Ryan Thorburn of the Boulder Daily Camera answered five questions about the struggling Buffs for us. Here they are:
1. Tad Boyle said Tuesday that he thought the team had moved on from the Arizona loss, but were not over it. Do you agree with that?Yes. They moved on against Arizona State by getting off to a 17-4 start in that game. Their two losses since Sabatino Chen's game-winning shot was overturned were not because they have a hangover from Tucson. But they aren't over what happened in the sense that it could cost them in March when NCAA Tournament bids are handed out. Boyle does a good job of using snubs (like not making the NCAA Tournament two years ago or being picked to finish tied for 10th in last year's preseason media poll) to motivate his players.
2. Calling a players' only meeting isn't all that uncommon. As you folks reported, Colorado recently did this. Why did it and what do you think the Buffs were trying to get out of it?
CU only has one senior (Chen) on the roster and there just isn't much leadership on the team right now. Andre Roberson and Chen are both quiet guys but decided to call the meeting so all of the players could talk about what's missing and how to dig out of an early 1-3 hole. They are just taking a cue from Boyle who said after the UCLA loss that the team has "no chance" unless the players start to hold themselves more accountable.
3. Boyle, like many coaches, primarily worries about defense and rebounding. Have those been the Buffs' two biggest problems of late? How do they fix them?Those are the two issues the coaches have been harping on and they are fixable. CU defended and rebounded well during a 6-0 November, which included winning the Charleston Classic. Sometimes it's just hard to get young players (Boyle has four true freshmen in the rotation) to do it every night. The Buffs have also cost themselves several games with poor free throw shooting (65.7 percent for the season).
4. How do you think the Colorado guards matchup with the Washington guards?I think they match up pretty well. Spencer Dinwiddie (6-6) and Chen (6-4) are good defenders. Askia Booker is very quick and seems to enjoy challenges like this. CU has frustrated some terrific guards (Baylor's Pierre Jackson, Murray State's Isaiah Canaan, Colorado State's Wes Eikmeier) this season on the defensive end.
5. Booker is Colorado's leading scorer, but is shooting just 40.4 percent. Is Boyle pleased with Booker's shot selection? How does he do most of his scoring?Boyle isn't pleased with the shot selection but he also doesn't want to give Booker a red light because the sophomore shooting guard can be so clutch in big games. Booker mixes it up with 3-pointers, floaters in the paint, fade away jumpers and drives to the basket.