Colorado Basketball – February, 2019

February 28th

… CU in the Arena … 

Tad Boyle: “We’re not going to be able to back our way into postseason. Every game is important”

From … With a 16-11 overall record (7-8 Pac-12) and three regular season games remaining — plus at least one conference tournament game — the Colorado Buffaloes are on the edge.

If they can win their last three, then pick up at least a win or two in the Pac-12 tournament, they will be a solid candidate for an NIT bid. There is also the possibility that they could hit the jackpot in Las Vegas and run the table in the conference tournament, which would guarantee them an NCAA Tournament bid.

But every loss from here on out will put a serious dent in their postseason hopes, something head coach Tad Boyle has been trying to impress upon the Buffs this week.

“We’ve put ourselves where every game, every time we step on the floor, the game means something,” Boyle said after Wednesday’s practice. “I told our team today, there’s two kinds of teams this time of year. There’s teams that are preparing for postseason, there’s teams that are preparing for spring break. … I asked them which group we’re in. They answered the right one. But it’s one thing to say that. You have to come out and play that way.”

Next up on the Buffs’ agenda — and the only game, Boyle said, that matters today — is a 4 p.m. game Saturday with Utah, the first of CU’s three-game homestand to end the regular season. The Utes (15-12, 9-6) are in a position very similar to the Buffs. They need to pick up three wins down the stretch, plus some tournament wins, to earn an NIT bid, or make a Pac-12 run to get the call from the NCAA.

In fact, there are a host of Pac-12 teams in the same position. While Washington (22-5, 13-1) appears to be in solid bet to earn an NCAA bid and Arizona State (19-8, 10-5) is on the cusp, there are eight Pac-12 teams who could put themselves in line for an NIT bid with a strong finish — and who also have a puncher’s chance of running the conference tournament table for an NCAA berth.

“We’re going to have to play our way into postseason,” Boyle said. “We’re not going to be able to back our way into postseason. Every game is important.”

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February 27th

… CU in the Arena … 

Tad Boyle on freshman Eli Parquet: “He just needs to focus on doing the things that he does well”

From the Daily Camera … Colorado basketball coach Tad Boyle remembers what it’s like to be a young player in Eli Parquet’s shoes.

Just months earlier, that sort of player is lighting up their high school gym, often leading their team in myriad roles while also often being the focal point of win after win.

That player gets to college and not only are wins much more difficult to come by, but so are minutes. That changed somewhat for Parquet during a largely forgettable trip for the Buffaloes through Washington this past weekend, with the freshman guard showcasing some of his promising defensive skills while logging more meaningful minutes than he had over the previous month.

“He just needs to focus on doing the things that he does well,” Boyle said. “Eli is going to be a good player. Sometimes it’s hard when you’re in Eli’s shoes. I’ve been in Eli’s shoes as a player, where your leash is maybe not as long as McKinley (Wright’s) is, or even Shane (Gatling’s) is. He doesn’t get the minutes to maybe get in a flow of the game. Sometimes it’s two or three minutes here, two or three minutes there. That’s sometimes hard on a young player because they’re used to playing so much more.

“But I think he’s handled well. He’s adjusted well. This is something he can build on, because he can help us defensively.”

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Andre Roberson: “They know what it takes now, obviously, to string wins together. They know what it takes to win”

... Related … “Former CU Buffs star Andre Roberson weighs in on emergence of Tyler Bey” … from the Daily Camera

From …  A former Colorado basketball star who knows a thing or two about the subject said Tuesday he believes the Buffaloes can “make some noise” down the stretch this season.

Andre Roberson is certainly familiar with what it takes.

Roberson, a key part of the 2011-12 Buffs who won four games in a row to win the first Pac-12 tournament, was in Boulder on Tuesday to catch the Buffs’ practice. Roberson and his Oklahoma City Thunder teammates were in Denver to take on the Nuggets in an evening game at the Pepsi Center, so Roberson took the opportunity to visit his old stomping grounds.

“I see the potential,” said Roberson, who has been sidelined all season with a knee injury. “They know what it takes now, obviously, to string wins together. They know what it takes to win and I think they can make some noise.”

Roberson and former CU teammate Nate Tomlinson — also a key cog in that memorable 2012 conference tournament run and now part of CU’s staff — spent some time together during Tuesday’s practice. After two days in a row off, Colorado got back to the business of preparing for Saturday’s key Pac-12 home game with Utah (4 p.m.).

Roberson played three years in Boulder. A freshman on Tad Boyle‘s first CU team — which advanced to the NIT Final Four after an NCAA Tournament snub — he moved into a starting role as a sophomore to help the Buffs to the Pac-12 tourney title and a first-round win over UNLV in the NCAA Tournament. Roberson finished the season averaging 11.6 points and 11.1 rebounds per game, the third-best rebounding average in the nation.

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February 26th

… CU in the Arena … 

With three games to go, Buffs can finish anywhere from 3rd to 10th in Pac-12 race

From … A fourth-place Pac-12 finish for the Colorado men’s basketball team is still not an impossibility — but last week’s back-to-back losses in Washington no doubt lengthened the Buffs’ odds considerably.

Currently in a three-way tie for seventh place in the conference standings, the Buffs (16-11 overall, 7-8 Pac-12) need to win their last three games to have any shot at a fourth-place finish and first-round bye in the Pac-12 tournament.

The good news is all three of their remaining games are at home against teams currently ahead of them in the conference standings. The homestand begins Saturday with a 4 p.m. matchup against Utah, followed by a March 7 game against UCLA (7 p.m.) and the March 9 regular season finale against USC (3 p.m.).

Some notes on the possible scenarios involving Colorado over the the final two weeks of the regular season:

— Washington (13-1 Pac-12) has already clinched a tie for the conference title, and needs to win just one of its final four games to become the regular season champion.

— The Buffs can’t catch Arizona State (10-5) even if the Sun Devils lose their last three and Colorado wins out and both finish 10-8. The two split their regular-season series and ASU would hold the tiebreaker by virtue of a season split with Washington while Colorado lost two to the Huskies.

—  The Buffs could catch Oregon State, currently third in the standings at 9-5, if the Buffs win out and OSU loses its last four. But if Oregon State gets to 10 wins, Colorado  would lose a tiebreaker with the Beavers by virtue of OSU’s win over the Buffs in their only meeting this year.

— Colorado can catch Utah (9-6) with a little help from the Los Angeles schools. If the Buffs win out and Utah loses its last three — at Colorado and at home against USC and UCLA — the Buffs would move past the Utes. If Colorado wins out and the Utes win one of their last three, it would likely come down to a convoluted tiebreaker that wouldn’t be decided until the last weekend. If the Utes win at least two of their last three, the Buffs can’t catch them.

— While USC (8-7) and UCLA (8-7) are a game ahead of CU in the standings, the Buffs can catch both of them by winning their last three. That would guarantee Colorado finishing ahead of the Los Angeles schools in a tiebreaking scenario, as the most wins either Los Angeles school could finish with would be 10, and the Buffs would own the tiebreaker with both by virtue of their season sweeps of the LA schools.

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February 25th 

… CU in the Arena … 

Arizona’s Sean Miller to be subpoenaed to testify in basketball corruption case

From Yahoo.Sports … Arizona coach Sean Miller on a witness stand? LSU coach Will Wade testifying in federal court, under oath?

Defense attorneys interested in revealing the scope and depth of college basketball’s corruption – not playing nice and polite – in charge of the line of questioning?

College basketball’s federal fraud case has hung over the sport for going on two seasons now, a cloud that won’t go away.

In April, it might start producing its biggest deluge of rain, bad news and, most consequentially, the truth about a sport that’s relied on blind fan passion, apologetic media and administrators more interested in pleasing donors than following rules, at least when it comes to the behavior of millionaire coaches.

The players, of course, tend not to get much benefit of the doubt.

Multiple sources told Yahoo Sports that preliminary notifications have been sent to representatives of Miller and Wade stating that each will be subpoenaed to testify in the scandal’s second trial, which is scheduled for April 22 in New York. A preliminary notification is a courtesy that seeks guidance on the easiest way to serve papers to the named individual.

In terms of news value, it’s a game-changer for the case, which thus far has yielded plenty of juicy details and caused the firing of Rick Pitino – plus four assistants charged by prosecutors – but has still left much to be explored.

Nearly 18 months after the Southern District of New York boldly claimed to have the sport’s “playbook” and promised mayhem following a three-year FBI investigation, the results have been mixed. There have been convictions and plea deals reached, but the most prominent names (other than Pitino) and programs have continued, business as usual.

This might change that, particularly if wiretapped conversations featuring Miller, Wade and others are played in open court and then the details and circumstances are explored via direct questioning.

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February 24th

… CU in the Arena … 

McKinley Wright’s playing through pain can be a source of pride for Buff fans

From Pat Rooney at the Daily Camera … It is becoming a painful matter of routine.

McKinley Wright staggers off the court for the Colorado men’s basketball team, grimacing while favoring his left arm. He disappears into the tunnel for a few minutes, returns to the bench and inevitably returns to the action for the Buffaloes without displaying any physical limitations.

I admit the sophomore point guard fooled me somewhat during Wednesday night’s loss at Washington State. When Wright momentarily left the fray against the Cougars, bent over and holding his left wrist, it seemed as if Wright had incurred an entirely new injury.

Wright set the record straight afterward.

“It was my shoulder, man,” Wright said. “It was my shoulder.”

Regardless of how the Buffs’ season plays out the rest of the way — they remain in the race for one of the top four spots in the Pac-12 and the accompanying first-round bye at the league tournament, despite Wednesday’s loss and a date late Saturday night at first-place Washington — a tip of the cap must be offered toward Wright, whose selflessness and determination to play through a painful injury should be a source of pride to all Buffs fans.

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February 23rd

… CU in the Arena … 

Washington earns at least a share of the Pac-12 title with 64-55 win over Colorado

Related … “Washington rolls past CU basketball behind league-leading defense” … from the Daily Camera

From … Colorado couldn’t solve Washington’s zone defense Saturday night, dropping a 64-55 decision to the Huskies in front of a sellout crowd of 10,000 at Alaska Airlines Arena.

The Buffs fell to 16-11 overall and 7-8 in Pac-12 play with their second straight loss while the Huskies improved to 22-5, 13-1. The Buffs now have their final three regular season games at home, beginning with next Saturday’s 4 p.m. game against Utah.

Colorado’s Tyler Bey finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds on 9-for-17 shooting to record his 13th career double-double and 11th of the season. D’Shawn Schwartz finished with 10 points and five rebounds, but was the only other Buff in double figures.

Washington’s Matisse Thybulle finished with 17 points, six steals, five blocked shots and three rebounds.

Colorado did not shoot well from the floor — 22-for-53 — but the Buffs’ biggest downfall was turnovers. CU committed 19 miscues, which the Huskies converted into 18 points. And, while the Buffs did win the overall rebound battle, 39-28, Washington collected 13 offensive rebounds and turned them into 12 points.

Washington led by eight at the half and built its second-half lead to as much as 18 before the Buffs cut the deficit in half with a 9-0 run with seven minutes still to play. But the Huskies then built the lead back to 13 and managed to hold the Buffs off down the stretch.

“They got up 18 and then we started deciding to play and we guarded, and we guarded them down the stretch,” CU head coach Tad Boylesaid. “But you have to do that for 40 minutes. There’s  two reasons we lost this game tonight. No. 1 we gave them 13 offensive rebounds, which we knew we couldn’t do. We have to be tougher on the boards. The second thing is you can’t come into this building, especially when it’s loud and sold out like it was tonight, and turn the ball over 19 times. The combination of the offensive rebounds and the turnovers put us in the hole.”

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Buffs need to figure out Washington zone to have any chance at an upset

… CU at Washington, 8:30 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … 

From … When Colorado and Washington met for the first time this season back in early January in Boulder, the Buffs put forth one of their “bad half, good half” games.

The result was a 77-70 Washington win, a game in which the Buffs gave up 48 points in the first half and just 29 after halftime. CU trailed by as much as 15 points early in the second half before rallying to cut the deficit to one with seven minutes left to go, but that was as close as the Buffs could come.

It was also the game in which CU point guard McKinley Wright IV suffered a dislocated shoulder in the first half. The injury forced him to miss Colorado’s next game, the first and still only game he has missed as a Buff.

Saturday, the two teams will meet again at 8:30 p.m. at Alaska Airlines Arena, the last regular season road game of the season for the Buffs (16-10 overall, 7-7 Pac-12). Still in the hunt for a top-four Pac-12 finish, the Buffs need a win Saturday against the league-leading Huskies (21-5, 12-1) to salvage a road trip split.

“We need our second-half defense for 40 minutes,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said after Friday’s practice. “It’s hard to score on Washington. The best way to score on them is to get stops so you can get some buckets and looks in transition. Defense against them is going to be critical.”

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February 21st

… CU in the Arena … 

Tad Boyle: “Winning and losing matters. Our guys wanted to win, but we weren’t good enough”

From the Daily Camera … No loss feels good. Some, however, inevitably sting a little more deeply than others.

Coach Tad Boyle lamented this dynamic late Wednesday night after his Colorado men’s basketball team dropped a 76-74 decision at Washington State. It wasn’t just the end of a five-game winning streak — the Buffaloes’ longest in conference play in 13 years — that left such a sour taste. It was misfiring down the stretch in a very winnable game, along with a missed opportunity to inch a little closer to the team’s preseason goals on the road, that had the Buffs regretting what could have been as they attempt to shake off their first defeat in three weeks in order to regroup for Saturday’s date against Pac-12-leading Washington.

“It’s amazing the difference between a one-possession game you have in a loss versus a win,” Boyle said. “If we’d have won this (WSU) game I would have been obviously really proud and excited for our guys. But we didn’t. Winning and losing matters. Our guys wanted to win, but we weren’t good enough. Washington State beat us. The credit goes to them.”

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February 20th

… CU in the Arena … 

Buff win streak ends at five with a tough 76-74 loss to Washington State

Related … “Foul trouble limits already-depleted rotation for CU Buffs in loss at WSU” … from the Daily Camera

From … Colorado had its chances Wednesday night, but unlike the last five games, the Buffs couldn’t come up with the crucial plays in crunch time.

As a result, CU’s five-game win streak came to an end with a 76-74 loss at Washington State.

The loss dropped the Buffs to 16-10 overall and 7-7 in Pac-12 play while the Cougars improved to 11-15, 4-9.

Tyler Bey had 12 points and 12 rebounds for Colorado for his 12th career double-double and 10th of the season. McKinley Wright had 13 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists, Evan Battey added 13 points and 7 rebounds and Shane Gatling scored 12.

Robert Franks led WSU with 19 points.

Colorado shot just 37.9 percent from the field, including just 9-for-29 from beyond the arc while the Cougars shot 45.5 percent, including a 10-for-19 night from 3-point range.

Still, the Buffs had an opportunity to claim their fourth conference road win of the year, as they led by one, 74-73, with 1:51 to go.

But the Cougars regained the edge on a tip-in with 1:24 remaining — after three straight misses — and Colorado then missed five shots at the basket in the final 1:07.

“You have to step up and make plays when plays have to be made,” head coach Tad Boyle said. “We didn’t do it on offense tonight and we didn’t do it on defense. It’s a one-possession game that goes in the loss column and it’s an opportunity we’ll never get back.”

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Washington State “a totally different team” with Robert Franks back in the lineup

Related … “Slowing WSU’s Robert Franks the key to CU basketball continuing winning streak” … from the Daily Camera

Related … “Colorado looks to extend streak vs Washington State” … from the Spokane Spokesman-Review

From … The names are the same, but it will be two very different teams squaring off Wednesday night when Colorado and Washington State meet for an 8 p.m. game at Beasley Coliseum (Pac-12 Network).

The last time they met, Colorado came away with an easy 92-60 win in Boulder on Jan. 10.

For the Buffs, it was a much-needed victory in the midst of a 3-8 stretch that included a 2-6 Pac-12 start. For the Cougars — who played without Robert Franks, the Pac-12’s leading scorer — it was the fifth loss in a six-game losing streak, and part of a 1-9 conference start.

But since then, both teams have rebounded and are playing their best basketball of the season.

The Buffs (16-9 overall, 7-6 Pac-12) are riding a five-game win streak that has moved them from the 10th place in the conference into a tie for fifth, just a half-game out of third place and one game out of second. With five regular season game remaining, it means the Buffs are still very much in contention for a top-four Pac-12 finish and the conference tournament first-round bye that goes with it.

The Cougars (10-15, 3-9), meanwhile, have no such designs on moving into a top-four finish, but they would also no doubt like to establish a little momentum heading into the conference tournament.

Two weeks ago, WSU went to the desert and completed a rare road sweep of Arizona and Arizona State. The Cougars returned home last week and dropped a narrow loss to league-leading Washington, but they will still have plenty of confidence in their corner when the ball goes up Wednesday night.

“We told our players Washington State is a totally different team than who we saw when they were in Boulder in January,”  CU head coach Tad Boyle said earlier this week. “Now Colorado’s a different team than we were in January. We’ve got two teams that are playing good basketball right now.”

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February 19th

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs embarking on last road trip of the season

… Next game: at Washington State, Wednesday, 8:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … 

Related … “No coincidence: Tyler Bey and CU basketball gets hot at same time” … from the Daily Camera

From … With every win the Colorado Buffaloes put the in the bank, the value of the next game also grows significantly.

“You want to put yourself in a position where games matter in February,” head coach Tad Boyle said Tuesday. “Our guys have done that. It’s a testament to them. They’ve put themselves in a position where games matter in February.”

Indeed, the team many folks had written off just a couple of weeks ago after a 2-6 start in Pac-12 play is in a very different position. Thanks to a five-game win streak, Colorado has moved from 10th place to a three-way tie for fifth in the conference standings and is in good position to make a run at a top-four finish. That would give the Buffs a first-round conference tournament bye, something they have yet to accomplish in their first seven years in the league.

Of course, winning four games in a row in the conference tournament isn’t an impossible task. CU proved that in 2012, running the table over four straight days to win the first Pac-12 tournament.

Still, given their druthers, the Buffs (16-9 overall, 7-6 Pac-12) would no doubt rather have an extra day of preparation and rest when they begin play in Las Vegas.

But to get there, they need to follow the same plan that produced their last five wins: improve every day and figure out how to win the next game. That means that of their remaining five conference games — two on the road followed by three at home — the only one on their minds is Wednesday’s 8 p.m. matchup at Washington State.

“We said this three weeks ago: we’re trying to get better every day and we’re trying to win the next game,” Boyle said. “I don’t want our guys to think Washington State is more or less important than Arizona was or Arizona State was. Our players have embraced that kind of next-up mentality. If a guy gets injured, next man up. If you lose a game or you win a game, next one. Next possession … These guys have embraced that.”

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February 18th

… CU in the Arena … 

Wilner: Pac-12 torchbearers have the flu; hurting the Pac-12’s image

From Jon Wilner at the San Jose Mercury News

Current basketball standings:

Not UCLA or Arizona: 11-1
Not UCLA or Arizona: 8-4
Not UCLA or Arizona: 8-5
Not UCLA or Arizona: 8-5
Not UCLA or Arizona: 7-6 (Colorado)
Not UCLA or Arizona: 7-6
Not UCLA or Arizona: 7-6
Not UCLA or Arizona: 6-6
UCLA: 6-7
Arizona: 5-8
Not UCLA or Arizona: 3-9
Not UCLA or Arizona: 0-13

The Bruins have lost four of five after their second-half no-show at Stanford.

The Wildcats have lost seven in a row after their loss Sunday in Boulder.

The last time neither UCLA or Arizona finished in the top-four of the conference standings, the conference wasn’t even the conference.

It was the Pacific Coast Conference, Idaho was a member, and John Wooden had not yet set foot in Westwood.

It was the 1947-48 season.

As Sean Miller told the Hotline last month:

“Arizona and UCLA have always carried the torch. If you look at every conference, whether it’s men’s basketball or college football, there are always the ones that carry the torch — (schools) that have been great for decades.”

When the torchbearers get the flu, the conference catches pneumonia.

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February 17th

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs post fifth straight win with 67-60 win over Arizona 

Related … “CU basketball holds off Arizona for fifth straight win” ... from the Daily Camera

Related … “Colorado sends Wildcats to first seven-game losing streak since 1982-83 season” … from the Arizona Republic

From … Colorado put together its fifth straight strong second half to produce the Buffaloes’ fifth straight win Sunday, a 67-60 win over Arizona at the CU Events Center.

The winning streak is Colorado’s longest in league play since 2006 and longest ever in Pac-12 play. CU improved to 16-9 overall and 7-6 in Pac-12 play while Arizona suffered its seventh straight loss to fall to 14-12 and 5-8.

 Lucas Siewert led Colorado with 15 points and nine rebounds. McKinley Wright IV added 14 points, Shane Gatling scored 11. Tyler Bey just missed his fourth double-double in the last five games, finishing with nine points and 10 rebounds.

Ryan Luther led UA with 17 points.

Colorado led by six at the half, 34-28, only to see Arizona open the second period with an 8-2 run to tie the game at 36-36.

But the Buffs then regained control. Wright scored the next seven points of the game, sparking a 15-3 CU run to give the Buffs a 51-39 lead.

Arizona then cut the Buffs’ cushion to seven several different times down the stretch, but the Buffs managed to answer each time. A Wright 3-pointer with 4:09 to go pushed the lead back to 10 and a Siewert trey lifted the Buffs back ahead by 10 again with 2:53 to go.

The Wildcats then cut the CU edge back to seven one more time, 65-58, with 2:30 to go on a Dylan Smith 3-pointer, but Colorado then held the ‘Cats scoreless over the next two minutes to put the game away.

Shane Gatling hit two free throws with 40 seconds remaining to salt away the win before Arizona hit one last bucket in the final seconds.

The Buffs never trailed in the first half, jumping out to a 6-0 lead and building their margin to as much as 11 at several different junctures. Colorado hit nine of its first 10 field goal tries while the Wildcats missed their first six. CU’s last 11-point lead cam with 6:20 remaining, when Lucas Siewert’s 3-point play gave Colorado a 32-21 cushion.

But then came a CU scoring drought that lasted nearly six minutes, and the Wildcats chipped away the lead. UA cut the lead to six before Siewert finally hit a pair of free throws with 23 seconds left to end Colorado’s drought. The Wildcats, however, collected a bucket just before the buzzer to send CU into the locker room at intermission with a 34-28 lead.

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Tad Boyle: “You have to beat Arizona. Arizona’s not going to beat themselves”

… CU v. Arizona, Sunday, 6:00 p.m., MT, ESPNU … 

Related … “CU basketball’s Arizona battle features teams trending opposite directions” … from the Daily Camera

Related … “Scouting report: Arizona Wildcats vs. Colorado Buffaloes” … from

From … Colorado coach Tad Boyle has made sure his Buffaloes are not being lulled into a false sense of security by their next opponent’s recent struggles.

Yes, the Arizona Wildcats have lost six in a row — their longest losing streak in 25 seasons. These Wildcats (14-11 overall and 5-7 in Pac-12 play) are obviously not the team the Pac-12 has become accustomed to seeing, the program that has won four league titles and three conference tournament championships in the last five years.

But from the Buffs’ perspective, it is still Arizona that will pay a 6 p.m. visit to the CU Events Center on Sunday — and that is enough to earn every ounce of Colorado’s respect.

“I say this every time we play them, and it’s the truth … you have to beat Arizona. Arizona’s not going to beat themselves,” Boyle said earlier this week. “They’re very disciplined, they’re very well prepared. They’re going to know which guys can drive right, which guys can drive left, which guys can shoot, which guys are struggling shooting. They’ll have a game plan and we have to go out and we have to execute our game plan better than they execute theirs. That’s what it comes down to with Arizona. You’re not going to necessarily catch them on an off night. They don’t have a lot of off nights, in terms of preparation and discipline and toughness. You have to make shots. You have to outplay them to beat them.”

The Buffs (15-9, 6-6) enter the game in a rare position — ahead of UA in the conference standings. Colorado also owns a four-game win streak, something the Wildcats haven’t seen since seen since late December-early January, when they put together a six-game win streak that included a 4-0 start in Pac-12 play.

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Evan Battey update

From … Boyle said freshman forward Evan Battey, who missed the second half of Wednesday’s win over Arizona State with back spasms, is improving. Battey practiced Saturday and the Buffs hope to have him available Sunday.

“Hopefully we’ll have him ready to go,” Boyle said. “Anytime you’re dealing with a kid’s health, especially with a lower back you have to think long term, you have to think big picture. But at the end of the day Evan has to make the call. It’s not one of those injuries where even a trainer or doctor — it’s his back. He knows how it feels, he knows what it feels like normally, he knows where it’s at.”


February 16th

… CU in the Arena … 

Pat Rooney: Tad Boyle’s raise is debatable; his passion is not

From the Daily Camera … Tad Boyle couldn’t contain his emotions.

Colorado basketball fans are well within their rights to debate the merit of the perpetual five-year contract the leader of the CU basketball program works under thanks to athletic director Rick George’s annual invoking of the contract’s automatic one-year extension. The same goes for the latest pay bump that will give $1.8 million and change per year to a coach who more than likely will finish his ninth season at the helm with just one NCAA Tournament win to his credit.

It’s a fascinating and somewhat original debate. How much bank does a coach earn for lifting a middling program to previously unseen heights — in Boyle’s case, an NIT Final Four and four NCAA Tournament berths in his first six seasons — when the luster of that run begins to fade? How much faith can be put into the potential of the near future, even as an injury-riddled rotation filled by youngsters seemingly is turning a corner at the right time of the season?

Yet this part of the equation isn’t up for debate: The sort of coach the “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately” crowd yearns for, a leader with NCAA tourney success highlighting his resume, won’t be coming to Boulder for $1.8 million per year. That figure that remains on the low end of the Pac-12 Conference pecking order. Moreover, love him or leave him, there is little chance Boyle’s replacement, whenever that day arrives, will have as deep-rooted a passion for the CU program as the Colorado born-and-bred Boyle.

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February 15th

… CU in the Arena …

Buffs hosting players and coaches from the Ricardo Patton era

From … Since the day Tad Boyle took the job as Colorado’s head basketball coach in 2010, one of his goals has been to engage and encourage players and coaches from past eras to stay involved with CU basketball.

Part of that effort has included holding reunions every season for all players from past eras, along with highlighting a specific coach and his players each season.

Thus far, the Buffs have welcomed former CU coaches Bill Blair, Tom Apke, Tom Miller and Joe Harrington.

This year, Boyle and his current staff will honor the Ricardo Patton era at Colorado. Patton and a host of his former players will be at Saturday’s practice, then have lunch with current CU players after the workout before taking part in a Saturday night reunion function at a downtown Boulder hotel. Sunday, they will be guests at the 6 p.m. Colorado-Arizona game at the CU Events Center.

“This is about honoring the past and honoring the players that played for Ricardo and everybody in that era,” Boyle said. “But it’s also for every Colorado basketball player to come back. … He has a lot of time invested in this place. A lot of blood, sweat and tears so to speak. It will be great to have Coach Patton back and all those who played for him.”

Patton, currently an assistant coach at Denver under Rodney Billups, was CU’s head coach for 11 full seasons, compiling a 184-160 record in his tenure. The 184 wins are still second-most in Colorado history, trailing only Sox Walseth’s 261.

Patton led Colorado to two NCAA Tournament appearances and four NIT berths. His 1996-97 team ended a 28-year NCAA Tournament drought at Colorado, and the Buffs then collected a win over Indiana and Bobby Knight in the tournament opener before falling to North Carolina and Dean Smith in the second round.

The Buffs also earned an NCAA berth under Patton in 2003, along with NIT appearances in 1999, 2000, 2004 and 2006 and three 20-win seasons.

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Arizona coming to Boulder on a six-game losing streak 

… Next game … v. Arizona (Sunday, 6:00 p.m., MT, ESPNU) … 

Related … “Parker Van Dyke hits 3 after 3, extending UA’s once-unthinkable losing streak” … from the Arizona Daily Star

From ESPN … Parker Van Dyke may not start but he picked up right where he left off.

One game after capping a 23-point second-half comeback with a buzzer-beater at UCLA, Van Dyke made seven 3-pointers and scored a career-high 23 points and Jayce Johnson also set a career-best with 17 points to help Utah beat Arizona 83-76 on Thursday night.

Sedrick Barefield had 15 points and six assists and Timmy Allen scored 14 for the Utes (14-10 overall, 8-4 Pac-12), who have won three in a row and are in second place in the conference. But the story of this victory was the offense of Van Dyke and Johnson, who both average seven points a game.

Dylan Smith scored a season-high 16 points and Ryan Luther had 14 for the Wildcats (14-11, 5-7), who have lost six in a row for the first time since former coach Lute Olson’s first season at Arizona in 1983-84.

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February 14th – Happy Valentine’s Day!

… CU in the Arena …

Evan Battey day-to-day after sustaining first half back injury

From the Daily Camera … For the second straight game, redshirt freshman forward Evan Battey provided a huge spark off the bench for the Colorado men’s basketball team.

This time, however, it proved to be an abbreviated appearance. Battey exited Wednesday’s 77-73 home win against Arizona State due to a lower back issue and did not return. Afterward, head coach Tad Boyle said it is a problem Battey has been attempting to work through lately, and his status for Sunday’s home date against Arizona will be re-evaluated following the team’s scheduled day off on Thursday.

“His back has been bothering him,” Boyle said. “It was spasm-ing up. I don’t know if it was a particular play or what, but he was hurting. I promise you if he could’ve come back, he would’ve come back. We’re just going to keep our fingers crossed and hopefully get him treatment and hopefully have him back for Sunday. But we’ll treat him very gingerly. Lower backs are nothing to mess with.”

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February 13th

… CU in the Arena …

Buffs earn fourth straight victory with 77-73 win over Arizona State

Related … “Dominant second half pushes CU basketball past Arizona State” … from the Daily Camera

From … Colorado’s second-half toughness made the difference again Wednesday night.

McKinley Wright IV scored 24 points and Tyler Bey had a 22-point, 17-rebound double-double to lead the Buffaloes to their fourth straight win, a 77-73 victory over Arizona State at the CU Events Center.

Colorado improved to 15-9 overall and 6-6 in Pac-12 play while the Sun Devils dropped to 16-8, 7-5. It is the first time since 2006 that the Buffs have won four straight conference games in the regular season, and it is the first time in CU history that Colorado has come from four games under .500 in conference play to get back to .500.

For the fourth straight game, the Buffaloes were the better team after halftime. The game was tied 32-32 at intermission, and with 10:31 to play, the score was still knotted, 51-51, after the Buffs had erased a five-point deficit. That’s when the Buffs took control, putting together a 15-7 run over the next eight minutes. Wright had seven points in the run, including a dagger 3-pointer as the shot clock wound down to give CU a 66-58 lead with 2:41 to go. The Sun Devils never came closer than five again until the final seconds, when a meaningless ASU 3-pointer just before the buzzer put the final points on the board.

The Buffs dominated the second half, particularly over the last 10 minutes. Colorado shot 56 percent from the floor after halftime (14-for-25) while holding ASU to just 38.3 percent shooting (13-for-34). The Buffs — who were outrebounded by the Sun Devils by 14 in their first meeting this year — finished with a six-rebound edge, including a 20-15 count after halftime.

“It’s not me,” head coach Tad Boyle said of his team’s recent second-half efforts. “I wish I could say it was me, or our staff. It’s our players. When your players decide to lock in like they did tonight, and like they have really the last four games, and dig in defensively and rebound the ball and play with the toughness they’ve been playing with — that’s what changes things. Credit goes to our players, not our coaches.”

Wright’s 24 points were a season-high, and he added eight assists and six rebounds. Bey’s double-double was the 11th of his career and ninth this season, and his 17 rebounds were a career high. Shane Gatling was CU’s next high scorer with nine points, including seven in the second half.

“Tyler’s a guy that loves challenges,” Boyle said. “He and McKinley were warriors tonight. Obviously McKinley with the ball late and Tyler rebounding the ball, those two kids are special. They’re really separating themselves in terms of what they can do to help this team win.”

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Buffs looking for payback against Sun Devils 

… Next up: Arizona State … Wednesday, 8:45 p.m., MT, FS1 … 

RelatedCU v. Arizona State Game Notes … 

Related … “Rematch gives streaking CU basketball chance to make amends for poor showing at Arizona State” … from the Daily Camera

From … While it has been just a little more than a month since Colorado and Arizona State met for the first time this season, in some ways it seems like ages.

“I watched our first game against Arizona State and I didn’t even recognize the Buffs, relative to what I’ve seen the last two weeks,” Colorado head coach Tad Boyle said earlier this week. “We’re a different team. We’re in a different spot.”

Indeed, the Buffs are a much different team than the one that traveled to Tempe in early January and suffered an 83-61 loss — their largest margin of defeat this season. That game saw the Buffs endure their worst shooting percentage of the year (32.7) while the Sun Devils recorded the best shooting percentage this season by a CU opponent (57.1). Throw in the fact that ASU outrebounded the Buffs by 14 — CU’s biggest deficit of the year on the boards — while outscoring Colorado 50-20 in the paint, and it was overall a night the Buffs would like to forget.

But since then, Colorado (14-9 overall, 5-7 Pac-12) has taken big steps forward, especially over the last two weeks. The Buffs are currently riding a three-game win streak and aim to push it to four Wednesday when they play host to the Sun Devils (16-7, 7-4) in an 8:45 p.m. game at the CU Events Center.

“They manhandled us back in early January,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said after Tuesday’s practice. “Transition defense was not good and they’re a very good team in transition. Second shots were huge, they’re a very good offensive rebounding team. There’s a lot of things we have to do well. But I think the big thing with Arizona State is you have to match their intensity. They play extremely hard. They’re very physical on the glass and we have to match that physicality.”

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February 12th

… CU in the Arena … 

Tad Boyle not opposed to Vontae Shenault playing for the CU basketball team

From the Daily Camera … It remains unlikely the University of Colorado will see its first football-basketball dual-sport athlete in nearly 30 years. But count Tad Boyle in on at least exploring the possible addition of new CU Buffaloes football La’Vontae Shenault to the basketball roster.

This past week, the younger brother of star receiver Laviska Shenault made his pledge to the Buffs official on national signing day. He also raised eyebrows by saying he has the blessing of new football coach Mel Tucker to explore the option of playing basketball for the Buffs as well.

Boyle has not yet conversed with the younger Shenault or watched his basketball highlights. Yet Boyle had a succinct appraisal of the situation based on what he saw Laviska Shenault achieve on the gridiron this past fall.

“Put it this way — if his little brother can play basketball the way Laviska can play football, we’ll take him,” Boyle said.

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Improved second-half play a key to CU’s three-game winning streak

… Next up: Arizona State … Wednesday, 8:45 p.m., MT, FS1 … 

From … There are myriad reasons behind the Colorado men’s basketball team’s recent surge.

Better shooting, better rebounding, balanced scoring, more consistent defense — all those things have contributed to the Buffs’ recent three-game win streak that included a pair of road victories. Colorado will look to extend that streak this week with a pair of home games at the CU Events Center, beginning with an 8:30 p.m. matchup Wednesday with Arizona State, followed by a 6 p.m. game Sunday against Arizona.

Through the three-game win streak, the Buffs have been up and down in some areas — hot one game from 3-point range, ice-cold the next. But the constants throughout the winning streak have been stellar defense and rebounding, particularly in the second half.

Figure this: in the two games prior to their current win streak (losses to Stanford and Oregon State), Colorado let halftime leads slip away on both occasions. In those games, opponents shot a combined 64 percent from the field (32-for-50) after intermission, while also holding a five-rebound edge combined in the two games.

But in their last three wins, the Buffs have held opponents to 43 percent shooting after halftime (40-for-93). That was enough to overcome a pair of poor shooting games from 3-point range, when the Buffs were just 3-for-20 from beyond the arc against Oregon and just 4-for-20 from long distance against USC.

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February 11th

… CU in the Arena … 

Tad Boyle tied for second-lowest paid coach in the Pac-12

From Jon Wilner at the San Jose Mercury News … Right now, most Pac-12 basketball programs aren’t getting much return on their investment: Head coaches paid a lot of money oversee mediocre programs with little hope of reaching the NCAA Tournament.

Here’s a rundown of 2018 salaries, courtesy of the USA Today database. (Public schools only.)

Arizona’s Sean Miller: $4.1 million
Utah’s Larry Krystkowiak: $3.4 million
Oregon’s Dana Altman: $2.7 million
UCLA’s Steve Alford: $2.6 million
ASU’s Bobby Hurley: $2.1 million
OSU’s Wayne Tinkle: $2 million
Washington’s Mike Hopkins: $1.8 million
Colorado’s Tad Boyle: $1.4 million
Washington State’s Ernie Kent: $1.4 million
Cal’s Wyking Jones: $1.1 million

Miller and Krystkowiak are top-10 nationally in compensation.

Miller hasn’t won an NCAA game in two years and is mired in multiple off-the-court messes.

Unless Utah earns an automatic bid, Krystkowiak will miss the NCAAs for the third consecutive year.

Alford and Altman are top-25 nationally in compensation.

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Buffs’ three-game win streak has required contributions from the entire lineup

… Next up: Arizona State … Wednesday, 8:45 p.m., MT, FS1 … 

From … The resurgence of the Colorado men’s basketball team over the last 10 days has truly been a team effort.

In their current three-game win streak, the Buffs have been led in scoring by three different players. Sophomore Tyler Bey had a career-high 27 points in CU’s win over Oregon, junior Shane Gatling followed that up with a career-high 28 in the win over UCLA, and sophomore McKinley Wright IV tallied 20 in Saturday’s LA sweep-clinching win over USC.

But it has been more than just the leading scorers who have made the difference in CU’s recent push. The Buffs have gotten contributions from all seven of their regular rotation players in key areas.

Sophomore D’Shawn Schwartz had an outstanding Los Angeles trip, averaging 14 points and four rebounds in the two games. Freshman Evan Battey had 14-point, six-rebound night at USC. Junior Lucas Siewert scored in double figures in two of CU’s latest three wins while averaging more than five rebounds in the stretch, and sophomore Daylen Kountz had an 11-point night against Oregon.

Meanwhile, every Buff has pitched in with some solid defense. Battey tortured USC’s Nick Rakocevic all night long, helping to hold him to eight points — half his season average. Battey also did a solid job on UCLA’s Moses Brown down the stretch in the win at Pauley Pavilion, while Bey was a defensive stalwart in all three games, as were Wright and Schwartz.

Simply, the Buffs have been getting contributions from everyone, and most importantly, in crucial situations.

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February 9th

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs clutch in final minutes, take down USC on the road, 69-65

Related … “CU Buffs basketball picks up emotional win at USC” … from the Daily Camera

... Related … Late defensive lapses prove costly for USC in 69-65 loss to Colorado” … from the Los Angeles Times

From … Colorado delivered in crunch time Saturday night, and as a result, the Buffaloes left Los Angeles with their first Pac-12 road sweep in five years.

McKinley Wright IV scored 20 points, including the go-ahead bucket with 1:36 to go, and D’Shawn Schwartz added a pair of clinching free throws with 14 seconds remaining to lift the Buffs past USC, 69-65, at the Galen Center.

The win, coupled with Wednesday’s victory at UCLA, gave CU its first back-to-back conference road wins since 2013, when the Buffs swept the Oregon schools. It was CU’s third victory in a row and improved the Buffs to 14-9 overall and 5-6 in Pac-12 play. USC dropped to 13-11, 6-5.

Wright gave CU a 65-63 lead with a drive to the hoop with 2:20 to go, then broke a 65-65 tie less than a minute later with another drive. The Buffs then forced back-to-back empty possessions from the Trojans, including a missed a 3-point try with 21 seconds on the clock.

Tyler Bey rebounded the missed trey and was fouled, giving CU the ball out of bounds. Colorado inbounded the ball to Schwartz, who was immediately fouled. Schwartz then hit both free throws with 14 seconds left on the clock to give CU a four-point lead, 69-65, and clinch the win.

Schwartz finished with 13 points, 11 in the second half. Evan Battey had 14 points and six rebounds for Colorado and Lucas Siewert added 12 points and six rebounds.

Benny Boatwright led USC with 24 points.

“We got stops tonight,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “McKinley made plays, D’Shawn made free throws, Evan was a beast — it was just a great team victory. I can’t be more proud of our guys. It was just a toughness win. You win with toughness on the road because you have to.”

The win was especially sweet for the Buffs on USC’s home floor, as it was just a year ago that USC called timeout with just a few seconds remaining and a 12-point lead to set a play for another basket.

That moment stuck with the Buffs for an entire year, and an emotional Boyle pumped his fist and yelled to CU’s supporters after the game.

“This is a big game for us and our university, just like UCLA was a big win,” Boyle said. “There was a little bit extra in my belly. But it’s still just one win in the standings.”

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February 7th

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs hope to continue inspired play against Trojans 

… Up next: at USC, Saturday, 8:00 p.m., MT, ESPNU … 

... Related … “CU basketball seeks payback in return visit to USC’s Galen Center” … from the Daily Camera

From … It was just a week ago, one day after a disheartening loss to Oregon State, that Colorado coach Tad Boyle received a letter from a fan urging him to apply a little perspective to the Buffs’ plight.

The letter, from 2007 CU grad Dan Cashmore, reminded Boyle of what Colorado basketball was before he took the reins in 2010. Cashmore remembered what being a CU basketball fan meant during his time as a student, and how much the environment and atmosphere around the program has changed since.

… But now, one week after Cashmore’s letter arrived, the outlook for Colorado has changed again. After insisting throughout a difficult 3-8 stretch that his team was capable of making some noise in Pac-12 play, Boyle’s Buffs have turned up the volume. In back-to-back games, they have produced their two best efforts of the year. First came a rout of a talented Oregon team at home last Saturday, then came a stellar road win at UCLA on Wednesday.

It appears Boyle was right. The young Buffs are growing up, just in time to make their stretch run in Pac-12 play an interesting one. While Colorado currently sits in 10th place in the league standings with a 4-6 mark, the second and 10th-place teams in the league are separated by just two losses — meaning anything can happen over the next month.

No doubt, making a run to the top four will be a difficult climb, even with a favorable schedule (Colorado plays five of its last eight at home). Thanks to injuries and other issues, the Buffs are down to nine available scholarship players, and more often than not, are playing a seven-man rotation. In Wednesday’s win at UCLA, CU’s five starters all played at least 30 minutes, and the Buffs used just seven players in the entire second half.

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February 6th

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs post second consecutive win in Pauley Pavilion, take down UCLA Bruins, 84-73

Related … “Shane Gatling shoots CU Buffs basketball past UCLA” … from the Daily Camera

From … For the second year in a row, the Colorado Buffaloes made Pauley Pavilion their home away from home.

Shane Gatling scored a career-high 28 points Wednesday night — including seven 3-pointers — and the Buffs broke open a tight game in the final seven minutes to collect an 84-73 win over UCLA on the Bruins’ home floor.

It was CU’s second straight win at UCLA and third overall against the Bruins. The Buffs improved to 13-9 overall and 4-6 in Pac-12 play with their second straight conference win while the Bruins fell to 12-11, 5-5.

The Buffs entered the game with the Pac-12’s worst 3-point shooting percentage, but finished the night a red-hot 13-for-24 from beyond the arc, including a 7-for-9 night from Gatling. A year ago, Colorado was 11-for-22 from 3-point range in a win at UCLA.

Tyler Bey added his second straight double-double for Colorado, finishing with 16 points and 10 rebounds. McKinley Wright IV added 12 points and eight rebounds and D’Shawn Schwartz added 15 points. Gatling, who had 22 of his points in the second half, also had five assists, four rebounds and three steals for the Buffs. Colorado finished with 22 assists on their 28 baskets.

Moses Brown led UCLA with 17 points.

“We’re growing up,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “It’s taking some time. Saturday (at USC) is not going to be easy, but I told our team, the way we’re playing right now, if we continue to buy into defense and rebounding the ball, we can play with anybody. … Overall, a great win in Pauley Pavilion. Two in a row — what can you say?”.

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February 5th

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs try to take momentum from Oregon game on trip to Los Angeles 

… Next game … At UCLA, Wednesday, 7:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … 

Related … “L.A. return likely to be emotional for CU basketball’s Evan Battey” … from the Daily Camera

From … Now that the Colorado Buffaloes have proven they can put together a strong wire-to-wire effort, the next item on their agenda is to do it again.

Indeed, halfway through the Pac-12 schedule, “one game at a time” is more than just a cliche´ for Tad Boyle‘s Buffs as they head to Los Angeles this week for a pair of games. Colorado plays at UCLA on Wednesday (7 p.m. tipoff) before heading across town Saturday for an 8 p.m. game at USC.

“Just do it one more time,”  Boyle said after Monday’s practice. “Get better at practice today, figure out what we have to do and how do we beat UCLA. That’s all that’s on our mind. Before we do that on Wednesday, we have another practice (Tuesday). It’s just staying with the day-to-day improvement, individually and certainly as a team.”

That has been the Buffs’ goal all season — day-to-day improvement.

But now, instead of simply believing they are capable of a complete game, the Buffs have concrete proof after Saturday’s 73-51 win over Oregon in what was undoubtedly their best overall effort of the year.

“We proved we could do it for 40 minutes, now we have to go do it again for 40 minutes,” Boyle said. “Again, it may not be the kind of score that it was the other night, but we have to be ready to compete and execute defensively and offensively for 40 minutes.”

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February 4th

… CU in the Arena … 

Report: Arizona subject of NCAA inquiry related to college basketball corruption case

From Yahoo Sports … As the University of Arizona basketball program slogs through a difficult season on the court, the school appears to soon be facing uncomfortable questions on the future of embattled coach Sean Miller. Sources told Yahoo Sports that Arizona is one of the schools tied to the federal basketball scandal where a formal NCAA inquiry has begun.

While Arizona has the country’s No. 1 recruiting class for next season, there’s a series of looming issues both with the federal probe and the ongoing NCAA investigation into the school that complicate Miller’s future there.

The issues begin with the upcoming trial of Christian Dawkins, the former agency employee who claimed deep ties to the Arizona program. There’s also potential NCAA fallout from the recent felony plea in federal court by former Arizona assistant coach Emanuel “Book” Richardson, which amplifies the question of how the NCAA will handle Miller’s responsibility for the actions in his program.

While there’s nearly a dozen schools expected to face some degree of NCAA scrutiny in the wake of the federal basketball investigation, Miller and Arizona are dealing with a confluence of complications that cast a shroud over Miller’s future there.

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February 2nd 

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs play their best game of the season in rout of Oregon, 73-51

Related … “Message received, resurgent Tyler Bey leads CU basketball to rout of Oregon” … from the Daily Camera

Related … “Bey scores 27 with 10 boards as Colorado beats Oregon 73-51” … from ESPN

From … Throughout Colorado’s early struggles in Pac-12 play this year, Colorado coach Tad Boyle has insisted the Buffaloes could still make some noise in conference play.

Led by sophomore Tyler Bey’s ninth career double-double (27 points, 10 rebounds), the Buffs turned up the volume in a big way Saturday night, putting together their most complete game of the season to run away with a 73-51 win over Oregon at the CU Events Center.

The Buffs improved to 12-9 overall and 3-6 in Pac-12 play while also improving to 8-0 all-time against the Ducks in Boulder. Oregon fell to 13-9, 4-5.

The Buffs dominated the Ducks in virtually every regard, especially in the first half. Colorado used a 17-0 run to take a 24-5 lead with 11:02 to play in the first half and Oregon never came closer than 15 again. Colorado led by 23 at the half, 40-17 and pushed the lead to as much as 30, 64-34, in the second half.

Bey was a dominant force from the beginning. After a four-point, four-rebound effort in Thursday’s CU loss to Oregon State in just 17 minutes on the floor, he bounced back with a ferocious effort Saturday. Bey’s seventh double-double of the season included an 18-point first half, when he outscored the Ducks by himself. Bey finished with a 9-for-9 night from the floor while also hitting 9 of his 11 free throw tries in finishing with a career-high 27 points.

Colorado also controlled the boards, finishing with an 45-32 rebound edge, and held Oregon to just 31 percent shooting from the floor (18-for-58). Colorado’s defense was particularly stifling in the first half, holding the Ducks to just 6-for-29 shooting (20.6 percent).

Daylen Kountz added 11 points for Colorado and Lucas Siewert had 10 points and six rebounds. McKinley Wright IV added nine points, six rebounds and a pair of assists.

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February 1st

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs desperate for win as Ducks come to town

From … Late Thursday night, after his Buffs had absorbed a 76-74 loss to Oregon State on their home floor, Colorado coach Tad Boyle still expressed confidence in his team’s ability to finish strong.

“The beautiful thing about college basketball is a lot of people count people out in certainly January and February,” Boyle said. “People are counting out the Buffaloes and I understand why. But our job is to prove those people wrong and continue to improve every day and try to figure out how to win our next game. If we can get on a roll, which we’re fully capable of doing, we can make some noise in this league coming down the stretch.”

But with just 10 conference games remaining, the 11-9 Buffs (2-6 Pac-12) also know time is running out on their chances to start that hot streak. Their next opportunity comes Saturday, when they play host to Oregon in a 7:30 p.m. game at the CU Events Center. Colorado has never lost to Oregon in Boulder, owning a 7-0 record against the Ducks on CU’s home floor.

The Ducks (13-8, 4-4) bring a two-game win streak to Boulder that includes a 78-72 come-from-behind win over Utah on Thursday. Oregon fell behind 30-16 midway through the first half, but put together a 22-4 run to take a 38-34 halftime lead, and never trailed in the second half.

“Oregon started pressing and Utah turned it over 19 times for 29 points,” Boyle said after watching film of the Utah-Oregon game. “Handle their press. That’s the key to Oregon — and obviously you have to guard them.”

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45 Replies to “Colorado Basketball – February, 2019”

  1. Nice to see some students / fans show up at the Can. This year is Tad’s best coaching job ever in my opinion. Go Buffs.

  2. Excellent 3 win streak. All at home. 13 and 2 nice.

    That OSU loss now is more painful than ever. A home loss.

    The WSU loss is also painful…………………..

    But what a great wrap up dang nab it.

    I hope Tad and his staff (I’m sure they will) go back and breakdown the stats on the last 13 games. Hope rebounds are put in the real world perspective. OvsD

    Whatever. Extend him now.

    Beat cal……….beat OSU ………….and then the upset of Washington and the smashing of ASU…………..i can see it in the bubbles.

    Go Buffs.

    Note: Tad and substitution. He has always been a bit weird in this aspect. Sheesh…. No bench means no substitution. Yehaaaaaaaaa

  3. If the Buffs next year have to go on the road to start conference play with something like their first 4 to 6 games against 2 home stands, then they should go on strike. Just kidding, but it seems to me that they have had a bunch more road games early for the last few years.

    Maybe next years team if they stick together and no one leaves will be able to withstand an early bunch of conference road games. Also maybe this team as young as it was needed half this season to get to the point that they are now though. I don’t know, but it sure would be nice if they had a more balanced schedule.

    1. Relating to AZBuff’s post on scheduling, how strong is the “West Coast bias?” Wilner’s whining about UCLA and Arizona not being the conference flag bearer’s anymore certainly stayed on tune with that. Letting Bill Walton do UCLA games mystifies me. I know he is a really nice guy but for some reason I cant stand to listen to his free form bloviating, most of which seems to redundantly recount the UCLA glory days.
      Aside from these guys who never played and played a long time ago and the Buff’s early struggles, I fund this season refreshing. I know the conference parity didn’t do anything for its national standing but it made for a lot more involved viewing for me.

  4. wondering if the half empty bench actually has a bright side.
    The more the same players play together the better they play together?
    Does it limit Tad’s sometimes strange substitutions?

    1. Very interesting question, I had also wondered about that. The only thing that will make it maybe more difficult is if they have to play 4 games in 4 days with that short bench.

  5. Interesting quote by Larry Krystkowiak after the Utah game: ” It takes three phases to win games. You have got to have some offense, defense – we kind of checked that box – and we out-rebounded them, which you don’t normally do against Colorado.”

    Interesting that he said three phases (not two).

    Buffs 13-3 when scoring more than 70 and 4-8 when scoring less than 70.

  6. you have to ply at both ends of the floor but when you have 4 guys scoring in double figures you dont lose very often. Another 5 or 6 game winning streak (depending on the seeding) gets the Buffs to the dance.

  7. When you out-rebound your opponent by 10 +, there’s no reason to lose….BUT – and it’s a big “but” – when you face a zone defense like UW deploys, it’s going to be a though hike up the mountain.

    Q: Is there some reason the Buffs can’t master utilizing a defense like the Huskies ? I think not, but I’m not a BB guru. Their defense makes passing a tough challenge. … especially if you’re not passing with some zip on the ball…. our telegraphed “lobs” were so easy for the Huskies to defend and intercept.

    I’m definitely not high on BB – I.Q., so – someone – anyone, please tell me why the Buffs can’t use it ? What’s your take Stuart ?

    Thanks, a Dumbfounded Bufftrax

    1. Bufftrax, when you play a zone D you usually do not win the rebounding battle particularly the defensive kind, that is why some coaches don’t like playing it. Washington also has one of the best players in the country with the type of zone they play, in Matisse Thybulle, long arms very athletic and high motor. The zone that Udub plays is the Jim Bohoeim Zone he has perfected with great success over the last 30 years. The coach at Udub is one of his long time disciples.

      Some coaches like Tad and Miller here in Tucson don’t like to play it, however the way these kids play now it makes more sense then in the past. The game today has a lot more “Street” to it and many of these kids can be coached to at least play some D in a Zone, while MtoM takes some real commitment. At least that is my opinion.

      1. AZ, I only played high school BB & FB and I wouldn’t say I’m high on BB I.Q. Your rationale on some of the nitty-gritty makes a lot of sense.

        Personally, I think a zone-D can be coached to get at least 2 players in the paint for rebounds, however that’s probably why I’m typing this and not coaching. ha !

  8. So according to Tad, opponent offensive rebounding and CU turnovers lost the game (one of his metrics). They were -7 in this stat. (Never mind they out rebounded Washington by 11).

    The previous game against Washington State CU was +8 in this metric and out-rebounded State 39-37 overall with a + 7 on offensive boards. And lost.

    In the home loss against Washington CU was +7 in turnovers/opponent offensive rebounding and out rebounded Washington by 2 (+2 on offensive boards). And lost.

    defensive/rebounding/offensive efficiency win games, especially on the road.

  9. sure Tad. Play that lock down D and the O will ….well….take care of itself….right? (groan) I am just going to hope WU has just as bad a shooting night as the Buffs usually do. Being at home, though, doesnt make that very likely.

  10. So I think The Buffs are/were playing some pretty good basketball and I was ecstatic to see the 5 game winning streak… But you have to be able to beat the teams on the bottom. This is just another stab in the heart for CU sports.

  11. Another 2 point loss.


    Easy answer.

    Siewert………………………..1 for 10 Threes………………3 for 7
    Gatling………………………….4 for 13 Threes…………….4 for 10
    Wright……………………………5 for 12 Threes………….. 1 for 3

    That is all.


    Note: Huskies are gonna destroy the buffs. 3 at home Gotta win em to even have a farts chance of getting the 4th spot.

  12. Wilner crying onto his keyboard over UCLA and AZ again. Does he expect the rest of the conference to join him? Does he expect the rest of the conference to hate the Huskies for “carrying the torch?”
    I imagine Wilner gets an erotic thrill anticipating the perennial Clemson Alabama game at the end of each football season. The last few times you have posted him, Stu, makes me believe the guy has a serious screw loose. Kizla has been off the deep end for decades but draws readers anyway through manufactured controversy. Maybe thats Wilner’s schtick too. Too many David Pecker wannabes

  13. That was a Tad win. Rebounding and D did it in the last 6 or 7 minutes. I dont recall any Buff scoring during that time other than the Wright and Siewart three and a couple of foul shots.

  14. The win against ASU marked the fourth time this season at least four CU players have played at least 30 minutes. …..

    Only he 4th time? Really?

    Tad has an antiquated sub policy. Also random. And sometimes goofy.

    Now take Duke…………..Sometimes they have 5 that play over 30 Sometime 2 or 3 that play 40. Always at least 3 over 30 and most of the time 4 over 30.

    So what does that say? Nothing. Except maybe Duke plays there best players all the time every time. CU plays their players based on Tads formula which could be 1 + 1 = ?


    Note: It is the same every year. Tad is the best coach in CU BB history? Well okay then Play the best all the time everytime…………………..The OSU loss is on Tad and his goofy sub and disciplinary methods. Give your best player only 17 min and you lose by 2? That’s on you Tad Bud…

  15. Nice win. If Tad squeezes 20 wins out of this team (which, to be honest, I would have took the over/under that it wouldn’t happen this year) it will be his best coaching job to date in my opinion. Sitting at a 15-9 record with the disparity between road/home games compared to other Pac-12 teams at this point in the season is damn good. Colorado is an even 11-11 on home/road games on the year while the Oregon Yucks are at 15/7. Huge difference. Nice job Rasputin Boyle and gang.

    Go Buffs.

  16. This was a satisfyin win for a umber of reasons.
    As VK already mentioned the cheaters didnt win
    not only that but they, and especially Jason Hart, had to go home and replace their soiled panties.
    The Buffs stuck it in the ref’s eye as they refused to call an offensive foul on the used condoms all night long.
    Still I would like to see that assist total get back up there in rte coming games.

  17. SWEEP

    Nice win. Whipped the cheaters.

    Another c heater coming up this week

    The Buffs have to sweep those az “suncats” or “wilddevils” Gotta happen
    Just like those Oreo “*ucks” those low level whiner, whiney, loudmouth boorish az (some residents too but not all eh ol one king of the windmill hole??) fans will be all over the events center. It was great watching those O fans come in smiling and doing their goofy cheer and watching it fade early. Now you will find this hard to believe but in the second have some loudmouth “*uck” fan stood up and started yelling at the refs bout a foul. They were down 22 at the time. And yes I had to engage that lil green fat boy with kind words of my own choosing. So?

    Nice road sweep. Now need the home sweep.

    7 to go 5 at home.
    1 and 1 up in the great state of Washington

    End up 11-7 (20-10)

    WHAT…………….is that even possible……………..probable……………IT IS
    Then a couple in the tourney……………say 22 and 11………………Holy moly
    Is there a NCAA bid? Nope pac sucks…………..but NIT

    More coffee more shrooms more medicinal herb………I Gotta believe now.


    Note: Go big Tad………………………..please let em play free

    1. As you probably already are aware and know, this current UofA team is very beatable and there is no excuse for the Buffs not to accomplish that feat in Boulder. Watching the USC game one has to wonder how CU has lost at home to some of teams that they have faced this year.

      Get’em this year in Boulder and maybe even again at the PAC 12 tourney. Next year, if Miller doesn’t get fired this year, and he stays, he has a heck of a class coming in. If CU can maintain the momentum from this year with all those good young players it will be a heck of a series between the two schools. I still maintain that Miller is a heck of a recruiter and coach. But believe me I always root for the Buffs. The windmill hole has been removed and they replaced it with a drawbridge that is on an indeterminate timer that always keeps you guessing.

  18. Yes! Now that’s the CU team I thought we would see (improving over the season). Nice win on the road. Give Tad and the guys credit, but don’t tell Tad that CU lost the rebounding battle by three and came out short on his weird metric of turnovers and opponents offensive rebounds 27-18. But they got stops when needed and were so much more efficient on offense (22 assists, much better field goal and free throw %). Breakout game for Gatling. Amazing how the three point line opens the floor. Here’s hoping old Rasputin Boyle keeps it rolling against the Trojans.

    Go Buffs

  19. Great win at Pauley. 40 minutes always 40 minutes. Plus an offense a frigging offense. Yehah Offense wins games. Defense saves games. Be winning.


    Note: The really sad part this athletic cycle is that the mightless buffs lose to the low rankers in the different sports
    WSU Basketball one conference win…………..against the Buffs………..(you own this Tad)
    OSU Football one conference win……..against the Buffs……………(nah nah…………eh eh goodbye)
    Sad really sad……………maybe not.

    Note 2: So Tad and his team have 8 left.
    3 on the road USC…Wash…WSU
    5 at home…AZ ASU Utes USC UCLA
    Gotta beat usc…NOW
    If can do then…………..go 2 and 1 on the road and 3 and 2 at home and end up 9 and 9 and and 18 and 12 win a couple in the tourney and off to the NIT………….gotta have it

    Oh to dream and beg and plead for things to happen…………..Can lightning strike again on the beautiful CU campus……………..Frigging freezing out here

  20. CU women losing by 56. Wow. I thought after the North Carolina game they would be better than expected. Was I wrong; they were terribly exposed after Leonard went down. Year three of JR Payne (a RG hire ). Could pull an “oh-fer” in league play. Not good. Stove getting warm?

  21. Nice win for the Buffs. Credit to Tad and the players for bouncing back after the tough loss on Friday. I think they found a nice 4 year guy in Kountz. Kid can play. Here’s hoping for at least a split in LA and some momentum for the rest of the season.

  22. One of these headlines is true and the others are satirical ones in the Onion. Guess which?

    “Mavericks Retire Dirk Nowitzki’s Jersey Fully Unaware He Still On Team”

    “Tony Romo Realizes He Should Have Used Ability To Read Defenses Back When He Was Still Playing”

    “CU misses a total of 44 field goal attempts and free throws. Tad Boyle blames rebounding and defense for the loss.”

    1. I started counting, while I could, the Buff bunnies bouncing off the front of the rim but
      I also got whip lash watching poor Evan try and double team the ball handler and then get back to the Stanford 7 footer in the paint.

  23. Doesn’t appear that even earache is going to attempt to put a positive spin on this s—show. I got to see at least one good game yesterday…..KA and KY. Not sure how many more Buff games I can take. I would rather do something less disgusting and more entertaining like my taxes. And injuries are no excuse for the spastic basketball I saw in the second half.

      1. thats like the poor guy who just found out he had pancreatic cancer say he was better off when it was just congestive heart failure.

    1. It’s not all bad. Take a deeper dive into the Buffs 11 wins this season:

      Opponent’s Overall Record: 105-120 (46.7% win percentage)
      CU win total by conference: Mountain West (3)
      Pac-12 (*2)
      Summit (2)
      Missouri Valley (1)
      Big West (1)
      Horizon (1)
      West Coast (1)

      Sure, we lost to the current 6th place team in the Missouri Valley conference on a neutral court and on the road to the current 4th place teams in the West Coast and Big West conferences, but we can claim an even 500 record against those conferences because of our wins at the Events Center.**

      (Footnotes: * combined 1-15 record in conference)
      ** sarcasm fully on display here)

      Go Buffs

  24. I am shocked. I said I would be if they won another game. I didnt get to see the game but 18 assists is another thing that shocks me. That means they were playing a lot more efficient offense….playing as a team.
    Buffs have now beat 2 of the teams behind them in the standings and have a chance to get a third when the go to Stanford. Still like to see that signature win. Heck, I would like to see them jettison His Jekyll and Hyde thing and play a lot more consistently. Having only 9 scholarship players may actually help in that regard if their conditioning holds up.
    Does Dombek’s shirt get burned and does Bey go pro?

    1. Does Dombek’s shirt get burned? —-no. Too late in the season and guy is not physically ready for D1 basketball. Would be a complete waste of a season.

      and does Bey go pro?—he may test the waters, but the feedback from pro scouts will be that he needs to improve his offensive game and he should stay another year.

  25. I have been a HUGE Tad supporter, and still am. However I am disappointed in some of the comments that always blame the players. At the end of the day, the coaches need to take responsibility and accountability. If they are an inconsistent team, the coaches need to fix that. I’m not ready to get rid of Tad by any means, as I don’t know who we think we could get that would be any better, but I do think Tad needs to do a strong self assessment of himself and his coaches. GO BUFFS!!

  26. Utah relaxed, Buff players seem to ignore the Tad “offense” and generate a run with their own but Utah put the hammer back down when they needed to.
    I wonder if they practice against the opponent’s scouted D on O and vice versa? I am hoping Tad doesnt have MM’s ego and seeks outside help, maybe in the form of a new assistant to deal with the offense.

  27. A few moments in the first half of the Utah game made me reflect on the current state of CU hoops.

    1. First possession of the game: Good CU defense causes a turnover but CU is unable to execute a simple 2 on 1 fast break and Tyler Bey clanks a layup. Utah rebounds and now has a 4 on 3 at the other end and drills a wide open three. CU never lead again. Poor offensive efficiency puts even more pressure on your defense and rebounding. Tad (a good coach) just doesn’t seem to grasp this. Offensive efficiency.

    2. Later in the first half a sequence of 4 consecutive turnovers lead to 4 Utah dunks. Game over. I’m thinking, “I know McKinley Wright is hurt, but where are the upperclassmen guards to calm this thing down.” Answer, Tad’s recruiting misses on Akilzily, Bryce Peters and Deleon Brown. This team is young , yes; however, it is self-induced because of poor recruiting. Not blaming Kountz and Parquet becuase they are young and are not yet ready to run the show. Gatling? 6-18 (after an 0-10 start) is not the answer so far. Seems a stop gap. Tad’s only recruit in the pipeline coming in seems like a nice local kid whose other offers were Denver and Colorado State . Recruiting.

    3). Alums at the game. TreShaun Fletcher at the game who is rehabbing an injured knee in the NBA development league. The same Treshaun Fletcher who after transferring to Toledo was MAC player of the year. Go ahead and laugh at the MAC but see what Buffalo did to Arizona State in the tourney last year and who beat Syracuse at Syracuse this year and is ranked in the top 15. The same Treshaun Fletcher whose Toledo coach said he needed to work on his offensive game after being in Tad’s system for 4 years. And what upperclassman have we had for 3 years who should be a calming influence? Namon Wright (3rd year at CU). Player development =Staff.

    4). Roxy Bernstein (play by play) retreads that old “Tad Boyle has 5 out 9 CU 20 win seasons (Ricardo Patton has 3, they play a lot more games than pre-1980s teams did –it is not that high of a standard anymore) and is a Colorado native. Great. That was early in his regime; how about the last 4.5 years? Very Ricardo Patton-esque, but you can’t point that out becuase your accused of cherry picking stats. Tad is still getting a pass on what happened 7-8 years ago. Where is the program heading now?

    5. Announcers point out Larry Kristowiak’s 2.3 or 2.6 million something annual salary. Tad’s is 1.6 or so. Rick George is keeping Tad because he can’t afford (literally) to take on more salary after the Mac2 payout. This team is a long way from competing for championships according to the Rick George standard for CU athletics. Tad (Or RG) needs to make changes.

    6. CU is 1-9 against Utah in hoops the last 4.5 years and continues to get their butts kicked by the Utes in football. UTAH came out of the Mountain West and elevated their game to Power-5 standards. CU in hoops and the gridiron since joining the PAC-12 (except for the one season in football and maybe 2 in basketball) look like the true Mountain West level program. Harsh, but true.

    You will have to let me know how the second half went becuase I was too depressed and decided to take the dog for a walk. Never quit on a game before.

    Go Buffs.

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