Colorado Basketball: NCAA tournament recap

The NCAA Tournament is one of the most exciting times of the year for a sports fan, unless your team loses early on. This was the case in the Buffs game against Pitt.

The Colorado Buffaloes played the least exciting game of a great tournament so far. The final score was 77-48. This is Colorado’s largest margin of defeat in the NCAA Tournament ever.

The Buffs were never competitive throughout the game. Pitt came out on a mission defensively. Every time Josh Scott touched the ball, they were able to double team him. This was right from the tipoff. It proved very effective because Pitt forced 17 turnovers.

The Buffaloes came out flat on offense, which was in part to nerves. Pitt was able to force a few turnovers that led to easy baskets on the other end. Pitt is not known to get up and down, but it sure looked that way. The Panthers converted layup after layup throughout the first half.

They were getting open shots in the paint, beginning with Talib Zanna. Zanna shot 6 for 7 in the first half. He was able to shut down Scott at the defensive end as well. Scott managed to score 14 points, but many of them were during garbage time.

Zanna was unstoppable at both ends of the floor. He bullied Josh Scott in the lane. Scott has been criticized for his slight frame, and Zanna was able to take advantage. Zanna dominated the boards and was able to create second chances for the Panthers throughout the game.

Pitt held the Buffs to 29 percent shooting in the first half.  The continual bad shots led to poor defensive stances at the other end. Colorado was never able to gain any momentum in the game.

Whenever they had a chance to get back into the game, Pitt was able to make a shot on the other end to neutralize it. Askia Booker tried to force long twos and threes when the game was still in reach. He shot 2 for 9 from the field with only 6 points, and the Buffs needed him to have a big game. Pitt was able to dominate all aspects of the game.

The Buffs have a lot of motivation going into next year. With this loss and the potential return of Spencer Dinwiddie, they will be a definite top-15 candidate for next season.  They will also be a PAC-12 title contender with Arizona and UCLA, presumably, losing a couple of their top players.

Josh Scott, Askia Booker, and Xavier Johnson are expected to come back next year.  All three need to improve their game’s this summer. Scott with his strength in the post. Booker could improve his three-point shooting. He only shot 27% from beyond the arc this year, which is well below where he should be. Johnson will need to just expand his game even more, enhancing his jump shot and ability to get to the hoop.

This off season, Tad Boyle will garner lots of interest from some bigger basketball schools because of his success at Colorado. Colorado is not known for its basketball, but Boyle has been build a solid program which is attractive to suitors. There is a lot that could happen between next season and now, we will just need to see how it all plays out.