Colorado Basketball – March, 2019

March 31st

… CU in the Arena …

McKinley Wright preparing for shoulder surgery: “I just want to get this over with”

From the Daily Camera … McKinley Wright played with complete fearlessness over the final three months of the season. Yet he admits the next step of his basketball journey arrives with a fair share of trepidation.

Soon, possibly next week, Wright will undergo left shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum he suffered at practice nearly three months ago. Wright missed only one full game and played through the injury down the stretch, but his first taste of surgery of any sort has understandably made Colorado’s point guard anxious.

“I’m nervous, but I just want to get this over with,” Wright said.

Wright suffered the injury in the Buffaloes’ first practice upon returning to Boulder after a short holiday break. It was feared he would miss the Buffs’ Pac-12-opening series in Arizona that week but Wright started in both CU losses, though the team-leading 17 points he scored at Arizona was balanced by a three-assist, six-turnover effort.

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March 30th

… CU in the Arena … 

UCLA and Oregon lose stars to the NBA Draft

UCLA’s Kris Wilkes announces he’s headed to the NBA” … from the Los Angeles Times

UCLA’s new basketball coach will have to find a new leading scorer.

Sophomore forward Kris Wilkes announced Wednesday that he was hiring an agent and declaring for the NBA draft, ending the college career of a prolific scorer on teams that largely struggled to fulfill their promise.

Bol Bol, son of former NBAer Manute Bol, declares for draft” … from The Sporting News

Bol Bol appears to be preparing for the NBA.

The Oregon freshman has hired an agent in anticipation of the 2019 draft, according to an L.A. Daily News report.

Bol averaged 21 points and 9.6 rebounds in nine appearances for the Ducks in 2018-19.

Oregon’s loss to Virginia: “One shining migraine”

From The Oregonian …  That was some meat grinder the Oregon Ducks fell into on Thursday night.

Don’t know about you, but when I think about the NCAA Tournament, I think about made shots, and beautiful passes, and all of it set to the music of, “One Shining Moment.”

This game?

One shining migraine.

In the last 90 seconds of its season, Oregon suffered an inexplicable breakdown on defense, threw up all over itself on offense, and for those sins was promptly excused from the NCAA Tournament.

The Final: Virginia 53, Oregon 49.

Payton Pritchard shook his head.

Paul White turned to the Ducks fans in the crowd and applauded.

Ehab Amin cried.

Oregon wasn’t the better team on Thursday in this South Regional semifinal. Be clear about that. Not in the eyes of the selection committee, the bookmakers, or anyone who saw the game.

But the Ducks could have easily stolen the outcome and ended up in the Elite Eight. If they’d just played smarter, the Ducks could have knocked out the region’s No. 1 seed, busted up that last perfect bracket, and kept themselves in this tournament.

Continue reading story here

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March 29th

… CU in the Arena … 

Tad Boyle promises better non-conference scheduling in 2019-20

From the Daily Camera … One of the immediate offseason objectives for head coach Tad Boyle and his staff is to finalize the 2019-20 nonconference schedule.

With a Buffaloes team expecting to be a Pac-12 Conference contender after reeling off a late run of 12 wins in 15 games, reaching the semifinals of the Pac-12 tournament and the quarterfinals of the NIT along the way, Boyle hinted that a nonconference schedule for next season that already looks like an upgrade will have a few significant additions in the coming weeks.

“Next year, we haven’t announced everything, but we are upgrading our schedule significantly,” Boyle said. “We’re doing that because I believe in these guys. Those games in November and December are very important. And they’re going to be hard to win because we’re playing against some really good teams. We’ve got good teams coming to (the Events Center), on neutral courts, and road games.”

The only part of that statement that is somewhat a revelation is the addition of challenging home games.

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March 28th

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs in a rare position of expecting every contributor back for next season

From the Daily Camera … When the calendar flipped from January to February, so did something in the collective mindset of the Buffs. CU reeled off 12 wins in 15 games, a sudden burst that included a pair of wins at the Pac-12 tournament as well as a pair of wins in the NIT, which CU was eliminated from Wednesday night in a 68-55 loss at Texas in the quarterfinals. After the midwinter doldrums the Buffs ultimately finished with 23 wins, just one shy of matching the program record.

The Buffs are in the rare position of expecting every one of their rotation players from that late run to return next season. With a few additions in store as well, the offseason will be a crucial one for a Buffs team that no longer will be considered young in 2019-20.

“Everybody in that locker room has to get better. And the coaches are included in that,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “We all have a responsibility to get better this offseason. Some of our guys need to have the best offseason of their career. We need more than seven or eight guys to go through a season. Obviously staying healthy is important to any team, but you look at (Wednesday’s) game and Texas’ depth wore us down. They went 10-deep.

“I love this team. I love coaching this team, even when we were struggling. (The turnaround) tells you what can be accomplished by this group of guys. If they take the lessons that they learned, they have to understand we can’t have stretches like we had in Hawaii. We can’t lose those kinds of games.”

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March 27th 

… CU in the Arena …

Buffs never in the game (44-19 at halftime) in 68-55 loss to Texas in third round of NIT

Game recap from ESPN

Game stats can be found here … Tyler Bey finishes with a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds (16 points and nine rebounds in the second half, when the game was already decided) … McKinley Wright and D’Shawn Schwartz contribute 11 points apiece …

From CUBuffs.com … .The Colorado Buffaloes came up one game short of a trip to Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, dropping a 68-55 NIT quarterfinal decision to Texas at the Erwin Center.

The Buffs, who played a second-round game at home Monday, traveled Tuesday and played again Wednesday, fell behind early to the hot-shooting Longhorns and could never completely close the gap.

CU wrapped up its season with a 23-13 record, tied for the third-most wins in a season in program history. Texas improved to 19-16 and will advance to next week’s NIT Final Four in New York with a Tuesday game against Big 12 rival TCU.

The Buffs appeared to be tired from the outset. While they trailed by just one with a little more than 10 minutes left in the first half, the Longhorns took control with a 15-0 run, part of a 23-2 surge that helped Texas to a 25-point lead at the half, 44-19.

Colorado managed to cut the deficit to 15 early in the second half, but could never get closer until the final minutes.

Tyler Bey led the Buffs with an 18-point, 13-rebound double-double, his 17th of the season, with 16 of those points and nine rebounds coming after halftime. McKinley Wright IV had 11 points, nine in the second half, and six rebounds.

The Longhorns had four players in double figures, led by Dylan Osetkowski’s 15 points.

Colorado shot just 29 percent from the field in the first half (7-for-24) while the Longhorns hit 50 percent of their field goal tries (18-for-36), including 7-for-13 from 3-point range.

“We dug (a hole) on defense, we dug it on offense,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “We couldn’t make a shot tonight at the rim. We had a lot of good looks in the first half. Texas was terrific defensively. We watched a lot of film on those guys and we have not seen that Texas team on film. … Sometimes you have to tip your hat to your opponent.”

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Pac-12 men’s basketball looking to fill three (possibly four) coaching vacancies

Update … “Kyle Smith announced as new head coach at Washington State” … from CougCenter.com

From the San Jose Mercury News … As the Ducks try to continue their unlikely run Thursday night against No. 1 seed Virginia, the conference as a whole has some pressing business of its own. It needs to get the coaching hires right amid the largest wave of offseason turnover in a decade.

UCLA, Cal and Washington State all have coaching vacancies, marking the first time since the end of the 2013-14 season that there were three openings in the league at once.

(And we must keep a close eye on the Sean Miller situation at Arizona; if that leads to a change, a full third of the conference will have undergone coaching transitions).

There’s simply no substitute for having the right leadership in place. Read Jon Wilner’s piece from Tuesday on how the SEC righted its ship in basketball. That league brought in Mike Tranghese as a consultant who has had a voice in every
coaching hire since.

Such oversight isn’t going to happen in the Pac-12. “I don’t think our schools want us to play that role,” deputy commissioner Jamie Zaninovich told the Hotline earlier this month. ”That seems to be a localized issue.”

But it’s fair to say the conference can’t afford many more disastrous hires like Ernie Kent at Washington State or Wyking Jones at Cal. It also desperately needs UCLA, one of its marquee programs, to find the right fit – something Steve Alford never was.

Luckily, we’re here to provide these schools some advice.

Continue reading story here

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March 26th

… CU in the Arena … 

No rest for the weary – Buffs take on Longhorns Wednesday night in NIT quarterfinals

… Game time: 7:00 p.m., MT, ESPN2 … 

Related … “New chapter in old rivalry unfolds in NIT quarterfinals as CU Buffs visit Texas” … from the Daily Camera

From CUBuffs.com … The level of competition and the stakes have gone up a notch for the Colorado Buffaloes.

After two home wins over mid-major programs in the first two rounds of the NIT, the Buffaloes will take their postseason show on the road Wednesday for a 7:00  p.m. game against Texas (ESPN2) at the Frank Erwin Center. A win will send the 23-12 Buffs to New York’s Madison Square Garden for next Tuesday’s NIT semifinals; a loss will send them home for the remainder of their spring break.

Also at stake: a chance for a 24th win, which would match the most by any team in CU history. Currently tied for third on CU’s all-time list, this year’s team could move into a tie for first, matching the 2010-11 and 2011-12 teams that both won 24 under Boyle.

But the 18-16 Longhorns — no doubt be the Buffs’ stiffest NIT test yet — stand in the way. Considered to be an NCAA Tournament team for much of the year until a 1-4 collapse down the stretch of the regular season dashed those hopes, Texas finished sixth in the Big 12 with an 8-10 conference mark to become the highest-finishing team in its league not to earn an NCAA berth. Insult was then added to that injury when Oklahoma, which finished below the Longhorns in the Big 12, earned an NCAA berth.

But after their 1-5 faceplant at the end of the season (Texas lost to Kansas in the first round of their conference tournament), the Longhorns were given a No. 2 seed in the NIT and have bounced back nicely. They knocked off South Dakota State, 79-73, in the tourney opener, then took a 78-76 overtime win from Xavier in the second round.

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CU/Texas series did you know … In CU’s last season in the Big 12, and in the final meeting between the two as conference rivals on Feb. 26, 2011, Texas built a 43-21 lead with 4:39 left in the first half. But behind Alec Burks (33 points) and Levi Knutson (21), the Buffaloes rallied for a 91-89 win over the No. 5 Longhorns. CU cut the lead to 48-33 by halftime and scored 58 second half points (the Buffs actually led by 78-67 with four minutes to go, completing a 57-24 run). It remains the second-largest comeback in school history.

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March 25th

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs take out Norfolk State Spartans, 76-60, in second round of NIT Tournament

Related … “Less-than-best CU Buffs top Norfolk State to reach NIT quarterfinals” … from the Daily Camera

From CUBuffs.com … Tad Boyle’s Colorado Buffaloes made sure their last home game of the year wasn’t their final game of the season.

The Buffs built a 20-point first-half lead over Norfolk State on Monday, then withstood a second-half Spartans run before regaining control down the stretch to take a 76-60 second-round NIT victory.

The Buffs, now 23-12, will travel to Texas on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. quarterfinal game against the Longhorns, with the winner heading to Madison Square Garden next week for the NIT Final Four. The Buffs have now won 12 of their last 15 games.

Norfolk State, the regular season MEAC champion, finished its year at 22-13.

The Buffs put four players in double figures, including freshman Evan Battey, who finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds for his first career double-double. Tyler Bey led Colorado in scoring with 17 points to go with nine rebounds, D’Shawn Schwartz added 11 points and Daylen Kountz chipped in 10.

Mastadi Pitt led Norfolk with 14 points. Colorado held NSU’s Derrik Jamerson, the nation’s leading 3-point shooter, to just two points, including an 0-6 night from beyond the arc.

Still, the Buffs weren’t at their best, allowing Norfolk State to cut a 20-point lead down to nine early in the second half before regaining control. CU committed eight turnovers after half as the Spartans actually outscored Colorado, 37-33, over the final 20 minutes.

“I think it’s a good sign for our program hen you win a game by 16 tonight at home and you feel a sense of disappointment,” head coach Tad Boyle said. “I felt like we weren’t at our best tonight, more so from an emotional standpoint than a physical standpoint or even an execution standpoint. We just weren’t sharp offensively.”

But, as Boyle noted, the Buffs extended their season by at least another game. CU’s 23 wins ties for the third-most in program history, with all four of those seasons coming under Boyle.

“We got the win and we live to see another day,” Boyle said. “It’s about surviving and advancing this time of year and thank goodness we are.”

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Tad Boyle: “College basketball is about competing. Norfolk State competes”

Related … “Norfolk State makes rare visit to battle CU Buffs in NIT second round” … from the Daily Camera

From CUBuffs.com … Tad Boyle’s Colorado Buffaloes don’t want their last home game of the season to be their season finale.

The Buffs will hit the CU Events Center floor one last time Monday night, when they play host to Norfolk State in a 7 p.m. second-round NIT game (ESPN2).

A win would send the Buffs to Austin, Texas, on Wednesday for a third-round game against the Longhorns. A loss  would send the Buffs home for spring break.

Colorado’s players aren’t ready for a vacation.

“These are my brothers and I love playing with them,” CU sophomore point guard McKinley Wright IV said late last week. “I want to play with them as long as I can. Obviously it’s going to come to an end when everybody graduates, so you try to cherish every moment and be thankful to be on the court with them.”

The 22-12 Buffs, the No. 4 seed in their bracket quadrant, advanced via a 78-73 home win over Dayton last Tuesday. The 22-13 Spartans, a No. 8 seed, earned a trip to Boulder with an 80-79 overtime win at Alabama on Wednesday.

“The fact that we’re a Power Five school or a Pac-12 school means nothing to Norfolk State,” Boyle said. “Those kids relish that opportunity and thrive on it — as they should. College basketball is about competing. Norfolk State competes.”

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Related Getting to Know the Spartans … From CU Game Notes … Norfolk State is 22-13 overall and the regular season champions of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference with a 14-2 record. The Spartans lost to North Carolina Central, 50-47, in the MEAC Tournament championship game to earn the automatic NIT bid. Seeded eighth, the Spartans knocked off top-seeded Alabama, 80-79 in overtime to advance to the second round

Junior guard Nic Thomas leads Norfolk State at 14.4 points per game. An All-MEAC Second Team pick, Thomas tops the Spartans in free throws made and attempted (125-154) and is second on the team in 3-pointers made (83). Senior guard Derrik Jamerson, Jr., is second on the team in scoring at 10.7 points per game. Jamerson
leads the nation in 3-point shooting at a blistering 51.4 percent. Joining Thomas on the All-MEAC Second Team, Jamerson is 92 of 179 from 3-point range. Senior forward Jordan Butler tops the Spartans at 6.5 blocks and 2.0 blocks per game while averaging 8.2 points per contest. Junior guard Steven Whitley leads Norfolk State in assists (132) while averaging 9.7 points per game.

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March 24th

… CU in the Arena … 

Daylen Kountz defensive play improving to match his offense

From CUBuffs.com … Over the last month, Daylen Kountz’s game has become increasingly more valuable for the Colorado Buffaloes.

Kountz, a 6-foot-4 freshman guard, arrived on campus last fall with the potential for an explosive offensive game, something that showed in flashes all year.

But recently, Kountz has become more and more effective on the defensive end, something that has resulted in him getting more minutes in crucial situations for Tad Boyle‘s Buffs.

“He’s always been aggressive on offense,” said Boyle, whose Buffs play host to Norfolk State in second-round NIT game Monday at the CU Events Center (7 p.m., ESPN2). “Now you see that aggressiveness creeping into the defensive side of the ball — which as long as he’s not gambling, is a good thing. He’s long, he’s athletic, he’s got good hands, he can get some steals and dunks.”

That athleticism came on display in Colorado’s first-round Pac-12 tournament win over Cal, when he had back-to-back steals and dunks in a 13-2 Colorado run. A day later, he added another steal and dunk in a win over Oregon State.

“Offense is confidence — playing aggressive, taking what the defense gives you,” Kountz said. “Defense, it’s just anticipating and being in the right spot. If you’re in the right spot, you’re going to be able to make plays.”

That, Boyle said, has been one area in which Kountz has matured dramatically since the beginning of the season. As he has increased his understanding of his role and Colorado’s defensive philosophies, he has been able to improve his play on that end of the floor.

“My whole thing with Daylen is his mind and his confidence,” Boyle said. ” His knowledge of the game, knowledge of where he is on the floor and what his responsibilities are have come a long, long way.”

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March 23rd

… CU in the Arena …

Boyle on Norfolk State: “The fact that we’re a Power Five school or a Pac-12 school means nothing to Norfolk State”

From CUBuffs.com … But Boyle also knows the eighth-seeded Spartans (22-13), who advanced by winning at No. 1 seed Alabama, have no shortage of motivation. They also won’t be in awe of the Buffs.

“The fact that we’re a Power Five school or a Pac-12 school means nothing to Norfolk State,” Boyle said. “Those kids I think relish that opportunity and thrive on it — as they should. College basketball is about competing. Norfolk State competes.”

Boyle speaks from experience when it comes to the chip smaller schools can carry on their shoulder at this time of the year. Boyle was an assistant coach at Jacksonville State, and the head coach at Northern Colorado.

“I know what it’s like being on the other side of (big schools),” Boyle said. “It’s a lot easier getting your guys geared up for these games. You don’t have to say a whole lot because guys like the challenge. They maybe feel like they’ve got something to prove. Our guys have to meet that and match that.”

But Boyle also believes his Buffs received a little bit of an eye-opener against Dayton, a team the Buffs didn’t put away until the final few minutes Tuesday. Then, after watching Norfolk State knock off the Crimson Tide, Boyle is sure his team won’t take the Spartans lightly.

“Watching Norfolk State beat Alabama at Alabama opens our guys’ eyes and makes them understand hey we’d better be ready to play,” he said.

From the players’ perspective, the game is another chance to learn, grow and gain valuable experience that will pay off next season.

“Obviously it’s not the tournament we want to be in, but it is what it is,” Wright said. “We know that next year we can’t take our non-conference schedule lightly. … those are some losses that really hurt us. I think for us as a team we fully understand what it takes to be able to play in this tournament and how valuable those games are.”

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March 22nd 

… CU in the Arena …

Buffs grateful for extra days off before next game – Tyler Bey: “I’m going to be ready”

From CUBuffs.com … A five-day stretch between NIT games comes at a good time for the Colorado Buffaloes.

The Buffs, who opened postseason play Tuesday with a 78-73 win over Dayton, don’t play again until Monday, when they will host Norfolk State at 7 p.m. at the CU Events Center in what will be CU’s last home appearance of the year.

The time between games gave players a full day off Wednesday and a light day Thursday, limited to watching film and individual work. Coming on the heels of a stretch in which they played four games in six days (three in the Pac-12 tournament), it means they have time to rest and recover before attempting to make one last stretch run that will hopefully include an NIT Final Four appearance and a trip to Madison Square Garden.

It also means some extra time for some ailing 22-12 Buffs to heal, beginning with forward Tyler Bey. The CU sophomore, the team’s leading rebounder and tied for the team scoring lead, left Tuesday’s game in the second half after getting tangled up under the basket. While examinations didn’t reveal any structural damage and he returned to play, his ankle was sore that night and his knee was “really hurting” the next day.

But, after two days of treatment and rest, he said he hopes to practice Friday and is confident that he will be ready for Monday’s game.

“It’s been good,” he said. “It’s getting better every day. I’m doing treatment every day. … I’m going to be ready. I think I’m going to practice (Friday).”‘

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March 20th

… CU in the Arena … 

CU earns a second NIT home game! No. 8 Norfolk State upsets No. 1 Alabama

Norfolk State 80, Alabama 79, OT

From CUBuffs.com … The University of Colorado will host Norfolk State in a National Invitation Tournament (NIT) second round game on Monday, March 25, at 7 p.m. at the CU Events Center.

Tickets for Monday’s game will be on sale beginning tonight at 11 p.m. Tickets are $15 for benches/general admission, $20 for chairback seats and $30 for floor seats. CU Student tickets are $5.

Monday’s game will also air live on ESPN2 and the Colorado Basketball Network.

Colorado, 22-12, is the No. 4 seed in the 2019 NIT and won its first round game over Dayton, 78-73, on March. 19. No. 8 seed Norfolk State upset top-seed Alabama Tuesday night, 80-79, in overtime, to earn the right to travel to Boulder for the second round game.

For more information on tickets visit CUBuffs.com/tickets or call 303-49BUFFS.

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March 19th

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs take down Dayton Flyers in first round of the National Invitational Tournament

From CUBuffs.com … D’Shawn Schwartz and McKinley Wright IV each scored 19 points and Tyler Bey recorded his 16th double-double of the season Tuesday night to lead the Buffs to a 78-73 win over Dayton in a first-round NIT game at the CU Events Center.

Bey had 14 points and 12 rebounds in the game and Schwartz had two 3-pointers in a decisive 8-0 Colorado run down the stretch as the Buffs won their 11th game in their last 14 outings to improve to 22-12.

CU will now face the winner of Wednesday night’s Alabama-Norfolk State game in the NIT second round.

Tuesday’s game was a see-saw affair that featured 18 lead changes and 10 ties, with the Buffs trailing by as much as eight in the first half and by seven early in the second half. But Colorado finally took the lead for good with 6:26 to go on a Daylen Kountz baseline drive and dunk, then extended the cushion to 74-65 with an 8-0 run that Schwartz capped with his fifth 3-pointer of the game.

Schwartz shot 7-for-13 from the field, including a 5-for-8 night from behind the international 3-point line used for NIT games. Wright had nine assists to go with his 19 points while Bey had 10 points and 11 rebounds before halftime.

Bey left the game for several minutes in the second half with a lower leg injury, but returned late in the game to help the Buffs down the stretch.

Obi Toppin led Dayton with 21 points. The Flyers shot 54.5 percent from the field (30-for-55) while CU shot just 44.3 percent (27-for-61). Colorado, however, hit 16 of 18 free throws and had a 34-29 edge on the boards for an 11-4 edge on second-chance points.

“That was a high-level basketball game,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “The people that came tonight and saw that in person left saying ‘We saw two good college basketball teams.’ … Great win. Great team win.”

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Where is everybody?

The last time CU hosted NIT games … First round (3/16/11) v. Texas Southern, the attendance was 6,299. Then it was 7,614 for the second round game v. Cal, and 9,065 for the quarterfinal home game against Kent State.

Attendance for the Colorado/Dayton first round NIT game … 3,091.

I understand it was a weeknight, and a late tip-off, but this is sure a big comedown from Tad’s first season, when Buff fans were ecstatic just to be in the post-season.

Do not adjust your set – Different rules for NIT games

From 247Sports … Here’s a look at the rules that are different than what was used in the regular season.

1. The 3-point line will be extended by approximately 1 foot, 8 inches to the same distance used by FIBA (22 feet, 1.75 inches)

2. The free throw lane will be widened from 12 feet to 16 feet, consistent with the width used by the NBA.

3. The shot clock will reset to 20 seconds after an offensive rebound instead of the full 30 seconds.

4. Team fouls will reset at the 10-minute mark of each half for the purpose of determining free throws and one-and-one free throws will be eliminated.  Teams will shoot two bonus free throws after the fifth team foul of each 10-minute segment.  Additionally, teams will be awarded two bonus free throws after the second team foul committed under two minutes remaining in each half if that foul occurs before the fifth team foul of the segment. In each overtime period, team fouls will reset, and teams will shoot two free throws beginning with the fourth team foul or the second team foul committed under two minutes remaining if that comes before the fourth team foul of the overtime period.

From the Daily Camera … Among the rules tweaks, Boyle believes the changes to the foul-total rules might be the most impactful for his club.

“We’re a good free throw shooting team, so I’m not sure that gives us an advantage,” Boyle said. “We like the one-and-one, because you have to earn that second shot. You get eight free fouls per half. Before you got six. The idea is to bring physicality out of the game, not put it in the game. In my mind, giving two extra fouls per half brings more physicality into the game. I think that’s a little counterintuitive.”

Dayton a quality opponent – Obi Toppin a first-team All-Atlantic 10 selection (.662 from the floor – fifth-best in the nation)

Related … “Dayton brings big paint presence into NIT first-round date against CU Buffs” … from the Daily Camera

From CUBuffs.com …  Colorado brings a 21-12 mark to the tournament; Dayton is 21-11. The Flyers are also have plenty of postseason experience in their history — the Flyers have been to 18 NCAA Tournaments, including four in a row from 2014-17; and this is their 25th NIT berth.

“Dayton is a quality program,” Boyle said. “Anybody that follows college basketball closely knows Dayton is a quality program. They have quality players, they’ve had quality coaches and they have one now in Anthony Grant. They’re big freshman (Obi Toppin), holy cow — he’s a future NBA guy, there’s no doubt about it in my mind.”

The 6-foot-9 Toppin is indeed a solid post presence, averaging 14.2 points per game — one of four Flyers averaging in double figures — along with 5.6 rebounds. Toppin was a first team all-Atlantic 10 selection as well as the league’s rookie of the year, and he comes into Tuesday’s game shooting .662 percent from the floor, the nation’s fifth-best percentage.

Along with Toppin, the Flyers have another solid presence in the middle in 6-foot-8, 240-pound Josh Cunningham (13.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and a dangerous point guard in Jalen Crutcher, who averages 13.1 points and 5.7 assists.

“They’ve got some guys who can make shots, they’ve got toughness, they shoot 50 percent from the field and they hold their opponents to 40 percent,” Boyle said.

The Flyers are also definitely not afraid of Power 5 teams. Their non-conference schedule this year included games against Virginia, Oklahoma, Mississippi State and Auburn — all of whom are in this year’s NCAA field.

“The thing about Dayton is they have tough kids,” Boyle said. “They’ve won seven road games, we’ve won five. They’re not intimidated on the road. They’ve played some good teams. They’re battle tested and the Atlantic 10 is a good basketball league.”

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March 18th

... CU in the Arena … 

Buffs v. Flyers – Boyle: “The key for our guys is they’re excited”

From CUBuffs.com … Tad Boyle believes his Colorado Buffaloes are excited to have the opportunity to extend their season and play in the NIT.

What Boyle knows for sure is that he will find out one way or another very quickly.

The Buffs (21-12), who were eliminated from NCAA Tournament contention with their Friday night loss to Washington in the Pac-12 tournament semifinals, received a No. 4 seed Sunday evening in the NIT. They will open the tournament at the CU Events Center Tuesday with a 9 p.m. game against the Dayton Flyers (21-11), who lost to Atlantic 10 tourney champ St. Louis in the tournament quarterfinals.

The game will be televised by ESPN2.

“The key for our guys is they’re excited and they’re going to embrace this,” Boyle said Sunday night. “They did not want our season to end in Las Vegas. They truly didn’t want it to end. If you truly don’t want your season to end, you’re excited to play in this tournament. If you’re not, you’ll get beat and you’ll get beat early.”

This will be Boyle’s third trip to the NIT with the Buffs and CU’s 11th all-time appearance. Colorado won three straight home games and advanced all the way to the 2011 tournament semifinals in Boyle’s first season in Boulder before losing a heartbreaker to Alabama in Madison Square Garden.

If the Buffs can beat Dayton in their opener this year, they have a chance to see Alabama again. The Crimson Tide, seeded No. 1 in the Buffs’ bracket, opens play against Norfolk State.

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March 17th

… CU in the Arena … 

Not only does CU make the NIT field, but the Buffs get a home game

From CUBuffs.com … The University of Colorado has accepted a bid to the 2019 National Invitation Tournament (NIT) and will host Dayton in a first round game on Tuesday, March 19, at the CU Events Center.

The Buffaloes are the No. 4 seed in one of four eight-team regions and host the No. 5 Flyers for a 9 p.m. MT tip on ESPN2. The winner of Tuesday’s game will play the winner of top-seeded Alabama and eighth-seeded Norfolk State in the second round, to be announced, March 21-25.

Second round games and the regional finals (March 26-27) will be played on campus sites at the highest seeded team barring any institutional conflicts. The NIT semifinals will take place on Tuesday, April 2, at Madison Square Garden in New York, with the championship game on Thursday, April 4. This will be the 82nd NIT to conclude at the iconic New York City arena.

Dayton is 21-11 overall and finished third in the Atlantic 10 Conference at 13-5. The Flyers lost to eventual champion Saint Louis in the quarterfinals of the A-10 Tournament. This will be the fourth meeting between Colorado and Dayton, and first since 2013, with the Buffaloes holding a 2-1 series lead. The two teams are also scheduled to meet during the nonconference schedule in December at the Chicago Legends Classic.

Colorado makes its 11th NIT appearance and second in three seasons. Colorado lost a first round game at UCF in 2017 in its last trip.

Colorado is 11-9 all-time in the NIT, winning the title in 1940. The Buffaloes also have a runner-up finish in 1938, a third place showing in 1991 and a semifinal appearance in 2011.

Overall, this will be Colorado’s 26th postseason tournament past the conference level.

Colorado is 21-12 overall and finished tied for fourth place in the Pac-12 Conference at 10-8. The Buffaloes advanced to the Pac-12 Tournament before falling to top seed Washington. Colorado claimed its 10th 20-win season in team history and sixth under head coach Tad Boyle.

Here is a link to the NIT bracket

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March 16th

… CU in the Arena … 

Tad Boyle: Buffs deserve NIT bid

From CUBuffs.com … While Colorado’s hopes for an NCAA Tournament berth were ended with Friday night’s 66-61 loss to Washington in the Pac-12 tournament semifinals, head coach Tad Boyle still expressed optimism that his team would be selected for an NIT berth.

The Buffs will learn their fate Sunday evening. The 68-team NCAA field will be announced beginning at 4 p.m. Sunday; with the 32-team NIT bracket to be revealed later that evening.

Boyle said there is no doubt in his mind the Buffs belong in the NIT field.

“Especially if you look at what this team has done since January 31st,” Boyle said emphatically. “In the month of February and certainly in the month of March we have grown by leaps and bounds. A lot of times you get judged by what you do in November or December. But especially with a young team you see the growth that these guys have made and there’s 68 teams in the NCAA Tournament and 32 in the NIT. Top hundred, are we a top hundred team in the country? Absolutely. No doubt in my mind now. Doesn’t always work, because of the way the automatic bids work, but, yeah, I do think we’ve played well enough.”

The Buffs did indeed finish strong, winning eight of their last 10 regular season games, then winning a pair of conference tournament contests before finally falling to the Huskies. CU also placed two players on the first team all-Pac-12 team, sophomores Tyler Bey and McKinley Wright IV.

Extending CU’s season would likely be a boost for this young CU team, one that started a freshman, three sophomores and a junior over the last couple weeks of the season. But Boyle has also said he would not accept an invite to one of the other tournaments, such as the CBI, if the Buffs don’t get an NIT bid.

There’s no doubt, though, that the Buffs would like to keep playing.

“It would be great for us, considering how far we’ve come as a team and how much we love each other and love playing with each other and love playing under this coaching staff,” Wright said of a possible postseason bid. “It would mean a lot to us, but we don’t have any control over what’s going on, whether it’s the NIT or the big tournament. We’ll find out Sunday, but I want to keep playing with these guys as long as possible.”

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March 15th

… CU in the Arena …

Buffs fall in Pac-12 semi-finals to Washington, 66-61

From CUBuffs.com … The Colorado Buffaloes just didn’t have quite enough gas in their tank Friday night.

Playing their third game in three days with a limited bench, the Buffs started fast but couldn’t sustain the momentum after halftime, dropping a 66-61 decision to Washington in their Pac-12 tournament semifinal at T-Mobile Arena.

The fifth-seeded Buffs, who led 33-27 at the half, fell to 21-12 with the loss and will now wait for Sunday’s postseason tournament pairings to be announced. Asked if he thought the Buffs were a strong NIT candidate, head coach Tad Boyle said, “Absolutely.”

The top-seeded Huskies, meanwhile, improved to 26-7 to advance to Saturday night’s tourney final while also improving their NCAA Tournament at-large prospects should they not win the tournament title.

Sophomore forward Tyler Bey led CU with a 22-point, 16-rebound double-double — his 15th of the season — but he was the only Buff in double figures. Colorado’s sophomore McKinley Wright IV delivered a stellar defensive effort against Washington’s Pac-12 Player of the Year Jaylen Nowell, but he struggled on the offensive end, finishing with seven points and seven rebounds on 1-for-10 shooting. D’Shawn Schwartz and Evan Battey each finished with eight points for Colorado.

Nowell led Washington with 14 points on 6-for-15 shooting while Matisse Thybulle added 12 points.

Wright was by no means the only Buff to have a tough night from the floor against Washington’s zone defense, as backcourt mate Shane Gatling was just 1-for-7. After shooting 11-for-23 in the opening half, Colorado hit just six of 30 field goal tries in the final 20 minutes to finish 32.1 percent (17-for-53) for the night.

That cold shooting, combined with 18 turnovers that led to 24 Washington points, was too much for CU to overcome. Colorado did hold a 44-27 rebounding edge and limited Washington to under 40 percent shooting (21-for-53).

“We talk about defense and rebounding all the time and that was good enough tonight,” Boyle said. “What wasn’t good enough is our offense. It started with turnovers, but we also had some really, really good looks, the second half especially, that didn’t go in. You don’t want to oversimplify the game, but sometimes you have to make shots. You get open looks, you’ve got to be able to knock them down and we weren’t able to do that in the second half. You add that to the turnovers, and it was a rough night for us.”

But, Boyle added, he was still proud of his team, one that started the Pac-12 season just 2-6 but closed with an 8-2 run, then added two wins in the tournament before Friday night’s loss.

“I do not fault our guys’ effort,” he said. “I don’t fault their toughness. I don’t fault anything about them. I love this group. I love this team. We’ve really grown as a team and I think our program has grown. And the good news is every one of these guys in uniform tonight are coming back next year.”

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Buffs hope the third time is the charm against Huskies

… Game Time: 7:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … 

From CUBuffs.com … The Colorado Buffaloes are hoping the third time is a charm against the Washington Huskies.

The Buffs have faced the Huskies twice this season, coming out on the short end both times. Friday, they will get one more shot at the Pac-12’s regular season champs when the two teams square off in a 7 p.m. Pac-12 tournament semifinal at T-Mobile Arena.

In their first two games, the Huskies’ zone defense proved to be a puzzle Colorado could not solve.

In early January in Boulder, Washington jumped out to a big lead early and held a 48-35 lead at the half before the Buffs finally narrowed the margin to one with just more than seven minutes to play. That, however, was as close as the Buffs could come, as UW pulled away down the stretch for a 77-70 win.

The first game is also the contest in which Colorado point guard McKinley Wright IV suffered a shoulder injury that sidelined him for the next contest.

In CU’s second meeting with the Huskies, a Feb. 23 matchup in Seattle, Washington again led from start to finish. Colorado committed 19 turnovers in the game — at that point a season high — that led to 18 points by the Huskies, and Washington also grabbed 13 offensive rebounds in a 64-55 win.

But since then, Colorado has won five straight games.

“Washington obviously is champion of the league over an 18-game schedule, and they’re very, very good,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said after Thursday’s 73-58 quarterfinal win over Oregon State. “They’ve got a lot of good players. But the teams that have had success against Washington are the teams that have really guarded them well. And we’re going to have to do that again tomorrow.”

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March 14th

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs build big lead, hold off Oregon State comeback, post 73-58 win to advance to Pac-12 semi-finals

... Up next … No. 5 Colorado v. No. 1 Washington … 7:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … 

Related … “CU avoids late collapse to advance to Pac-12 tournament semifinals” … from the Daily Camera

From CUBuffs.com …  Defense, rebounding and some clutch offensive plays down the stretch from some unlikely sources lifted the Colorado Buffaloes to another win Thursday in the Pac-12 tournament.

The Buffs carved out a 21-point first half lead, then withstood a furious Oregon State rally in the second half to collect their fifth straight victory, a 73-58 win over the Beavers to advance to the tournament semifinals at T-Mobile Arena.

Now 21-11, the fifth-seeded Buffs next face regular season champ and top-seed Washington in Friday’s 7 p.m. semifinal matchup. It will be Colorado’s fourth trip to a conference tourney semifinal under head coach Tad Boyle (three Pac-12, one Big 12), but the first since 2014.

The Buffs put five players in double figures, led by 17 points from sophomore point guard McKinley Wright IV, who also had five rebounds and four assists. Shane Gatling added had 15 points and six rebounds, Evan Battey had 10 points and eight boards, D’Shawn Schwartz had 11 points, three rebounds and three assists, and Alexander Strating had a career-high 10 points, including a huge basket down the stretch that began a decisive 8-1 Colorado run.

Tres Tinkle led Oregon State (18-13) with 23 points.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our guys,” Boyle said. “Our defense, the last two games, has just kind of ratcheted up to another level. And knew we were challenged in a different way tonight than we were yesterday with Cal (a 56-51 CU win). … We knew in the second half they were going to make some sort of a run at us, and they did. We bowed our backs. We never let it get below six. Our guys kept it in that 6-, 8-point range and bowed our backs and broke out at the end.”

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Buffs ready for rematch against Oregon State

… No. 5 Colorado v. No. 4 Oregon State … 3:30 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … 

From CUBuffs.com … Thursday’s Colorado-Oregon State matchup in the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals (3:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks) is more than just a rematch for the Buffaloes.

It is a chance for the Buffs (20-11) to get one that got away earlier — and a reminder of how a loss to the Beavers on Jan. 31 turned CU’s season around.

Since that 76-74 loss to OSU, which dropped CU’s conference record to 2-6, the Buffs have won nine of 11, including their last four in a row. It was a game CU head coach Tad Boyle has referenced on more than one occasion as a turning point for his young CU team, both physically and mentally.

Now, Colorado has a chance to even the score with the Beavers after grinding out a 56-51 win over Cal on Wednesday in the first round of the tournament.

In their first meeting, the Buffs led by as much as nine in the first half and still led by five at intermission, 40-35. But when the Beavers made a second-half run, the Buffs couldn’t turn them away. OSU shot 56 percent from the field in the second half, and the Buffs missed 10 free throws in the game as well.

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March 13th 

… CU in the Arena … 

Survive and Advance – Buffs hold off Cal Bears, 56-51

From CUBuffs.com … Above all else, Colorado head coach Tad Boyle stresses defense and rebounding.

Those two building blocks of the Buffaloes program came in handy in a big way Wednesday. Colorado overcame a season-high 23 turnovers with a stellar effort on defense and on the boards, and McKinley Wright IV scored 18 points to lead the Buffs to a 56-51 win over Cal in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament at T-Mobile Arena.

The Buffs were not at their best, but their fourth straight win improved their record to 20-11 overall and moved them into a 3:30 p.m. Thursday quarterfinal matchup with Oregon State. The win gave CU head coach Tad Boyle‘ his sixth 20-win season in his nine years in Boulder, and the Buffs’ 10th in program history.

“That was the epitome of winning ugly,” Boyle said. “Probably an understatement. But I  told these guys in the locker room our program is built on defense and rebounding for a reason. It’s for days like this, games like this, when the offense is not functioning the way we want it to function, that we find a way to win a game, by guarding, by rebounding. We did a tremendous job, and that’s why we won today.”

Wright scored his points on 7-for-9 shooting, including four 3-pointers to tie a career high. D’Shawn Schwartz added 11 points — nine in the second half — and eight rebounds for the Buffs and Tyler Bey had eight points and 11 rebounds. Bey missed his sixth straight double-double, but salted away the win with two free throws with 2.4 seconds left on the clock.

Matt Bradley led Cal with 20 points.

The fifth-seeded Buffs led for most of the game, but their biggest lead never surpassed 10 points, as the No. 12 Bears refused to go away quietly. But Colorado’s defense and rebounding made up for the turnover issues. The Buffs held a commanding 40-19 lead on the boards and held Cal to under 35 percent shooting (16-for-47) for the game.

“I think we were rushing a lot of things tonight,” Wright said. “We were anxious to go out and play the first round of the tournament. And to make 23 turnovers was too much. We’re happy to get out with a win. We’ll be better tomorrow, especially taking care of the ball.”

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Buffs v. Bears – “They have a new season just like we do, so we have to be ready to go. This is not a typical 5-12 matchup”

… Today’s game … 3:30 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … 

From CUBuffs.com … Colorado head coach Tad Boyle was in full tournament mode Tuesday afternoon.

One day before his Buffaloes were set to open the Pac-12 tournament with a first-round game against Cal, Boyle was asked about the Buffs’ chances of winning the whole thing.

Boyle politely shook his head and said, “Not even thinking about that. All we’re concerned about is trying to beat Cal on Wednesday. You can’t win the thing unless you win your first game, so we’re trying to concentrate on that and keep our players concentrating on that.”

Boyle, of course, is the only Pac-12 coach to win four straight tournament games and claim a tournament title, accomplishing the feat in 2012 — CU’s first year in the league. Boyle is also one of only two Pac-12 coaches to win at least one game in the tournament every year since the league expanded (Arizona’s Sean Miller is the other), and he is 8-0 at Colorado in conference tourney openers (7-0 Pac-12, 1-0 Big 12).

As the tournament’s fifth seed, the Buffs (19-11 overall, 10-8 Pac-12) will be favored to push Boyle’s tourney opening mark to 9-0, but it won’t be easy against 12th-seeded Cal (8-22, 3-15) in Wednesday’s 3:30 p.m. game. After losing 16 straight games — including 15 in a row in conference play — the Bears emerged from hibernation to close the regular season with three straight wins. The streak includes a win over conference champion Washington, as well as a victory at rival Stanford.

“Cal has a new life about them,” Boyle said. “They have a new season just like we do, so we have to be ready to go. This is not a typical 5-12 matchup.”

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March 12th

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs turn attention to Pac-12 tournament and Cal

… Next game: v. California, 1st round, Pac-12 tournament, Wednesday, approx. 3:30 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … 

From CUBuffs.com … On a day when the Colorado Buffaloes celebrated a host of honors, business still needed to be addressed.

Specifically, the business of the Pac-12 tournament, in which the fifth-seeded Buffs will begin play Wednesday in a 3:30 p.m. (Mountain time) game against No. 12 Cal. The winner will take on No. 4 Oregon State on Thursday.

Monday, Colorado sophomores McKinley Wright IV and Tyler Bey were named first-team all-Pac-12, making the Buffs one of only two teams — Washington being the other — with two players on the 10-member first team. Bey was also named the conference’s Most Improved Player, and he also reaped Pac-12 Player of the Week honors for his role in leading the Buffs to back-to-back wins over UCLA and USC. Wright, meanwhile, was named honorable mention all-defensive team.

… But while honors are nice, they won’t score a single point or grab one rebound in the conference tournament. Thus, after a day off Sunday, the Buffs’ focus was squarely on Cal on Monday.

Colorado (19-11 overall, 10-8 Pac-12) enters the tournament on a roll, having won three in a row and eight of its last 10. But the Bears (8-22, 3-15) also enter on a hot streak. Cal ended a 16-game losing streak two weeks ago with a win over conference champ Washington, followed it up with a victory over Washington State, and then collected a road win at Stanford.

Thus, while a No. 12 seed, the Bears have played much, much better of late.

“I see a talented group of players that are resilient,” Boyle said. “We talk about youth, they don’t have a senior. They have guys that are really young and learning and are freshmen and sophomores and a couple juniors. … They have good players.”

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March 11th 

… CU in the Arena … 

Tyler Bey named Pac-12 Most Improved Player-of-the-Year

From CUBuffs.com … University of Colorado sophomore forward Tyler Bey was named the 2018-19 Pac-12 Conference Most Improved Player of the Year, the league announced on its annual postseason awards show Monday.

Earlier in the day Bey was selected to the Pac-12 All-Conference First Team and named Pac-12 Player of the Week for the league’s final week. All three awards are firsts for Bey.

Bey, a 6-foot, 7-inch, 218-pound forward from Las Vegas, more than doubled his scoring output from his freshman season and dramatically improved his other numbers, virtually across the board. He averaged 6.1 points and 5.1 rebounds a game as a freshman in 2017-18, then put up team-leading numbers as a second-year Buffalo at 13.4 points and 9.6 rebounds per game.

Bey also leads Colorado in field goal shooting at 55.9 percent, up from 50.3 percent a year ago. He has increased his free throw accuracy by nearly 10 percent on 35 more attempts. Bey leads Colorado in free throws made (82) and attempted (109) which at 76 percent falls just outside the Pac-12 leaderboard.

He is the co-leader in the Pac-12 in double-doubles with 14, including a current streak of five in a row. Bey is averaging a double-double in conference games at 14.5 points and 10.0 rebounds. He is second on overall rebounding and defensive boards (7.7 drpg) on the Pac-12 leaderboard while ranking eighth in field goal percentage, ninth in blocks (1.2 bpg), 11th in offensive rebounds (1.9 orpg) and 16th in scoring

Bey is Colorado’s second Pac-12 Most Improved Player of Year winner in four seasons, joining 2018 NBA Draft pick George King who won the award after his redshirt sophomore season in 2015-16. He is the fourth Buffalo to win a Pac-12 “Player of the Year” type award in eight seasons joining King, Andre Roberson (2012-13 Defensive Player of the Year) and Dominique Collier (2017-18 Sixth Man of the Year).

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McKinley Wright and Tyler Bey named first-team All-Pac-12 performers

… McKinley Wright also received honorable mention on the Pac-12 All-Defensive team … 

From the Pac-12 … The Pac-12 Conference announced today the 15-member All-Pac-12 men’s basketball team, as well as the five-member All-Defensive and All-Freshman Teams for the 2018-19 season. The teams were selected in a vote of the league’s 12 head coaches.

Pac-12 Networks is set to air the Men’s Basketball Awards Reveal on Monday at 6:00 p.m. MT. The yearly honors for Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year, Most Improved Player of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year and John R. Wooden Coach of the Year will be announced on-air during the 60-minute show, which will also feature live interviews with award winners. In addition to the yearly awards, hosts Mike Yam and Steve Lavin will give in-depth analysis and recaps of the Conference regular season leading into the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament held in Las Vegas.

From the Daily Camera … Wright was an honorable mention selection last year as a freshman but overcame a left shoulder injury that will require offseason surgery to cement his place as one of the top point guards in the conference. Wright is averaging 13.0 points, 4.9 assists, and 4.8 rebounds, and he also led the Buffs with 33 steals.

Like Bey, Wright steadily improved his numbers throughout Pac-12 play. He ended the nonconference schedule with a .233 3-point percentage and a 1.60 assist-to-turnover rate. In the league slate, Wright shot. 388 from 3-point range with a 1.78 assist-to-turnover rate.

Wright was an all-freshman team selection last year, and this is the second straight year he earned honorable mention accolades for the all-defensive team.

First team All-Pac-12 … 

NameSchoolPos.Yr.Hometown
Sedrick BarefieldUtahGSr.Corona, Calif.
Tyler BeyColoradoG/FSo.Las Vegas, Nev.
Bennie BoatwrightUSCFSr.Mission Hills, Calif.
Zylan CheathamArizona StateFR-Sr.Phoenix, Ariz.
Robert FranksWashington StateFSr.Vancouver, Wash.
Jaylen NowellWashingtonGSo.Seattle, Wash.
KZ OkpalaStanfordFSo.Orange County, Calif.
Matisse ThybulleWashingtonGSr.Issaquah, Wash.
Tres Tinkle**Oregon StateFR-Jr.Missoula, Mont.
McKinley Wright IVColoradoGSo.North Robbinsdale, Minn.

Boyle: “The credit goes to our players for not giving up, not getting down, just coming to work every day and getting better”

From CUBuffs.com … Throughout the first month of the Pac-12 season, Colorado head coach Tad Boyle remained unflinchingly optimistic.

Even after the Buffaloes fell to 2-6 after a 76-74 loss at home to Oregon State — their second conference home loss in three tries — Boyle told anyone who would listen that the Buffs were capable of doing some good things in Pac-12 play.

“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,” Boyle after the Oregon State loss.

Boyle’s players were evidently paying attention. The OSU game proved to be a turning point not many folks who follow Colorado could imagine. Since then, the Buffs have won eight of 10 games, including season sweeps of UCLA and USC, and moved up from 10th place in the Pac-12 standings to a fifth seed in this week’s Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas.

Colorado (19-11 overall, 10-8 Pac-12) opens tournament play Wednesday with a 3:30 p.m. (Mountain time) game against Cal (8-22, 3-15).

“Our guys said, ‘enough is enough,'” Boyle said last week, before the Buffs wrapped up the regular season with wins over UCLA and USC. “We had Oregon coming in a day later and our guys responded (with a 73-51 win). We kind of haven’t looked back. We haven’t won every game since then, but our intensity, our mentality, our grit, toughness, has been there every time we’ve stepped on the floor.”

The Buffs have indeed been a different team — mentally and physically — since the OSU game. They have come back from deficits to collect victories, won two games on the road, and knocked off a pair of teams that finished ahead of them in the final conference standings, Utah and Arizona State.

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March 10th

… CU in the Arena … 

Team awards announced – McKinley Wright MVP; Evan Battey Most Inspirational

From From CUBuffs.com … The University of Colorado men’s basketball team took time from its preparation for the Pac-12 Tournament to celebrate the season at its annual Awards Banquet Sunday morning at the George Boedecker, Jr., Practice Gym at the CU Events Center.

McKinley Wright IV received the Chauncey Billups Award as the team’s Most Valuable Player. The Chauncey Billups MVP Award is one of five voted on by Colorado men’s basketball student-athletes. Tyler Bey won the Most Improved Player and Best Defender awards, Evan Battey was voted Most Inspirational and Alexander Strating won the Tebo Family P.A.S.S. Award.

In addition, two statistical champion awards were handed out. Bey won the Stephane Pelle Rebounding Award while Wright earned the Jay Humphries Assist Award.

Wright is the Chauncey Billups Award recipient for the second-straight year, joining Josh Scott as the only multiple winners. Scott won three times between 2013-16. Wright is averaging 13.0 points and 4.8 rebounds per game while leading the Buffaloes in assists and steals – all while dealing with a shoulder injury that has kept him less than 100 percent since the beginning of the conference season.

Wright won the Jay Humphries Award, named after the Buffaloes’ all-time leader in assists (562 from 1980-84). His 142 assists currently rank 13th on CU’s single-season list and his 4.9 per game average ranks third in the Pac-12.

Bey doubled up on the Most Improved and Best Defender Awards, winning the latter for the second time. He leads Colorado at 13.4 points and 9.6 rebounds per game, essentially doubling his numbers from his freshman campaign. He ranks among the Pac-12’s top 10 in rebounding, field goal shooting and blocked shots. Bey has also been solid from the free throw line at 76 percent, while leading the Buffaloes in free throws made and attempted (82-108).

Bey won the Stephane Pelle Rebounding Award, named after Colorado’s all-time rebound leader. He is putting together one of the best rebounding seasons in team history. Bey enters the Pac-12 Tournament 17th on CU’s single-season list at 289, with a very good chance to become the 12th Buff to reach 300 rebounds in a season.

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March 9th

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs earn No. 5 seed in Pac-12 tournament; to face off against Cal Wednesday

From CUBuffs.com …The University of Colorado is the No. 5 seed at the 2019 Pac-12 Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament and will face No. 12 seed California in a first-round game on Wednesday, March 13, at 3:30 p.m. MDT at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

The winner of Wednesday’s game will advance to the quarterfinals and play No. 4 Oregon State on Thursday, March 14, at 3:30 MDT. Colorado’s game Wednesday, and potential Thursday contest, will air on the Pac-12 Network and on 760 AM KDSP.

Colorado finished the regular season at 19-11 overall and in a three-way with Oregon and Oregon State for fourth place in the Pac-12 at 10-8. Oregon State (18-12, 10-8) claimed the No. 4 seed and first round bye due to its 3-0 record over the Buffaloes and Ducks. Colorado received the nod at No. 5, with its 73-51 win over Oregon (19-12, 10-8) on Feb. 2.

In terms of standings alone, this marks Colorado’s second-best Pac-12 finish. The Buffaloes tied for third in 2013-14 at 10-8 and, like this year, seeded fifth for the tournament. Colorado is the tournament’s No. 5 seed for the fourth time in eight seasons and matches the program’s highest seed for the event. The Buffaloes are a perfect 7-0 in Pac-12 Tournament first round games.

Colorado has won eight of its last 10, the program’s best 10-game run at the end of a regular season since 1961-62.

California is 8-22 overall and finished last in the Pac-12 at 3-15, but the Bears ride a three-game winning streak into the Tournament, including a win over Pac-12 regular season champion Washington.

Colorado and California have met twice in the Pac-12 Tournament, with the Buffaloes winning both, and as the lower seed. No. 6 Colorado defeated No. 2 California 70-59 in the semifinals of the 2012 Tournament in win No. 3 of its storied four wins in four days to the conference title. In 2014, fifth-seeded secured a 59-56 win over the fourth-seeded Bears in the quarterfinals.

Colorado defeated California, 68-59, in Berkeley on Jan. 24, in the only meeting between the schools this season. The Buffaloes hold a 16-15 edge in the all-time series with the Bears and have a 3-1 advantage on a neutral court.

Buff rally against Trojans, pull away for a 78-67 win

From CUBuffs.com … Evan Battey scored a career-high 21 points and Tyler Bey recorded his fifth straight double-double to lift Colorado to a 78-67 win over USC on Saturday at the CU Events Center.

The win improved the Buffs to 19-11 overall and 10-8 in Pac-12 play and guaranteed Colorado of no worse than a fifth seed in next week’s Pac-12 tournament. USC fell to 15-16, 8-10.

Battey had seven rebounds to go with his 21 points while Bey had 17 points and 11 rebounds. McKinley Wright IV had 17 points while Shane Gatling had seven points and a career-high seven rebounds.

Nick Rakocevic led USC with 17 points.

The Buffs rallied from a 37-30 halftime deficit to dominate the second half. Bey and Wright both had 12 points in the second half and Battey scored nine.

Colorado held a 40-31 rebound edge and shot 28-for-57 from the field. CU held USC to just 40.6 percent shooting from the field and forced 11 USC turnovers, which resulted in 14 Colorado points.

HOW IT HAPPENED: Colorado trailed by as much as 12 int the first half and still trailed by seven at intermission, 37-30, but quickly begin to chip away at the lead in the second half. Back-to-back baskets from Wright, including a 3-pointer, pulled Colorado to within two, 39-37, and a Battey bucket inside with 13:00 on the clock gave the Buffs their first lead since early in the first half, 44-43.

The Trojans momentarily regained the edge on a Rakocevic bucket but the Buffs regained the edge for good on their next possession on a Battey basket inside off a nice feed from D’Shawn Schwartz, part of a 9-2 run that saw Colorado turn a 43-39 deficit into a 48-45 lead.

Colorado never trailed again.

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Plenty at stake v. USC – Buffs can finish anywhere from third to eighth

… Today’s game … 3:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … 

Related … “High emotions, stakes as CU basketball hosts USC in regular season finale” … from the Daily Camera

From CUBuffs.com … With one game remaining in the regular season, the Colorado Buffaloes could still finish with anywhere from the third to eighth seed in the Pac-12 standings.

Saturday, they can narrow that range down considerably if they can produce a win over USC in their 3:00 p.m. matchup at the CU Events Center.

A win for the Buffs (18-11 overall, 9-8 Pac-12) over the Trojans (15-15, 8-9) would guarantee CU of no worse than the No. 5 seed in next week’s Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas. Some scenarios:

— A Colorado win plus losses Saturday by both Utah (vs. USC) and Oregon State (at Washington State) would move the Buffs up to the third seed.

— A Colorado win plus a loss by either Utah or Oregon State would give CU the No. 4 seed.

— A Colorado win plus wins by Utah and Oregon State would put the Buffs in the No. 5 spot.

As for the possibilities involving a Colorado loss, they are myriad, with anywhere from a No. 5 to a No. 8 seed a possibility, depending on the outcome of other games around the conference.

Earning a top-four seed in the tournament is important because it means an extra day of rest. The fifth through 12th teams open play Wednesday at T-Mobile Arena while the top four seeds don’t play until Thursday. It also means a tournament run would require only three wins instead of four (a feat CU accomplished in 2012).

But for Colorado coach Tad Boyle, chatter about all the possibilities is more a distraction than anything else. As he said after Thursday night’s win over UCLA, “It’s time to focus on USC and not worry about seeding in the Pac-12 tournament, not worry about next week. Let’s get better tomorrow, let’s have a great effort on Saturday, and then we’ll see who and when we play in Vegas.”

Continue reading story here

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March 8th

… CU in the Arena … 

NIT Bracketology … CU a No. 6 seed

From DRatings.com … For the hardcore college basketball fan, we have now introduced bracketology for the NIT tournament (otherwise known as NITology). The NIT takes the next 32 best teams that did not make the NCAA tournament.

All regular season champions that did not win their conference tournament automatically qualify for the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). It is important to note that early predictions will be flawed because of this rule. Typically, there are about seven to nine teams that win their conference in the regular season but don’t win their conference tournament and end up in the NIT. So, in early predictions, if your team is a seven or eight seed, then it is likely they won’t make the tournament because of these auto qualifiers.

From the Pac-12 ...

NCAA bids … No. 9 seed: Washington … No. 12 seed: Arizona State

NIT bids … No. 5 seed: Oregon … No. 6 seed: Colorado

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March 7th

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs keep Pac-12 tournament bye hopes alive with 93-68 rout of UCLA

From CUBuffs.com … Tyler Bey notched his fourth straight double-double with 27 points and 13 rebounds and Colorado’s recent dominance of UCLA continued Thursday night as the Buffs routed the Bruins, 93-68, at the CU Events Center.

The win was Colorado’s fourth in a row over the Bruins, completing back-to-back regular season sweeps. CU improved to 18-11 overall and 9-8 in Pac-12 play while the Bruins, who saw a three-game win streak come to an end, fell to 16-14, 9-8.

The win also kept the Buffs in contention for a top-four Pac-12 finish while UCLA’s hopes of the same dimmed with the loss. Following Utah’s win over USC on Thursday, Colorado was in a four-way tie for fourth place with one game left to play.

Bey’s 27 points — 17 in the second half — tied a career high, and the Buffs added two other players in double figures, with Shane Gatling scoring 26 and D’Shawn Schwartz adding 15 points and six rebounds. McKinley Wright IV, meanwhile, had nine points, nine rebounds and five assists while also playing excellent defense all night on UCLA’s Jaylen Hands.

Colorado held the Bruins — the Pac-12’s highest scoring team — to under 36 percent shooting for the night and 10 points under their season scoring average. Colorado, meanwhile, shot nearly 50 percent from the floor (34-for-69) while also holding a commanding 47-35 edge on the boards.

“I think we took these matchups personally,” Wright said of CU’s defensive effort. “We got tired of hearing certain guys’ names over and over. Before the tip I told my gus to take their matchup personally and everybody did. When we come together and take our matchups personally, we’re a really good defensive team.”

Kris Wilkes led UCLA with 19 points, but shot just 6-for-16 from the field while Jaylen Hands had 18 points on 5-for-12 shooting.

Colorado coach Tad Boyle, who moved into a tie for second on CU’s all-time victory list with his 184th win, called it a complete team effort.

“We’ve got some guys that are taking (defense) personally and taking it upon themselves,” Boyle said. “That’s how you’re going to win games, especially this time of year, because some nights the shots are going to go and sometimes they aren’t. Tonight I thought it was a pretty good effort on both sides of the ball. Anytime you have 18 assists and nine turnovers, you’re doing something right. Especially the second half, we got things going offensively.”

Continue reading story here

Plenty on the line tonight – CU v. UCLA (7:00 p.m., MT, ESPN2)

From CUBuffs.com … Safe to say, Thursday’s 7 p.m. Colorado-UCLA matchup at the CU Events Center will have a little extra juice.

Technically, the game won’t count any more — or any less — than any other Pac-12 game for both squads.

But with both teams playing their best basketball of the season, both still squarely in the hunt for a top-four conference finish — and both needing a win to keep those hopes alive — Thursday’s game has all the makings of an entertaining March matchup.

“This is what college basketball is all about,” said CU coach Tad Boyle, whose team enters the game with a 17-11 overall mark and an 8-8 Pac-12 record. “It’s fun to be playing when it means something, and they’re a game ahead of us in the standings. They’re playing for the same thing we’re playing for — that’s what’s great about this time of year.”

Indeed, the Bruins (16-13, 9-7) have plenty on the line this week. UCLA can clinch at least a top-four finish with a win Thursday and a victory Saturday in Utah.

For the Buffs to get a top-four spot, and the first-round conference tournament bye that comes with it, will require two CU victories this week (USC visits Saturday), along with a little help from some other teams around the conference.

But two wins would guarantee the Buffs no worse than the fifth seed and send them to Las Vegas next week with plenty of momentum. To accomplish the first part of that equation, they will have to stop a high-scoring UCLA team that has won three in a row and four of its last five.

Colorado has won three in a row against UCLA, including an 84-73 win at Pauley Pavilion in early February. But the Bruins have upped their game since then, and are now the Pac-12’s highest scoring team, averaging 78.6 points per game.

UCLA is led in scoring by sophomore guard Kris Wilkes, who is scoring at a 17.1 clip. But over the last month, the Bruins’ hottest scorer has been sophomore guard Jaylen Hands, who is averaging more than 20 points per game over UCLA’s last seven outings.

Continue reading story here

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March 6th

… CU in the Arena … 

Three-bid scenarios for Pac-12 … CU No. 6 in Pac-12 Power Rankings

From the San Jose Mercury News … Our scenarios …

One bid: Washington wins the conference tournament and ASU, in contrast to the theory laid out above, gets left out due to a shrinking bubble.

Two bids: ASU wins the conference tournament and Washington makes the field as an at-large, or vice verse.

Three bids: Washington loses in Las Vegas but makes the at-large field (No. 9-11 seed), ASU loses in Las Vegas but makes the at-large field (No. 10-11-12 seed) and a third team claims the automatic bid.

The three-bid scenario might have been more realistic had the Sun Devils finished with the No. 4 seed at T-Mobile Arenas, thereby allowing them to collect a resume-boosting Quadrant 1 victory over Washington in the semifinals.

As things stand, ASU is not in Washington’s bracket — the teams can’t meet until the finals. And in order for the conference to grab three bids, the Sun Devils and Huskies can’t meet in the finals.

So we’re left with this potential path to three bids:

* Washington loses in the semifinals to the No. 4/5 winner
* ASU advances to the finals from the other bracket
* The No. 4/5 winner beats the Sun Devils for the title.

Pac-12 Power Rankings …

6. Colorado (17-11/8-8, NET: 75)
Last week: 6
Results: Beat Utah 71-63
Next up: vs. UCLA (Thursday)
Comment: Third place is well within range, and who figured that would be the case after the Buffaloes lost four of their first five.

Read full story here

Tyler Bey “starting to understand who he is” 

From CUBuffs.com … Over the last month, Colorado’s Tyler Bey has been one of the Pac-12’s most dominant and dependable players.

In his last eight games, a stretch in which the Buffs have gone 6-2, Bey has recorded six double-doubles, including in each of CU’s last three games. He has averaged 15.6 points and 10.9 rebounds in that stretch, and is still within reach of pushing his season averages — 12.8 points and 9.5 rebounds — to a season double-double.

That hasn’t been accomplished by a Buff since Andre Roberson did it in back-to-back seasons at Colorado, averaging 11.6 points and 11.1 rebounds in 2011-12, then following that with 10.9 and 11.2 season a year later.

“Tyler is starting to understand who he is when he is successful and why he is successful,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said after the Buffs’ 71-63 win over Utah last weekend. “A few games ago we were really on him. When he would set a screen, he wouldn’t roll hard to the rim. He would roll to the middle of the paint or to the free throw line. He wouldn’t put any pressure on the defense. He has done a much better job of that since we really challenged him. … As a player, you have to have self-awareness to what you do well and what you don’t do well. Tyler is starting to figure that out. I think the results have shown.”

While his numbers have been good throughout the season, Bey has no doubt taken his game to the next level over the last eight games. Had it not been for a missed free throw at the end of Colorado’s win over Arizona — a game that saw him finish with 10 rebounds and nine points — he would have five straight double-doubles to his credit.

Continue reading story here

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March 5th

… CU in the Arena … 

Pac-12 tournament scenarios: Buffs can still finish anywhere from third to tenth

… Next game: v. UCLA, Thursday, 7:00 p.m., MT, ESPN2 … 

From CUBuffs.com …While the possible scenarios for the Colorado Buffaloes are still numerous when it comes to their Pac-12 tournament seeding, the Buffs know this much:

If they don’t win their last two games, they can’t finish in the top four in the final standings.

Thus, if the Buffs have any designs on gaining a first-round bye in the conference tournament — something they have never managed in their time in the Pac-12 — they need to collects home wins this week over UCLA on Thursday (7 p.m.) and USC on Saturday (3 p.m.).

As it stands today, the Buffs could finish anywhere from the third seed to the 10th seed. Currently 17-11 overall and 8-8 in the Pac-12, CU sits in a three-way tie for sixth place with USC and Oregon, but is just one game away from the three teams bunched up in a tie for third (Oregon State, Utah and UCLA).

Washington has clinched the No. 1 tourney seed and Arizona State has nailed down the No. 2 spot.

Given the middle-of-the-pack logjam, there are still myriad scenarios that could unfold over the final week. But the Buffs do know some possible outcomes.

— Colorado could climb as high as the third seed with two wins if Oregon State (9-7) loses two (Washington and Washington State) and Utah (9-7) loses to UCLA or USC. But if Oregon State wins at least one more game, the Buffs can’t catch the Beavers in a two-way tie, as OSU would own the tie-breaker by virtue of a win in their only meeting this year.

— If the Buffs win two games and Utah loses to UCLA, the Buffs would own the tie-breaker over the Utes and Bruins. That would give the Buffs the fourth seed if Oregon State is No. 3. Colorado would also own the two-team tie-breaker over the Utes if they lose to USC.

— If Colorado wins two this week and Oregon wins a pair (Washington State and Washington), the Buffs still own the tie-breaker over the Ducks and would also own the tie-breaker against UCLA if the Bruins beat Utah for a 10th win.

— And, no matter what happens with the rest of the conference, if the Buffs win two this week, the worst they could finish is the fifth seed.

Of course, these are just a handful of the huge number of possible outcomes that could emerge this week. A CU split would probably drop the Buffs into the 6, 7 or 8 spot,  and two losses could drop them as far as 10th.

Continue reading story here

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March 4th

… CU in the Arena … 

CU one of a handful of Pac-12 teams not rated as a “disappointment” 

From the San Jose Mercury News … If nothing else, we’ll always have the week of Feb. 25-March 3.

That was the only week in the calendar year 2019 that a Pac-12 team appeared in the top 25.

It was a glorious seven days, even though it included the ranked team, then-No. 25 Washington, losing in embarrassing fashion at Cal.

Soak it up, because the next moment of national relevancy may not occur for many months.

... Here’s what I’m calling the Pac-12 Disappoint-O-Meter:

Exceeded Expectations (2): Washington; Oregon State

Met Expectations: (4): Arizona State; Utah; Stanford; Colorado

Colorado: If you would have told Tad Boyle back in November that McKinley Wright IV would play most of the season with a torn labrum in his shoulder, he might poured a stiff drink.

Yet here the Buffs are at .500 in league play (8-8) entering the final week. They’re 6-2 in their last eight games. A couple more wins could push them into the NIT.

This is … fine.

Disappointments (2): Washington State; Cal

Colossal Disappointments (4): Arizona; Oregon; UCLA; USC.

Read full story here

With injury to Eli Parquet, quest for a first-round bye is all the more important to Buffs

From the Daily Camera … As previously winless (in conference) Cal proved this past week by topping UW, and backing it with a win against Washington State, there will be no consensus favorite in the tournament field next week. All twelve teams harbor legitimate hopes of beating anyone else, with the first-round bye offering a slightly less demanding road to the Pac-12’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament — which may very well turn out to be the league’s only bid.

“If we can get these three wins at home in a row, we can potentially be in fourth in the Pac-12, and maybe even get a bye,” CU forward Evan Battey said. “That means the world to us as well.”

For the Buffs, that possible first-round bye became even more alluring this past week, as freshman Eli Parquet added his name to CU’s growing injury list with a hyper-extended left knee. With Parquet’s status uncertain at the outset of the week, a short rotation nonetheless is looking a little bit shorter, making the challenge of potentially needing to win four games in four days next week even more daunting.

Continue reading story here

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March 2nd 

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs even Pac-12 record at 8-8 with 71-63 win over Utah

Related … “Bey’s double-double leads Colorado past Utah” … from ESPN

From CUBuffs. comColorado produced an outstanding defensive effort and a balanced offensive performance Saturday to carve out a 71-63 win over Utah at the CU Events Center.

The Buffs held the Pac-12’s best 3-point shooting team to a season-low 19.2 percent day from long distance and put four players in double-figure scoring, led by a 17-point, 10-rebound effort from sophomore Tyler Bey.

CU improved to 17-11 overall and 8-8 in Pac-12 play with two games remaining while Utah dropped to 15-13, 9-7. The win moved Colorado into a tie for sixth in the conference standings, just one game out of fourth place and a first-round bye in the Pac-12 tournament.

The Buffs led for much of the game, taking the lead for good midway through the first half and never trailing again. But they could never completely shake the Utes, and it took a pair of 3-pointers in the final two minutes — the first from Lucas Siewert with 1:41 remaining and the second from McKinley Wright IV with 48 seconds on the clock — to salt away the win.

Bey had 15 of his 17 points in the first half, and finished with a 7-for-10 day from the field for his third straight double-double, his 12th of the season and 14th of his career. D’Shawn Schwartz had 16 points and six rebounds for Colorado, Evan Battey added 15 points and four rebounds and Wright had 10 points and three assists.

Wright’s biggest contribution came on the defensive end, where he harassed Utah’s Sedrick Barefield all night. The Utes’ leading scorer did finish with 19 points, but he shot just 7-for-16 from the floor, including 2-for-8 from 3-point range.

“Obviously a great win for our team and our program, especially in March,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “It’s so hard to win basketball games this time of year, especially when you’re playing against a quality team and quality program like Utah. I’ve got a lot of respect for their coaches, their players. I say this when we play Arizona a lot — you have to beat them. The same is true for Utah, you have to beat Utah because they’re not going to beat themselves.”

Overall, CU held Utah to 39.3 percent shooting from the floor (24-for-61) and just 5-for-26 from 3-point range. It tied for the Utes’ fewest 3-pointers this year and was their worst shooting percentage from beyond the arc this season.

CU also also forced 12 Utah turnovers and reaped 16 points off the miscues.

“I thought our defensive toughness, our defensive identity tonight, really exhibited itself,” Boyle said. “It has to. That’s something that has to be a constant. It doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to win, but it gives you a chance.”

Continue reading story here

Buffs game against Utah (4:00 p.m., MT, ESPNU) beyond crucial

Related … “Big game? Larry Krystkowiak is allowing himself to say so” … from the Salt Lake City Tribune

From CUBuffs.com … In a normal year under normal circumstances in the Pac-12, the Colorado Buffaloes would figure to hold a solid home court advantage Saturday when Utah pays a 4 p.m. visit to the CU Events Center.

But this has not been a normal year in the Pac-12. Nothing in the conference is holding to form — witness Thursday night’s Cal upset of 25th-ranked Washington. The Bears had lost 23 straight Pac-12 games, including all 15 this season, while the Huskies entered the game with a sparkling 13-1 conference mark.

Utah is just another example of the topsy-turvy occurrences in the conference this year. Currently sitting in a tie for third in the Pac-12 standings (15-12 overall, 9-6 Pac-12), the Utes have a better record in conference play on the road (6-2) than at home (3-4).

That’s a statistic that no doubt concerns CU head coach Tad Boyle as his Buffs prepare to host the Utes in a 4 p.m. game Saturday.

“A lot of times your team is a reflection of your coach in many cases and (Utah coach) Larry Krystkowiak is a tough-minded guy,” Boyle said after Friday’s practice. “He was a helluva player back in his day. They have great toughness. They have two senior guards, (Sedrick) Barefield and (Parker) Van Dyke, who have been through the wars and understand what it takes. And they have some young, talented players to go along with them.”

For both teams, Saturday’s encounter is a chance to stay in the hunt for a top-four conference finish, which means a first-round Pac-12 tournament bye. The Buffs (16-11 overall, 7-8 Pac-12) need a win to get back in contention; the Utes need one to solidify their current standing.

Continue reading story here

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March 1st

… CU in the Arena … 

Tad Boyle looking at balanced scoring as being a key for the Buffs down the stretch

From CUBuffs.com … As the Colorado Buffaloes head down their March stretch run, head coach Tad Boyle would love to see his team produce some balanced scoring.

The Buffs are at their best when they share the ball.

This season, when at least four Buffs have scored in double figures, Colorado is 11-3. When the number is three or less, the record is 5-8.

“What I’d like is I’d like to have a game where we have five guys in double figures,” Boyle said after Thursday’s practice. “That’s what we have the ability to do. D’Shawn (Schwartz) has shown it, Lucas (Siewert) has shown it, Shane (Gatling) has shown it, Daylen Kountz has shown it off the bench, Evan Battey has shown it off the bench. To me we have seven guys capable of scoring double figures. They’ve proven it.”

The key, of course, is getting that production consistently.

The Buffs are fairly certain of what they will get from point guard McKinley Wright IV. The sophomore has scored in double figures in 10 of the 14 Pac-12 games in which he has played this year. Fellow sophomore Tyler Bey has hit the mark nine times in conference play.

But after those two, the only other Buff to hit double figures in at least half of CU’s Pac-12 games is guard Shane Gatling. The junior has scored in double figures eight times against Pac-12 teams, but he has been wildly inconsistent from the field, shooting just 37 percent in conference play.

Continue reading story here

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34 Replies to “Colorado Basketball – March, 2019”

  1. I’m on the fence about this addition. On the one hand, he fills an immediate need as a long wing who can shoot threes (if that translates from JUCO to D1-not always the case). On the other hand, pundits are talking about an NCAA tourney bid and more than a one-and-done early exit next year for CU hoops. So why not go for a grad transfer with immediate impact (again-not always a slam dunk addition to your squad) that will pay dividends from the get-go? Tad jumped early to fill his only scholarship left. Or is the writing on the wall for Deleon Brown and/or a possible transfer out that Tad knows about and that will open space for that grad transfer player?

    1. From the sounds of it, both Deleon Brown and Tad Boyle are keeping options open. Brown could still be an academic casualty, or just see the writing on the wall, and decide to transfer. Even if the scholarship opens up, though, it’s no guarantee that the roster spot will be filled with a great grad transfer.
      Once can only hope that the pieces will fall into place for the Buffs next year …

      1. “Even if the scholarship opens up, though, it’s no guarantee that the roster spot will be filled with a great grad transfer.” –Your right Stu. I have to admit to not following the transfer portal and knowing who is even available. Maybe Tad took a gander and thought this youngster was one of the best available for his squad. Video highlights should always be taken with a grain of salt. You always need to watch a player in a whole game scenario (a few times) to really get an accurate barometer of his game. One thing that stands out is he brings the ball down to knee level (and sometime below) for his jump shot. That extra release time can be all a defender needs to make a partially contested shot a fully contested (and harder to make) shot at higher level competition. I wonder if Tad and staff will be working on that when they get him in Boulder. Be that as it may, he’s a Buff now and here’s hoping nothing but success for him and CU hoops next year.

  2. After watching a couple of videos of Maddox Daniels, I like his fast release from the sides after receiving a pass…..equally, his release from all points behind the line. I also liked seeing his body control in the lane and his “floaters.”

    Videos can be deceptive as it only shows “the best” of the athlete….but, what I saw, I liked. He could offer an “extra” on the depth of our lineup with no let-off if he comes in from the bench or whether he starts.

    I’m anxious to see what his addition, along with Dallas, brings to the team.

    Go Buffs.

    1. That’s interesting Trax. I actually saw the opposite. It looks like he sometimes brings the ball down to his knees (and below) and takes a while to uncoil before his release in the early part of the video. Later on it was not as noticeable. However, highlight videos are notoriously sparse on evaluating a guy’s game so everything I say is based on a snippet of his overall game. Looking forward to hearing more about him now that he is a Buff.
      GO Buffs

      1. Interesting…. perhaps I took a rapid assessment and did not look at finer points. You are usually objective so I need to go back and take another peek. If he seemed to sometimes take too long to “uncoil” in the earlier portion of the video (and that is a pattern) perhaps that can be corrected. I’m reasonably certain Tad saw something in the young man that perhaps the video doesn’t project.

        Thanks for your input 96. Go Buffs

  3. UT game really showed difference in philosophy?…it appeared like everyone on their roster is long and really the only player we have that I would consider ‘long’ is Bey. Their length on defense at all 5 positions really was the difference in the game. This is an area we must improve/game plan for if we want to do something in the tourney next year.
    That being said, Coach Boyle proved once again to be a solid coach as clearly evident in the improvement of the team over the course of the season (something we haven’t seen our football team do in years??). Next year’s team may be the most hyped EVER in CUMBB history? Maybe yr. 2 Chauncey…but that’s all I can recall.

  4. There are 351 schools and 32 conferences in D-1 basketball and 2 more schools that are transitioning from D-2 to D-1 and are playing in D-1 conferences.

    I would hate to pick 64 teams from that mess to be in “The Dance.” Perhaps the selection committee feels as though they must pick a representation of those conferences so they don’t feel “left out. ” Kind-of-like in “Grade School” these days. Every student must get a trophy so their feelings aren’t hurt….. It’s just plain “Bull-Scat” (my new favorite word…at least today).

    There is – no doubt – 10-15 N.I.T. teams (my #) that are better than some of the teams selected to be in the NCAA tournament. But…. it is what it is.

    Our Buffs are showing positive signs of being able to be in the NCAA tournament. I’ve seen better chemistry on this team than previous years, especially the “D”… and on the “O” too. Be damn proud big Buffs to be in the N.I.T. —Now, go knock the Scat outa the Longhorns.

  5. Tad is a funny coach sometimes. He lost his weird turnovers/opponent offensive rebounds metric 27-18 but still controlled the game handily. Shot 50% from the field (even with the ever- erratic Shane Gatling shooting 1-6) was satisfied with the execution and out-rebounded them by 5. Yet he wasn’t happy.

    As I saw the game, everyone not named M. Wright IV decided to be Michael Jordan and John Stockton the first 8 minutes of the second half. Tad should have called a timeout and told his squad that if they didn’t put the ball in number 25’s hands they would be sitting the rest of the game.

    Sometimes I think Tad is from the Henry Iba school and is only satisfied if he wins a game 52-51.
    Anyway, nice win and a continued good job by Tad and staff so he knows his stuff. Just quirky with his metrics.

  6. Well hey good morning. Nice win. These are the young Buffs with ol Tad. Will be really interesting how they play in Texas. The season was over 2 weeks ago and the young guns are still rolling along.

    The first half and to some degree the second half is reminiscent of this season. In fact so lots of Tad’s seasons and games coached. The dukee 5 stars don’t come to Colorado. Tad has done pretty well.

    Go Buffs beat the “Whorns”

    Note: Two sides of the bracket have the 1,2,3.4 seeds The other two sides have the 1,2,3 seeds with a 5 seed (Auburn) and a 12 seed (Oregon) I hear the heads on tv calling this “chalk” like they know what the heck they are talking about…
    Note 3:…………But I guess ya can’t rag on the committee when they get 87.5% of the sweet 16 correct and miss 93.75% by one slot and then of course the always present wild card. And when ya think about it the sweet 16 is what they have to be close or exact on. The remaining 52 picks are just for tv time and dollars. Interesting.

  7. Special Note: I am rooting for ASU, Washington and Oregon to each win at least 3 games.

    CASH FOR THE MIGHTY BUFFS!!!!!!!

    1. Welp ASU lost O wins Wash wins.

      so the way if figure it (help Stu)

      is

      ASU…………………played in two games
      Oregon…………….will play two games…………maybe more
      Wash……………….will play in 2 games…………maybe more

      So (Stu help Wilner?) it means that 6*150,000 per year??

      Okay wash and O get a couple more wins.

      Buff $$$$$$$

  8. I know, I know it’s only the NIT but I’m enjoying watching this team and dreaming about next year. I hope we’re not disappointed in 2020 as one can really anticipate a fun year. They need to all come back healthy, realize that they just can’t roll the ball out on the court and play, but work even harder improve from the way they are now playing, stay together as good teammates and not let egos get in the way of a real chance for one of the best Buff teams in a long long while.

    1. It is great ain’t it. They are fun to watch. (Course you didn’t see the first game……………….way past yur sleepy-bye-time) This one should be a little easier for ya. Yup they got some talent and shooters and watching them play defense when they are into it is a sight to behold.

      Oh ya next year. It’s next year but this time it really is. And don’t forget they are gonna get the big fella back too……can’t wait.

      Buffs.

      Note: And don’t forget Football is right around the corner.

      Note 2: Played yesterday. All those things you ever said about my golf game came true.

  9. Outscored 20-5 or whatever it was coming out of the half? Blowout??? Okay so if you didn’t see the game you might think it was pretty close game all the way…………………..

    Out rebounded the huskees 44 to 27 Per Tad should always win that. Held them to 39.6 shooting and 29.2 from 3.

    Interesting. Exact same number of shots

    Huskees 21-53
    Buffs 17-53

    three pointers
    Huskees 7-24
    Buffs 6-24
    Free throws
    Huskees 17-27
    Buffs 21-26

    Sheesh Wright 1-10………..Gatling 1-7……………The ol what if game………….I love it………

    Go Buffs on to the NIT and Roll Tad.

    Note: 18 turnovers didn’t help either Huskees had 10. Not sure that was a key stat.

    Note 2: Year of injuries. Year of the young buffs. Tad did a great job. (In a note note: Dang nab it how come he just can’t get over the scoring machine attitude the buffs need to compete with the big boys. ) Not sure the Buffs beat any ranked teams this year………heck may not have played any.

    Final note: Get to the finals of the NIT and win it dang neeber it. Gonna have a good team next year but don’t wait okay?

  10. Fire TAD NOW!!!! OMG, it’s like watching Macintyre. Are colo coaches stupid? Seriously, do they think games end at the half? Real teams, or should I say all teams BUT CU make adjustments at the half.. so tired of watching sh!t coaching AGAIN!!! Buff fan for my entire life but so FREAKING SICK AND TIRED OF THESE 3RD RATE COACHES!!!!! If Tucker doesnt show me something IM DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Whoa………….”Done” is such a powerful word…………………….Now I’m just a lowly poster here with really no say but………………………..I say you are a troll…………….. and a young one at that…………Yup.
      You can convince me otherwise but you won’t cause you cant.
      Buffs4Life……………..

        1. Sorry don’t have belief in your comment. Yur a troll. And a 3rd rate troll at that.

          Anyway yur on ignore. You have nothing to add.

          My language? Anyone I want to use.

          Buffs in Trolls out.

          Up the Buffalo

          Note: Short term vision…………Buffs can’t finish the 2nd have of games. Diran m
          Note 2: Longer term vision…….Buffs finish 2nd half of season strong. Get NIT bid and a home game to boot.

          Note 3: “DONE Darin”

    1. U know what@!! We will NEVER BE RELEVANT AGAIN!@@! Until we get coaches that can COACH FULL GAMES!!! Mac 2 quarters, Boyle 2 quarters!!! Tired of sh!try coaches that cant see past the half!!!!! Wake up!!!!!!!!! Damn I’m frustrated with thos institution

      1. Relevant “AGAIN”?
        Tad Boyle has six of CU’s all-time ten 20-win seasons.
        This squad, which went without three players – Namon Wright, Dallas Walton, and DeLeon Brown – for most, if not all of the season, has more wins than all but five other CU teams … ever.
        The Buffs played their third game in three nights, with a roster of seven players.
        Disappointed that they ran out of gas tonight, but very proud of what this team accomplished.

        Well, on this day 79 years ago (March 15, 1940), CU won the NIT by defeating Duquesne, 51-40. If you are old enough to remember that game – and CU’s “relevance” – then you can complain about never being relevant “again”. Otherwise, watch your language …

        1. Stuart- I was very frustrated and it goes back to football, watching opponents make 2nd half adjustments, even the 2nd half of season. I just don’t understand why CU coaches can’t figure these things out.

          1. Respect Bufftrax!!! I was just frustrated… I will love the buffs til the day I die!!! I just get sooo into the games it overwhelms me at times

    2. Whoa Darin……. Whoa Big Fella ! We’ve all been frustrated….especially when our beloved Buffs get out-coached during the half, especially on the gridiron in the last decade. It hurts like hell. VK and many of the posters on Stu’s site have probably made more trips thru’ the door at the Sink than you and I combined and they bleed Black and Coors Gold……and, I’m certain you do too.

      WELL….. Tad has pulled our Phoenix out of the ashes and has regularly gotten us to post season play…. and there’s even better days to come. I am disappointed in not making it into “The Dance” but look at the teams in the NIT: NC State, Indiana, Clemson, San Diego, Memphis, Arkansas, Providence, Loyola-Chicago, Harvard, Georgetown, Wichita State, Alabama, Toledo, Xavier and TCU. There are some respected BB names in that group, teams that are perennial post season types…and, several who make regular appearances in the NCAA tournament…. So, it’s no shame to be in the NIT…… especially if we can get to the Big Apple and play on the hardwood in the Garden.

      If we’re not beaten-up from all our injuries, we have a good chance to do just that. (I hated seeing Wright get injured (Is it both ankles ? ). After his ankle injury (injuries) last night, you could tell he was really uncomfortable, but he shook it off and totally carried the team on his shoulders after Bey was injured…. but then, everyone stepped up. Whatta’ job by Schwartz and Kountz (who is my pick for most improved Buff this season. He is more than capable of doing spectacular things).

      So Darin, fall in stride with The Herd, VK, EP, Eric, ’96, Dave, myself and others and realize CU does not have a perennial BB image to recruit from so the Buffs can always make it to The Dance……but, it’s improving and the media is picking up on that…….and so will recruiting. I love your passion….. we Buffs have it and hate losing.

      GO BIG BUFFS

  11. On the PRO side for Tad: 1. On the cusp of another 20 win season
    2. Recruited and developed a very promising soph class that with the
    addition of some returnees and possible transfer next year should be
    included as a pre-season favorite to win the conference
    3. Didn’t panic and righted the ship after a rough start.
    4. Comes cheap, which is a plus since Rick George is stuck with a ton of
    dead MAC II money that his department is on the hook for.
    5. Loyal to CU without a whiff of controversy.
    6. Best modern day bb coach in CU history.

    On the CON Side: 1. Zero wins against a ranked opponent this year. In fact, they didn’t even
    play a ranked team.
    2. Building on number 1: PAC-12 was the worst Power 5 team in the nation
    by far. The conference was there for the taking. I realize it is a
    counter-factual argument but what do you think this team’s record
    would have been in another power-5 conference this year?
    3. Losses to the number 8 team in the Missouri Valley on a neutral court
    and to the number 4 team in the Big West and # 7 in West Coast. Bad
    losses and zero marquee wins on the resume. Weak, weak schedule
    this year.
    4. Year 8 of Tad and once again fighting for a NIT bubble bid.
    5. Number 110 in nation in offensive efficiency. Tad’s achilles heel.

    Fire Tad? Absolutely not. Can’t wait for next year and this outstanding soph class that saved Tad’s bacon will now be Juniors and see what Tad can do with them.
    Is Tad above criticism and should always be given the John Wooden silk glove treatment? Absolutely not.

    1. Don’t forget to give him a little leeway this year for the injuries he had to deal with. Losing Namon Wright, Dallas Walton, and Deleon Brown, was really tough on this team and it forced guys like Battey and Kountz to take on a huge role, right away. Watching Evan Battey’s growth this year is a true testament to this coaching staff. He went from being a very raw big body in the middle to a guy who can now do things with the ball that will give him a chance to be a very special player. Tad has built a young team that returns nearly everyone and I can’t imagine anyone is going to be excited about facing the Buffs in 2020.

  12. Eric – with all due respect – I’ve been in your opinion camp and, of course, I have waffled on the subject of retaining or firing Tad. Currently – it could change – I think I’m in favor of keeping Tad around and defer making a decision until AFTER next season. He and his present staff have recruited and ‘coached-up’ the present roster that continues to impress me, being ‘PAC-12 champions or Not’. Like me, you seem to (perhaps I’m wrong) develop your present opinion based on how the team was doing before and at the first of conference play.

    The one thing I have noticed is how much our “D” seems to be performing better, whether in a “man” or “quazi-zone” and I think Tad or his staff have impressed on the players to put pressure on the man they are guarding and not give them enough space or time to enact a positive play or shoot. PRESSURE “D” ALL THE WAY.

    GO YOUNG BUFFS, GET NO LESS THAN 2 WINS IN VEGAS !!!!

    1. Hey Trax. I couldn’t have been being more sarcastic. Sorry that didn’t come through clearly enough. If I said that over a beer, you’d have known, for sure. Tone can be hard to glean on these here message boards.

      Are there better basketball coaches for CU out there? Probably. Are there any CU could actually get to come to Boulder? I am less inclined to believe that. At least with the resources they’re currently willing to allocate to a basketball coach, and staff. And, I don’t think it would make sense to try some new “shiny object” in Tad’s place. Dude can coach. And, he loves Boulder. He’ll probably never move on to the next greatest gig b/c Boulder will always be challenging for him. Is he all-world? No. Can he become that? Maybe.

      I have to give credit to what Tad’s done while at CU. And, I don’t think he’s done yet. The core of this team is young, and talented. The next year or two could be the pinnacle of CU basketball, at least during my lifetime. Hopefully he can keep building from there, as well.

      And? There’s an outside shot of them winning the Pac 12 tournament, which would be another nice springboard. Likely? Probably not. Possible? Absolutely.

      Go Buffs.

  13. I just wanted to be the first to say, at least on this thread, it has to be time to fire tad. But wait until after he gets his team to win the pac 12 tournament.

    Go Buffs

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