girls, sometimes doing drills along with them.”

A huge part of recruiting is finding the right players that fit with who you have on your current team but also fit together as a class,” Lappe said. “We couldn’t be happier with how well they complement each other and our team. This class believes in Colorado and will help transform our program moving forward. They have all played against the best players and teams in the nation and know what it takes to be successful.”

… Pac-12 school recruiting rankings, according to prospectsnation.com:

– No. 12 – California

– No. 16 – UCLA

– No. 19 – Stanford

– No. 23 – Colorado – top recruit … Kennedy Leonard, the No. 40 player nationally; three of four of CU’s recruits are in the Elite 150

– No. 25 – Oregon State

—–

 

November 11th

… CU in the Arena …

Some fun facts – CU under Tad Boyle

Looking through Colorado men’s basketball statistics is more fun these days than through the football numbers. Just as Sefo Liufau and Nelson Spruce have been re-writing the CU record books on a weekly basis this fall, the Tad Boyle era has been a series of new (and positive) records for the University of Colorado:

– The Buffs have won 18 straight non-conference home games, the 18th-longest streak in the nation. Only Oregon, with 24 straight, has a longer home court non-conference winning streak amongst the Pac-12 schools (the longest in the nation is Duke, which has won 109 straight. A distant second is Syracuse, at 51 in a row). The 18 straight won by the Buffs is the third-longest such streak in school history (35 between 1976-81; 27 between 2008-11);

– Colorado enters its season opener against Drexel (6:00 p.m., Friday, Pac-12 Networks) looking for the fifth straight home opening win under Tad Boyle. The Buffs to date are 3-1 overall in season openers under Boyle, having lost on the road to No. 25 Baylor in last season’s first game (the Buffs went on to win their next ten non-conference games, before falling to No. 7 Oklahoma State in Las Vegas in December);

– Colorado returns four starters from last season, guard Askia Booker, forward Xavier Johnson, forward Wesley Gordon, and forward/center Josh Scott. Only one other Pac-12 school, Utah, returns four starters (three schools – Oregon; UCLA; and USC – return only one);

– The record crowd for a home opener came against Wofford in 2009, with 10,611 in attendance. That record might be broken this Friday;

– In 113 years of basketball, Colorado has played a total of eight seasons with 20 or more wins … half of them in the first four years under Tad Boyle;

– The Buffs are 13-7 in post-season games under Tad Boyle (9-3 conference; 3-1 NIT; 1-3 NCAA). Boyle is the only CU coach with a career mark (.650) over .500 in CU history, and already has five more post-season victories than any CU coach (Richardo Patton is a distant second, with eight wins … to go with 18 losses);

– Colorado is the only Pac-12 team to earn an NCAA berth in each of the past three seasons;

– The Buffs are 60-9 at home overall over the past five seasons. The .870 winning percentage is 18th nationally, with only Arizona (.926) higher in the Pac-12;

– For the second year in a row, Colorado has sold out its season ticket allotment. In the Pac-12, only Arizona can also claim this achievement;

– For the third straight year, Colorado has four former players in the NBA (Burks, Copeland, Dinwiddie, Roberson … with Dinwiddie replacing the retired Chauncey Billups as the fourth NBA Buff this season);

– Colorado has a total of six players on the roster who are from the state of Colorado, the most since 1978-79. Included on that list are three starters – Gordon, Scott, and Xavier Talton. The others are Brent Brady, Dominique Collier, and Josh Repine.

– All 13 seniors who have played for Tad Boyle have graduated.

 

—–

USA Today projects CU as a No. 5 seed in its preseason bracketology

In its Preseason Field of 68, USA Today has projected Colorado to be a No. 5 seed. If the projections (which can be found in their entirety here) prove true, Colorado would face the winner of a play-in game between two No. 12 seeds, Florida State. If the Buffs were to win that game, they would likely then face No. 4 seed UConn, with a game against No. 1 seed Wisconsin to follow.

Other Pac-12 teams seeded by the USA Today … Arizona, No. 1 seed; Stanford, No. 7 seed; UCLA, No. 8 seed; and Utah, No. 8 seed.

USA Today, in its countdown of the 68 team field, has Colorado as its No. 18 team nationally, having this to say about the Buffs:

“The season-ending knee injury of star player Spencer Dinwiddie might’ve been a blessing in disguise for this year’s group. Dinwiddie’s moved on to play professionally, while Colorado has all the experience and talent left to be a top 25 team for most of the year. Askia Booker’s one of the best guards in the country, while Josh Scott is an underrated big man. Among the teams chasing Arizona in the Pac-12, Colorado’s prospectus looks the best”.

 

—-

November 9th

… CU in the Arena …

What others are saying about Colorado

Athlon Sports

– Pac-12 prediction … 2nd, behind Arizona

– National ranking … No. 17 … Pac-12: Arizona No. 3; Stanford No. 21

– Field of 68 … CU a No. 5 seed; falling in the round of 32 … Pac-12: Arizona, Final Four; Stanford, No. 6 seed; UCLA, No. 7 seed; Utah, No. 7 seed

– All Pac-12 team … Josh Scott, first team … Askia Booker, second team

Analysis … “The Buffs advanced to their third consecutive NCAA tournament and fourth consecutive post-season – but the season felt like it ended in January … For the second consecutive season, CU will have legitimate goals of contending for a Pac-12 title and advancing to the second week of the NCAA tournament. That’s the next big step for a program which has significantly raised the expectations of its fan base since Tad Boyle was hired.

“The Buffaloes have the talent and depth to compete for a Pac-12 title. This is not a team without its flaws, however. To make a serious run at Arizona – the over-whelming favorite to win the league – Colorado must identify a primary point guard and improve its shooting from the perimeter”.

The Sporting News

– Pac-12 prediction … 3rd, behind Arizona and Utah

– National ranking … Outside the top 25 … Pac-12: Arizona – National Champions; Utah No. 20

– All Pac-12 team … Josh Scott, first team … “Scott’s improved shooting and rebounding began attracting regular double-teams last season. If he can pass better out of them, CU gets even more dangerous”.

– Top Pac-12 venues … Coors Events Center, 2nd, behind Arizona’s McKale Center

Analysis … “If there was any consolation for Colorado in losing Spencer Dinwiddie in the middle of last season, it was learning to live without him … The Buffs’ season was all but written off before February even came around, but Colorado managed to win six of its last ten games, then pulled off two more wins in the Pac-12 tournament and earned an invite to the NCAA’s after all.

“Provided the Buffs can shoot it well enough to keep defenses honest, they should be able to shift even more of their production inside. Scott already put together five double-doubles in the last half of the season, even when defenses threw double teams at him without Dinwiddie around. Ideally, the Buffs will have a three-pronged attack with the two post spots, rotating Scott and Wesley Gordon, and athletic rebounder, and Tory Miller, who is a better shooter and runner than his 255 pounds might otherwise suggest.

“So, with a little outside shooting, and a little more fine-tuning at the point without Dinwiddie, the Buffs won’t be slipping this season. It could be just the opposite”.

Lindy’s

– Pac-12 prediction … 2nd, behind Arizona

– National ranking … No. 16 … Pac-12: Arizona No. 4; Utah No. 29; UCLA No. 32; Stanford No. 37

– Field of 68 … Arizona; Colorado; Utah; UCLA; Stanford; Oregon

– All Pac-12 team … Josh Scott, first team … Askia Booker, second team

Analysis … “The challenge remains catching Arizona in the Pac-12. Of course, that remains a challenge for 11 teams, not just the Buffs. Colorado, with near sellouts, altitude advantage and sharp non-league scheduling, is now a contender for the upper division of the Pac-12 and annual NCAA trips. ‘The expectation of this program has risen’, Boyle said”.

– Josh Scott is listed as the No. 4 center in the nation: “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, say hello to the best post player in the Pac-12”

– Askia Booker is listed as the No. 11 point guard in the nation: “More than just ‘handled’ the PG duties after Spencer Dinwiddie’s injury”

CBS Sports

Pac-12 preview from CBSSports.com … This is going to be a bit of a rebuilding year for the Pac-12. After seeing three teams reach the Sweet 16 last year and six teams overall get into the NCAA Tournament, the conference may be lucky to get four teams in this season.

UCLA? Three first round NBA draft picks gone. Stanford? Two of their three best players were drafted into the NBA. Arizona State? Two seniors graduated and one point guard made a bad decision to declare for the draft. Oregon? Uhh. Well. Let’s just not talk about this program until we have to.

The conference is represented by only one team in the first Coaches Poll of the season, and that team is the singular constant that this conference can count on to make sure it stays relevant in 2014-15. The Arizona Wildcats were two points away from making a Final Four appearance under Sean Miller last season, and they return an awful lot of talent to Tucson this season. I’d imagine anything less than the Final Four for them would be a disappointing season.

Beyond them, the conference is completely up for grabs. Non-traditional Pac-12 schools like Utah and Colorado have high hopes this year compared to the rest of the conference, but will that be enough to vault them into the top three of the league? What do we make of UCLA’s new roster? Can Stanford retool enough on the fly to help out Chasson Randle?

… On the best team in the league after Arizona:

“I would probably put Utah and Colorado as the two in that conversation and lean slightly towards Colorado. They’ve been a pretty regular Tournament team, and returned everyone except Spencer Dinwiddie, who they played the second half of the year without.”

. Colorado

After Arizona, there isn’t another team that seems to be guaranteed to make the NCAA Tournament. The closest team to that lock status though is probably Colorado. Entering their fifth season under coach Tad Boyle, the Buffaloes have never won fewer than 21 games or had a conference record below .500 with him in charge. That shouldn’t change this year, as the program returns all of its contributors outside of lead guard Dinwiddie, who went down with a torn ACL in January anyway, meaning the Buffs know how to play without him. Leading the charge will be the triumvirate of big man Josh Scott, wing Xavier Johnson, and guard Askia Booker. Scott is the toughest matchup of the three as an absolute load inside that rebounds well on both sides of the ball, blocks shots, and finishes efficiently around the rim and into the midrange. Booker is the antithesis of Scott, in that he’s a frenetic, unpredictable player who is prone to turnovers and bad shot selection. However, he makes things happen on the floor for the Buffs, and can at least be counted on to create offense. Finally, Johnson is a big, solid two-way wing that can knock down shots both inside and out. This is the best threesome in the conference outside of Arizona, and they’ll be joined by role players Wesley Gordon, Xavier Talton, and Jaron Hopkins. Things would have to go pretty south for this team to not win 20 games and head back to the NCAA Tournament, but crazier things have happened.

——

 

November 5th

Media Day quotes from Tad Boyle

From cubuffs.com

General

“Welcome to another media day, it’s year number five for our staff, and being here at the University of Colorado we are obviously very excited this time of year. I love our team, we have a chance to be pretty special, but I know where we are today, and where we’re going to be in February or March is hopefully two totally different types of teams. We have to continue to improve and get better, and we have a lot of room for improvement, but this team has a very high ceiling and I like it, I love our work ethic.”

On Tweaks To The Offense

“Not wholesale changes, our philosophy on offense is no different than it’s always been, and that is we want to attack the basket, we want to be in attack mode, play inside‐out, and that can be through penetration from our goods, it can also be from posting up our bigs. We have some pretty good low‐post scorers on this team. We’re always going to play inside‐out, we’re always going to be in attack mode. Really the tweaks we have tried to make is to be a little bit more unpredictable in some of our ball screens, and to get the ball to some of our guys like [Jr., F] Josh Scott and [RS.‐So., F] Wesley Gordon, and [Jr., F] Xavier Johnson, [So., F] Dustin Thomas, [Fr., F] Tory Miller who is now an additional big for us. But, to get them the ball kind of facing the basket –10 to 12 feet –where it is harder to be double‐teamed, and they can be playmakers from that eight‐to‐12 feet on in. Rather than be traditionally, catching the ball with your back to the basket, where it’s predictable and ball screens are coming at predictable spots on the floor, we are trying to be more unpredictable in terms of what we are doing with our ball screens. I spent a lot of time this offseason with two coaches –one guy named Steve Donahue, who is the old coach at Boston College who I think is a terrific offensive mind. He spent a weekend out here in the spring and another weekend this fall with our staff, really talking offensive concepts with our staff. And then George Karl, out of Denver, I spent some time with him picking his brain. Some of our transition offensive ideas, I spent some time with coach Karl trying to pick his brain on playing fast, playing at high‐pace, a high‐possession game, half‐court stuff is some of the things we did with coach Donahue. I’ve always said this, we expect our players in the offseason to get better, I think it’s imperative as coaches that we make an effort to get better in the offseason and we tried to do that offensively this year, and we’ll see if that will help or not.”

On Whether InsideOut Passing Has Improved Since Last Season

“We’ve spent a lot of time on passing the ball. One of the weaknesses on our team last year was our assist numbers, our assist-to‐turnovers ratio, taking care of the basketball. We like to play the game, to me the way it’s supposed to be played, where five guys are sharing the ball, five guys are threats to score every time you have the ball, they are playing unselfishly, the ball is moving. I think anybody that has watched basketball over the last 12 months, always talks about the San Antonio Spurs and how fun they were to watch in the NBA Finals and playoffs last year, and really throughout the whole season and the way they moved the ball and shared the ball. So, passing, and catching and finishing, is really something we’ve spent a lot of time on this fall.”

On Improving ThreePoint Shooting

“That’s an off‐season project for every player in our program. We’ve got some guys that are better shooters in our program than their numbers indicate in the way they shot the ball last year. As a coach, I don’t have a lot of control over that. We have access to our players over the summer time, which is great, but its two hours a week, and there is not a coach in the world that can make a player a better shooter in the off‐season two hours a week, it’s going to take two hours a day. It’s my job, and it’s our job as a staff, to make sure we are getting the right shots. The ball movement, and the spacing, and some of the concepts we’ve worked on, I think will help us get more stand‐still threes other than threes coming off down screens or double stagger threes. Hopefully, our dribble penetration and kicking it out to guys will lead to shots that are much easier to make, rather than coming off a screen and squaring and  hooting all in one motion. In the past we’ve done more motion, so hopefully this will help us.”

On NCAA Tournament Expectations

“There’s two things when it comes to post‐season tournaments and NCAA tournaments we have to be aware of, and it’s our job on a day‐to‐day basis to remind our players of. Number one: past performance is in no way shape or form indicative of future opportunities. This is a new year, this is a brand new year for this team. The fact that we’ve been to four‐straight post‐seasons, and three‐straight NCAA tournaments, in no way guarantees this year’s team of that opportunity at the end of the year. You earn that opportunity for what you do throughout the season. That starts on November 14th (in the season‐opener against Drexel). The one challenge we have is there is not one player in our locker room who was at my house four years ago when we didn’t get in, and so our coaches understand that pit at the bottom of your stomach and that feeling of disappointment and disgust; our players don’t understand it, our players, all they know is the NCAA tournament right now, the ones that are in our program. So, we have to understand that it’s not a given that we are going to get there. It’s hard to get there. There are a lot of good teams every year that don’t get there. Those of you that have followed our program since we’ve (Boyle’s coaching staff) been here, can argue that our first year’s team was our most talented team and our best team since we’ve been here. It was our best offensive team, without a question, if you look at the numbers. Field goal percentage, fifth in the country, and free throw percentage, points per game I think we averaged around 80 points a game that year with Alec [Burks] and Cory [Higgins] and Levi [Knutson] and that crew. So, our best team at Colorado, arguably, didn’t make the tournament and the three behind them did; but they did, because they defended, they rebounded, and we took care of business in November and December. That’s what I want our players to understand, November 14th against Drexel is just as important as February 14th against whoever Pac‐12 team we’re playing. The opportunities that are there in November and December, we got to make sure that we capitalize on and we don’t let those opportunities slip through our fingers, because at the end of the year those are the ones that come back and bite you. That’s the challenge, to get out team mentally, physically, emotionally ready to play all 30 games that are on our schedule, and then hopefully if we do our job there then the postseason takes care of itself.”

On Which Players Have Improved The Most In Perimeter Shooting

“A couple things about our team right now, [Fr. G] George King and I have visited and he is going to redshirt this year, and with that being said, he has probably shown as good as improvement from the perimeter shooting the ball. Redshirting, there are a lot of things that go into it, it’s not just the basketball part of it. Much like Wesley’s [Gordon] decision to do it freshman year, a lot of it has to do with trading a year where maybe your minutes might be 10‐15 minutes a game, and trading that with your fifth year where I would expect George to be a starter and playing 30 minutes a game type thing. He is going to redshirt, and that’s assuming that we’re healthy and everybody is ready to go. Right now, we’re dinged up a little bit, but we’ll be fine by November 14th. So, George King is one guy that has shot the ball consistently. I see [Sr., G] Askia [Booker] shoot it in practice every day, again, his numbers last year 27 percent from three weren’t good, but he’s a good shooter and he’s a guy who, when he’s open he can make it. [Rs. Jr., G] Josh Fortune –again a guy who is sitting out this year –is a terrific shooter, those of you who have been at practice have seen what he can do. But again, [So., G] Jaron Hopkins made some big shots for us last year, [Jr., G] Xavier Talton is a very capable three‐point shooter. [So., G] Tre’Shaun Fletcher, hasn’t shown it in practice yet, but when he gets his feet set I think he’s a capable three‐point shooter. [Jr., G] Xavier Johnson has improved his three‐point shooting. When he gets his feet set and he takes good shots, I expect good things. I think everybody is capable enough to knock down an open three, so I have confidence in all of our guys to do that.”

On What He Does To Help G Askia Booker Become More Consistent / Efficient

“Watch film, talk to him, hopefully maturity kicks in and he doesn’t fight the game. That’s the biggest thing with ‘Ski’ is make good decisions and don’t fight the game, when you’re open shoot it, when you’re not open pass it; make simple basketball plays. We’re going to keep trying, that’s all I can say, and ‘Ski’ wants to play well, he wants to improve. I think sometimes maturity, hopefully being a senior, makes a difference. There’s something about being a senior that’s special, and it’s your last go‐around. The thing I want ‘Ski’ to understand is that he doesn’t need to do it all by himself, he needs his teammates, and just to make simple basketball plays. If he does that he’ll be fine, if he continues to fight the game and that gets in his head then we’ll have more of the same, but it’s time to understand and I think he does and ‘Ski’s’ mindset is good right now and he’s ready for a good senior year.”

On If This Year’s Team Is The Most Talented From Top To Bottom

“We’ve got talent, there’s no doubt, we have athleticism. I think that team (in 2010‐11), offensively had some skill guys. I couldn’t get that team to guard, I couldn’t get them to guard. This year’s team, we’ll guard, we’ll guard. We may not be great on November 14th, but you are going to see us get better and better as the year goes on, or you are going to see me with less hair and of the stuff that is left will be more grey. Defense and rebounding is what our team is about, it is what our team will always be about as long as I’m the head coach here. We’ve spent some time in the off‐season trying to get better offensively, but I’m a numbers guy. If we can be in the top‐3 in the league (Pac‐12 Conference) in field goal percentage defense and rebounding margin, and if we can get our offense to go from 43 percent field goal percentage team to a 46 or 47 percent, we’ll be fine, we’ll win plenty of games, we’ll have a lot of success.”

On Whether He Has A Starting Five Defined Yet

“If we had to start a game tomorrow, we would probably start [G] Askia [Booker] and [G] Xavier Talton, [F] Xavier Johnson, [F] Wesley Gordon, and [F] Josh Scott. That’s fluid, that’s one of those things, I think the bench is going to be the determining factor in how this team does this year. Guys like Jaron Hopkins and Dustin Thomas, Tre’Shaun Fletcher, and Tory Miller and Dom Collier the new guys coming in, they are the X‐factors. I think I kind of have a feel for what we are going to get out of those other guys, but the X‐factor comes off the bench and that starting five is not locked in stone and it could change. Our practices are very, very competitive. I can tell you this, that starting five is not head and shoulders above anybody else. I think we’ve got probably seven starters right now, but you can only put five on the floor, so I’ll put five on the floor.”

On Difficulties Involved Around NonConference Scheduling That Comes With Success

“You know it’s funny, scheduling is . . . recruiting is the most important thing, scheduling is like 1a, recruiting is hard, scheduling is just as hard, it’s really, really hard. You think people lie in recruiting, they lie in scheduling more. Hard to get people to come to Boulder, again the Auburn game at 11 o’clock at night is not my most ideal scenario, but it presented itself and we took the opportunity to sign up for that game. It gives you an indication of how hard it is. A lot of people look at our non‐conference schedule this year and say, ‘Well jeeze, there’s no Oklahoma State, there’s no Baylor, there’s no Kansas.’ But, if you look at this year’s non‐conference schedule and last year’s, and you took the previous year’s RPI’s –which is all we have to go with, because I know what every team in our non‐conference schedule’s RPI was last year, I don’t know what it is going to be this year, that’s yet to be determined –and if you make the assumption that when we go to Hawai’i (for the Diamond Head Classic) and we are fortunate enough to beat DePaul, and we’re fortunate enough to play George Washington in the semi‐finals and play Wichita State in the finals, our RPI from our non‐conference this year is actually two points stronger than it was from our RPI last year. So, it’s actually stronger, if you make those two assumptions about the Hawai’i teams, it’s a stronger nonconference schedule than it was from last year. It doesn’t look like it, because you don’t have the marquee names, but Drexel is a bunch of tough Philadelphia kids that are well coached and are going to play hard a week from Friday when we open up. Bruce Pearl (head coach of Auburn) has eight presses, he’s got two of them in right now, they are going to play a totally different style and Wyoming is at Wyoming and is a game that really, really concerns mean. There are not a lot of patsies on our schedule, every game is a losable game, and we’ve got to approach it like that. Not, that we are afraid to lose, but we better be ready to hook it up.”

On His Defensive Philosophy

“I think the biggest thing is, in why we don’t press, is because I hate giving up layups and I hate giving up open threes. I want to be rock solid defensively. If they are scoring on us, I want it to be a jump shot over our hand. By pressing, you’re going to give up some open threes and you’re going to give up some layups, that’s just what pressing teams do and I can’t get myself as a coach to get over it. I’ve thought about it, I’ve played around with it, but I can’t. You are who you are, and that’ just hard for me. It’s just the way I’ve been wired; I think it goes back to playing for Larry Brown (at Kansas) and just the defensive philosophy of don’t give up anything easy. But, we’ll try to get something easy on our end, we still want to pressure in the half court, we’re just not going to do it full court.”

—-

 

George King to redshirt this year

At the CU media day (more to come later this afternoon), Tad Boyle announced that George King, a 6’6″, 220-pound guard from San Antonio, will sit out the 2014-15 season.

Here is King’s bio  concerning the 2013-14 season from from cubuffs.com … Played in 27 games • Averaged 1.5 points and 1.5 rebound a game • Two games over double digits: 11 points in home win against Arkansas State (Nov. 18) and 10 points in another home win over Elon (Dec. 13) • Tied for team honors with a season-high seven rebounds against Jackson State (Nov. 16) • Played a season-best 18 minutes against Elon; 16 minutes each in home wins versus USC (Jan. 18) and Washington State (Feb. 5) • Personal-best three assists and two steals against the Trojans • Signed as the fourth freshmen to the team in May 2013.

—–

 

November 4th

Arizona freshman from Serbia cleared by NCAA to play this fall

The rich get a little richer …

From ESPN … Arizona freshman Dusan Ristic has been cleared by the NCAA to play this season, sources told ESPN.

The NCAA was looking into amateurism issues involving the 7-foot, 245-pound Serbian big man since he played limited minutes in the Adriatic League and the EuroCup, a source told ESPN.

Ristic never signed a pro contract and wound up spending last season at Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita, Kan.

Ristic will join a strong front line in Tucson that already includes 7-foot center Kaleb Tarczewski and forwards Brandon Ashley and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.

Ristic will give Arizona coach Sean Miller a different look than the other big men in the program. He’s long and skilled — and is able to score in the low post and also step out and make shots from the perimeter. He was the MVP of the Nike International Junior Tournament in 2013 after averaging 17.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.

The Wildcats are ranked No. 2 in the country in the Associated Press preseason poll that was released on Friday.

—–

 

Andre Roberson injured

It’s been a tough few weeks for the Roberson clan …

From the Oklahoman … The Thunder lost Roberson to a sprained left foot in the final minute of the opening quarter. Roberson was injured on a tumble after driving to the basket. He was slow to get up and took a while to step to the free throw line. Between the attempts, he asked out of the game. After his second foul shot, he delivered an intentional foul so that he could come out. He limped directly to the locker room with the team’s trainer and did not return.

Brooks already has ruled Roberson out against Toronto on Tuesday. He will be re-evaluated before Friday’s home game against Memphis, according to Brooks.

—-

 

November 3rd

Colorado ranked 28th in preseason Associated Press poll

After being slighted in the USA Today coaches’ poll, wherein the Buffs were ranked 36th in the nation (and 6th in the Pac-12), the Buffs received a little more love (and recognition) in the Associated Press preseason poll. Colorado was ranked just outside the poll, at No. 28, with 57 votes.

Arizona, ranked No. 2 in the USA Today poll, was also ranked No. 2 in the AP poll, picking up five first place votes (Kentucky, the No. 1 team, had 52 first place votes, with No. 3 Wisconsin earning the other eight).

The rest of the Pac-12 (AP ranking / USA Today ranking):

– Utah – No. 25 / No. 30

– Stanford – No. 26 / No. 26

– Colorado – No. 28 / No. 36

– UCLA – No. 29 / No. 32

– Oregon – unranked / No. 35

The full Associated Press rankings:

1Kentucky (52)29-111,604
2Arizona (5)33-51,518
3Wisconsin (8)30-81,483
4Duke26-91,415
5Kansas25-101,346
6North Carolina24-101,274
7Florida36-31,153
8Louisville31-61,114
9Virginia30-71,090
10Texas24-111,061
11Wichita St35-11,027
12Villanova29-5885
13Gonzaga29-7840
14Iowa State28-8781
15Virginia Commonwealth26-9574
16San Diego St31-5560
17Connecticut32-8552
18Michigan St29-9521
19Oklahoma23-10426
20Ohio State25-10340
21Nebraska19-13309
22SMU27-10285
23Syracuse28-6178
24Michigan28-9167
25Harvard27-598
25Utah21-1298

——

CU All-Time in AP Polls

Colorado does not have a long history of success in basketball, reflected by the fact that the Buffs have been ranked in only 34 polls in school history (eight times under Tad Boyle). The Buffs have only been ranked in the preseason only once … back in 1970.

• Ranked six-straight weeks in 2013-14.

• Highest ranking last season – No. 15.

• CU was ranked in the Coaches’ Poll 5-straight weeks last year (No. 17 the highest).

• CU has been ranked in 34 polls all-time.

• A top 10 ranking nine times.

• Highest ranking was No. 6, Dec. 18, 1963, the third poll of that season.

• Consecutive weeks ranked: 10 – last 7 polls of 1969, first three of 1970; in one season – 8; last 8 polls of the 1997 season.

• Most times ranked in one season – 8 in 1997; 7 in 1969; 6 in 1963.

• The AP poll was 20 teams from 1949-60, 10 teams from 1961-68 and back to 20 from 1969-1989, then 25 since 1990.

Season Poll #  Date  Rank

1953  2  Dec. 23  No. 18

1955  Final  Mar. 8  No. 15

1961 2 Dec. 20  No. 15

1962 10 Feb. 20  No. 9

1962 11 Feb. 27  No. 9

1962 Final Mar. 13  No. 9

1963 2 Dec. 11  No. 8

1963 3 Dec. 18  No. 6

1963 9 Jan. 29  No. 8

1963 10 Feb. 5  No. 7

1963 11 Feb. 12  No. 7

1963 Final Mar. 12 No. 10

1969 7 Jan. 14  No. 20

1969 8 Jan. 21  No. 17

1969 9 Jan. 28  No. 17

1969 10 Feb. 4  No. 20

1969 11 Feb. 11  No. 14

1969 12 Feb. 18  No. 18

1969 Final Mar. 4  No. 18

1970 Pre N/A  No. 10

1970 1 Dec. 9  No. 17

1970 2 Dec. 16  No. 16

1970 4 Dec. 30  No. 20

1997 10 Jan. 21  No. 18

1997 11 Jan. 28  No. 18

1997 12 Feb. 4  No. 15

1997 13 Feb. 11  No. 15

1997 14 Feb. 18  No 21

1997 15 Feb. 25  No. 19

1997 16 Mar. 4  No. 18

1997 Final Mar. 11  No. 24

2012 3 Nov. 19  No. 23

2012 4 Nov. 26  No. 19

… Last season …

2013 6 Dec. 9  No. 21

2013 7 Dec. 16  No. 20

2013 8 Dec. 23  No. 21

2013 9 Dec. 30  No. 20

2014 10 Jan. 6  No. 15

2014 11 Jan. 13  No. 21

 

——-

 

October 30th

ESPN – Josh Scott the 60th-best player in the nation

ESPN is posting a countdown of the top 100 players in the nation, with the 100-80 and 79-60 groupings having been posted. CU’s Josh Scott came in at No. 60. The full article can be found here.

From ESPN … How did we rank the players?

Using the ESPN Forecast model, our engine for creating more accurate sports predictions and opinion, we asked a panel of 35 ESPN experts from across our various platforms to come up with a list of the top 100 players in college hoops.

Josh Scott – No. 60

Scott is just about everything a coach might want from an ostensibly “solid” big man. He scores in the post, gets to the line, rebounds and defends without fouling. If Colorado has a successful 2014-15, Scott will be a major reason for it.

… The only other Pac-12 player rated in the top 100 to date … No. 81 – Nigel Williams-Goss – guard, Washington … Plus … No. 92 – J.J. Avila – forward, Colorado State

—-

Spencer Dinwiddie makes his pro debut with the Detroit Pistons

From the Daily Camera … The former Colorado star made his NBA regular season debut with the Detroit Pistons in an 89-79 season-opening loss to the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center.

“From making a debut standpoint and a personal standpoint, obviously it’s a certain accomplishment and it’s an accumulation of a lot of hard work, but at the same time, a debut in a loss is not fun at all,” Dinwiddie said.

… He entered the game with about 4 minutes to play in the first quarter and had an assist, a foul and missed his only shot in 7 minutes, 40 seconds of action.

… “I feel great,” he said. “My knee feels good and that’s the main thing. Beyond that, it becomes basketball after that. You go out there, you play the game and you try to help your team win. That’s about all I’m doing right now.”

Despite the limitations he’s had on the court, the Pistons have been impressed with Dinwiddie to this point.

“Everything we’ve seen has been positive so far, but certainly a very small sample size,” Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy said. “He’s made plays. He’s made good plays. He’s been able to create shots for himself and his teammates, made good decisions and he’s a poised, confident guy.”

—–

 

October 23rd

Tad Boyle and Askia Booker Pac-12 Media Day quotes

From cubuffs.com

THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Colorado head coach Tad Boyle and senior guard Askia Booker. Tad, provide an opening remark.

COACH BOYLE: Yeah, it’s great to be back in the Bay Area. We’re obviously extremely excited about this year’s team, this season. This is a very unusual team at Colorado in that we only have one senior, Askia Booker, who is with us today, but we have a lot of experience coming back. We’re going to rely heavily on Askia’s leadership as well as our sophomore and junior class, those guys making huge jumps. Everybody had a great off-season. We’re healthy and we’re ready to go.

THE MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. Coach, you said after Dinwiddie went down last season, it almost gave you a jump on what to expect. After having seen this team, what do you see as the strengths?

COACH BOYLE: I think the strengths of our team, and we did get a jump-start on this season, it’s nice to have everybody coming back that played late in the season for you, we added two young players, Dominique Collier and Tory Miller who are going to help us, are good pieces to the puzzle.

What I love about our team is we have good versatility. We have a lot of guys that can guard a lot of positions, play multiple positions. We have good basketball players that have good basketball instincts. So I think the versatility. Hopefully by the end of the season the depth of this team is going to be a strength of ours.

We know what Askia brings to the table, we know what Josh Scott and Xavier Johnson bring to the table. It’s some of the other guys like Wesley Gordon, the jump he’s going to make, and the rest of that sophomore class, Jaron Hopkins, Dustin Thomas, George King, TréShaun Fletcher, if those guys can make big jumps in their game, be able to do it on a consistent basis, our team will be really deep, and that will be another strength.

Q. Askia, what did you learn playing alongside Spencer Dinwiddie?

ASKIA BOOKER: Facilitating, pitching the ball ahead, feeding the ball to the post. I think those are a few things that he did great. He took over when the time was needed. He scored the ball when he had to. He didn’t really force the issue. He got to the free-throw line. That’s one thing I’m going to try to do a lot this year. People play from my pump fake a lot. When they get in the air, I need to take advantage of that and get to the free throw line. I think that’s one thing I’ll do this year.

Q. Coach, you’ve spoken about strengths. Shooting was one thing you wanted to address and improve this season. What gives you confidence that this team can make a jump in that category?

COACH BOYLE: I think the first thing, my job as a coach is to make sure we’re taking good shots. I’ve got to do a better job of that I think with our whole team. It’s really guys like Askia, they have to get in the gym, which he has done. He has an unbelievable work ethic. It’s incumbent on our players that they can make the open shots and we’re taking the right shots. It’s twofold.

But I think shooting is one area we need to improve on. The other area is passing the ball. Our assist-to-turnover ratio was nothing to write home about last year. We spent a lot of time certainly early in practice, and we’ll continue to work on passing the ball, really talking. Askia and I have talked a lot in the offseason about decision making, when are you  open, knock the shot down. If not, make the extra pass. Really play together, see that assist-to-turnover ratio go up.

We want to become a more efficient offensive team. We’ve got a lot of room for improvement there. We’ve done a good job early in the season so far. But time will tell when the games start.

Q. Askia, I read somewhere that you’re good friends with Swaggy P, Nick Young. What has he taught you about basketball?

ASKIA BOOKER: Man, that relationship was built from my brother, Rene Johnson, in California. They went to school with each other, were always good friends. One day I came back from Colorado for a summer and Rene told me he wanted me to play basketball with somebody. It turned out to be him.

Ever since then, that day that we hooped, we kind of talked. I asked him about what it takes to get to the next level, the highest level to play at. He gave me a lot of good advice. Ever since then, we’ve been pretty good friends.

Q. Askia, you hear your voice a lot in practice the first couple weeks. Is it more so than in the past? Is it because you’re a senior? Do you feel you’re talking more than in the past?

ASKIA BOOKER: Yeah, I have to. Coach gave me some advice the other day that was very important to me. He told me he got it from the Navy SEALS training. They would say I was a chirper. I would say a lot of stuff, scream, say, Let’s go. None of that means anything. I tried to be more efficient with my words, say specific names, call out certain plays, try to get my team going. Whatever I have to say to get them to do that I have to do.

Q. It seems like the expectation you guys and Utah might make the toughest road trips in the Conference. Does that make a difference when you have a team that just played Utah and comes to your place?

COACH BOYLE: I think it helps a great deal. The job that Larry and his staff and their program has done, every year they’ve just gotten better and better and better. It really helps us. When you’re on that Colorado/Utah swing, it’s a tougher environment to play in.

We play at altitude, which makes it hard to begin with. When you have two tough environments, especially on that second day, the Saturday or the Sunday after a Wednesday or Thursday game, if they played Utah, hopefully Utah has taken some of their legs, beat them up a little bit, it benefits us.

Hopefully we can reciprocate. We can take something out of those teams on the first game of a two-game leg. It’s certainly better when they’re strong rather than when they’re weak. I can tell you that.

Q. Askia, you’ve gone through the program multiple times now, the Navy SEALS program. This year did it take on special significance? Who are some guys you maybe brought along or saw step up as leaders?

ASKIA BOOKER: I think this year was a little different because they chose multiple people to lead. It wasn’t just myself or Josh Scott. They picked Jaron Hopkins, Dustin Thomas, those guys. They’re sophomores this year. Those guys are going to play significant roles on this team. We’re going to need them to step up. Without them, I don’t think we’re going to win too many games. We need those kind of guys because coming off the bench, whether they start or not, that will be up to coach. But they’re going to need to step up this year.

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Colorado sells out season tickets for the second consecutive year

Press release from cubuffs.com … For the second consecutive year, University of Colorado men’s basketball season tickets for the 2014-15 season are sold out.

There are still a limited number of single game tickets available for all home games with the exception of the Arizona game, which is sold out at this time.

Fans wanting to purchase single game tickets can do so by calling 303-49-Buffs or at www.CUBuffs.com.

CU and Arizona are the only two men’s basketball programs in the Pac-12 Conference to sellout its season tickets the last two last seasons. The Buffaloes achievement is a school-first.

The CU men’s basketball team is coming off another successful season where they reached the NCAA Tournament for the third-straight year (a school record), won 20 or more games for the fourth-consecutive campaign (23), and finished tied for third in the Pac-12 Conference standings.

In each year of head coach Tad Boyle’s tenure, attendance numbers have steadily increased at the Coors Events Center, including last year’s school mark of total attendance (173,429), breaking the 2012-13 season total of 155,884. Also in 2013-14, men’s basketball attendance also saw runner up numbers for season average, conference total, and conference average.

Over the last four years, the Buffaloes have established an impressive home court advantage with a 60-9 record (.870).

The 2014-15 slate is comprised of 16 games at the Events Center with the Buffs opening the home season against Drexel on Friday, Nov. 14 at 6 p.m.

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Colorado picked to finish third by Pac-12 Media

Press release from the Pac-12 … The ARIZONA Wildcats are picked to finish first in the 2014-15 Pac-12 Conference men’s basketball race, according to a poll of media members who cover Pac-12 men’s basketball.

Arizona, led by redshirt senior T.J. McConnell (8.4 ppg/3.6 rpg), secured the top spot in the poll for the third-straight year after garnering all but one first-place vote. UTAH narrowly claimed No. 2, with just one more point than third-place finisher COLORADO. Both the Utes and the Buffs return four starters from last season, including first team All-Pac-12 honorees in Utah’s Delon Wright (15.5 ppg/6.8 rpg) and Colorado’s Josh Scott (14.1 ppg/8.4 rpg).

Reigning Pac-12 Tournament champion UCLA is slotted fourth in the poll, followed by STANFORD at fifth, after both squads advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2013-14. WASHINGTON edged out CALIFORNIA by one point to round out the top half of the poll, weighing in at sixth while the Golden Bears come in at seventh.

OREGON is tabbed at eighth, followed by ARIZONA STATE at ninth and USC at 10th. WASHINGTON STATE was picked to finish 11th, while OREGON STATE rounds out the poll at 12th.

Media have correctly picked the Conference winner 13 times in 22 tries. Arizona has correctly been selected in eight of the previous 12 times it has been slated to capture the league crown.

The 2014-15 season gets underway for the Pac-12 with 11 games on Friday, November 14. All but one of those games will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks as part of this year’s Full Court Friday. For more information, including a composite schedule, visit www.pac-12.com.

Here is the media poll;

1. Arizona (31)383
2. Utah317
3. Colorado316
4. UCLA (1)290
5. Stanford264
6. Washington189
7. California188
8. Oregon159
9. Arizona State155
10. USC106
11. Washington State84
12. Oregon State45

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October 22nd

Spencer Dinwiddie cleared to practice with Detroit Pistons

From nba.com …. Stan Van Gundy frequently refers to his charge in putting together the pieces of the puzzle with the Pistons. Take one piece out – Jodie Meeks – and it has a ripple effect on the whole. Assuming the Pistons get Kentavious Caldwell-Pope back in time for next week’s season opener, how does Van Gundy fill the minutes when KCP sits?

“It all depends,” he said Wednesday. “What we’ve got to do is be flexible enough. A lot of it depends on matchups.”

That could mean Cartier Martin one night. It could mean more of Josh Smith at small forward another, freeing Kyle Singler or Caron Butler for minutes in the backcourt.

There’s also one other possibility now: Spencer Dinwiddie.

Dinwiddie went through his third straight practice on Wednesday and is cleared to play in Thursday’s preseason finale. And he will. The medical team told Van Gundy to limit him to 18 to 20 minutes.

“So I’ll try to keep him below 30,” Van Gundy grinned.

Just not as widely as Dinwiddie.

“It’s just exciting to be back,” he said. “My dad’s going to come out (from their Los Angeles-area home base) and be able to see my first game back. It’s going to be a really special night.”

The final hurdle Dinwiddie needed to clear was holding up for multiple days and he passed. He’s tired, he said, because who wouldn’t be after Van Gundy’s three-hour-plus practices, but there’s no issues related to the knee that required ACL reconstruction only last January.

He’d have rust to knock off even if Dinwiddie were preparing for his senior season at Colorado instead of his NBA rookie year, but it’s being shed faster than even he might have anticipated.

“I think it’s coming back very well. CB (Caron Butler) made a comment, he said he was surprised. I didn’t have as much rust as he thought I was going to have. I think that’s a good sign that I’m playing well and being fluid out there.”

Van Gundy was struck by Dinwiddie’s confidence from their initial meetings, long before he ever saw him play live. Part of the reason Dinwiddie knows he’s back? What he’s experienced so far in training camp hasn’t knocked his confidence back in the least.

“I think that’s probably the most reassuring thing,” he said. “The only thing I’ve got to learn to do is probably keep my mouth shut a little more when talking to the vets on the court. Off the court, it’s all respect. You treat them like older brothers and uncles, but on the court – you get into the heat of the moment, you start popping off at the mouth and they don’t appreciate that too much. That’s something I’ve got to get in check a little bit.”

Van Gundy split first-team repetitions between Brandon Jennings and D.J. Augustin in Wednesday’s practice with Dinwiddie going the entire way against them running the second unit. Van Gundy said he plans to play both Jennings and Augustin against Philadelphia on Thursday, so that could mean that at least some of Dinwiddie’s minutes will come at shooting guard.

Another puzzle piece to consider.

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October 20th

CBS Sports has Colorado as the No. 2 team in the Pac-12 (not No. 6!)

Pac-12 preview from CBSSports.com … This is going to be a bit of a rebuilding year for the Pac-12. After seeing three teams reach the Sweet 16 last year and six teams overall get into the NCAA Tournament, the conference may be lucky to get four teams in this season.

UCLA? Three first round NBA draft picks gone. Stanford? Two of their three best players were drafted into the NBA. Arizona State? Two seniors graduated and one point guard made a bad decision to declare for the draft. Oregon? Uhh. Well. Let’s just not talk about this program until we have to.

The conference is represented by only one team in the first Coaches Poll of the season, and that team is the singular constant that this conference can count on to make sure it stays relevant in 2014-15. The Arizona Wildcats were two points away from making a Final Four appearance under Sean Miller last season, and they return an awful lot of talent to Tucson this season. I’d imagine anything less than the Final Four for them would be a disappointing season.

Beyond them, the conference is completely up for grabs. Non-traditional Pac-12 schools like Utah and Colorado have high hopes this year compared to the rest of the conference, but will that be enough to vault them into the top three of the league? What do we make of UCLA’s new roster? Can Stanford retool enough on the fly to help out Chasson Randle?

… On the best team in the league after Arizona:

“I would probably put Utah and Colorado as the two in that conversation and lean slightly towards Colorado. They’ve been a pretty regular Tournament team, and returned everyone except Spencer Dinwiddie, who they played the second half of the year without.”

. Colorado

After Arizona, there isn’t another team that seems to be guaranteed to make the NCAA Tournament. The closest team to that lock status though is probably Colorado. Entering their fifth season under coach Tad Boyle, the Buffaloes have never won fewer than 21 games or had a conference record below .500 with him in charge. That shouldn’t change this year, as the program returns all of its contributors outside of lead guard Dinwiddie, who went down with a torn ACL in January anyway, meaning the Buffs know how to play without him. Leading the charge will be the triumvirate of big man Josh Scott, wing Xavier Johnson, and guard Askia Booker. Scott is the toughest matchup of the three as an absolute load inside that rebounds well on both sides of the ball, blocks shots, and finishes efficiently around the rim and into the midrange. Booker is the antithesis of Scott, in that he’s a frenetic, unpredictable player who is prone to turnovers and bad shot selection. However, he makes things happen on the floor for the Buffs, and can at least be counted on to create offense. Finally, Johnson is a big, solid two-way wing that can knock down shots both inside and out. This is the best threesome in the conference outside of Arizona, and they’ll be joined by role players Wesley Gordon, Xavier Talton, and Jaron Hopkins. Things would have to go pretty south for this team to not win 20 games and head back to the NCAA Tournament, but crazier things have happened.

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October 16th

USA Today preseason Top 25 poll missing most of the  Pac-12

The USA Today preseason coaches poll is out, and it is disappointment for Colorado fans.

The Buffs, ranked in the top 20 in most preseason magazines, are not in the Top 25. In fact, with only eight votes, Colorado is tied for 36th in the poll.

To add insult to injury, the Buffs, a consensus No. 2 pick in the Pac-12 preseason magazines, rank only 6th in the conference in the USA Today poll. Arizona is No. 2 in the poll, behind only Kentucky. No other Pac-12 team made the Top 25, but five Pac-12 teams were amongst the others receiving votes:

– Stanford, tied for No. 26, with 47 votes;

– Utah, No. 30, with 26 votes;

– UCLA, No. 33, with 15 votes;

– Oregon, No. 35, with nine votes; and

– Colorado, tied for No. 36, with eight votes.

—-

Steve Kerr donates $1 million to renovate McKale Center

From ESPN … Former University of Arizona basketball star Steve Kerr and his wife have pledged $1 million toward the ongoing renovation of McKale Center and future academic facility enhancements.

The renovation will impact all 20 of the Tucson school’s sports programs, but specifically men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball and gymnastics, which use McKale as their competition site.

Renovations are expected to be completed by the start of the basketball season. The first aspect of the renovation project was completed earlier this year with the installation of a high-definition scoreboard.

Kerr now is head coach of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and previously was the Phoenix Suns’ general manager from 2007-10. His wife, Margot, also is an Arizona alum.

UCLA still not able to practice at Pauley Pavilion

From ESPN … UCLA’s men’s basketball team has yet to practice in Pauley Pavilion, more than 2½ months after the historic arena was flooded by a water main break near campus.

The Bruins have been practicing in the nearby Student Activities Center, which has a smaller-sized court than Pauley. The flood on July 30 ruined the hardwood floor in Pauley, along with the team’s locker room, training and weight rooms. The arena underwent a $136 million upgrade two years ago.

Workers are expected to have completed the cleanup work and installation of a new court in time for the Bruins’ exhibition game against Azusa Pacific on Oct. 31.

Coach Steve Alford said Tuesday that hopefully by sometime next week the team will be able to practice in Pauley.

He said the arena’s media room is also being used as the team’s weight room, and other changes have been made as a result of the damage from 20 million gallons of water drenching the section of campus where Pauley is located.

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October 14th

Buffs to conduct a free open scrimmage before the UCLA game

Press release from cubuffs.com … The University of Colorado men’s basketball team will open its doors at the Coors Events Center on Saturday, Oct. 25 for an intra-squad scrimmage from 10-10:45 a.m. Doors open at 9:00 a.m.

The scrimmage is free and open to the public. Football game day parking will be in effect.

Fans can come and watch the 2014-15 men’s team as they prepare for another exciting basketball season. The season opener is Friday, Nov. 14 against Drexel at the Coors Events Center. Tip is 6 p.m.

Single game tickets for CU basketball are now on sale. Call 303-492-8337 or online at www.CUBuffs.com.

Also on Saturday, Oct. 25, the CU football team will host UCLA at Folsom Field with kickoff at Noon. Back to Boulder Homecoming festivities will also take place at 9 a.m. on University Hill with a parade.

Tickets for the UCLA football game are still available and can be purchased by calling 303-492-8337 or online at www.CUBuffs.com.

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October 8th

Colorado picks up a commit from the Class of 2016

This week, the CU men’s basketball team picked up a commitment from the Recruiting Class of 2016, Deleon Brown.

Brown is a 6’4″ shooting guard from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Brown took an unofficial visit to Colorado on October 7th, reports 247Sports.com, and had also taken unofficial visits to Michigan, Purdue, and Central Michigan.

According to BuffStampede.com, Brown will graduate this year, but will spend a year at a prep school before coming to Boulder, making him a member of the Recruiting Class of 2016.

Here is a link to Brown’s Hudl.com highlights from last season.

 

For the third straight season, CU men’s basketball participates in “The Program”

From cubuffs.com … Former Special Forces personnel were on campus yet again during the weekend of September 26 to complete phase three of The Program with the Colorado men’s basketball team. Since 2012, head coach Tad Boyle has used The Program to strengthen his team’s chemistry and leadership before the season begins.

The Program offers many services, but is primarily known for “Judgment Day” and the three stages that accompany it. It begins with Log Pole Judgment Day in year one, followed by Combat Mindset Judgment Day in year two where players are introduced to the “House of Pain.” The final installment in year three is Small Boat Judgment Day.

Each year the same primary lessons that embody The Program are preached, but the challenges and specific focus change.

“That’s something I like about The Program is they switch it up each year so it’s not the same thing,” Boyle said. “It is physically taxing and mentally draining and shared adversity, so there are plenty of common themes. But they are different exercises and different challenges each year.”

The Buffs were greeted by a familiar face in Sam Cila who was on hand for Combat Mindset Judgment Day a year ago. A retired U.S. Army staff sergeant, Cila has been a lead instructor of The Program since 2008 after serving combat tours in Iraq where he earned a Purple Heart after losing an arm in action.

Tom Blackney, also a recipient of the Purple Heart award after being wounded in Afghanistan in 2011, joined Cila and was making his first visit to Boulder as an instructor for The Program.

Boyle is quick to point out to his players the resumes both Cila and Blackney tote, what they mean to this country, and the fight for freedom world-wide.

“It’s hard for us to fathom what these guys have been through fighting for our country,” Boyle said. “We can’t forget that. To have some people with military backgrounds like these guys have is kind of sobering to our team.”

After introductions and a short classroom exercise to revisit the core values of The Program, players were sent outside to begin their training.

… The rest of the story (which is worth your time) can be found here

—–

 

October 6th

CU women’s team lose top player Arielle Roberson

Press release from cubuffs.com … University of Colorado junior forward Arielle Roberson will miss the 2014-15 women’s basketball season after tearing the ACL in her left knee.

Roberson, who is scheduled for surgery on Wednesday, suffered the injury in a routine drill during individual workouts last week. The full time table for rehabilitation won’t be known until after the surgery is completed.

“We’re devastated for Arielle, knowing how hard she has worked in the offseason,” head coach Linda Lappe said. “She was looking as strong as I’ve seen her and we were looking forward to having a healthy Arielle this winter.  But that doesn’t always make you adverse to injury. I feel for Arielle and I can understand the emotions she’s going through.”

A two-time honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection, Roberson led Colorado in scoring (12.0 ppg) and rebounding (8.3 rpg) while ranking second in blocked shots (1.0 bpg) and third in field-goal percentage as a sophomore in 2013-14.

Roberson ranked ninth in the Pac-12 in rebounding, and at times, simply dominating in the paint for the Buffaloes. She had seven double-doubles on the season and her 109 offensive rebounds were the fourth-most by a Buffalo since the 1987-88 (when the stat was first charted on a regular basis).

Roberson set a Colorado conference tournament game record with 17 rebounds in the 2014 Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals against Stanford; tying for the 11th best overall performance by a Buffalo. Her 464 career rebounds are the fourth best for a freshman-sophomore combined in team history.

The 2013 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, Roberson has scored 771 points through her first two seasons and already ranks 14th in career double-doubles (10) and double-figure rebounding games (14) and is 19th in all-time blocked shots (57).

“With the type of character that Arielle has, I’m sure she will come out stronger as a person because of this,” Lappe said. “For our team, anytime there is an injury there is an opportunity for another player to step up. We’ll have the time with practice (starting tomorrow) for players to seize that opportunity.”

—-

October 3rd

First day of practices for the 2014-15 CU men’s basketball team

Press release from cubuffs.com … Friday marked the first day of official team practices across the NCAA for men’s basketball, and at 7:00 a.m., CU was out on the court ready to play. From seasoned veterans to brand new players, the energy was palpable on Sox Walseth court. Although the Buffs return all but three players, Tad Boyle still believes that his team is filled with youth.

“We’re still predominantly sophomores and juniors, and we’ve got three freshmen in the program,” explains Coach Boyle. “We’re experienced, but we’re still relatively young I think, but we’ve had a good summer in the weight room and leadership is the question mark of every team. After the military training that we just went through, it’s clear that Josh Scott is a leader of this team, and I think Askia (Booker) being a senior, is a guy that we’re going to lean on a lot this year.”

Booker, who is entering his fourth year with the program, was one of the most vocal players in practice, frequently finding players on passes and commanding the floor. His drive is not just winning, but the score-sheet from March still burns in his head.

“Probably one of the first things was that Pitt game,” Booker recalls. “I felt embarrassed, I was pissed off, I sucked. Flat out. I don’t want to have a performance like that again.”

…. “I wanna play point-guard from the jump,” says Booker. “I might move to the 2 if Dominique [Collier] comes in or Xavier [Talton]; whatever Coach (Boyle) wants. But I plan on playing the 1 as soon as the game starts.”

Coach Boyle believes that it’s still too early to be naming positions and a starting five, but he has seen improvements in each player, and it seems that there will be battles at every spot leading up to the season. The Buffs have depth, and a lot of it, to anchor their starting five.

… “I  think the biggest growth, and potential for this team, is in that sophomore class,” Boyle explains. “Guys like George King, Dustin Thomas, Jaron Hopkins and Tre’Shaun Fletcher, they’re not freshmen anymore. It’s time for them to kind of step their games up and if that happens, we’re gonna be pretty good. I think we know what we’re getting from a lot of our veterans, but from that sophomore and freshmen class, it’s kind of really the benefit of this team.”

The Buffaloes open their season on Friday, November 14 against Drexel University (6 p.m. at the Coors Events Center). The expectations for CU have become greater and greater as each team has outdone the last, and this year is no different. Fletcher, who was a part of the team that lost to Pitt last year, only has one goal in mind.

“Pac-12 Championship,” Fletcher says with conviction. “That’s what we’re working for right there.”

The 2014-15 Colorado men’s basketball roster:

No.NamePos.Ht.Wt.Yr.Hometown (Prev School)
35Bates, GeoffreyG6-32004Sr.Plano, TX (Plano West HS)
0Booker, AskiaG6-21754Sr.Los Angeles, Calif. (Price HS)
22Brady, BrettG6-11603Jr.Highlands Ranch, Colo. (Highlands Ranch HS)
15Collier, DominiqueG6-21700Fr.Denver, Colo. (Denver East HS)
10Fletcher, Tre’ShaunG/F6-72102So.Tacoma, Wash. (Lincoln HS)
44Fortune, JoshG6-52057RJr.Hampton, Va. (Providence) (Kecoughtan HS)
1Gordon, WesleyF6-92402So.Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sierra HS)
23Hopkins, JaronG6-62002So.Mesa, Ariz. (Dobson HS [Chandler, Ariz.])
2Johnson, XavierG/F6-72303Jr.Los Angeles, Calif. (Mater Dei HS)
24King, GeorgeG6-62202So.San Antonio, Texas (Brennan HS)
14Miller, ToryF6-92550Fr.Kansas City, Kan. (New Hampton Prep [N.H.])
12Nelson, KevinG6-21904Sr.Albuquerque, N.M. (Albuquerque Academy)
33Repine, JoshG6-31800Fr.Englewood, Colo. ((New Hampton Prep [N.H.]) ) (Kent Denver HS)
40Scott, JoshF6-102453Jr.Monument, Colo. (Lewis-Palmer HS)
5Stalzer, EliG6-31953Jr.Brea, Calif. (Mater Dei HS)
3Talton, XavierG6-41853Jr.Sterling, Colo. (Sterling HS)
13Thomas, DustinG/F6-72252So.Texarkana, Texas (Pleasant Grove HS)

 

——

 

September 23rd

“This is Colorado Basketball”

Buffs TV has put together a 17-minute video entitled, “This is Colorado Basketball“. The video can be viewed here, and is definitely worth your time.

The vidio will get you excited about this winter … now that fall is officially here.

—-

 

Colorado ranked No. 16 by Lindy’s

Only two teams from the Pac-12 made it into Lindy’s preseason rankings: Arizona, in at No. 3; and Colorado, at No. 16.

Here are Lindy’s preseason Top 25 picks:

Lindy’s Top Ten: 1. Kentucky, 2. Wisconsin, 3. Arizona, 4. Texas, 5. North Carolina, 6. Kansas, 7. Virginia, 8. Duke, 9. Gonzaga, 10. Iowa State.

Nos. 11 through 20: 11. Louisville, 12. Florida, 13. Wichita State, 14. Ohio State, 15. Villanova, 16. Colorado, 17. SMU, 18. Harvard, 19. Nebraska, 20. North Carolina State

Nos. 21-25:  21. Minnesota, 22. Illinois, 23. Syracuse, 24. Michigan, 25. UTEP.

Lindy’s on the Buffs:

– Overview: “The challenge remains catching Arizona in the Pac-12. Of course, that remains a challenge for 11 teams, not just the Buffs. Colorado, with near sellouts, altitude advantage and sharp non-league scheduling, is now a contender for the upper division of the Pac-12 and annual NCAA trips. ‘The expectation of this program has risen’, Boyle said”.

Josh Scott is listed as the No. 4 center in the nation: “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, say hello to the best post player in the Pac-12” – First team All-Pac-12 selection

Askia Booker is listed as the No. 11 point guard in the nation: “More than just ‘handled’ the PG duties after Spencer Dinwiddie’s injury” – Second team All-Pac-12 selection

Lindy's 2014 preseason magazine cover, featuring CU's Askia Booker
Lindy’s 2014 preseason magazine cover, featuring CU’s Askia Booker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buffs get a good write-up from the Pac-12

From the Pac-12 2014-15 Prospectus:

Colorado

STRENGTHS – The Buffs have seen postseason action for four straight seasons now under head coach Tad Boyle, and are looking to use that momentum to continue their historic run … Not only do the Buffs return four players who started a majority of their games, but also get back a whopping 13 letterwinners from last season for one of the most experienced rosters in the league … Leading CU’s charge are Josh Scott (14.1 ppg), Askia Booker (13.7 ppg) and Xavier Johnson (12.0 ppg), three of the top four scorers for the Buffs from last season. Scott also established himself as one of the top all-around players and a leader for CU, averaging 8.4 rebounds per game with 13 double-doubles last season … CU has a touted recruiting class that includes freshman Dominique Collier, a four-star local product who has spent the offseason bulking up in hopes of working his way into the starting lineup … One of CU’s greatest strengths remains its home court advantage as the Buffs are 60-9 at Coors Events Center in Boulder over the past four years under Boyle.

CONCERNS – The Buffs are still a young squad with just one non-walk-on senior on a roster of 16 … Despite a stellar performance at home, CU has struggled over the past few years with away games, going 5-6 on the road last year, 5-7 in 2012-13 and 4-7 in 2011-12 … Colorado has a small roster in terms of physical size, with no player standing over the 6-10 mark, which could prove difficult for the Buffs when playing against larger, more physical offenses … CU has a heavy loss to deal with as team leader Spencer Dinwiddie left for the NBA. While Dinwiddie sat out with an injury the second half of last season, his leadership and basketball knowledge was a huge help behind the scenes for the Buffs.

Colorado leads the Pac-12 conference in terms of returning talent, as the following statistics compiled by Pac-12.com demonstrate:

SCORING

1. Colorado 88.4%

2. Utah 81.9%

3. Washington State 70.6%

4. Washington 62.1%

5. Arizona 58.7%

6. California 57.4%

7. Stanford 56.8%

8. USC 35.0%

9. Oregon 34.4%

10. UCLA 33.7%

11. Arizona State 32.7%

12. Oregon State 28.3%

REBOUNDING

1. Colorado 94.1%

2. Utah 81.1%

3. Washington 70.1%

4. Arizona 67.0%

5. California 61.4%

6. Washington State 60.9%

7. Stanford 49.1%

8. Arizona State 39.8%

9. USC 37.9%

10. UCLA 34.9%

11. Oregon State 24.5%

12. Oregon 20.0%

THREE-POINT FIELD GOALS

1. Utah 89.7%

2. Colorado 84.5%

3. Washington State 83.8%

4. Arizona 61.8%

5. California 61.3%

6. Stanford 60.1%

7. Washington 51.9%

8. Arizona State 45.5%

9. Oregon 32.8%

10. USC 32.2%

11. UCLA 29.3%

12. Oregon State 27.7%

 

ASSISTS

1. Utah 85.5%

2. Colorado 82.9%

3. Washington 74.2%

4. Arizona 64.6%

5. Washington State 58.8%

6. Stanford 53.3%

7. California 45.3%

8. Arizona State 44.6%

9. USC 42.6%

10. UCLA 26.9%

11. Oregon State 19.8%

12. Oregon 12.3%

STEALS

1. Colorado 87.0%

2. Utah 81.5%

3. Washington 72.7%

4. Washington State 66.7%

5. Arizona 61.4%

6. California 56.8%

7. Stanford 49.7%

8. Arizona State 47.3%

9. USC 47.1%

10. Oregon State 29.7%

11. UCLA 29.3%

12. Oregon 26.6%

BLOCKS

1. Colorado 95.7%

2. Washington State 80.9%

3. California 73.6%

4. Utah 73.2%

5. Arizona 60.1%

6. Washington 39.1%

7. UCLA 38.7%

8. Oregon State 33.6%

9. Stanford 27.9%

10. USC 21.3%

11. Oregon 15.0%

12. Arizona State 13.2%

 

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14 Replies to “Buff Basketball – November, 2014”

    1. No. He has an ankle issue, but Tad Boyle said he would be held out of the first two games for disciplinary reasons (no further explanation given).

  1. Stuart you said, “… The only other Pac-12 player rated in the top 100 to date … No. 81 – Nigel Williams-Goss – guard, Washington … Plus … No. 92 – J.J. Avila – forward, Colorado State.” (Well we know CSU isn’t in the PAC-12 but it’s good to see anyway).

    How could it be that only 2 PAC-12 players were named, especially with all the talent Arizona has on their team and the other really good players in the PAC-12?

    How can they substantiate not naming more players ?

    1. This was just out of the players between 100 and 60. They are counting down, twenty at a time, to the top 20. Only the first two lists – 100-80 and 79-60 – had been released when I posted. There will certainly be more Pac-12 players in the top 60.

  2. Well if you look at how they finished last season then 36th is probably right, got to prove it on the court. They will get it done.

  3. Experience speaks volumes. Az’s new talent still have to put it in the hoop, under new found pressures of top competition basketball. I wouldn’t hand them the title just yet.

  4. Just watched the ‘This is Colorado Basketball’ video and I am pumped! I’ve been loving watching the basketball team rise to prominence under Tad’s watch. Can’t wait to see the CEC rocking again this season! Go Buffs, Roll Tad!

  5. I’m excited for Basketball to start. The Buffs look very good. The only down note on here I see is we out rank Arizona in every statistical category but have not caught up to them in over all ranking.

    That’s alright we’ll sort it out over the season.

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