Recapping your Dancing Colorado Buffaloes, Men's NCAA Tournament, Women's NIT News, Links, and Stories
The University of Colorado women’s basketball team opened the second half on a 18-6 run to put away instate foe Northern Colorado, taking home a 54-42 win in the first round of the 2012 Women’s NIT here Wednesday night at the Coors Events Center.
The Buffs (19-13) used a balanced offensive attack and stellar team defense to advance in the tournament for the second straight season. Four Buffaloes scored either nine or 10 points while the Buffs held the Bears (20-12) leading scorer D’Shara Strange to just two points on an 0-of-10 shooting performance.
The women travel to Vermillion (where?) to play University of South Dakota (where?) in the next round of the WNIT
And the dance continues. But not without a whole lot of drama. No. 11 Colorado gave Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott something to smile about with a stress-filled 68-64 victory over No. 6 UNLV in the NCAA Tournament South Regional on Thursday night in front of an ear-piercing crowd at the Pit. The Buffs (24-11) nearly blew a 20-point lead in the second half before holding on for dear life.
There can be no doubt about it. Has to be. The Buffs are a national feel-good story. Cinderella's slippers are black and gold this year. With apologies to Burdie Haldorson and his teammates on the 1955 team that went to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament when the NIT was still the bigger deal, this group has you beat. Sorry Alec Burks, Cory Higgins, Levi Knutson, Marcus Relphorde and Javon Coney. You showed this season's team the way last season, and these Buffs have taken your legacy and run with it.
After the jump, I travel to the future to verify Ringo's claim... (he's wrong, next year's team is even better than this year's)
4. (11) Colorado 68, (6) UNLV 64 A furious UNLV rally couldn't bring the trendy sleeper pick all the way back from an almost unfathomable 20-point deficit. Colorado, the surprise champions of the Pac-12, got an equally surprising 16 points from reserve Askia Booker and 12 points and 16 rebounds from star Andre Roberson to pull the upset. It wasn't exciting for the first 33 minutes, but kudos to the Rebs for making a monster run in order for the final game of the night to be watchable.
The Pac-12 has been rightfully beaten down throughout the season. Washington, the regular-season champ, didn't even get a bid. Cal didn't put up much of a fight against a middling South Florida in a First Four game in Dayton, Ohio, adding even more insult to the league's off-year.
But if an underdog or Cinderella can still come from a BCS league (in football terminology), then Colorado fits the description.
This simply shouldn't be happening. But it is.
The program could be instantly competitive when it begins competition two years from now in the spring of 2014 if the school hires the right coaches, supports them with the right budget and infrastructure and if those coaches recruit well. No one understands this better than Lindsey Munday, the head coach of the new program at the University of Southern California.
Ted Miller: I agree that Kiffin has a tough task this year with stratospheric expectations, but I suspect my guy -- Colorado coach Jon Embree -- would be willing to take on the pressure of high expectations in exchange for some of that Trojan talent.
What Embree has instead: He's a second-year coach coming off a 3-10 season at a place that is frustrated with losing. Not surprisingly, Colorado fans expect improvement. That's what new hires are supposed to do right? Set a positive trajectory. And what I keep getting from Buffaloes' fans this offseason is questions about bowl games. And there's another problem. The Buffs probably are going to start 3-0.
Webb said he began talking with CU coaches a month ago before Hirschman was injured. He said Kansas walk-on wide receiver Connor Embree, the youngest son of CU coach Jon Embree, helped put him in touch with CU coaches.
Who welcomes back their leading passer, rusher and receiver? Glad you asked. Four teams have all three leaders back: California, Oregon State, USC and Utah. Washington State falls short on that due to QB Jeff Tuel's injuries in 2011. Three teams have zero leaders back: Arizona, Colorado and Oregon. Here's the tally. Colorado Passer: No (Tyler Hansen) Rusher: No (Rodney Stewart) Receiver: No (Tony Clemons) Reaction: Stewart was actually the Buffaloes leading receiver, and junior Paul Richardson was their best receiver, but there clearly are holes to fill on offense. Texas transfer Connor Wood is the favorite at QB, and Tony Jones and Josh Ford both have experience at RB.
Receiver is a big question.
"This is where I've been putting all my hard work in. Just because a program is struggling or if I'm struggling individually . . . I'm very sincere about this: I put this team before me. That has been my whole attitude since we got back from (semester) break. I had different things I needed to work out and I worked them out as a young man."
Before Christmas break, Blacken, the director of CU's speed, strength and conditioning program and an NFL veteran in that capacity, said he and Richardson "had a heart-to-heart," with the upshot being that Richardson had the capability to lead players who "don't want to be home for Christmas next year . . . if you went home and didn't have a sour taste in your mouth, you don't understand what we're all about. I think he had that sour taste. I think he made a dedication to himself."
Go Buffs. Keep working, keep winning.