“If you, as a basketball team, don’t take care of the problems you have on the court, your opponents will take care of those problems for you. That’s what happened today. Our opponent took care of our problems.”
Colorado head coach Tad Boyle spoke freely and truthfully in his postgame interview, after his team laid an egg losing to Oregon State 64-58, and no statement was more reflective of their performance than the one stated above. The Buffaloes were simply out-hustled and outplayed on their home floor Saturday afternoon at a time when they had all the reason to be the team with urgency.
Boyle stated that the loss should be put on him and that his team wasn’t prepared because of him but that wasn’t really the case. Playing another game without star Andre Roberson will be one of the main takeaways nationally when folks look at the box score but Colorado’s ineffectiveness against Oregon State’s zone defense was the main reason for the loss.
“Usually when a team plays zone, they’re playing you zone because they don’t feel like they can guard you man-to-man” a visibly upset Boyle said postgame. “So you let them off the hook taking quick jump shots. You let them off the hook by not attacking inside and moving the ball”
It was evident very early in the first half that Colorado would struggle against the zone as their movement was stagnant and their shot selection was poor. Zone defenses beg offenses to shoot them out of it but Colorado was unable to do that as they shot just 35% from the field, including a dismal 28% from behind the arc. Not one of their starters besides Spencer Dinwiddie scored in double figures and that type of productivity won’t work this late in the season, especially against an athletic zone like OSU has.
Colorado better figure out the zone defense quick because they turn right around and play Oregon State again to open up the Pac 12 Tournament on Wednesday afternoon. Last year the regular season ended the same way for Boyle and Co. but then they went on to win four games in four days to claim the Pac 12 tournament and along with it an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
Colorado doesn’t want to have to rely on winning the conference tournament again to play in the NCAA Tournament but they will still approach it in the same way knowing that their postseason fate is still up in the air.
“All we know, is whoever we play in Las Vegas on Wednesday, we have to beat them to move on,” he proclaimed. “I don’t know who it is, I don’t care who it is, but we’re going to approach the Pac-12 tournament this year lust like we did last year… It’s not about winning four games in four days, it’s about beating whoever our first round opponent is, and living for another day.”
Colorado is locked into the No. 5 seed in next week’s conference tournament and their game against No. 12 Oregon State will tip off at 2:30 p.m. PST.