Well, Colorado now sits at 10th in the Pac-12. They lost both games last week in terrible fashion and things don't seem to be looking up. The Buffs did a few decent things, but next to that, there was little excitement to be found. If you're looking for a happy and positive review, I suggest you look somewhere else. This one will be honest and somber.
The Oregon Recap: The Buffs came charging out of the gate, giving everyone their best Ralphie impression. However, that facade only lasted for a short time. After taking an 11-4 lead in the first four minutes of the game, everything completely fell apart. Joseph Young and Oregon went on a 35-11 run for the last 14 minutes of the half. CU could do absolutely nothing to stop their epic collapse. At halftime the Ducks led 39-22. Out of the break, the Buffaloes continued to trudge through the game, until Askia Booker said enough was enough. Booker led Colorado on a comeback, which cut the Oregon lead from 17 points to five. With 3:09 to play, the Buffs only trailed 58-63. Yet, the ball just wouldn't bounce CU's way, as nobody in the black and gold could secure a defensive rebound for the final minute of the game and Oregon capitalized off their ample second chance opportunities. Despite the impressive fight by the Buffaloes, it just wasn't enough. The lack of defensive rebounds cost CU their comeback. The final score: 73-60, Buffs lose.
The Oregon State Recap: CU began with the first bucket of the game, with a nice drive and dish from Dominique Collier to Wesley Gordon. That's as good as it got in the first half. The Buffs would go on to score 10 more points after that opening score. There's nothing else to say, except Colorado had 12 points, 11 turnovers, and trailed 34-12 at halftime against the Beavers. Without question it was the worst half for CU since the Wyoming game. Coming out of the break, the Buffs decided to try a little bit. Just as in the Oregon game, they slowly whittled down the 22 point deficit to just eight points. With 3:45, XJ hit a deep three and cut OSU's lead to 54-46. Then, just like the Oregon game, they ran out of juice and couldn't complete the comeback. The Buffs dropped a second straight, 72-58.
What Went Right: I know I normally begin with the negative aspects of the past week in order to end on a good note, but that set up simply does not work with the flow of this week's article. The Buffs did three things well this week. They actually executed a legitimate press, found energy to generate not one but two comebacks this week, and Dom Collier played well in his new role as a starter. In both games, the Buffaloes used their new full court press to their advantage. Against Oregon and Oregon State, they forced several turnovers in the second half that allowed them to climb back into both games. However, they have not perfected it yet. So, when teams broke the press, the Buffs end up on a tremendous 1-3 mismatch and give up easy buckets. Still, it was nice to see that CU is working on something. Next, the the Buffaloes managed to find it within themselves to muster up the strength to have two comebacks in one week. In both games, Colorado fell behind by a significant margin in the first half and they managed to make up for most of it in the second. While there are no moral victories, this is as close to one, actually two, as you can get. It was unfortunate that CU didn't have that last effort to push them over the hump and make the comeback in either game. Lastly, Collier has finally found his role within the Buffaloes. Dom settled into his starting position and make significant impacts in both games. Especially in the OSU game, he hit a big three, came up with a stunning and-one, and also worked the ball around for six assists. Collier still needs to improve his defense, but that will come with gaining physical strength. At 170 pounds he can get worked pretty easily by whoever he's defending.
What Went Wrong: Literally everything else. The Buffs had the two worst first halves in recent memory. They shot an all time worst 14.3% from the field in the first half against Oregon State. They had one of the biggest collapses against Oregon, letting the Ducks go on a 35-11 run to go into half time. Then, once they bounced back versus Oregon, they choked away a comeback by only managing to score two points in the last four minutes of the game. Two days later, they let another comeback win by giving up the dagger three pointer, right when they were about to turn the corner. Scott, Thomas, Gordon, Hopkins, and Talton all had a terrible week offensively and defensively. I could write until my fingers curl under and go numb from carpal tunnel syndrome and it still wouldn't be enough to explain everything the Buffs did wrong and the pain it caused for every Buff fan who watched.
Colorado will now finish for the first time since joining in the Pac-12 with less than 10 conference wins. It's time for this team to take a long look in the mirror at what stares back at them and figure out what needs to be fixed in order for the Buffaloes to get back to where the once were. Will it be easy? No. But if the Buffs want to avoid being nothing more than a flash in the pain, they'd better put it together.