After starting out Pac 12 play at 1-4 Colorado was in dire need of a winning streak. They were able to scrape out a win at Washington State and that set up a huge, two home game weekend against the Bay Area teams.
It might be a little early for “must win” games, but for the Buffs the games against Stanford and Cal were about as close to “must win” as it could get. That mindset was taken to heart as Colorado was able to sweep the weekend set and move their Pac 12 record back to an even 4-4.
The main reason for their sweep this weekend was their emerging offense. Colorado scored 75 against the Cardinal and followed it up with an 81 point outburst against the Bears on Sunday afternoon. In the Stanford game the Buffs shot 52% from the field but bettered that number against Cal shooting a scalding 59% including 7-15 from beyond the arc.
It wasn’t just one player doing all the damage either as Colorado had tremendous balance in both games. Against Stanford every one of their starters scored in double figures while four players scored more than 15 points against Cal. Offensive balance is something every coach strives for but when Tad Boyle looked at the two box scores after the games he had to have had a big smile on his face.
“I love balance because you can’t key on any one guy” Boyle said after Colorado’s 81-71 victory over Cal. “When we got three, four, five guys scoring double figures it makes us hard to prepare for.”
Leading the way on Sunday was freshman Xavier Johnson who really came into his own with Andre Roberson benched in the first half due to foul trouble. Johnson’s minutes were extended in the first half with Roberson’s two fouls and it turned out to work out in Colorado’s favor. The freshman finished the first half close to a double-double with ten points and eight rebounds while playing a season high 18 minutes in the half. Johnson would complete the double-double in the second half eventually finishing the game with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
This weekend was exactly what Colorado needed to gain some confidence before they head back out on the road for three straight games. If Colorado can keep up their offensive balance it could spell trouble for the rest of the conference.
David LaRose is one of the featured College Basketball writers for Rant Sports covering the Pac 12 and the University of Colorado. He’s also a member of the U.S. Basketball Writer’s Association of America. You can follow him on Twitter or check out his Facebook page.