Tad Boyle and Colorado simply weren't ready for their matchup against Pittsburgh as they fell in the NCAA Tournament 77-48 on Thursday. Although Pittsburgh was by no means an ideal opponent, the Buffaloes still allowed the Panthers to race out to a 21-5 lead after the first nine minutes of the first half. It wasn't that the 16-point lead was insurmountable, but more the fact that the Buffaloes had little energy and weren't making adjustments. Pittsburgh went into halftime with a 46-18 lead and at that point, the game was over. For Colorado, it was the least amount of points they had put up in a half this year and their largest halftime deficit. The Buffs' 29-point loss was the largest the program has suffered in NCAA Tournament history.
Things the Buffaloes did well:
They certainly deserve credit for making the NCAA Tournament without their best player, but that's about it. Josh Scott led the Buffaloes with 14 points and collected six rebounds while Xavier Johnson added 11 points and four rebounds.
Things the Buffaloes struggled with:
Pittsburgh hounded Colorado in the post with double teams and the Buffs simply couldn't get out of them effectively. The Buffs turned it over five times in the first 10 minutes and finished the first half with 10 turnovers and zero assists. Colorado constantly failed to get back in transition when they turned it over and went 5-of-17 from the field in the first half. Pitt had more made field goals made (18) than Colorado attempted (17) and shot 62 percent from the floor in the opening half.
Not much changed in the second half and the Buffs were never close. The Buffaloes were just lethargic and timid on every possession. Pitt finished the game shooting 50 percent from the field and had 18 assists in comparison to three turnovers. Colorado committed more turnovers (17) than they made field goals (15) and shot 35 percent from the field and 25 percent from three.
Talib Zanna led Pittsburgh with 18 points and Cameron Wright and Lamar Patterson added 11 and 10 points respectively.
Yes, this was quite an embarrassing way to end the season, but Colorado will return every starter they had on the floor Thursday and come back next season as a better team. I didn't expect a tournament berth after Spencer Dinwiddie's injury, but Tad Boyle got the most he could have out of this group and got them to the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year. And with or without Dinwiddie next year, this team should make the NCAA Tournament once again. The Buffaloes finish their season at 23-12 and expectations will be high come November.