Colorado Basketball – January, 2021

February 1st 

… CU in the Arena … 

Buff suffering from an identity crisis as March Madness approaches

From the Daily Camera … Colorado is enjoying a solid year offensively, and the star point guard McKinley Wright IV is enjoying a career year as a senior.

It is the pillars coach Tad Boyle has built his program upon, defense and rebounding, that aren’t supporting the Buffaloes.

Saturday’s loss offered a new low for the Buffs, who squandered a 19-point lead with less than 9 minutes remaining as senior guard Alfonso Plummer shot the Utes to victory by leading a game-ending 31-9 run.

It was a devastating setback, and one the Buffs will be challenged to shake off before hosting Arizona State on Thursday (9 p.m., ESPN2 or ESPNU). Yet since the start of Pac-12 play a month ago, a CU program that, generally speaking, has featured strong defense and rebounding with an inconsistent offense throughout coach Tad Boyle’s 11-season tenure suddenly is facing an identity crisis.

The offense has shown up consistently. The defense and rebounding have not.

When CU opened Pac-12 play at Arizona on Dec. 28, the Buffs made 12 3-pointers but the Wildcats shot .526, which remains a season-high for a CU opponent. The Buffs also were outrebounded and lost.

In a loss at Washington on Jan. 20, the Buffs shot .464 overall, despite a 1-for-18 night on 3-pointers. They committed only five turnovers, CU’s lowest total in nine years, and scored 80 points on the road, but UW hit a season-high 12 3-pointers.

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January 31st

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs proving to be a tough team to love (or trust)

From the Daily Camera … Colorado fans want to jump on board.

Thanks to nearly a full year of staying home and watching games at empty venues on TV, Buffaloes fans are as starved as ever for something to get behind. A men’s basketball team with a program all-time great at point guard and a likeable roster making midseason noise at a Pac-12 Conference title run for the second consecutive year seemingly would be a great place to start.

Yet Saturday’s collapse, epic by any standard, offered a jarring reminder why it’s so difficult to fully embrace this team. They can’t be trusted to avoid laying the occasional egg.

For a program that suffered mind-numbing collapses last year and even in the most recent NCAA Tournament season of 2015-16, Saturday’s 77-74 loss to Utah was perhaps a new low. CU is in the midst of a five-game homestand being looked at as an opportunity to cement the Buffs’ place in the Pac-12 hunt. The Utes never are an easy out, but this veteran bunch of Buffs led by 19 points after pair of McKinley Wright IV free throws with 8 minutes, 46 seconds remaining.

Good teams get the job done from there. The Buffs did not.

Utah outscored the Buffs 31-9 the rest of the way. Dissect the Xs and Os as much as anyone wants, and there were plenty of issues to point at, but the bottom line is good teams don’t lose these games at home, whether it’s in front of a sold-out crowd or before no fans at all. Now the Buffs and head coach Tad Boyle have to head back to the drawing board to try to make sure Saturday’s gut punch doesn’t turn into the sort of prolonged swoon that marred the end of last season.

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January 30th

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs blow a 19-point lead before falling to Utah at home, 77-74

From CUBuffs.com … Colorado allowed a 19-point lead to disappear in a five-minute second-half stretch Saturday and the Buffaloes dropped a critical 77-74 decision to Utah at the CU Events Center.

CU fell to 13-5 overall and 7-4 in the Pac-12 while Utah improved to 7-7, 4-6.

McKinley Wright IV led Colorado with 15 points and Jeriah Horne chipped in 10 for the Buffs.

But CU had no answer on the defensive end for Utah’s Alfonso Plummer, who finished with 23 points, all in the second half.

The Buffs had a seven-point lead at the half, 43-36, and appeared to be in complete control when they extended the cushion to 19, 65-46, with just under nine minutes to play. But the Utes then put together a 26-4 run that produced a 70-69 lead with 3:24 to play and a three-point edge, 72-69, a minute later.

Colorado managed to tie it up at 72-72 with 1:22 to go, but the Utes put the game away in the final minute.

Utah shot 52% from the floor in the second half (16-for-31) while the Buffs were just 13-for-30. CU also lost the rebound battle, 31-30, and the Utes were 16-for-19 from the free throw line while the Buffs attempted just six free throws and made five.

It was the third time in the last four games that the Buffs have had trouble closing out second-half leads. They lost at Washington two weeks ago and managed to hold off a Washington State rally earlier this week.

But their inability to close hurt them in a big way Saturday.

“I’m not sure I’ve ever been more disappointed in a loss in my career,” CU coach Tad Boyle said. “To have a game in hand like that and not finish it … It’s not like we didn’t talk about the way they could get back in the game. At some point you have to stop talking about things and you have to do them.”

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January 29th 

… CU in the Arena … 

Boyle: Taking Utah for granted would be a mistake (Sat., 12:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks)

From CUBuffs.com … Halfway through the Pac-12 season, the Colorado Buffaloes (13-4, 7-3) find themselves in third place in the league standings — well within striking range of league-leading UCLA — and a favorable schedule down the home stretch.

The question is whether the Buffs can take advantage of the schedule and make their regular season finale — at home against the Bruins — one with championship implications on the line.

But looking 10 games into the future is not a formula for success. As CU coach Tad Boyle pointed out Friday afternoon, one of the oldest cliches in sports rings true: “It’s just taking care of business one game at a time.”

That starts with Saturday’s 12:30 p.m. tipoff against Utah at the CU Events Center (Pac-12 Networks), the second game of a five-game homestand. The Buffs will then wrap up their longest conference homestand in program history next week with three games in five days: Arizona State on Thursday, Arizona on Saturday and Oregon State on Monday.

The next four games will no doubt be critical to the Buffs’ hopes, as they will then face four games on the road before finishing with two at home. If the Buffs are going to make a title run, they can’t afford to let any of their home opportunities slip away.

“You have to hold serve at home and you have to figure out a way to win road games,” Boyle said. “To me, that’s the separating factor. You can’t take anything for granted, especially when you’re in the upper half.”

Saturday’s meeting will be the second between the Buffs and Utes this year, with Colorado taking a 65-58 win in Salt Lake City in early January. But while the Utes have struggled lately — they have lost six of their last eight — Boyle warned his team that taking the Utes lightly would be a mistake.

He pointed to last week’s loss at Washington as a costly lesson in that regard. The Buffs entered the game riding a four-game win streak, only to allow the Huskies to end their eight-game losing skid and produce their first conference win of the season.

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Game Notes … Colorado is 13-4 overall and 7-3 in the Pac-12 Conference. The Buffaloes completed the season sweep of Washington State by defeating the Cougars 70-58 in the second of their back-to-back meetings. Colorado has won six of its last seven and seven of its last nine overall.

Head coach Tad Boyle will be in search of his 100th career conference win at Colorado, in his 11th season with the Buffaloes. He would be the second Colorado coach to reach that milestone – Sox Walseth won 148 Big 7/8 games from 1956-76.

Colorado’s 7-3 conference mark equals it’s best 10-game record in the Pac-12 era. The 2019-20 and the 2011-12 Pac-12 Tournament championship team also started 7-3. Last year’s squad won that 11th game to start 8-3.

Colorado leads the nation in free throw shooting at 84.2 percent making 235 of 280 attempts. The Buffaloes were 20 of 23 against Washington State, their 17th straight game to begin the season shooting 73.3 percent or better from the line. Colorado has shot 80 percent or better in 12 games and at least 90 percent in four.

ABOUT THE UTES: Utah is 6-7 overall and 3-6 in the Pac-12. The Utes have dropped their last three including a 79-73 decision to Oregon on Jan. 9th. This will be the Utes’ third-straight road game. Utah averages just under 70 points per game while shooting 45.2 percent from the field. The Utes lead the Pac-12 in assists (16.1 apg) and rank second in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3) and third in free throw shooting (.751). Utah allows 66.7 points per game while opponents are shooting 42.6 percent.

Junior forward Timmy Allen leads Utah at 16.8 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Senior guard Alfonso Plummer averages 12.9 points and ranks fifth in the Pac-12 at 2.2 3-pointers made per game. Sophomore forward Mikael Jantunen averages 9.1 points and 4.2 rebounds while shooting 64.9 percent from the field. Sophomore guard Rylan Jones tops the Utes in assists at 4.3 per game. Jones ranks second in the Pac-12 in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.5).

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 55th meeting between Colorado and Utah with the Buffaloes holding a 30-24 advantage. Colorado’s 65-58 win in Salt Lake City snapped a six-game run by the home team in the series and was the Buffaloes’ first win at Utah since 2012. Colorado is 20-6 all-time at home against Utah and has won the last three.

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January 28th

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs look to improve with a rested Utah team coming to Boulder

From the Daily Camera … It was a win Colorado sorely needed to start a homestand that might dictate the direction of the season.

No one would know it was a win from the somber tone offered by the Buffaloes afterward.

With the Buffs aiming to remain in the hunt for the Pac-12 Conference title, Wednesday’s effort just wasn’t good enough. Yes, the Buffs improved to 13-4 overall, and at 7-3 within the conference, they will remain in the thick of the pack chasing league-leading UCLA when the bulk of the league is through battling on Thursday night.

Yet the Buffs know they might have dodged disaster. Facing Washington State for the second time in five days, CU held a 19-point lead after a pair of Evan Battey free throws with 2 minutes, 49 seconds remaining in the first half. With nine minutes remaining in the game, that lead was down to six.

CU was able to pull away down the stretch, but it was the third consecutive game in which the Buffs were unable to match their potential for the full 40 minutes. The Buffs could get away with it against a Cougars team missing leading scorer Isaac Bonton. It will be a tough way to win during the remaining four games of the homestand, a run that begins Saturday in another rematch battle against Utah (12:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks).

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January 27th – GameDay!

… CU in the Arena … 

Five days after defeating Washington State 70-59, Buffs take out Cougars 70-58

From CUBuffs.com … Tad Boyle’s Colorado Buffaloes built a big early lead Wednesday, then fought off a second-half Washington State rally to collect a 70-58 win at the CU Events Center.

The victory in the first of five games in a row at home for CU improved the Buffs to 13-4 overall and 7-3 in Pac-12 play while WSU dropped to 9-7, 2-7.

The Buffs had three players in double figures, led by McKinley Wright IV with 16 points, including a perfect 11-for-11 from the free throw line. Jeriah Horne added 15 and Evan Battey chipped in 14. Wright also had seven assists in the game, including the 600th of his career, while Horne and Battey led CU with five rebounds each.

Washington State, playing without leading scorer Isaac Bonton, was led by Noah Williams with 15 points.

Colorado built an 18-point lead in the first half on the heels of a 20-0 run, extended the cushion to 19 and still led by 15 at the half, 39-24. But WSU forged a second-half comeback, thanks to some cold shooting and turnovers from the Buffs, and closed the gap to six, 49-43, with 9:01 still to play.

But the Buffs regrouped down the stretch to slowly build their margin back to double digits and hold on for the win.

Colorado finished with 13 turnovers — after not having any in the first 12 minutes of the game — that led to 18 WSU points. The Buffs were also outrebounded, 29-27, and shot just 32 percent from the floor in the second half.

But the nation’s best free throw shooting team did hit 20 of 23 tries from the line, including 13 of 15 in the final eight minutes.

“A win is a win, you can’t ever complain about that,” Boyle said. “But I think anybody who watched that game tonight and saw how we played, especially towards the end of the first half offensively and then in the second half offensively, understands that Colorado’s got to play better than that.”

The win did keep the Buffs in third place in the Pac-12 standings, but they were not happy with their performance.

“We’re not satisfied,” Wright said. “We’re competing for a Pac-12 championship and tonight’s effort isn’t going to cut it. We’re going to watch film tomorrow, get better in practice tomorrow, prepare for Utah on Saturday. We know we’re a lot better than we showcased tonight. If we want to contend for a Pac-12 championship and make a deep run in the tournament, we can’t have performances like tonight.”

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Buffs looking to “find their edge” in facing Washington State again

From the Daily Camera … McKinley Wright IV has earned Pac-12 Conference All-Defensive Team accolades three times in three seasons at Colorado and likely is on his way to a fourth. Eli Parquet is coming off two spectacular defensive outings and is making a statement he should join Wright on this year’s all-defensive team.

Together, Tad Boyle believes his team features the best backcourt defensive tandem of his 11-season tenure at CU. And yet there remains plenty of room for defensive improvement as the Buffs get set to open a critical five-game homestand on Wednesday night against Washington State.

… Despite boasting two of the top backcourt defenders in the league, the Buffs will look to regain a defensive edge missing last week at Washington and during the first 10 minutes at Washington State. CU enters the WSU having fallen to sixth in league games in defensive field goal percentage and 10th in league games in defensive 3-point percentage (.360).

While the Buffs no doubt are still lamenting last week’s missed opportunity at UW, at least the lesson learned remains a fresh memory. While playing an opponent twice is a matter of routine in the Pac-12, that loss at UW marked CU’s first repeat foe of the season, and the Buffs found themselves in a wire-to-wire battle against a squad they routed a month earlier. In this case, the Buffs are facing the Cougars for the second time in five days.

“It becomes a mental situation between the ears of finding your edge. And I hope our players can find their edge,” Boyle said. “I’m not sure I’ve seen it in practice the last two days, quite frankly. Now, leading up to the Washington game I thought we had our edge, and we didn’t come out and play with the edge. I haven’t sensed the edge the last two days at practice, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to play with it. If we don’t, we’re going to have issues. We’re going to have problems.”

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Game Notes … Colorado is 12-4 overall and 6-3 in the Pac12 Conference. The Buffaloes split on their trip to the Washington schools, falling to Washington, 84-80, on Jan. 20 before bouncing back against Washington State, 70-59, on Jan. 23. Colorado has won six of its last eight overall.

Colorado’s 6-3 Pac-12 mark equals the 2015-16 and 2019-20 teams for the best nine-game conference record in the Pac-12 era. At 3-3 in road Pac-12 contests, the Buffaloes have at least three road conference wins for the third straight season, with four more to play (CU finished 3-6 in both 2018-19 & ’19-20). CU’s best Pac-12 road record was 4-5 in 2012-13.

Colorado leads the nation in free throw shooting at 83.9 percent making 235 of 280 attempts. The Buffaloes were 12 of 15 against Washington State, their 16th straight game to begin the season shooting 73.3 percent or better from the line. Colorado has shot 80 percent or better in 11 games and at least 90 percent in four.

Along with owning the Pac-12’s top spot in free throw percentage the Buffaloes lead the conference in scoring defense (63.4 ppg), scoring margin (+12.3) and turnovers (10.8 tpg). Colorado also ranks second in turnover margin (+3.2), third in assist-to-turnover  ratio (1.3) and rebounding defense (31.3 rpg) and fourth in 3-point percentage (.352), 3-pointers made (7.5 3mpg) and rebounding margin (+5.2).

All-Pac-12 senior guard and Cousy Award finalist McKinley Wright IV leads the Buffaloes at 14.8 points, 5.8 assists and just under one steal per game. He is third in field goal shooting at 52 percent and fourth in rebounding at 4.7 per game.

ABOUT THE COUGARS: Washington State is 9-6 overall and 2-6 in the Pac-12. The Cougars have lost five straight and six of seven since beginning their season 8-0. Washington State averages 67.7 points while shooting 41.2 percent from the field. Defensively, the Cougars allow 66.6 points per game. Washington State sports the third-best field-goal defense in the Pac-12, allowing opponents only 39.5 percent shooting. The Cougars are the top 3-point defense team in the Pac-12 allowing 29.1 percent.

Senior guard Isaac Bonton leads Washington State and ranks third in the Pac-12 at 18.0 points per game. Bonton is also second in the Pac-12 in steals at 2.0 per outing. Sophomore guard Noah Williams is second on the team in scoring at 12.6 points per game and ranks second in the conference in 3-point shooting at 49.0 percent. Freshman post Efe Abogidi tops the Cougars and ranks third in the Pac-12 in rebounding at 7.9 per game. Abogidi averages 9.7 points per game while shooting 49 percent from the field. Andrej Jakimovski averages 6.7 points and is second on the team in rebounding at 5.2 per game.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 22nd meeting between Colorado and Washington State with the Buffaloes holding a 15-6 series edge and have won six of the last nine. Colorado is 9-0 all-time against the Cougars in Boulder.

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January 26th

… CU in the Arena … 

Woelk: Will the comeback in Pullman come to define the 2020-21 season?

From CUBuffs.com … In the span of roughly 20 minutes last weekend, the Colorado Buffaloes salvaged what could have been a disastrous road trip.

It may prove to be a 20-minute stretch that will be remembered as a critical juncture in CU’s season, a moment when the Buffaloes re-established an identity that was in danger of slipping away.

Less than nine minutes into the game at Washington State, the Buffs were down by 18 points (23-5) and their star point guard, McKinley Wright IV, had been helped to the bench with a knee injury.

This on the heels of a disappointing 84-80 loss at Washington, a game when the Buffs checked their defense at the door before it started.

But just when things looked dim in Pullman — OK, bleak — the Buffs bounced back.

First, they cut Washington State’s lead down to seven at the half, getting some big moments — and big leadership — from junior forward Evan Battey. CU’s emotional big man stepped into the void created by Wright’s absence and virtually willed the Buffs back into the game.

Wright then returned in the second half and helped complete the comeback, sparking a stellar second-half effort that saw the Buffs finally take the lead nine minutes into the half and pull away down the stretch. By game’s end the contest had all the appearance of a Colorado runaway victory.

Remember those 20 minutes. If this Tad Boyle team goes on to earn an NCAA Tournament berth and make a March run, that stretch in Pullman might be the one in which these Buffs cemented their identity.

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January 25th

… CU in the Arena … 

McKinley Wright named as one of ten finalists for the Bob Cousy Award

Press Release from CUBuffs.com … University of Colorado junior McKinley Wright IV has been named a Top 10 finalist for the 2021 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Monday.

Wright was one of 10 finalists for the 2020 Cousy Award.

A two-time All-Pac-12 Conference First Team selection, Wright leads Colorado at 14.8 points, 5.8 assists and just under a steal per game. He is third on the team in shooting at 51.7 percent and fourth in rebounding at 4.7 per game.

Wright is closing in on a historical milestone, needing seven assists and 20 rebounds to become the first Pac-12 player to ever record 1,600 points, 600 rebounds and 600 assists in a career. He became the 10th player in Colorado history to reach 1,600 points (1,606) after pitching in 12 at Washington State on Saturday.

Wright is a three-time Pac-12 Player of the Week this season and currently ranks second in the conference in assists fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.9), 11th in field goal percentage, 12th in scoring and minutes and 14th in free throw shooting (.789).

Named after Class of 1971 Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic and Holy Cross guard Bob Cousy, the annual honor now in its 18th year recognizes the top point guards in Division I men’s college basketball. A national committee comprising top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 candidates in November, which has now been narrowed to just 10.

In late February, five finalists will be presented to Mr. Cousy and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee.

The winner of the 2021 Bob Cousy Award will be presented April 9, 2021, along with the other four members of the Men’s Starting Five. Starting Five Fan Voting presented by Dell Technologies will go live Friday, Nov. 6 at www.hoophallawards.com.

For more information on the 2021 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award and the latest updates, log onto www.hoophallawards.com and follow @hoophall and #CousyAward on Twitter and Instagram.

2021 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award Candidates

Jared ButlerBaylor
McKinley Wright IVColorado
Marcus ZegarowskiCreighton
Scottie BarnesFlorida State
Jalen SuggsGonzaga
Ayo DosunmuIllinois
Carlik JonesLouisville
Marcus CarrMinnesota
Cade CunninghamOklahoma State
Collin GillespieVillanova

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January 24th

… CU in the Arena … 

Automatic one year extension of Tad Boyle’s contract has kicked in

From the Daily Camera … Tad Boyle has a solid freshman class getting ready for the future mostly in the background, and the Colorado Buffaloes have an impressive 2021 recruiting class on the way.

Amid that recruiting momentum, Boyle can still tell future Buffs he’s not going anywhere for a while.

CU athletic director Rick George confirmed to BuffZone this week that the automatic one-year extension built into Boyle’s contract was invoked once again, leaving Boyle under contract at CU through the 2025-26 season.

According to terms of Boyle’s deal, the one-year extension is activated every Dec. 31 unless one of the two sides — the university, or Boyle — gives notice they wish to opt out of the extension. That has never happened since Boyle was hired in the spring of 2010, leaving the men’s basketball leader working on what essentially has become a perpetual five-year contract.

Boyle received a pay bump in the summer of 2019, increasing his annual base and supplemental pay to a shade over $1.8 million ($1,807,200). That figure does not include the 10 percent pay cut Boyle is working with this year, which was announced by CU in April as part of its financial cutbacks enacted in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The latest extension is expected to be presented to the Board of Reagents for approval in February.

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January 23rd – GameDay!

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs rally from 18-point deficit to defeat Washington State, 70-59

From CUBuffs.com … Colorado’s McKinley Wright IV came back from a first-half injury Saturday to help the Buffaloes rally from an early 18-point deficit and record a 70-59 win over Washington State at Beasley Coliseum.

The Buffaloes improved to 12-4 overall and 6-3 in Pac-12 play. The Cougars fell to 9-6, 2-6.

Evan Battey led CU with 16 points while Wright finished with 12 points and led the team in rebounds (seven) and assists (five). D’Shawn Schwartz added 11 points.

Wright, who missed much of the first half with a leg injury, recorded all of his points and rebounds and four of his five assists after halftime.

The Buffs trailed by as many as 18 in the first half but cut the lead to just seven points at halftime, 37-30. CU used an early 8-2 second half run to bring the game to within one point, 39-38, and then quickly regained the lead, 44-43. Colorado then used a late 14-0 run to put the Cougars away.

Colorado had solid bench production and outscored the Cougars’ reserves 25-5.

Isaac Bonton led the Cougars with 21 points.

Wright had to be helped from the court barely six minutes into the game after aggravating a knee injury in a collision. His teammates managed to shave WSU’s big lead down to seven by intermission, and he returned for the second half to help fuel the decisive 14-0 run.

“He’s a gritty kid,” Boyle said. “I hope CU fans aren’t taking him for granted. Enjoy him the rest of this year because I don’t know if we’ll have another one like him for quite some time.”

HOW IT HAPPENED: The Buffs had a slow start and quickly found themselves looking at a 23-5 deficit midway through the first half. At the 13:55 mark, Wright went down with a leg injury and did not return the rest of the half.

Shortly after Wright went down, the Buffs used a 14-2 surge to shrink the Cougars’ lead to just six points. Battey led the way on the run with six points,  Schwartz pitched in with five and Keeshawn Barthelemy added a 3-point bucket. The Buffs trailed by just seven at intermission.

“Evan really stepped up his game, his talk, and his energy level,” Boyle said. “I think the rest of the guys fed off Evan’s energy. I think our guys learned a lot about themselves tonight.”

Wright returned to play and started the second half. CU cut the WSU lead to just one point thanks to an 8-2 run. Dallas Walton hit two jumpers, Schwartz pitched in with a pair of free throws, and Wright added a stepback two to cut the Cougars’ lead to just 39-38.

The Buffs continued to chip away at the WSU lead and a Schwartz jumper gave the Buffs a 44-43 advantage, their first lead since 2-0.  CU then took advantage of a WSU technical foul, and Jeriah Horne sank two free throws and Maddox Daniels drilled a 3-point jumper to extend the Buffalo lead to 49-43.

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Buffs look to bounce back against Washington State 

From the Daily Camera … Colorado’s unexpected setback against a Washington team that had been winless in Pac-12 Conference play marked the Buffaloes third loss within the league.

There has been a common theme among two of those losses, including Wednesday’s defeat against the Huskies. Like the focused and energized team the Buffs’ lost to at Arizona on Dec. 28, the Huskies this week stunned CU by playing what was by far their best game of the season.

For a Buffs squad that still expects to contend for a Pac-12 title, absorbing an opponent’s best shot is a hurdle CU will have to get accustomed to. And deal with more appropriately. Chances are, the Buffs will encounter another team eager to make a statement on Saturday night, as CU attempts to salvage a split of its trip through Washington against Washington State.

“I was really concerned about the Washington game,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “But the way we practiced the two days before was good. It was spirited, dialed-in. I didn’t get any sense whatsoever that our guys were overlooking this game.

“The bottom line is, we’re not sneaking up on anybody. Especially with the fact we thumped (Washington) pretty good in Vegas (in December). Without a doubt, up until our game (at Arizona), that was the best game they had played this year. And Washington, best game they’ve played this year to date. Hands down, not even close. We got both their best shots, and their best shots were good enough to beat us.”

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Game Notes … Colorado is 11-4 overall and 5-3 in the Pac-12 Conference. The Buffaloes’ four-game win streak came to an end with an 84-80 setback at Washington on Jan. 20. Despite the loss, Colorado has won five of its last seven overall.

Colorado’s 5-3 Pac-12 mark matches its second-best start in 10 seasons in the conference. The Buffaloes also started 5-3 in 2015-16 and 2019-20 while the 2011-12 team started 6-2. Colorado leads the nation in free throw shooting at 84.2 percent making 223 of 265 attempts. The Buffaloes were 15 of 19 against Washington, their 15th straight game to begin the season shooting 73.3 percent or better from the line. Colorado has shot 80 percent or better in 10 games and at least 90 percent in four.

Along with owning the Pac-12’s top spot in free throw percentage the Buffaloes lead the conference in scoring defense (63.7 ppg), and scoring margin (+12.5). Colorado also ranks second in turnover margin (+3.1), turnovers per game (10.7), third in rebounding defense (31.3 rpg) and 3-pointers made (+7.6) and fourth in rebounding margin (+5.6).

ABOUT THE COUGARS: Washington State is 9-5 overall and 2-5 in the Pac-12. The Cougars have lost four straight and five of six since beginning their season 8-0. Washington State averages 68.4 points while shooting 41.1 percent from the field. Defensively, the Cougars allow 66.4 points per game. Washington State sports the second-best field-goal defense in the Pac-12, allowing opponents only 38.8 percent shooting. The Cougars are the top 3-point defense team in the Pac-12 allowing 28.5 percent.

Senior guard Isaac Bonton leads Washington State and ranks third in the Pac-12 at 17.8 points per game. Bonton is also second in the Pac-12 in steals at 2.0 per outing. Sophomore guard Noah Williams is second on the team in scoring at 12.4 points per game and ranks second in the conference in 3-point shooting at 46.5 percent.

Freshman post Efe Abogidi tops the Cougars and ranks second in the Pac-12 in rebounding at 8.0 per game. Abogidi averages 10.1 points per game while shooting 50 percent from the field. Andrej Jakimovski averages 7.1 points and is second on the team in rebounding at 5.1 per game.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 21st meeting between Colorado and Washington State with the Buffaloes holding a 14-6 series edge. The teams split a pair of games in 2019-20. Colorado won the only regular season meeting, a 78-56 decision in Boulder on Jan. 23rd.

Washington State got revenge with an 82-68 win in the first round of the Pac-12 Conference Tournament on Mar. 11th in what would be the last game played before the rest of the Tournament, and NCAA Postseason, was canceled due to the pandemic.

Washington State has a 4-3 edge in Pullman and has won the last three at Beasley. The two teams will turn right around and meet again on Wednesday, Jan. 27th, in Boulder (7 p.m., ESPNU), in a game rescheduled from Dec. 5th, due to COVID issues.

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January 22nd 

… CU in the Arena … 

CU game v. Oregon State rescheduled to February 8th, giving CU five home games in 12 days

From CUBuffs.com … The University of Colorado will host Oregon State on Monday, Feb. 8, rescheduled from the Jan. 9 contest that was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns within the Beavers’ program.

Tip time for the Buffaloes and Beavers at the CU Events Center is 5 p.m. and the game will air live on the Pac-12 Networks.

The change will give Colorado five-straight home games in a span of 12 days. It will mark the first time in Colorado’s 118-year history the program will play five conference games in a row at home.

The home stand begins with another COVID-19 related rescheduled contest on Wednesday, Jan. 27 against Washington State (7 p.m./ESPNU). The final three of those games will come in a five-day span as the Buffaloes host Arizona State on Thursday, Feb. 4, and Arizona on Saturday, Feb. 6. Times for those two games have not been announced.

Colorado ends its Pacific Northwest road trip with a game against Washington State on Saturday, Jan. 23, at 6 p.m. MT on ESPN2.

 

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January 21st 

… CU in the Arena … 

Regaining defensive edge key to Buffs rebounding from embarrassing loss to Washington

From the Daily Camera … Colorado reached 80 points in a true road game for the first time in two years. The Buffaloes also recorded their lowest turnover mark in any game in nine years.

So how did a CU team that traveled to the Pacific Northwest riding a significant wave of momentum get derailed by a squad that had yet to win a Pac-12 Conference game? Even with the solid offensive showing, the Buffs simply got away from what they do best.

Always a defense-first program under head coach Tad Boyle, the defensive prowess that has sparked the Buffs for much of the season abandoned them in Seattle during an 84-80 loss at Washington on Wednesday night.

Granted, the Huskies connected on some tough shots during the second half of Wednesday’s contest. But a few tough shots doesn’t explain UW’s 12-for-25 night from the 3-point arc, or the 6-for-9 showing the Huskies put together while shooting 64 percent overall in the second half.

The Buffs going 1-for-18 on 3-pointers is the sort of frustrating night most college basketball coaches will concede is going to happen at some point over the course of a full season. Losing the defensive intensity against a team that has struggled to score for the bulk of the season is an issue the Buffs look to get corrected in a hurry before attempting to salvage a road split on Saturday night at Washington State (6 p.m. MT, ESPN2).

Continue reading story here

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January 20th – GameDay!

… CU in the Arena … 

Colorado falls on the road to last-place Washington, 84-80

… All you need to know: Washington three-point field goals: 12-25 (48%); Colorado three-point field goals: 1-18 (5%) … 

From CUBuffs.com … Colorado’s defense had no answer for hot-shooting Washington in the second half Wednesday and the Buffaloes dropped an 84-80 decision to the Huskies at Alaska Airlines Arena.

The Buffs, who saw their four-game win streak come to an end against a team they beat 92-69 in December, fell to 11-4 overall and 5-3 in Pac-12 play while the Huskies ended an eight-game losing streak to improve to 2-11, 1-7.

Jeriah Horne led CU with 24 points and six rebounds, Evan Battey chipped in 18 points and six rebounds and McKinley Wright IV had 12 points and six assists.

Marcus Tsohonis, who came into the game averaging six points per game, led UW with a career-high 27 points on 9-for-13 shooting, including 4-for-6 from 3-point range.

CU led by as many as 10 in the first half and still by four, 40-36, at intermission. But the Buffs’ defense could not stop UW’s shooters in the second half.

CU shot 46 percent for the game (32-for-69), but was just 1-for-18 from 3-point range. The Huskies shot 64 percent in the second half (16-for-25), including 6-for-9 from 3-point range.

HOW IT HAPPENED: The Buffs led by four at the half, 40-36, and pushed the lead to give, 55-50, less than five minutes in.

But the Huskies put together an 8-2 run to take a 58-57 lead with 13:01 to play and the two teams then traded the lead four times over the next four minutes. The Buffs couldn’t string together defensive stops, as Washington was 10-for-15 from the floor in the first 11 minutes of the half.

Colorado finally pulled ahead by three at the 7:49 mark, 67-64, on baskets from Walker and Battey, but Washington came back to tie the game at 69-69 with 6:47 to play.

Neither team could create separation over the next four minutes, and with 2:24 to play, the Buffs trailed 77-75.

But following a timeout, the Buffs had three straight empty possessions — including two turnovers — and UW added two more baskets for a six-point lead with 1:04 to play, 81-75.

The Buffs, though, didn’t go away quietly. Wright had a three-point play with 38 seconds remaining, and following two Tsohonis free throws, Battery scored inside and the Buffs forced a turnover on the ensuing inbounds pass trailing by three, 83-80.

But the Buffs couldn’t cash in on the possession, missing a 3-pointer and the Huskies hit one more free throw to end the scoring.

Continue reading story here

Chemistry (had been) a Key to CU’s successful run 

From CUBuffs.com … Maybe the only downside to what is unfolding for Tad Boyle‘s Colorado Buffaloes is that fans can’t be present to watch it transpire.

Otherwise, what’s happening in Boulder has the earmarks of a very special season and the potential for a very bright future.

As they prepare to hit the road for a pair of games in the Pacific Northwest this week (Washington on Wednesday, Washington State on Saturday), the Buffs will take with them a top-10 NCAA NET ranking, a fistful of momentum and a bucketload of confidence.

It is all well-earned. The 11-3 Buffs (5-2 Pac-12) have won four in a row, including a victory over then-No. 17 Oregon, plus a road win over USC — the only other Pac-12 team with a top 20 NET.

They also have one of the nation’s best players in senior point guard McKinley Wright IV, a terrific freshman in Jabari Walker, and the kind of depth and versatility that could make them a tough out come postseason tournament time.

When the season began, Boyle knew he had a gem in Wright — and all the senior has done is play his best basketball ever. Wright is averaging a team-leading 15.1 points per game, along with 4.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists while reducing his turnovers to less than two per game. Most importantly, he brings the glue of leadership that can’t be quantified — but is invaluable.

But the Buffs are more than Wright. What Boyle called “untested depth” way back in October is passing the test with flying colors.

The 6-foot-8 Walker is blossoming into one of the conference’s best freshmen and is already drawing national attention. In last week’s three CU victories, he recorded back-to-back double-doubles in wins over Utah and Cal, and just missed a third in a victory over Stanford. For the week, he averaged 16.3 points and 9.7 rebounds while shooting 60 percent from the floor (18-for-30), including 5-for-7 from 3-point range.

Then there’s the powerful one-two punch up front from junior Evan Battey and senior grad transfer Jeriah Horne.

Battey is averaging 10.0 points and 5.6 rebounds and playing excellent defense in the post. His 13 points and 12 rebounds were a key in the win over Stanford. Horne, meanwhile, is mirroring Battey’s numbers, averaging 10.4 points and 5.4 rebounds.

Continue reading story here

Game Notes … Colorado is 11-3 overall and 5-2 in the Pac-12 Conference. The Buffaloes have won four straight and five of six after a 77-64 win over Stanford on Jan. 16.

Colorado’s 5-2 Pac-12 mark matches its best start in 10 seasons in the conference. The Buffaloes also started 5-2 in 2011-12 and 2019-20; the ‘11-12 team went on to start 6-2.

Colorado leads the nation in free throw shooting at 84.6 percent making 208 of 246 attempts. The Buffaloes were 12 of 13 against Stanford, their 14th straight game to begin the season shooting 73.3 percent or better from the line. Colorado has shot 80 percent
or better in 10 games and at least 90 percent in four.

ABOUT THE HUSKIES: Washington is 1-11 overall and 0-7 in the Pac-12. The Huskies, who have dropped their last eight, will be playing at home for the first time in the 2021 calendar year. Washington has played only four home games, the last an 80-53 setback to Arizona on Dec. 31st. Washington averages 64.8 points while shooting 40.3 percent from the field, both numbers ranking last in the Pac-12. Defensively, the Huskies allow 76.9 points while opponents are shooting 43.8 percent.

Senior guard Quade Green leads the Huskies at 15.4 points and 3.3 assists and is a 90 percent free throw shooter (26-29). His point total (185) is double of Washington’s second leading scorer, Jamal Bey (90) averaging 7.5 points per game. Erik Stevenson averages 7.3 points and is tied with Green for the team lead in 3-pointers made with 17. Forward Nate Roberts tops Washington in rebounding at 7.0 per game while averaging 5.8 points per contest.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 31st meeting between Colorado and Washington with the Huskies holding a 17-13 advantage. Colorado has won the last two, including its 92-69 triumph on Dec. 20th in Las Vegas which was officially a nonconference game. Washington holds an 11-2 edge at home, winning the last four in Seattle.

Dallas Walton expected to return to lineup after six-game absence

From the Daily Camera … On Dec. 20, Colorado center Dallas Walton enjoyed the game of his life.

With the Buffaloes facing off against Washington in a game that was played as a nonconference contest in Las Vegas, Walton tormented the Huskies for a career-high 22 points, going 6-for-7 from the field and a perfect 10-for-10 at the free throw line.

Walton hasn’t done much since. He played the next two games, going 1-for-3 with five points in each of those games against Grand Canyon and Arizona, but Walton has been sidelined the past six games due to what head coach Tad Boyle has described as a lower leg injury.

With the Huskies next in line for the surging Buffs, Walton is expected to return for this week’s two-game run in the Pacific Northwest, which begins Wednesday night at Washington (7 p.m. MT, ESPNU).

“We plan to have Dallas back for the Washington game,” Boyle said after his team’s fourth consecutive win Sunday against Stanford. “Obviously he played very well against them when we played them in Vegas in the nonconference game. We’ve played Washington before. They know us. We know them. They’ve been struggling right now but I’m telling you, they have quality players. They’ve got a quality coach. And Washington will be ready for us”.

Continue reading story here

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January 18th

… CU in the Arena … 

McKinley Wright picks up third Pac-12 Player of the Week honor; Jabari Walker Freshman of the Week

Related … Pac-12 Press Release on Wright and Walker (with stats) … from Pac-12.com 

From CUBuffs.com … The University of Colorado men’s basketball team swept the Pac-12 Conference weekly awards with McKinley Wright IV being named Player of the Week and Jabari Walker Freshman of the Week, the league office announced Monday.

Wright is the Pac-12 Player of the Week for the third time this season, adding another first in Colorado basketball history to his resume. Eight others, including Chauncey Billups and Alec Burks, had previously won two weekly honors in one season. He already owns the school mark for most conference Player of the Week honors, with Monday being his fifth.

A native of North Robbinsdale, Minn., Wright averaged 12.0 points and 8.0 assists leading the Buffaloes to three Pac-12 wins last week.

Wright became Colorado’s all-time leader in assists and did so in style by dishing out a personal-best 12 in the Buffaloes’ 89-60 win over California. Wright, with 24 assists on the week, sits at 582, after passing Jay Humphries who had 562 from 1980-84.

Wright tied another Humphries Colorado career record in the process by registering his eighth career double-figure assist game. His 13 points gave him his eighth career points-assists double-double, adding on to his own school record in that category.

Wright finished off the week by leading the Buffaloes over Stanford with 14 points, eight assists and five rebounds.

A native of Inglewood, Calif., Walker earns his first conference honor and is Colorado’s first Pac-12 Freshman of the Week; an award in just its second year. He’s the first Colorado freshman to win that type of honor since Richard Roby was the Big 12 Conference “Rookie” of the Week twice in 2004-05.

Walker averaged 16.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.0 block in Colorado’s three games last week. He recorded his first two career double-doubles with 15 points and 10 rebounds at Utah and followed that up with 23 points and 11 rebounds against California.

Walker’s 23 points were the most by a Colorado freshman since Wright scored 30 against South Dakota State in December 2017.

Walker finished off the week with 11 points, eight rebounds and two blocks against Stanford. He shot 60 percent overall from the field (18 of 30) including 5 of 7 from 3-point range.

Colorado men’s basketball has two other instances of the program winning two awards in one week. D.J. Harrison was named Big 12 Player and Rookie of the Week on Nov. 28, 2000 and again on Jan. 29, 2001.

 

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January 17th

… CU in the Arena … 

**CU women post first-ever win over a No. 1 team, take down undefeated Stanford in OT**

From CUBuffs.com … Colorado’s Mya Hollingshed scored a career-high 32 points Sunday and Frida Formann scored five in overtime to lead the Buffaloes to their first-ever win over a No. 1 ranked team, a 77-72 victory over Stanford at the CU Events Center.

The Buffs improved to 6-6 overall and 4-5 in Pac-12 play while Stanford fell to 11-1, 8-1.

The Buffs, who trailed for the first 24 minutes of the game, finally took their first lead late in the third quarter, then battled through a see-saw final fourth quarter. CU trailed in the final minute before a Jaylyn Sherrod steal and layup with 23 seconds remaining tied the game at 67-67 to force overtime.

CU finally took the lead for good, 72-70, on a Formann 3-pointer from the top of the key with 1:36 remaining. Formann then added two free throws for a four-point lead, 74-70, with 1:10 remaining.

Stanford pulled back within two with 42 seconds left, but Peanut Tuitele added a free throw with four seconds on the clock and Stanford missed a shot just before the buzzer. Hollinsghed then capped her day with two more free throws with just a half second left on the clock to complete the scoring.

Hollingshed finished with 30 points and 10 rebounds for her sixth double-double of the season. Formann added 15 points and Tuitele chipped in 10.

Lexie Hull led Stanford with 19 points.

HOW IT HAPPENED: After trailing for the entire first half and much of the third quarter, the Buffs finally grabbed the lead with 3:39 left in the third period on the strength of an 8-0 run.

After the Cardinal had built its lead to 45-40, Hollinshed hit two free throws before Peanut Tuitele put back a CU miss. Following two Stanford misses, Lesila Finau gave the Buffs their first lead of the game at the 3:39 mark with a drive to the hoop, which was quickly followed by a Hollinghshed putback that gave the Buffs a 48-45 lead with 2:40 left in the quarter.

Stanford, though, came back to tie the game at 48-48 and again at 50-50 and finally regained the lead with a Lexie Hull 3-pointer to take a 53-51 edge into the fourth quarter.

But the Buffs answered again in the fourth quarter, using an 8-0 run to take a 59-55 lead with 7:03 to play. Jaylyn Sherrod opened the surge with a three-point play before Hollingshed scored from the paint and then hit a second-chance 3-pointer to put the Buffs up by four.

Stanford, though, chipped away at the lead and with 3:14 to play, took a 65-63 edge on two Lexie Hull free throws before Hollingshed tied it up at 65s with 2:39 remaining with a 12-footer from the elbow.

The Buffs then missed out on a chance to take the lead again when Sherrod missed two free throws and following a timeout, Stanford answered with a bucket for a 67-65 lead with 45 seconds remaining.

Colorado turned it over on its next possession but after another Stanford timeout, Sherrod stole the inbounds pass and collected a layup with 23 seconds remaining to tie the game again at 67-67. The Buffs defense then forced an empty Stanford possession in the final seconds, setting the stage for overtime.

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January 16th – GameDay!

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs take care of business with an impressive 77-64 win over Stanford

Related … “Balanced effort lifts CU men’s basketball past Stanford in key Pac-12 tilt” … from the Daily Camera

From CUBuffs.com … Colorado’s Evan Battey recorded a double-double and the Buffaloes had four players in double figures Saturday as CU won its fourth straight game, a 77-64 win over Stanford at the CU Events Center.

The Buffs improved to 11-3 overall and 5-2 in Pac-12 play while Stanford dropped to 8-5, 4-3.

Battey finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds for the junior’s second double-double of the year and seventh of his career. Senior point guard McKinley Wright IV added 14 points and eight assists for the Buffs, freshman Jabari Walker had 11 points and eight rebounds and senior Jeriah Horne chipped in 10 points.

Stanford’s Oscar da Silva led all scorers with 22 points.

Colorado took control with an 11-0 run in the final minutes of the first half to take a 40-26 lead at intermission. The Cardinal pulled to within eight at several junctures in the second half before CU put the game away for good with a 16-2 surge for a 72-50 lead with just more than four minutes remaining in the game.

CU shot just 41% for the game (28-for-68) but held the Cardinal to 37% shooting (22-for-60). Colorado also forced 15 turnovers, which the Buffs converted into 17 points, and CU’s defense held Stanford scoreless for four minutes in the first half and five minutes in the second.

CU also held a 42-36 rebounding edge and a 28-8 edge in points off the bench.

“Good win against a quality team,” CU coach Tad Boyle said. “I’ve got a lot of respect for Stanford — the institution, (coach) Jerod Haase, their players. They do things the right way. They’re a great member of this conference, and when you beat a team that you have great respect for, it feels good.”

HOW IT HAPPENED: After a back-and-forth first 13 minutes, the Buffs took control in the final minutes of the first half. Colorado closed the half with an 18-5 surge that included an 11-0 run over the last 3:43.

Wright started the run with a layup, followed by a pair of Maddox Daniels 3-pointers. Tristan da Silva then capped the run with a 3-pointer from the corner at the buzzer to send Colorado into intermission with a 40-26 lead.

CU’s balance and depth took its toll on a depleted Stanford team in the first half. Nine different players scored for Colorado in the opening 20 minutes and CU had 11 assists on 16 baskets.

The Buffs also hit 7 of their final 10 3-point tries in the half after connecting on just one of their first seven, and their eight 3-pointers were the most in any half this year.

On the defensive end, CU forced four Stanford turnovers in the final six minutes of the half.

“We’ve got a lot of capable players on our bench,” said Boyle, whose bench outscored their Stanford counterparts 28-8. “I love our versatility and depth. Early in the season our depth was untested. Now they’re feeling more confident.”

After Colorado’s big first-half finish, Stanford quickly cut the margin back to single digits early in the second half with a 10-2 run. With just more than 12 minutes to play, CU’s lead had been narrowed to 56-48.

But Colorado’s defense began to take its toll on the Cardinal. Battey exerted his will inside, making Stanford’s da Silva work for every shot, and the Buffs put together their decisive 16-2 surge.

Continue reading story here

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January 15th

… CU in the Arena … 

4-2 Buffs taking on 4-2 Stanford Saturday (1:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Network) “It’s definitely a separation game”

From the Daily Camera … Stanford’s Oscar da Silva is the sort of player who can fill up a box score on any given night.

His brother, Colorado freshman Tristan da Silva, isn’t that player at this very early stage of his career. Yet Tristan da Silva is coming off a very productive effort for the Buffaloes that didn’t necessarily equal his older brother’s typical assault on the stat sheet.

Barring a matchup in the Pac-12 Conference tournament, or the unlikely decision by the elder da Silva to forgo a pro career to take advantage of the NCAA eligibility relief granted for this season, the da Silva brothers will collide for the first of two scheduled matchups this season at the CU Events Center on Saturday afternoon.

Oscar da Silva is one of the stars of the Pac-12 who was part of a memorable moment at CU last year that was at once frightening and inspiring. Tristan da Silva is coming off perhaps the most meaningful playing time of his young CU career during Thursday’s win against Cal. And that will be a sidebar for what will be a critical matchup in the Buffs’ quest to gain some separation in the top third of the Pac-12 standings.

… On Saturday, the stakes will be much greater than brother-versus-brother, as CU jockeys for position behind league-leading UCLA. After UCLA, which is 6-0 in the league, USC and Oregon are next with identical 4-1 marks, with both of those teams suffering their lone Pac-12 losses against the Buffs. Next are the Cardinal and Buffs at 4-2, giving CU a prime opportunity to establish traction in the Pac-12 race.

… Despite expressing optimism earlier this week that 7-footer Dallas Walton might return against the Cardinal, Boyle on Friday said Walton is expected to miss his sixth consecutive game due to a lower leg injury. However, backup point guard Keeshawn Barthelemy is expected to return to the rotation after missing the Cal game due to an ankle injury.

“It’s definitely a separation game,” Boyle said. “Whatever team wins will have another opportunity, and whatever team loses will have another opportunity. It’s a separation game though, no doubt. It’s a big one.”

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Game Notes

WRIGHT SETS ASSIST MARK: McKinley Wright IV broke Colorado’s career assists mark during the win over California and did it in style with a personal single-game high 12 assists. He entered the game tied with Jay Humphries at 562 and now has the all-time record of 574 and counting.

Colorado Career Assists:
Rk. Player Years Assists
1. McKinley Wright IV 2017-present 574
2. Jay Humphries 1980-84 562
3. Mike Reid 1982-86 446
4. Jose Winston 1998-01 440
5. Marcus Hall 2003-06, ‘07-08 423

THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 10-3 overall and 4-2 in the Pac-12 Conference. The Buffaloes have won three straight and four of five
after an 89-60 win over California on Jan. 14.

Colorado leads the nation in free throw shooting at 84.1 percent making 196 of 233 attempts. The Buffaloes were 11 of 14 against Cal, their 13th straight game to begin the season shooting 73.3 percent or better from the line. Colorado has shot 80 percent or better in nine games and at least 90 percent in three.

The Buffaloes, who have made at least 10 free throws in all 13 games, have 10 contests where they’ve missed three or fewer and five with just one or two misses. Colorado leads the Pac-12 by a wide margin in free throw shooting with second place Washington shooting 73.6 percent.

Along with owning the Pac-12’s top spot in free throw percentage the Buffaloes lead the conference in scoring defense (62.1 ppg), rebounding defense (31.0 rpg) and 3-pointers made (8.0 3mpg). Colorado also ranks second in scoring margin (+13.8) and 3-point percentage (.369), third in turnover margin (+2.6) and fourth in rebounding margin (+5.7).

ABOUT THE CARDINAL: Stanford is 8-4 overall and tied with Colorado at 4-2 in the Pac-12 Conference after a 79-65 setback at Utah on Jan. 14th. The Cardinal – the only power conference program not to play in their home facility this season – have won three true road games and are 4-4 away from the Bay Area. Stanford averages 73.1 points while shooting 46.2 percent from the field. The Cardinal allow just 67.5 points per game while holding opponents to 38.9 percent shooting, the latter being the third best figure in the Pac-12. Stanford averages 7.3 steals per game, ranking second on the league charts.

Senior forward Oscar da Silva leads the Pac-12 in scoring at 19.1 points per game and also in field goal shooting at 62.7 percent. Da Silva, an all-Pac-12 forward, leads the Cardinal in rebounding as well at 6.9 per game. Senior guard Daejon Davis, limited to six games this year with an injury, averages 14.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.

Freshman Ziaire Williams averages 12.1 points and 5.8 rebounds and leads the Cardinal in assists (34). Spencer Jones averages 7.2 points and 3.9 rebounds and leads Stanford in both steals (18) and3-pointers made (19).

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 25th meeting between Colorado and Stanford with the Buffaloes holding a 13-11 series edge. The teams split last season’s series with each winning at home. The Buffaloes have won 10 of the last 12 over the Cardinal. Colorado is 9-3 all-time against Stanford in Boulder and has won the last six at the CU Events Center.

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January 14th – GameDay! 

… CU in the Arena … 

McKinley Wright sets career assists record as Buffs roll past Cal, 89-60

From CUBuffs.comMcKinley Wright IV broke Colorado’s all-time assist record and freshman Jabari Walker had his second straight double-double Thursday as the Buffaloes rolled to an 89-60 win over Cal at the CU Events Center.

The Buffs recorded their third straight win to improve to 10-3 overall and 4-2 in Pac-12 play while Cal fell to 6-8, 1-6.

Wright entered the game needing just one assist to move past former Buffs great Jay Humphries’ 562 assists on the all-time list and he accomplished the feat less than two minutes in when he dished off to Evan Battey for a layup. Wright then added an exclamation point, finishing with a career-high 12 assists to go with 13 points for his second double-double of the season and 13th of his career.

Walker, who had 15 points and 10 rebounds in CU’s win over Utah on Monday, led Colorado with a career-high 23 points and 11 rebounds while D’Shawn Schwartz added 18 points and Maddox Daniels chipped in 12.

Andre Kelly led the Bears with 16 points.

HOW IT HAPPENED: After falling behind 18-11 following a 10-0 Cal run midway through the first half, the Buffs seized control over the last nine minutes of the period, using a 23-5 surge to take a 34-23 lead into intermission.

Walker, who had 17 points in the first half, fueled the run with two 3-pointers — both off assists from Wright — to start the surge. He then added a dunk and another 3-pointer while Jeriah Horne and Daniels also had 3-pointers in the decisive run.

Meanwhile, CU’s defense turned up the heat. Colorado forced Cal turnovers on six straight possessions in the final six minutes and the Bears scored just five points over the last 9:41 of the half.

The Buffs then steadily built their margin through most of the second half. CU’s cushion grew to 20, 56-36, on a Daniels 3-pointer with 12:31 still to play and the margin grew into the 30s in the final minutes.

 TURNING POINT: Colorado used a 23-5 run over the final nine minutes of the first half to seize control and the Bears never threatened again.

NEXT UP: Colorado plays host to Stanford on Saturday in a 1 p.m. game at the Events Center (Pac-12 Networks).

Buffs look to maintain momentum v. struggling Cal (Thurs., noon, Pac-12 Networks)

From CUBuffs.com … Barring an unforeseen catastrophe, sometime early Thursday afternoon Colorado Buffaloes senior point guard McKinley Wright IV will throw a pass to a teammate, who will in turn convert the pass into a basket.

It will be the 563rd time in Wright’s spectacular career that such an occurrence has transpired, and it will make him the Buffs’ all-time leader in assists, moving him one past former Colorado great Jay Humphries.

Of course, there is no absolute, 100% guarantee that Wright will get an assist when the Buffaloes (9-3 overall, 3-2 Pac-12) face off against Cal (6-7, 1-5) in a noon game at the CU Events Center.

But if history is any guide, the odds are greatly in Wright’s favor. In his 111 games in a Colorado uniform, he has had at least one assist 110 times (the only zero came against Wyoming in last season’s win over the Cowboys).

Wright came very close to breaking the record in Monday’s 65-58 victory at Utah. His fourth assist of the game — to Jeriah Horne, who capped a decisive 15-0 run with a basket inside early in the second half — tied the record. But he did not have another the rest of the game, and he later teased that he wanted to save the record-breaking assist for his home floor.

“I joked with coach (Tad Boyle) and told him that I wanted to break the record at home so I can keep the game ball,” Wright said. “My dad really wants it. Hopefully we come out victorious, hopefully I get one assist and break the record so I can keep that game ball and give it to my pops.”

The downside, of course, is that Wright will very likely break the record in a nearly empty arena instead of in front of an adoring crowd.

“I just wish our fans could be in the arena to see him,” Boyle said. “We’d stop the dang game and give him the game ball.”

Instead, the Buffs will play on, Wright will still get the game ball — and, as Wright said, the Buffs will hopefully pick up their third straight win in the process.

Continue reading story here

Game Notes … THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 9-3 overall and 3-2 in the Pac-12 Conference. The Buffaloes have won two straight and three of four after a 65-58 win at Utah on Jan. 11, snapping an eight-game skid in Salt Lake City.

Colorado improved to 6-3 away from Boulder as the Buffaloes picked up their third true road win of the season at Utah. Colorado, Stanford and Villanova are the only three schools from a Power 5 Conference or the Big East, that have played 75 percent or more of their games to date away from their home facilities.

Colorado is now scheduled to play six of its next eight at home.

Colorado leads the nation in free throw shooting at 84.5 percent making 185 of 219 attempts. The Buffaloes were 18 of 24 against Utah, their 12th straight game to begin the season shooting 73.3 percent or better from the line. Colorado has shot 80 percent or better in nine games and at least 90 percent in three.

The Buffaloes, who have made at least 10 free throws in all 12 games, have nine contests where they’ve missed three or fewer and five with just one or two misses. Colorado leads the Pac-12 by a wide margin in free throw shooting with second place Oregon State shooting 74.0 percent.

ABOUT THE GOLDEN BEARS … California is 6-7 overall and 1-5 in the Pac-12. The Bears snapped a three game skid, picking up their first Pac-12 win of the year with an 84-78 decision over Washington on Jan. 9. California is 0-5 in true road games this season. The Bears average 68.8 points while shooting 45.7 percent from the field.

Defensively, California allows its opponents 68.9 points per game on 45.1 percent shooting, that number ranking last in the Pac-12.

Junior guard Matt Bradley averages 17.8 points per game, but the Bears have been without their leading scorer for the last four games with an injury. Graduate transfer Ryan Betley is averaging 10.7 points and 3.9 rebounds. A second grad transfer, Makale Foreman, is averaging 10.3 points. Foreman and Betley share the team lead in 3-pointers with 30 each. Junior forward Andre Kelly leads the Bears at 5.9 rebounds per game while averaging 9.9 points per contest.

SERIES RECORDS … This will be the 35th meeting between Colorado and California with the Buffaloes holding an 18-16 advantage. The teams split their series in 2019-20 each winning at home. The Buffaloes have won six of the last eight overall in the series. Colorado is 12-2 all-time against California in Boulder and has won the last four.

—–

January 12th 

… CU in the Arena … 

Oregon postpones weekend games v. Arizona teams

From ESPN … The 22nd-ranked Oregon men’s basketball team has paused all team-related activities because of COVID-19 protocols.

The Ducks won’t play planned games at home against Arizona State on Thursday and Arizona on Saturday. The games will be rescheduled.

Oregon (9-2, 4-1 Pac-12) is in second place in the Pac-12 behind UCLA. The Ducks were coming off a 79-73 victory at Utah on Saturday.

—–

January 11th – GameDay!

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs rally for rare road win over Utah, 65-58

Related … “CU Buffs men’s basketball posts first win at Utah in nearly nine years” … from the Daily Camera 

From CUBuffs.com … Colorado used a 15-0 run to start the second half Monday to take control, then held off Utah down the stretch to collect a 65-58 win at the Huntsman Center.

The victory ended an eight-game losing streak at Utah for the Buffs, who improved to 9-3 overall and 3-2 in Pac-12 play. Utah fell to 4-5, 1-4.

The Buffs had two players with double-doubles, led by D’Shawn Schwartz’s 15-point, 15-rebound effort, his second double-double of his career. CU freshman Jabari Walker had a 15-point, 10-rebound game for his first career double-double.

Timmy Allen led Utah with 19 points.

Colorado trailed 37-27 at intermission, but took the lead with the 15-0 run early in the second half and never trailed again.

HOW IT HAPPENED: Colorado trailed, 37-27, at the half, but quickly took control with a 15-0 run to start the second half.

D’Shawn Schwartz had back-to-back buckets early in the run, Evan Battey had a basket and two free throws, Jabari Walker had a three-point play and Jeriah Horne notched a basket inside on an assist from Wright.

With just under 15 minutes to play, the Buffs had converted a 10-point deficit into a five-point lead, 42-37.

Utah then pulled to within one at several junctures, but the Buffs each time had an answer. Walker hit a 3-pointer with 9:15 to play, followed by a Battey hook shot that gave CU a 51-45 edge.

Colorado’s lead was reduced to one with 3:32 to play after back-to-back buckets from Utah’s Allen, but Wright hit two free throws with 3:16 to play to push the Buffs’ edge back to three, 55-52.

The Buffs then held off the Utes down the stretch.

Continue reading story here

Pac-12 Power Rankings: CU in at No. 3 in the conference

From the San Jose Mercury News … As a handful of contenders pursue the Pac-12 regular-season title, a clear frontrunner has emerged in the race for last place.

Washington is the team to beat for the bottom.

The Huskies are 0-5 in conference play, continuing a collapse unlike any we’ve seen in the modern era of Pac-12 basketball.

Less than two years ago, in March of 2019, the Huskies were 27-game winners. They went 15-3 in conference play, won the regular-season title and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Mike Hopkins earned his second consecutive Pac-12 Coach of the Year award and had seemingly turned UW into a destination program for elite recruits.

Then came the unthinkable:

The Huskies dropped to last place in the 2019-20 season, becoming the first team in the modern era to pull off the first-to-worst tumble.

Not since 1948, when the league was known as the Pacific Coast Conference, had any team plunged from first place one season to last place the next.

(That team was Washington, by the way.)

1. UCLA (9-2/5-0)
Last week: 2
Results: Won at Arizona State 81-75 (OT) and Arizona 81-76
Next up: vs. Washington State (Thursday)
Comment: One year ago this week, the Bruins were 1-3 in conference play. Since then, they have won 16 out of 19 — and that’s about to be 18 out of 21 with the Washington schools coming to town.

2. Oregon (9-2/4-1)
Last week: 1
Results: Lost at Colorado 79-72, won at Utah 79-73
Next up: vs. Arizona State (Thursday)
Comment: Guard Chris Duarte, who’s averaging 21.6 points against Pac-12 competition, is the frontrunner for Most Improved Player, and we’re not sure anyone is close.

3. Colorado (8-3/2-2)
Last week: 3
Results: Beat Oregon 79-72, DNP vs. Oregon State
Next up: at Utah (Monday)
Comment: If every visitor could be Oregon: With their latest head-to-head victory, the Buffaloes are now 10-0 against the Ducks in Boulder.

8. Utah (4-4/1-3)
Last week: 7
Results: Lost to Oregon 79-73, DNP vs Oregon State
Next up: vs. Colorado (Monday)
Comment: The rugged early schedule (L.A. schools on the road, Oregon at home) makes Utah’s record a bit deceiving. Then again, it’s clear the Utes don’t belong in the top group.

Read full list here

Buffs look to break eight-game road losing streak vs. Utah (4:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks)

Related … “End of Utah drought the next task for CU Buffs men’s basketball” … from the Daily Camera

From CUBuffs.com … With three games over the next six days, Tad Boyle‘s Colorado Buffaloes have a chance to move out of the “muck” and into the Pac-12’s upper division.

The Buffs (8-3 overall, 2-2 Pac-12) are currently tied for sixth in the league standings with Washington State. They open their week Monday with a 4 p.m. game at Utah, followed by home games Thursday against Cal (noon) and Saturday against Stanford (1 p.m.). All three will be televised by the Pac-12 Network.

The Utah game is Colorado’s second Monday Pac-12 game this season, a rarity created by Covid-19 postponements and rescheduling. It is also CU’s second three-game conference week of the season.

The Buffs are looking at this week as an opportunity to begin to separate themselves from the pack. After league leader UCLA 9-2. 5-0), the next nine teams in the standings have between one and three losses.

“The most consistent teams and the teams that find ways to win are going to rise to the top,” Boyle said. “Right now, we’re 2-2. We haven’t risen to the top. If we find a way to win that UCLA game (a 65-62 loss on the road), we’re 3-1 and now we’re in the conversation. But until we start doing that on a consistent basis, we’ll be in the muck like everybody else. We don’t want to be in the muck.”

Headed into this week, UCLA (9-2, 5-0) is the only unbeaten team in conference play. The Bruins have been one of those teams Boyle is talking about — a consistent group that has found ways to win those close games. So far, UCLA has collected one-possession wins over Utah and Colorado as well as an overtime victory at Arizona State.

“The UCLA loss still sticks with us because we thought we could have won that game — but again, UCLA finds ways to win games,” Boyle said. “That’s what you have to do in league play. You have to find ways to win games. Some teams find ways to win ’em, some teams find ways to lose ’em.”

Monday’s return to Utah’s Huntsman Center — where Colorado has lost eight in a row — will no doubt resurrect some unpleasant memories for the Buffs. In CU’s last appearance there (last year’s regular season finale), Colorado dropped a 74-72 overtime decision that was ultimately decided by a questionable foul call that gave Utah three free throws in the final seconds of overtime. The Buffs had a two-point lead with 19 seconds left in regulation in the game, and led by one with 8 seconds left in overtime, but could not protect the lead in either instance.

It was just the latest in a long list of close-but-no-cigar finishes for the Buffs on the Utes’ home floor.

“The biggest reason is we can’t finish games,” Boyle said of CU’s recent struggles at the Huntsman Center. “Last year is a great example. We had the game won and we couldn’t get the stop at the end. Questionable call, but it went their way. They won the game, we lost the game.”

Continue reading story here

Game Notes … WRIGHT CLOSING IN ON ASSIST MARK: McKinley Wright IV is five assists away from breaking Jay Humphries’ Colorado all-time mark set from 1980-84. He owns three of the top eight single-season totals in team history, including the freshman record of 175 set in 2017-18 (second best overall in team history).

Colorado Career Assists:
Rk. Player Years Assists
1. Jay Humphries 1980-84 562
2. McKinley Wright IV 2017-present 558
3. Mike Reid 1982-86 446
4. Jose Winston 1998-01 440
5. Marcus Hall 2003-06, ‘07-08 423

THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 8-3 overall and 2-2 in the Pac-12 Conference, evening its league mark after knocking off No. 17/15 Oregon, 79-72, on Jan. 7th at the CU Events Center.

ABOUT THE UTES: Utah is 4-4 overall and 1-3 in the Pac-12. The Utes have dropped their last three including a 79-73 decision to Oregon on Jan. 9th. This game was originally scheduled for the final Saturday of the regular season (Mar. 6) but was moved up after both teams’ Oregon State game was postponed and both teams faced only having one game last week. Utah averages just under 70 points per game while shooting 43.5 percent from the field. The Utes are the second ranked team in the Pac-12 in assists (15.6 apg), steals (7.5 spg), turnover margin (+4.9) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.5).

Junior forward Timmy Allen leads Utah at 15.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Senior guard Alfonso Plummer 13.4 points and ranks fourth in the Pac-12 at 2.5 3-pointers made per game. Sophomore forward Mikael Jantunen averages 10.3 points and 4.9 rebounds while shooting 58.5 percent from the field, which ranks fourth in the Pac-12. Sophomore guard Rylan Jones tops the Utes in assists at 4.8 per game. Jones ranks second in the Pac-12 in steals(1.9 spg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (3.8).

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 54th meeting between Colorado and Utah with the Buffaloes holding a 29-24 advantage. The home team has won the last six games in the series. Prior to that, the Utes had reeled off eight-straight wins, the longest stretch by either team in the series that dates back to 1914. Utah has a 17-8 series lead in Salt Lake City and has won the last eight. Colorado’s last win at Utah was a 55-48 decision on Feb. 18, 2012.

—–

January 10th

… CU in the Arena … 

McKinley Wright poised to break CU career assists mark on Monday v. Utah

From the Daily Camera … It was early in the second half when McKinley Wright IV found himself alone — like, really alone — in the corner just in front of the Colorado bench.

One adjustment Wright has made in the early stages of his senior season with the Buffaloes is that he is launching 3-pointers at a slightly less frequent rate. This, however, was an opportunity impossible to pass.

Despite the reduced attempts, Wright also is connecting from long range at a slightly improved rate so far this season, and this three was nothing but net. It of course riled up the Buffaloes’ bench immediately behind Wright, and the shot was part of a game-changing 14-2 run that opened the second half of what became a 79-72 win on Thursday against 17th-ranked Oregon.

Wright very well could make a big piece of CU Buffs basketball history on Monday, as he stands just four assists shy, and five from surpassing, Jay Humphries’ career assists record of 562. Humphries compiled that total in 112 career games. If Monday’s date at Utah (4 p.m., Pac-12 Networks) tips off as scheduled, it will be Wright’s 111th career game. And he has posted fewer than four assists just once this season.

“When I first made it to this school I didn’t really realize or think that I’d be in this position,” Wright said. “It’s a credit to God, my teammates, and my coaching staff for putting me in position to make plays for my teammates. But with all that being said, it’s just a blessing and honor to be in the position that I’m in today.”

Continue reading story here

—–

January 8th

… CU in the Arena … 

Bracketology: Buffs moving up after win over Oregon

From CBS Sports … Pac-12 … 

  • No. 5 seed … Oregon … down one spot
  • No. 7 seed … Stanford … unchanged
  • No. 7 seed … UCLA … up one spot
  • No. 9 seedColorado … up two spots 
  • No. 9 seed … USC … previously outside the bracket

From ESPNPac-12 … 

  • No. 5 seed … Oregon … unchanged
  • No. 7 seed … Colorado … unchanged 
  • No. 7 seed … UCLA … unchanged
  • No. 10  seed … USC … up one spot (last four byes)
  • Stanford … (First Four Out … up from Next Four Out)

—–

January 7th – GameDay!

… CU in the Arena … 

Colorado defeats No. 17 Oregon, 79-72, behind double-doubles by both McKinley Wright and Evan Battey

From CUBuffs.com … Colorado’s McKinley Wright IV and Evan Battey recorded double-doubles Thursday to lead the Buffaloes to a 79-72 win over No. 17 Oregon at the CU Events Center.

The Buffs improved to 8-3 overall and 2-2 in Pac-12 play while Oregon fell to 8-2, 3-1. The victory also improved Colorado to 10-0 all-time in games in Boulder.

Wright finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for his 12th career double-double while Battey had 12 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for his sixth career double-double. Jeriah Horne added 17 points and D’Shawn Schwartz had 12 for the Buffs.

While the Buffs did not shoot particularly well — 29-for-63 for the game — they did hit 55% of their shots after intermission (16-for-29, including 5-for-12 from 3-point range). CU also held a commanding 40-28 edge on the boards, including 13 offensive rebounds that produced 16 second-chance points.

Defensively, the Buffs held Oregon to 48% shooting (29-for-63) and Colorado also hit 14 of its 15 free throw tries, including an 8-for-8 afternoon from Battey.

Chris Duarte led Oregon with 27 points.

“It’s a quality win over a quality program,” head coach Tad Boyle said.  “We rebounded the ball well. We competed … When you don’t shoot the ball well and you still can figure out a way to win a game against a quality opponent, that says a lot about your team.”

HOW IT HAPPENED: After a first half that featured four lead changes, Colorado took a 33-31 lead into intermission and never trailed again.

CU quickly built a 14-point cushion early in the second half with a 14-2 run. Horne and Wright had 3-pointers in the surge, Eli Parquet added a pair of buckets and Schwartz had a drive to the hoop to give Colorado a 47-33 edge barely three minutes into the half.

Wright started the game missing his first five shots, but was 7-for-9 from that point on. His 3-pointer came after Boyle told him at the half to look for an opening from long range.

“I forced a couple early instead of letting the game come to me,” Wright said. “My teammates kept telling me they were gonna get me the ball so I wasn’t too concerned. My teammates kept believing in me.”

But almost as quickly as Colorado built its big lead, the Ducks rallied with a 9-0 surge to cut the Buffs’ margin to five. With 11:13 to play, Colorado’s edge was down to 49-44.

The Buffs, though, never let the Ducks completely close the gap. CU put together a 7-0 run that started with a Schwartz 3-pointer to push the lead back to 12, and another Schwartz trey started a 10-2 surge that included five straight points from Horne to give the Buffs a 13-point lead, 66-53, with 4:23 to go.

“This was a team victory,” Boyle said. “You have to have multiple guys making plays.”

Continue reading story here

McKinley Wright returned to CU for this type of game (No. 17 Oregon, 3:00 p.m., MT, FS1)

From the Daily Camera … When McKinley Wright IV made his decision official to return to Colorado for his senior season, an easy comparison for a career path he might strive to follow could be seen in former Oregon guard Payton Pritchard.

Like Wright this season, Pritchard was a decorated college player who remained off the NBA draft radar going into his senior season. But Pritchard put together the best season of his career as a senior, and ultimately he was selected No. 26 overall in the first round of the 2020 NBA draft by the Boston Celtics.

Through CU’s 7-3 start, Wright is on pace for the best year of his career as well. Pritchard is off to a solid start as a pro, coming off the bench to average 8.2 points and 2.2 assists through Boston’s first eight games. Pritchard enjoyed a monster game in a win at Toronto Monday, going 8-for-13 with 23 points and eight assists in 32 minutes.

Whether Wright plays his way into draft consideration remains to be seen. Yet as the Buffs get set to host the 17th-ranked Ducks on Thursday afternoon (3 p.m. MT, FS1), Oregon coach Dana Altman noted a key similarity between Wright and his former point guard. And it has nothing to do with any of the numbers Wright or Pritchard have ever produced.

Continue reading story here

Game Notes … Colorado is 7-3 overall and 1-2 in the Pac-12 Conference, coming off a 65-62 setback at UCLA on Jan. 2. That game concluded a stretch that saw the Buffaloes play five-straight and eight of 10 on the road to open the season.

The Buffaloes picked up their first conference win with a 72-62 decision at USC on Dec. 31. It’s just the second time in 16 years that the Buffaloes’ first conference win in a season has come on the road and before having a home game (at Stanford in 2015-16).

Colorado is averaging 75.3 points per game while shooting 45.5 percent from the field. The Buffaloes have scored at least 70 points in eight of 10 contests and shot over 40 percent in all but one – the loss at Tennessee.

Along with owning the Pac-12’s top spot in free throw percentage the Buffaloes lead the conference in 3-pointers made (8.0 3mpg) and 3-point percentage (.372). Colorado also ranks second in scoring defense and fourth in scoring margin (+13.6), turnover margin (+2.8) and rebounding defense (31.5 rpg).

ABOUT THE DUCKS: Oregon is 8-1 overall and 3-0 in the Pac-12. The Ducks have won their last eight and have climbed to No. 17 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll and No. 15 in the USA Today Coaches poll. Oregon is averaging 77.4 points per game while shooting 47.4 percent from the field; both figures ranking second in
the Pac-12. The Ducks also hold the second-best rebounding margin in the conference at plus-7.4 per game. Oregon is holding opponents to 63.6 points per game and just under 40 percent shooting. The Ducks lead the Pac-12 in steals at 8.4 per game.

Eugene Omoruyi leads Oregon and ranks second in the Pac-12 at 18.7 points per game while shooting 50 percent from the field. Chris Duarte is averaging 16.7 points and has a team-best 25 3-point field goals. Eric Williams, Jr., is averaging 12.7 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. LJ Figueroa, who has started the last three games, is averaging 9.5 points and a team-best 7.5 rebounds.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 22nd meeting between Colorado and Oregon with the Buffaloes holding an 12-9 series lead. The teams split in 2019-20, each winning at home. That is the trend in this series as the home team has won the last 11 regular season games. The last road win was a 48-47 Colorado triumph in Eugene
on Feb. 7, 2013. Colorado is 9-0 all-time against Oregon in Boulder.

—–

January 6th

… CU in the Arena … 

CU schedule sees major revisions – CU/Oregon moved from 9:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Wednesday

Press release from CUBuffs.com … The University of Colorado and the Pac-12 Conference announced several changes to the Buffaloes’ men’s basketball schedule on Wednesday.

Thursday’s game against Oregon has been moved from 9 p.m. up to 3 p.m. Mountain. The game will still air on FS1 as the first game of network’s national triple header and will also broadcast on KOA 850 AM & 94.1 FM.

With the postponement of Saturday’s Oregon State game, announced Tuesday, Colorado will now travel to play at Utah on Monday, Jan. 11, on the Pac-12 Network. Tip time has not been determined. The Buffaloes were originally scheduled to play in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Mar. 6, in their lone game during the final week of the regular season. That week will now free up the Buffaloes for any additional rescheduling needs.

Colorado’s home game with California has been moved back one day from Wednesday, Jan. 13, to Thursday, Jan. 14 and will be played at 12 p.m. on the Pac-12 Network. The Buffaloes are still scheduled to host Stanford on Saturday, Jan. 16, as scheduled (1 p.m., Pac-12 Network).

Lastly, Colorado’s home game with Washington State, postponed from Dec. 5, will be played on Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 7 p.m. on ESPNU. That was originally the week the Buffaloes were set host only Utah; that game still slated for Saturday, Jan. 30 at the CU Events Center at a time to be determined.

The schedule shuffling gives Colorado three of its next four games, and seven of its next 10, at the CU Events Center after beginning the season with eight of 10 away from home. The Buffaloes are slated to finish with four of six on the road pending a decision on the Oregon State game, which at this time is Colorado’s lone outstanding scheduling need.

—–

January 5th

… CU in the Arena … 

CU/Oregon State game Saturday post-poned (OSU issues)

Press release from CUBuffs.com … The University of Colorado men’s basketball game against Oregon State originally scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 9, has been postponed due to COVID-19 protocols within the Beavers’ men’s basketball program.

The schools and the conference are currently working to find a mutually agreeable date to reschedule the contest.

Colorado is still set to host Oregon on Thursday, Jan. 7, at 9 p.m. at the CU Events Center (FS1, KOA 850 AM & 94.1 FM).

This is the fifth schedule change of the Buffaloes’ season and third concerning a Pac-12 Conference game. Colorado’s scheduled Pac-12 opener at Arizona was moved from Dec. 2 to Dec. 28 due to a pause in the Buffaloes’ program. Colorado’s home game with Washington State originally scheduled for Dec. 5 was postponed due to COVID-19 issues in the Cougars’ program and has yet to be rescheduled.

Oregon State Release:
Oregon State Men’s Basketball Pauses Team Activities

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State men’s basketball program is pausing team activities due to COVID-19 testing results and contact tracing protocols.

This week’s games at Utah (Wednesday, Jan. 6) and at Colorado (Saturday, Jan. 9) have been postponed.

The Pac-12 Conference will work with the three programs to attempt to find mutually agreeable dates to reschedule the games.

Bracketology: Thoughts on CU vary (from a No. 7 seed to a No. 11 seed)

From CBS Sports … My first in-season Bracketology bracket projection for 2020-21 is out a bit later than usual due to the shortened schedule caused by the pandemic. Suffice it to say, a lot has happened since the preseason.

For instance, I had Kentucky as a No. 3 seed in my preseason bracket. However, as of Monday, the Wildcats don’t even have three wins and are far from making the 68-team field.

Northwestern was not considered even remotely as a factor in a loaded Big Ten. The Wildcats are a No. 6 seed, which is indicative of a borderline top 25 team. The bracket has a whopping 11 teams from the Big Ten in it. That number is likely not sustainable over the course of the season as they beat each other up. However, the Big Ten getting ten teams in the final bracket is not out of reach.

… There is still more than the usual of subjectivity in this bracket. That may be the case all season long, not just for people like me who try to predict these things, but for the NCAA selection committee as well.

Computer rankings may not be as reliable as they usually are due to a much smaller and percentage of non-conference games than we typically have. In a normal season, the full schedule would be about 38% non-conference games. This year, we may scrape to 20%. It’s not as bad as things were in football, where about half the teams and four conferences played no non-conference games, but it is those games that allow computer rankings to connect all the teams. The more we have, the better the connection and the more reliable the rankings will be.

This bracket did not use the NCAA NET rankings because they were just released Monday morning, after most of my work was completed. All future brackets will use the NET as the committee does, which is an aggregator. NET rankings alone are not a factor in making selection or seeding decision. They are used to determine the tiers for schedule evaluation.  Keep in mind that a team’s NET ranking is far less important than those of its opponents.

From the Pac-12 … 

  • No. 4 seed … Oregon
  • No. 7 seed … Stanford
  • No. 8 seed … UCLA
  • No. 11 seed … Colorado (Last Four In)

From ESPN

  • No. 5 seed … Oregon
  • No. 7 seed … Colorado
  • No. 7 seed … UCLA
  • No. 11 seed … USC (Last Four In)
  • Stanford (Next Four Out)

 

—–

January 4th 

… CU in the Arena … 

McKinley Wright on homestand: “These four games are all must-wins in my eyes”

From CUBuffs.com … Home has not been where Tad Boyle‘s Colorado Buffaloes have roamed this year — at least not on a regular basis.

In fact, one of the statistical oddities created by the coronavirus pandemic season is this: after 10 games, the 7-3 Buffaloes (1-2 Pac-12) have played as many games in Kansas State’s Bramlage Coliseum (two) as they have at the CU Events Center.

The Buffs, however, will finally have the opportunity to rectify that issue this week, when they open a four-game homestand Thursday with a late tip against No. 17 Oregon (9 p.m., FS1) at the Events Center. That will be followed by a Saturday matchup with Oregon State (3 p.m., Pac-12 Network), then a Jan. 13 game against Cal (7 p.m., Pac-12) and a Jan. 16 home tilt with Stanford (1 p.m., Pac-12).

The homestand will be the most important stretch the Buffs have had on their plates thus far this season. After opening conference play last week with three road games in six days — and coming away with one win, at USC — Colorado needs to put together some victories to remain in the mix for an upper-division Pac-12 finish.

“It’s huge for us,” said CU point guard McKinley Wright IV. “We’re a good team at home. We have to take care of business … These four games are all must-wins in my eyes.”

The Buffs have indeed been good — very good, in fact — on their home floor under Boyle. Now in his 11th year in Boulder, Boyle has a sparkling 143-27 record at the Events Center.

But while the Buffs will have the home floor advantage created by a familiarity with the court — along with the edge of playing at altitude — they won’t have a home crowd to produce the normal adrenaline boost.

That energy, Boyle said, has to come from players and coaches.

“We don’t have our fans in the building, but nobody else does either,” Boyle said. “Our job is to make sure our players are ready to go mentally, emotionally, spiritually. In every sense of the word they have to be ready to play and want to play.”

Continue reading story here

NCAA Tournament to be conducted in Indianapolis

Press Release from the NCAA … The NCAA will stage the entire 2021 men’s basketball championship in Indiana, with the majority of the tournament’s 67 games taking place in Indianapolis. Selection Sunday is still scheduled for March 14, and plans remain to have the Final Four on April 3 and 5, with exact preliminary-round dates to be determined.

“This is a historic moment for NCAA members and the state of Indiana,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said. “We have worked tirelessly to reimagine a tournament structure that maintains our unique championship opportunity for college athletes. The reality of today’s announcement was possible thanks to the tremendous leadership of our membership, local authorities and staff.”

The NCAA is partnering with a local health provider to administer COVID-19 testing within the controlled environment for players, coaching staffs, administrators and officials. The Marion County Health Department has approved medical protocols shared by the NCAA and will continue collaborating with the NCAA leading up to and during the championship.

The tournament will be hosted by Ball State, Butler, the Horizon League, Indiana, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and Purdue, which are lending their facilities and staffs to assist with tournament operations. The Indiana Convention Center will be used as a practice facility, with multiple courts set up inside the venue. Marriott properties, an official NCAA corporate partner, will house most of the tournament teams. The properties are connected to the convention center via skywalks and within a controlled environment. All teams will be housed on dedicated hotel floors, with physically distanced meeting and dining rooms, as well as secure transportation to and from competition venues.

Games will be played on two courts inside Lucas Oil Stadium, as well as Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Mackey Arena in West Lafayette and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington. Only one game at a time will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium.

CBS Sports and Turner Sports will continue to distribute all 67 games of the tournament across TBS, CBS, TNT, truTV and their digital platforms.

“The 2021 version of March Madness will be one to remember, if for no other reason than the uniqueness of the event,” said NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt. “With the direction of the Men’s Basketball Committee, we are making the most of the circumstances the global pandemic has presented. We’re fortunate to have neighbors and partners in Indianapolis and surrounding communities who not only love the game of basketball as much as anyone else in the country but have a storied history when it comes to staging major sporting events.

“This is going to be complicated and difficult; there’s no question about that. We appreciate the collaboration among the Men’s Basketball Committee and staff, our hosts and local organizers, the staffs at each practice and competition venue, and our broadcast and corporate partners. We will all pull together and stage a terrific national championship.”

The NCAA is closely monitoring the ongoing pandemic and will continue to work with local officials to determine the feasibility of having fans attend games at any of the venues, though a limited number of family members of each participating team’s student-athletes and coaches will be permitted to attend their team’s games. Details pertaining to the possible allocation of other tickets will be finalized later, as will any decision about fan events.

The NCAA also is working with the city and state to promote “Mask Madness,” an initiative to promote health and safety by practicing social distancing and wearing a mask. As part of this program, the NCAA will donate thousands of masks throughout the state leading up to the tournament.

First NET Rankings (used by selection committee): CU No. 14 team in the nation

From CBS Sports … The season debut of the NET rankings — the NCAA’s own evaluation tool used by the NCAA Tournament selection committee to determine a team’s resume — has Gonzaga and Baylor at the top of its rankings in identical fashion as the AP Top 25 and Coaches Poll. But some stark differences in the metric already have emerged, starting with Tennessee, which sits at No. 3 in the NET. It’s a higher-than-expected ranking that comes two days after it took its first loss on the year.

The AP and Coaches Polls will update later on Monday but neither Tennessee nor Illinois were top five teams in either polling metric as of last week. The Vols were ranked as low as No. 7 in the AP Poll before a 20 point win over No. 12 Missouri and an 8 point loss to unranked Alabama this week. The Illini were ranked as low as No. 16 in the Coaches Poll and won their only game this week, which was a home game against Purdue.

Michigan, Iowa, Houston, Texas and Missouri comprise the five teams that occupy the No. 6-10 spots in the NET.

Teams that have not been ranked in the AP or Coaches Poll but are now in the NET top 25 include Colgate (No. 16), Drake (No. 20) and Syracuse (No. 25). Because the NET is a two-component metric that adjusts for net adjusted efficiency and also has a Team Value Index that ranks based on results and quality of opponent, it opens up the possibility for a more inclusive and holistic picture of the sport.

Here is a look at the top 25. The full rankings can be found here.

  1. Gonzaga
  2. Baylor
  3. Tennessee
  4. Illinois
  5. Villanova
  6. Michigan
  7. Iowa
  8. Houston
  9. Texas
  10. Missouri
  11. Wisconsin
  12. Saint Louis
  13. Boise State
  14. Colorado
  15. Clemson
  16. Colgate
  17. Rutgers
  18. Texas Tech
  19. Oregon
  20. Drake
  21. Arizona
  22. Florida
  23. LSU
  24. Arkansas
  25. Syracuse

—–

January 3rd 

… CU in the Arena … 

Four-game homestand could decide CU’s tournament fate

From the Daily Camera … The Buffs just finished their first week of Pac-12 Conference play with three games on the road. Two of those matchups, at UCLA and certainly at Arizona, typically are among the toughest venues for visiting teams in the league. CU went 1-2, falling to 7-3 overall, but now the Buffs get to return home for four consecutive games.

Normally, four straight games at the CU Events Center likely would be the exact remedy needed for a competitive Buffs team to get back on track. After sampling life on the road in the Pac-12 in college basketball’s pandemic season, CU head coach Tad Boyle believes two factors still will play to his team’s advantage at the Events Center — the altitude, and the fact Boyle is confident his team will answer the bell every night.

“It’s a wash. To me, it’s a wash,” Boyle said. “I look at Arizona, there weren’t 14,000 fans in the stands but they played with unbelievable energy. I think it really gets down to the players and the coaches and the mindset of the team that you’re playing. Do they really want to play? I think that’s the one thing that we’re going to find out. It’s going to become more and more obvious as the season plays out. Who really wants to play? Who’s really ready to play? Because you don’t have home court advantage to kind of lift you up.

“Now, when we come back to Colorado, the one thing that we do have an advantage on is the altitude. We know that. That’s a factor. We don’t have our fans in the building, but nobody else does either. So that’s a wash. Our job is to make sure our players are ready to go mentally, emotionally, spiritually. In every sense of the word they’ve got to be ready to play and want to play. The one thing I know about our team is they want to play. We have not come out flat all year long. We’ve been ready to go. We haven’t always played well, but we’ve been ready to play. We want to play. That’s what you’re going to see play out as the season unfolds, in my opinion.”

The Buffs run of four consecutive home games is scheduled to begin Thursday night against No. 21 Oregon (9 p.m. MT, FS1). CU already will have some ground to make up in the Pac-12 race, as the Buffs begin the week as one of only four teams with a losing record within the league. Certainly that disparity is skewered somewhat by the jumbled number of Pac-12 games teams have played so far — Arizona State, for instance, has played only one Pac-12 game, and four others have played just two. Yet the Buffs will try to establish some normalcy to the season by staying afloat via success at home.

“It’s huge for us,” CU point guard McKinley Wright IV said. “We’re a good team at home. We’ve got to take care of business. It’s going to be huge for us. These four games are all must-wins in my eyes.”

—–

January 2nd – GameDay!

… CU in the Arena … 

CU’s comeback against UCLA falls just short in 65-62 road loss

From CUBuffs.com … Colorado’s offense went cold Saturday and a second-half comeback fell just short as the Buffaloes dropped a 65-62 defeat to UCLA at Pauley Pavilion.

The Buffs dropped to 7-3 overall and 1-2 in Pac-12 play while UCLA improved to 7-2, 3-0.

McKinley Wright IV and Maddox Daniels led Colorado with 12 points apiece while Jeriah Horne and Eli Parquet each added 10 for the Buffs. CU shot just 11-for-27 in the second half, including 3-for-13 from 3-point range.

The Buffs played their second straight game without 7-foot center Dallas Walton, out with an injury. Their problems in the post were compounded in the second half when big man Evan Battey was whistled for three quick fouls, limiting him to just 11 minutes on the floor after intermission.

UCLA managed the win despite missing standout guard Chris Smith, who suffered a season-ending knee injury earlier in the week against Utah. Jaime Jaquez led five Bruins in double figures with 14 points.

The Buffs trailed for nearly the entire second half, but still had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds, gaining possession with 38 seconds remaining and trailing by three, 62-59. But two Daniels 3-point tries missed their mark and the Bruins salted the win away with three more three throws in the final five seconds.

“We just weren’t able to get over the hump,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “We had some awful good looks … But our guys battled. Obviously, this program is way, way past the point of moral victories, but I really liked the way our guys played with competitiveness and toughness and grit tonight against a solid, good UCLA basketball team. I felt like we could have won but we didn’t make enough plays down the stretch to get it done.”

HOW IT HAPPENED: After entering the half tied at 29-29, the Buffs trailed for almost the entire second half. Colorado did pull into a 54-54 tie with 5:01 left on a Wright three-point play. But the Bruins then answered with baskets on three of their next four possessions, part of an 8-1 run to take a 62-55 lead.

“We couldn’t get enough consecutive stops in a row down the stretch,” Wright said. “We needed to get a couple kills in the second half and we failed to do so. It was tough to get over the hump.”

But after falling behind by seven, CU answered with baskets from Daniels and Wright, and Wright then came up with a big block on the defensive end. That gave CU one more opportunity to tie the game. After a timeout with 27 seconds remaining, Daniels got two good looks from long range, but neither found the net.

“He’s our best 3-point shooter,” Wright said. “We’re going to live with him taking those shots. We can’t be mad about those. What we can be mad about is tightening up our defense and gang rebounds. Those last two looks were great looks.”

Continue reading story here

Buffs look for redemption in road tilt at UCLA

… CU at UCLA, 6:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … 

From the Daily Camera … For last year’s Colorado men’s basketball team, it all began to unravel in the second half of what, to that point, had been a jubilant home finale.

On Feb. 22, the 18th-ranked Buffs led UCLA by nine points with less than 13 minutes to play. It was senior day at the CU Events Center, and a victory by the Buffs in front of a packed house would have been their sixth win in seven games. It also would have kept CU squarely in the hunt for the Pac-12 Conference regular season crown.

But the Bruins rallied, and as all Buffs fans know, nothing has been the same since.

That setback was the start of a five-game, season-ending losing streak for the Buffs, whose misery was compounded when they were denied a chance at redemption when the NCAA Tournament was canceled during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March. The memory of that loss, and a season sweep of CU by the Bruins last season, remains fresh for the Buffs as they visit Pauley Pavilion Saturday night in the finale of a Pac-12-opening three-game road swing.

“They’re a really good offensive team,” CU point guard McKinley Wright IV said. “They run their sets to a T. They execute at a high level and they’re a really good defensive team. They’re a team that swept us last year. We still have a bad taste in our mouths. It’s one we believe we can go in and win. We saw Utah play them to two points (Thursday), so we know we’re able to do the same and hopefully come out of there with a win. We’re going to go in and give it our all.”

Continue reading story here

Game Notes … Colorado is 7-2 overall and 1-1 in the Pac-12 Conference. The Buffaloes picked up their first conference win of the season with a 72-62 decision at USC on Dec. 31. It’s just the second time in 16 years that the Buffaloes’ first conference win in a season has come on the road (at Stanford in 2015-16).

The Buffaloes entered the week having received votes in both the Associated Press and USA Today/Coaches Top 25 polls for the second-straight week. Colorado leads the nation in free throw shooting at 85.6 percent, a number that increased slightly after hitting 14 of 16 (.875) from the line against the Wildcats. The Buffaloes lead the Pac-12 by a wide margin in that  category with second place Oregon State shooting 72.9 percent.

ABOUT THE BRUINS: USC is 6-2 overall and improved to 2-0 in the Pac-12 after edging Utah 72-70 on Dec. 31. The Bruins are a
perfect 5-0 at home. UCLA is averaging 76.6 points while shooting 37 percent from the field. UCLA is second in the Pac-12 in assists
(16.0 apg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.5). Defensively, the Bruins allow 67.8 points per game while opponents shoot 43 percent from the field. UCLA commits just 10.6 turnovers per game, ranking 18th in the nation.

Sophomore guard Jaime Jaquez, Jr., leads UCLA at 13.3 points per game while hitting 50 percent from the field and 48 percent from 3-point range. Senior guard Chris Smith averages 12.6 points and 6.4 rebounds, hitting 50 percent from 3-point range. Sophomore guard Johnny Juzang is averaging 11.3 points through his first four games. Sophomore guard Tyger Campbell averages 10.9 points and leads the Pac-12 in assists at 7.3 per game.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 20th meeting between Colorado and UCLA with the Bruins holding an 13-6 advantage. UCLA swept the series in 2019-20, winning 72-68 at Pauley Pavilion on Jan. 30, 2020, and then spoiling Senior Day for the Buffaloes with a 70-63 decision in Boulder on Feb. 22, 2020. Colorado did have a four-game win streak against UCLA prior to last year, including a pair of wins in Pauley Pavilion – the first two in program history. UCLA holds a 9-2 all-time edge in Los Angeles.

—–

January 1st – Happy New Year!

… CU in the Arena … 

D’Shawn Schwartz posts first career double-double in 72-62 road win over USC 

Related … “Big bounce-back win for CU Buffs men’s basketball at USC” … from the Daily Camera

From CUBuffs.com … Colorado fought off a second-half USC rally and regained control down the stretch Thursday night as the Buffaloes collected a key 72-62 road win at the Galen Center.

The victory, CU’s fifth in a row over the Trojans, improved Tad Boyle‘s Buffs to 7-2 overall and 1-1 in Pac-12 play while USC fell to 5-2, 0-1.

McKinley Wright IV led CU with 19 points, four rebounds and four assists. CU’s D’Shawn Schwartz added 13 points and a career-high 10 rebounds for his first career double-double, Evan Battey had 11 points and Jeriah Horne had 10.

Defensively, the Buffs were outstanding against a team that entered the game leading the Pac-12 in scoring and shooting percentage. CU held the Trojans’ leading scorer, 7-foot Evan Mobley, to 12 points on 5-for-14 shooting as the Trojans shot just 38.3% (23-for-60). CU also held a 38-35 rebound edge that led to a 16-10 Colorado edge in second-chance points.

The Buffs’ defensive effort was magnified by the fact that they played without 7-footer Dallas Walton, who missed the game with a lower leg injury.

“Obviously a road win against a quality team in this league, they’re hard to come by,” Boyle said. “USC is long, they’re tall, they have good athletes. I thought our guys really battled tonight and showed a lot of grit and a lot of toughness.”

After five early lead changes, Colorado took a 15-12 edge on a Schwartz 3-pointer six minutes into the game and never trailed again, but the Trojans didn’t succumb easily. CU saw a double-digit lead in the first half shrink to one momentarily and another double-digit cushion narrowed to two in the second half.

But the Buffs had an answer for every USC rally and finally took control in the final minutes to clinch the win.

HOW IT HAPPENED: Colorado led 44-33 lead at intermission after finishing the first half with a 12-2 run, then pushed the margin to 15 early in the second half on a Jabari Walker tip-in, 50-35.

But the Trojans surged back into the game. With Wright on the bench after his third foul, USC used a 9-0 run to narrow Colorado’s lead to just two, 57-55, with 9:41 still to play.

The Buffs, however, righted themselves after a timeout and slowly rebuilt their lead, putting together an 11-3 surge to take a 68-58 lead with 1:38 to play. Schwartz had four free throws to start the run and Battey finished it with a 3-point play, grabbing an offensive rebound for a putback, then hitting a free throw after getting fouled.

Battery also played a big role in keeping USC’s Mobley brothers in control for most of the night, especially with Walton not available. Evan and Isaiah Mobley came into the game averaging a combined 27.5 points and 17.5 rebounds per game, but finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds.

“Evan is a warrior,”  Boyle said. “He plays with such heart, such passion, such intensity. He did a really good job tonight of staying out of foul trouble (ended up with two). He just battles. He’s got the heart of a lion.”

Schwartz, meanwhile, hit the boards all night for his career high 10 rebounds, and tallied his 13 points despite having just one 3-pointer. The CU senior was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line.

“He’s big, he’s strong and I thought he really battled on the boards tonight,” Boyle said. “He played well tonight. He really competed.”

Wright, meanwhile, delivered his usual clutch performance. After USC pulled to within 61-58 with just under seven minutes to play, the Buffs’ senior point guard hit back-to-back floaters from the lane to give CU a seven-point cushion and breathing room.

Colorado then held the Trojans off down the stretch for the win.

Continue reading story here

—–

75 Replies to “Colorado Basketball – January, 2021”

  1. Noland Richardson cant be making that much money in the WNBA. He would probably appreciate a side job consulting or motivational fee. hint hint
    then again the players have to be willing to deliver forty minutes of hell.

  2. This is a tough loss suffered by a VERY good team. Solid starters, strong bench, disciplined defense, and, at times, dangerous attack from multiple scorers. This team could and should be 10-1 in league, rather than 7-4. And, when the first half of the U of A game is considered, the team is capable of an 11-0 league record at the moment. Once again, at key moments, the shots do not come naturally from an offense that is “there” when needed. It’s like a golfer that does not have a consistent/owned swing. It will unravel at key moments. It is hoped that this flaw will be addressed in the weeks ahead.

  3. Some of us are pretty hard on coach Tad, but this game shows why. With probably the best bball squad CU has had in years, how do you blow a 19 point lead with 7 minutes left? Now they have to beat both AZ teams at home just to stay in the top half of the league. Geezus.

  4. At least 3 times i can remember, a guy going off on 3’s that we can’t stop. Washington this season, this game, and that horrible OK-State tournament game. Wonder why we don’t have a solution for stopping those guys. And does anyone remember a Buff having that kind of night?

    1. There was a guy named Ski Booker several years ago who had a couple of unconscious nights but unfortunately he was bi polar too. He had more nights when he would throw up 17 and make 1 and Tad wouldnt pull him even after the first 10 or 12.

    2. Why didn’t Tad put Parquet on Plummer once he got HOT?? Parquet is our best defender and Plummer needed someone in his grill the last 6 minutes of the game. My hat is off to Mr. Plummer…..what an exihibition he put on!!!

      1. Yeah, “E”….. When Plummer started unconsciously bombing from almost anywhere with a “D” man smack in his face, I could have sworn I saw this just a few weeks ago. He coulda’ drop-kicked from the opposite free-throw line and got “Nuthin’ but net.”

        AIN’T FAIR. What the hell did they put in his Gatoraid at half-time ?

        This kinda’ crap bothers me before the PAC-12 tourney.

        WE WERE LUCKY TO HAVE DODGED THIS ONE.

        ‘C-MON BUFFS. WE’RE BETTER THAN THAT.

  5. So tell me Tad. did they take Utah for granted? Its still a bipolar tram and seems like it always has been throughout the years. Make it to the dance? maybe….its still a ground hog day season.
    Wake me up when they catch fire.

    1. Yuo ground Hog day. Just seems to never end. Almosty predictable.

      Anyway

      Go Buffs
      Get to the dance
      Get at least one win

      It can be done can’t it.

  6. Everyone seems to still be fretting over the UW loss…in 2000/2001 I was living abroad and returned for the Holidays and went to a Warriors game. Saw them destroy the T-Wolves…this is before home internet (esp. abroad) so still a mystery to me how that team only won 17 games all year.
    UW is getting better, but they played out of their minds…was a disappointing loss, but I really didn’t see anything that alarming, they just were not missing including the demoralizing bad/ugly shots were going in. Give them credit for playing tough for a whole game given their record. Not too concerned, still think this is the best overall team we’ve had in the Boyle era.
    Eli Parquet in my mind has the most defined pro career laid out in front of him…if he could learn to run the point a bit next year he will be a long-time pro. Best shot blocking guard I have seen in a while.

    1. Forgot, Chauncy was on the Twolves…and managed a ‘Go Buffs’ in reply to mine at the close of the game, even in a terrible loss.

  7. Setting aside for a moment that they were 18 points behind in the first place, the comeback was a fine thig to see. It was made more amazing for what I see as without a coach’s hand n the offense. Al was done by the players with their rec center version.
    2 More questions:
    1. How much money is Pasta Jay paying motor mouth Bill?
    2. I see a lot of guards on these other teams wearing Side Show Bob haircuts. Have they been watching the Simpsons?

    1. ep, I thought we were in for another thrashing being 18 points down, especially when MW went down. What I saw was totally different than in Seattle. (Sometimes you’re H-O-T……. sometimes you’re N-O-T).

      I don’t know how much G-R-I-T Wright has, but it’s amazing to me what he will go through for the team. He could be the most selfish PG in the PAC-12 if he wanted and perhaps even lead the conference in points, however, the young man seems to want to distribute the wealth around and instill some confidence in his younger teammates. He can score anytime he wants and can turn it on at a moment’s notice, much as he has done in the second half on several occasions.

      I hope his talent will take him to the next level because he knows how to survive amongst the trees. (Yes, he also took care of that playing Stanford).

  8. I was going loco watching the UW game. I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out why Tad didn’t switch up the “D” to offset the 3 pt. barrage….. but the Huskies were also driving the lane without too much opposition. Yikes.

    In the first 10 min. of the first half, I just knew someone on the Buffs was going to bust out and start bombing 3’s….but, nope. When I was expecting the hammer to come down with our 10 point lead in the first half, I didn’t anticipate the Huskies totally adjusting offensively and defensively to negate anything Tad would come up with.

    I’m hoping the Wed. night farce doesn’t portend anything in Pullman…..

    C’mon Buffs

  9. …or maybe try a few possessions of 3-2 zone when the other team is going crazy from behind the arc? Maybe try picking up some full court pressure to take them out of their rhythm? Give me something Tad!

    1. also maybe a couple more different half court sets to employ towards the end of the game to keep the players from looking confused and lost and hopefully do that to opposition D.

    2. Yeah you could just tell down the stretch the buffs were afraid to try a 3, when a couple of them could have put the game away. Meanwhile two gangly oddball UW players couldn’t miss. It was insane.

  10. Just when I was getting pumped this happens. I had to reel myself back in. I will get excited when we reach 20 wins and anymore than that will be the cream on top.

  11. It’s time for Buffs BBall to step up or step out. 1-18 on 3s? My 1984 jr high team made more 3s in games. Schwartz please wake up from your Kinder nap the past 4 years. Get aggressive already Geeez… Go Buffs be yourself or begone …

    1. That’s truly amazing considering the fact that the National High School Federation didn’t sanction the 3-point shot in high school until 1987 (9 states allowed it as an experimentation the year prior). Your 1984 jr high team’s state/league was truly a pioneer.

  12. Bi polar Buffs were in a depressive state and still survived. Maybe they will be in a manic state against Cal and kick them to the curb. Oh wait ….the only people Cal has beaten have been tomato cans. An unusually large number of them on their schedule. They did beat Washington but Campbells have stuffed them in to a can as well.
    as VK implores…take the vaccine…or meds…or whatever it takes.
    Please Buffs be in a manic state anyway.

  13. NET, bracketology blah blah blah. In spite of their modicum of success the Boyle Buffs have always been a bi polar team. Beat Dayton one night and then dive off the cliff at the end of the season….and until the end of the season gets here I wont pay a bit of attention to all this masturbatory pundit analysis

  14. Surprised to see such a high NET ranking for the Buffs, but it certainly bolsters their chances of making the tourney if they can take care of business moving forward in league play. One head scratching thing for me is their struggles on simply in-bounding the basketball (and defending the in-bound pass)? Seems like every in-bound play pushes the limit of the 5 second clock before ultimately throwing a risky lob pass into traffic (often to a player in the corner who is then easily trapped). Conversely, other teams routinely get great looks against the Buffs’ defense during in-bounding situations. Easily a 6-10 point swing over the course of each game. I can’t imagine that Tad & Co. are simply ignoring this facet of the game, but I see very little rhyme or reason to what sort of play they are attempting to run in these situations.

  15. Was able to see the final minutes of OSU/Cal, all of CU/UCLA, and the final minutes of regulation and overtimes of WSU/U of A. Each of the three winning teams ran an offense that saw shots emerge from a set system, while the three losing teams suffered breakdowns in offense that led to ore-on-ones at key moments. CU consistently loses the assists (13-9 vs UCLA). In addition to the focus on winning the rebounding stat, it would be good to win the assist stat as well (demonstrates an offense that creates shots and shares the ball). This team has the potential to do something special (as do teams down the road . There will not be a big drop off when Bartholemy takes the reins next year). Hopefully, the offense will improve in close contests.

  16. The one thing that is optimistic about our 2020-21 Buffs is that we have BENCH STRENGTH…. as in “DEEP Bench Strength.

    Can’t wait to see if the NEWLY found talent can prevail in Calif’.

    GO BUFFS

  17. Wow, the half court offense was working. A good thing as USC got back on D pretty quick.
    If Walton ever made it in the game it must have been when I was going for another beer. USC’s post man pretty much had his way when they managed to get the ball to him under the basket and I figured Walton may have a chance of altering some of those point blank shots.
    And then there is always the the other weed addled Walton.
    “the Buffaloes are stampeding…who would have thought?”
    This is the best road victory in history for Colorado”

    How many thoroughly enjoyed the howling and the redundant countdowns etc?
    yeah its all pretty funny but in an embarrassing manner.

  18. There were large portions of the first half when it appeared the starters and first off the bench could play with any team in the country. That was an impressive offensive display AND tremendous rebounding effort! A combination of some fatigue and Battey’s foul situation brought the team back to earth at the key moments in the second half. There is an extra effort observed in the play of the basketball team in Tucson that serves as a reminder of the football team performances against the Huskers. It seems Coach Boyle “really” wants the “W’s” against the likes of U of A and USC. Hopefully, the play in the first half will return in Los Angeles.

  19. AZ beats Buffs again.

    Down by 0 before the half then by 6 in how long??

    Well they have to come play in boulder so maybe

    Buffs.

  20. Why are all of the Buffs’ games only on PAC12? Not a single games has been on a major network. I understand the smaller games, but they have played a couple of good teams.

    1. That will finally change New Year’s Eve, with the Buffs game against USC will be on ESPN2. The home opener against Oregon on January 7th will be on FS1.

      1. I already have that one scheduled, but still, there were a few other games that could have been on a major network. But good call on, calling me out on, THE next game after this will finally be on a major… 😉 haha.

  21. Dial 911…………..if you aint Gonzaga. Just watched them dismantle, crush, suffocate and totally obliterate Virginia who as supposed to be one of the best teams in the ACC. Gonzos were ahead by over 30 with over 5 minutes left when they cleaned the bench. Every one on the floor for that team looked fundamentally perfect, as was their half court offense.
    If the Buffs make the dance lets hope they aren’t assigned the same region.

  22. It was great seeing the Buffs’ SHARE the “V” against the Huskies. SHARE, as in share the ball, pass like crazy, look for the open man.

    SO, WHAT’S UP WITH THE LADY BUFFS ?????? Can’t SHARE the ball when the ‘Cats start catching the Buffs ???? That’s exactly what happened. Our little PG can only pass to a couple of players when the going gets tough….. but, look what happened when our “EU Dagger” gets the ball in the last 10 sec. and she pops a 3 faster than the mind can comprehend what just happened. Can’t our PG recognize that ? NOPE. She wants the glory herself…. or, just her friends. It definitely looks like she doesn’t want the European girl to shine. Can’t the coach see that ? Can’t she teach that ???? Can’t she coach the PG ????

    And, Can’t the coach teach how to shoot FT’s ????????

    It just makes me angry. It’ll all be better when they blow out the Cardinal.

    I’m pretty damned disappointed in our Lady Buffs.

  23. I hope this is the beginning of a new period in Buff offense instead of exploiting a weak opponent.
    Balanced scoring, Wright taking care of the ball and solving a zone. Keep it up…..please.

  24. The Tad offense strikes again………ice cold shooting and a multitude of turnovers……hard to expect much else most of the time. Tonight the D and rebounding wasnt enough to overcome the former.
    sigh

    1. Tad is building a new house on the Boulder Country Club. Of course it’s gonna be nice and well deserved for all he has brought to Colorado BB.

      Go Buffs.

      Note: I would like a Lamborghini but I guess I will have to be satisfied with my Q7

      1. you really dont want a Lamborghini. Its not German.
        and as long as we are using cars as a ridiculous metaphor for Tad’s offensive coaching its closer to a Lada

  25. We know that RG has his coaches supporting the Covid protocols that have been put in place for CU athletes, so this comes as a disappointment….. especially the first athlete testing positive.

    If the protocols are observed by an athlete, they should remain negative, but when the first athlete tests positive, the breach will expose other athletes. At that point, it’s a snowball on a Keystone slope….. Black Diamond at that.

    Sad day. I’m certain there are some correction protocols in place…..just hopin’ for the best.

    GO BUFFS

  26. will the other shoe ever drop on sweaty? Is the NCAA allowing him to plea bargain? Even though there is only a shred left that would completely wipe out any confidence I have in them

  27. Terrible news about the Covid
    but
    Playing the game later when the Mighty Buffs are a full strength may be a good thing.
    Beating the zonas is so much fun

    Go Buffs

  28. REDSHIRT…. BONFIRE…. IN….. MANHATTAN

    Wright showed what he could do in the first half and why he should be considered one of the absolute best PG in the nation. And…..boy, did the newbies look good. It’s going to be a thrill to watch this team go forward for the next three to four years.

    Another advantage of having all this talent is that it’s going to give the Buffs a lot more exposure to a higher level of recruits, especially when Tad gets them to The Dance.

    EXCITED……..GO BUFFS

  29. Um, it was only one game, but was definitely worth my $6 subscription to watch the game on demand. Wow…again. Dallas Walton congrats!! Looking fully recovered and spry, and ready to make an impact. Jabari Walker/KeShawn – what a difference that extra year can make, they don’t look like Froshs’ on the court, Walker is much farther along offensively than Bey was in year 1 and looks to have the potential to be an all-around better player. The depth is legitimate…trying to temper excitement, but just the number of guys, the length, the fact that a few of them look ready to go off on any night (add Horne to that list). Impressive debut and can’t help to think even better days are ahead for the program overall.

  30. got Nov 25 circled on the calendar. Rooney is slipping up again. I did my own research on SD. They look a little better than a cupcake and maybe on the same level as SD St

  31. What an exciting and high potential recruiting class. It has been enjoyable to see some good talent come through the program in this Boyle era. And a special tip of the cap to assistant head coach and head recruiting coordinator Mike Rohn who quietly and without fanfare has been key in these matters ever since arriving here along with Tad 11 years ago.

    1. Tad’s branding as a brilliant HC may come to be tested by (my opinion) retaining all the excellent talent on the bench in successive years, especially when you have super, lower-classmen in the playing rotation. (This precise dilemma gives me pause, especially when the perennial top programs deal with this year after year).

      Stuart, how in the hell do you retain (so-called) strong bench-talent when a lot of that talent has calluses on their butts (?)

      (Guess that’s why I never made it to the upper echelon of coaching circles at the “Y”).

      Hmmmmmmmmm. GO BUFFS

  32. Wow…my reaction reading the recruiting bios. Thank you for providing.
    Welcome to Boulder, wishing you all the success on/off the court.

  33. I PREDICT: This next season is going to be fun to watch with a couple of “Bigs” on the floor and 3 G’s with moves and speed. FAST BREAKS SHOULD BE THE….”NORM”…. FOR THE BUFFS.

    Will the opponents be gassed by the time we’re in 8-10 min. of the second half ? LET’S HOPE.

    GO BUFFS

  34. What entity has possessed Tad? He’s recruiting like never before (new staff additions with recruiting prowess?)

    So what if its a guard heavy class. In this basketball era you can get by with a smaller squad. As long as they can play.

    At least he is not wasting scholarships and recruiting stiffs like the piano player, the slow Serbian, and Dombek whom everyone was salivating over because of his height but was nothing but a bench cobweb. It was pretty clear from the get go Dombek was not physically ready and had only played against unknown competition before setting foot in the US.

    Tad still has the Wyoming kid in the fold.

    Shaping up to be one of Tad’s most interesting teams (for the next few years) that I can remember.

      1. Tad said he had “unlimited upside” and a chance to be a “very good player at CU.” That’s a vanilla statement from every coach after signing a player.

        It was mostly Bill Grier and Kim English blowing sunshine up everyone’s keister –mostly Grier because Dombek came out of Grier’s coaching academy.

        I’m pretty sure that once he turned up on campus weighing 185 pounds, couldn’t pack on weight, then caught mono which was a further setback to the whole body- conditioning process of adding strength to bang with D1 post guys then it became obvious he was a bench cobweb. And no more superlatives from the staff.

        When Alex Strating is ahead of you in the rotation then you are not D1 material. I wish him luck at Hartford.

  35. With all the guards you would think Tad would install a motion half court offense. Too many times I see 4 statues and a guy with the ball in the half court. I do believe this team could easily be a sweet 16 participant if they could get it together in the half court on offense.
    Tad recruits all these guys who are supposed to be 3 point gunners but it seems they always flame out as much as the get en fuego. Maybe Ruffin will break the mold.

  36. The addition of Javon Ruffin, 6’5″ -G, will make BUFFS’ backcourt one of the best in the PAC-12, and, seemingly loaded. Watching highlights against quality teams, Ruffin already has collegiate moves. Holy smokes, Tad, how many guards are you recruiting ? Not that I’m necessarily complaining, but how many is enough ?

    Stuart, is this a wise move being we’ll have some height in the lane ? …. It also seems we need adequate rebounding power, especially on the offensive boards. Are we loaded enough ?

    Always concerned. GO BUFFS

    1. Tad does seem to be putting a lot of eggs into his Lawson Lovering basket. If the seven-footer from Cheyenne lives up to his four-star billing, the Buffs could be very good.
      But I would agree that it would be nice to see him recruit another “big”. As the saying goes: “You can’t teach height” … 😉

  37. With McKinley Wright returning + the addition of Tristin da Silva, The Buffs should be able to run the court unlike anything we’ve seen in some time.

    FAST BREAK BUFFS (don’t ya think Stuart ? ).

    Can’t wait……..GO BUFFS

  38. can the hoops teams in the conference keep the virus of their teams? Should be a lot easier with only 1/5th the roster than football.
    An open question for the players. How bad do you want to play? I know how bad I would like to watch you play

  39. Unless he makes strides in his outside shooting and overall game, the 3rd best point guard in CU history (behind Chauncey Billups and Jay Humphies) wasn’t/isn’t going to be drafted. Good move on his part.

  40. I just checked out Quincy Allen on YouTube….. HE LOOKS LIKE THE “REAL DEAL.” —- He might be more athletic than many of the top names in Buffs’ recent history. He will be really good, no matter. By the time he’s a junior, he should have some more bulk on that slender frame….. if not, it won’t matter. He’s got the CHOPS.

    GO BUFFS BB

  41. just remembered that Wright’s decision on his hoop future is growing near. I’m not sure if its a good sign for the Buffs that its taking this long. Did he already say and I missed it?

  42. I read somewhere, exactly where I dont remember, saying Ray fits in with Tad’s D first philosophy.
    Sigh
    I guess we are doomed to continue an O without much structural efficiency. Maybe Tad will finally find those 3 point shooters that dont go on too many cold streaks.

  43. Thanks for your response Stuart. I see we have some nice YouTube videos on both Buford and Jones.

    I decided I can sleuth a little bit myself. (I don’t know why we ( I ) get so dependent on you). For beginners, I trust you and your sources much better than the Camera…..however, I see we have another recruit from Denmark, Frida Formann, whose YouTube highlights are nothing short of spectacular. This is just a prediction: I think she will become the next star of Buff greats. The girl has beautiful moves and appears to have a very high BB I.Q.

    It will be interesting to see. GO BUFFS.

    1. The Buffs signed Madison Buford last month … Buford, a 5’9″ guard, wrapped up her high school career at Lutheran North in 2019 and then attended Rend Lake Community College this past season. She started all 33 games as a freshman for the Warriors and lead the team with 21.1 points per game. Buford was 37.8 percent (233-616) from the field and finished the season 30.0 percent (67-223) from 3-point range. Her 67 3’s were 18-better than the leading Buff in 2019-20.

      They also added transfer Tayanna Jones … Jones, a 6’2″ guard, played in 27 games for the Hoyas last season and earned three starts. She averaged a career-highs with 5.5 points and 3.1 rebounds per game last season. She totaled a season-high 15 points in her start at Loyola Marymount. Jones’ best rebounding performance came late in the season against DePaul, snagging 12 boards. In two years at Georgetown, Jones averaged 4.4 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. She has 166 career points and 98 total rebounds. Jones is a 31.3 percent shooter and has averaged just over 13 minutes per game.

  44. Tyler Bey, welcome to the G-league. Nice player yet too short w/ a limited outside shot. Sorry to see you go. Get your degree!

  45. Ya know 2020 seems like a very good year
    It is a very good year for blue-blooded girls
    Of independent means, we’ll ride in limousines their chauffeurs will drive
    While I am 35……………….

    Aaaaaah the
    The shrooms
    The shrooms

    Buffs:

    Note: I need to get outta the damn house

      1. I just now read this little back and forth between VK & ep, and all I want to add to it is what ep wrote, a great big……..YEAH!!!!!!!

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