Not to be dramatic, but the Colorado Buffaloes just had their worst loss in years despite playing maybe the five best minutes they have played all year.
The Cal Bears were 1-13 and ranked 245th in the country, according to KenPom.com. If you thought the loss to Grambling was bad, it was, but somehow they’re a few spots higher in the national rankings.
The Buffs immediately dug themselves into a hole by playing maybe the worst 8 minutes of basketball all season. They looked clueless on the defensive end, couldn’t keep Cal out of the paint, and they didn’t adjust or up their effort. To make matters worse, not one player stepped up offensively and the entire team was ice cold from deep.
Things continued to snowball in the second half, with the Bears taking a 21-point lead with five minutes left in the game. That is when the Buffs decided to start trying. K.J. Simpson, playing on one leg after suffering a first half ankle injury, realized that he can torch the Cal defense whenever he wants. He got to the rim, created plays in the pick-and-roll and hit some pull-up threes to lead CU’s comeback effort. Simpson scored 18 of the Buffs 32 points in the final five minutes, but it was too little too late.
This is maybe the indisputably the most inconsistent team Tad Boyle has ever coach. They played 35 horrendous minutes of basketball and then five minutes of brilliance that nearly dug them out of a six-foot-deep hole. The worst thing was that this isn’t really that surprising. This team has alternated between greatness and lethargy all season, although never this drastically and in such a short amount of time.
Hopefully this loss lights a fire under the Buffs because they’re next game is against the #17 Oregon Ducks at the CU Events Center on January 5th. Boyle has never lost to the Ducks in Boulder and he’s hoping his team does a full 180 to win that game.