CU basketball: Askia Booker finds safe haven in the gym - Buffzone - Great story on Askia.
"I think the only thing I could ask for more is winning a couple more games in the NCAA Tournament. Other than that, it's a blessing to be there. It's a testament to coach (Tad) Boyle and how hard the team has worked and who he's recruited. Especially his staff - they've done a great job with the players."
The Panthers, moving from the Big East to the Atlantic Coast Conference this season, remind Boyle of the Wildcats mostly because of a philosophy predicated on defense and rebounding – which should sound familiar to anyone who has listened to Boyle expound on his hoops philosophy. Count on those two words – the ‘D’ and ‘R’ words – being uttered no later than 5 seconds into Boyle’s mission statement.
The bad losses are very few. The Panthers lost to Florida State, who was on the bubble to make the tournament, and were beaten soundly by Duke. Neither loss is awful, but those are their worst. Pitt played a much tougher schedule in the premier ACC, than the Buffaloes’ inferior Pac-12 schedule.
Included in that group is Nate Silver's statistically driven website fivethirtyeight.com. The numbers crew over there has worked up a pretty cool bracket graphic projecting the likelihood of each team advancing. Silver's team gives CU just a 28 percent chance to win on Thursday (11:40 a.m., MDT, TBS).
"They commit more turnovers than they generate, which is not a good stat for an underdog seed," Tiernan said. "Successful underdog seeds have kind of a high-risk, high-reward strategy. If you look at teams like (Virginia Commonwealth University) in recent years, they turn people over. They try to buy more possessions. Colorado does not seem to be that kind of a team."
With a blend of players from California, Texas and, yes, Colorado, Boyle has built the Buffaloes into a program whose recent success is turning it into a destination school for Rocky Mountain players.
Written off by some once star guard Spencer Dinwiddie tore his ACL in January, the Buffaloes weathered a brief slide — they dropped four of five games beginning with the one in which he was hurt — to keep alive their once-automatic tourney hopes. In the process, they reconfigured their offense to find more shots for Josh Scott, a first-team All-Pac-12 selection and budding inside force with a soft touch around the basket, and sophomore swingman Xavier Johnson, whose field goal attempts per game jumped from 7.1 to 10.5 in Dinwiddie’s absence. Both have been fairly efficient in that span, shooting 48.0 percent and 44.1 percent from the field, respectively.
"Ski and I just look to make plays for the team and for each other," Talton said. "He's so fast, I don't think anybody in the country can stay in front of him. That makes it easy for him to set his teammates up."
I like the Buffs, they have a tough nucleus of young athletes across the board that I think are really underrated, but I don't like this match-up for them. I think the Buffs will be able to hang for most of the game, but I think their lack of outside shooting and Zanna's ability to neutralize Scott will really limit their offense and Pitt's efficient offense will give them just enough edge to give them a slightly comfortable win.
I’m not about to write many highly analytical words. There isn’t a breakdown coming of offensive and defensive efficiencies, match up summaries, or shooting tendencies. If you want that, read what JG wrote and all of its graphical glory. And if you’re anything like me or JG, you’ve spent a good portion of your week absorbing things like Nate Silver’s bracket projections, other simulation based results, and listening to experts pick this thing. There’s a basis for it all: to make educated and unbiased selections or prediction of what will transpire in the most unselectable, unpredictable three weeks of madness you can find. Silver himself notes that Florida, who has the best odds to win, still has a greater than 80% chance of not winning the thing.
Boyle says he’s gone through an evolution when it comes to Selection Sunday. Two years ago he was excited when CU was announced. Last year it was a combination of excitement and relief. This year it was just relief when Colorado’s name was announced.
"I think you learn how much it stinks to lose in the first round," sophomore Josh Scott said. "You don't want that feeling. The feeling, you carry that with you, and you don't want to feel that for a whole summer."
"Pittsburgh is a very physical team, a very good defensive team," Boyle said. "We're going to work with Josh (on double-teams). In the game of basketball, if there are two guys on you, then somebody's open.
What started out as a preview turned into more of a scouting report – this focuses heavily on Pittsburgh and what they do, at this point in the year I’ve discussed CU tirelessly, I figured my time was best spent on the unknown.
NCAA Tournament: South region scouting report | College Hotline - Wilner breaks down the South region.
You look at Colorado basketball and wonder, "what is the one thing the Buffs need outside of Spencer Dinwiddie?" A point guard! The Buffs turn over the ball way too frequently to be a great basketball team, and Askia Booker has done all he can with heavy minutes. Collier should come in and ease the load off of the beleaguered guards. He’s a true point who should restore balance to the offense and get Colorado right back into the thick of Pac-12 races.
Dinwiddie said he still feels like he let the team down, because "I still think we would have been like a No. 2 or No. 3 seed." But, he also knew that his teammates put in a lot of work without him to get that No. 8 seed. "I'm happy with the way it happened — the way everybody regrouped and changed roles and did what was necessary to get wins," Dinwiddie said.
They ate and spent time talking and Boyle turned on the movie Seabiscuit. It's a feel-good story about a race horse and jockey and the team around them overcoming physical injuries and mental wounds to become legendary by winning when so many doubted them. Boyle said he had no idea if the point he was trying to convey to his team through the movie ever sunk in until he was informed Sunday that several of his players had mentioned that "family night" and the movie during interviews after CU learned it will play Pittsburgh on Thursday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
"I remember the days when Colorado was laughed at," forward Josh Scott asserted. CU's reputation - or lack thereof - on the hardwood in the not so distant past still drives some to doubt the Buffs. The head coach has led them to four straight 20-win seasons and yet another berth into postseason play.
Olugbode is practicing this spring at the Will linebacker position that has been manned at CU the past three years by Derrick Webb, who is hoping to find a spot in the NFL this summer. Olugbode's main competition for the job is fellow sophomore Ryan Severson, whose primary contribution as a freshman last fall was returning 36 kickoffs for an average of 22.1 yards per return
MacIntyre said redshirt freshman wide receiver Byrce Bobo and senior Wes Christiansen have been solid in a competition to find a replacement for Paul Richardson, who left school one year earlier to jump to the NFL.
Defensive line … Spring practices started with the revelation that two of CU’s four scholarship defensive tackles would not be participating in spring drills. Juniors Justin Solis and Samson Kafovalu are being held out in order to concentrate on academics, with the hope that they will be available this fall. Solis started the final seven games of the 2013 season, and finished with more tackles (39) than any other defensive tackle. Kafovalu, meanwhile, played in ten games last fall, recording 20 tackles.
Gillam would go on to lead the Buffs with 107 tackles, including 9.5 coming for a loss. He had three sacks, an interception and six pass breakups and earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors. He looked like a budding star on a defense that dramatically improved from the year before, even if a 4-8 record doesn't qualify as a cause for celebration.
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