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NCAA Basketball Colorado BuffaloesPac 12 Basketball

Colorado Not a Legitimate Pac 12 Contender Due to Poor Road Play

Ron Chenoy- USA TODAY Sports

In their last three games the Colorado Buffaloes were playing some of their best basketball of the season. They were on a three game winning streak and they finally found their offense during a home sweep of the bay area teams.

However, the road has been a whole different animal for Colorado and their poor road play once again reared its ugly head on Saturday. The Buffaloes traveled to Utah to take on the last place Utes, in what figured to be an easy win, but instead it was a heartbreaking, head-scratching performance as they lost 58-55.

From the start it seemed like Colorado never got off the plane as they trailed by six at halftime and by as many as 22 in the second half. The Buffaloes were able to wake up and attempt a stunning comeback, eventually getting within one at 56-55, but it was all for naught as they came up short.

Road performances like this are all too common for Colorado and they can’t be taken seriously as Pac 12 contenders until they fix their poor road play.

It’s never easy to win on the road but Colorado makes it look impossible. Opposing teams have figured out that if they can force the Buffs to play a half-court game then Colorado becomes ineffective and they struggle to score. Scoring droughts are compounded by turnovers and the Buffs had plenty of both during today’s loss. At one point in the second half Colorado was on the wrong side of a 20-2 Utah run that extended their six-point halftime lead to 22. On top of that, Colorado had a hard time controlling the basketball during the same stretch with four of their 14 turnovers.

It’s baffling to see how hard Colorado played in the last eight minutes of that game to get the game close and why they could not play with that intensity the entire game? Even if they would have played with half of that intensity throughout the entire game they would have won going away. Instead head coach Tad Boyle and company have to wonder what could have been.

Life on the road will not get any easier for Colorado as they head up to Oregon later next week to take on the Ducks and the Beavers. It will almost be a necessity for the Buffs to sweep those games in order to stay afloat in the conference race.

However, if they continue to play like they have been away from Boulder expect Colorado to be playing in the NIT instead of the NCAA Tournament come March.

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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.