The Colorado basketball team started out the season with a bang by going 14-2, with marquee wins against Kansas and Oregon (when they were playing well). In the 17th game their best player, Spencer Dinwiddie, tore his ACL and was out for the season. Ever since the loss of Dinwiddie, the Buffs have not been playing at the same level.
There has been a large void without Dinwiddie, especially on the offensive side. The Buffs have averaged 73.2 points per a game this year, according to ESPN. This is pretty average in Division 1. In the 15 games without Dinwiddie, the Buffs have only averaged 54.7 ppg.
They no longer can rely on their defense to stay in games because they are not able to maintain an offensive flow. This was a large problem in their past two losses against Arizona and Utah. Once they begin to get down, they are not able to recover because the lack of a star player. Josh Scott and Askia Booker are not good enough to carry the team offensively. Granted, they are the Buffs two best players but they cannot consistently take over game like Dinwiddie could.
This was evident on Saturday’s game against Utah, the Buffaloes started out very strong by taking a 30-22 lead with 4:35 left in the first half. Utah then made a 8-0 run at the end of the half to tie the game up.
At the beginning of the second half, the Utes broke the game open with a 9-0 run to take a 39-30 lead to start the half. The Buffaloes could not recover because of the lack of offensive power and ended up losing the game 75-64.
The defensive side of the ball was not what it is usually for Colorado against the Utes. Utah shot a bit below 60% from the field. This has consistently been a problem for Colorado ever since the loss of Dinwiddie. The Buffs have not taking care of the ball as well as before, which creates easy points for the opposing team.
Colorado allowed Delon Wright and Jordan Loveridge to dominate their back-court by combining for 42 points. It is not like this is the first time Wright and Loveridge had a big game.They have been doing it all year, so it was nothing Wright and Loveridge are Utah’s two best players by far averaging 16.4 and 15.5 ppg respectively.
Colorado’s struggles at the end of the year will be highly criticized by the selection committee. It will be difficult for them to place a team in the tournament that faded at the end of the season, instead of one that surged. Colorado ABSOLUTELY needs to win at least one of their final two games at Cal and Stanford for them to show the selection committee that they deserve to be in the tournament. They need to separate themselves from Pac-12 mediocrity to emerge as a legitimate candidate.
Tad Boyle has shown in the past that he can have finish on a high note. Two years ago, Boyle led Colorado to their first and only Pac-12 tournament title to sneak into the NCAA tournament. Lets hope they can do the same this year, so Buffs fans do not have to sweat watching Selection Sunday.