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NCAA Basketball Colorado BuffaloesIllinois Fighting IlliniMarch Madness

2013 NCAA Tournament: Scoring Droughts Doom Colorado in Opening Round Loss to Illinois

Jim Cowsert- USA TODAY Sports

Entering the 2013 NCAA Tournament the Colorado Buffaloes were a trendy upset pick as a No. 10 seed. They certainly had the talent to upset No. 7 Illinois but an issue that plagued them all season long once again reared its ugly head and sent them packing.

Scoring droughts have been a major issue for Colorado this year and it cost them another game this time on the biggest stage. In the 57-49 loss there were two particular droughts that really put Colorado in a hole and made it almost impossible to come back from.

With 7:06 remaining in the first half Colorado’s Andre Roberson hit a jumper to get CU within three points at 24-21. After that shot Colorado would go the final seven minutes without scoring a single point. In that scoreless span the Buffs went 0-11 from the field and Illinois’ three point lead ballooned to 16 going into halftime. Nothing was falling for Colorado, not layups, not jumpers and especially not three-pointers. All in all they finished the first half shooting 34% from the field and just 20% from beyond the arc.

The second half was a different story as Colorado stormed all the way back by way of a 21-0 run to erase the deficit and take a five point lead. Then the second awful scoring drought took over.

After jumping out to a 44-39 lead Colorado would go the final 9:28 of the game scoring just five points. Three of those five points came with 17 second left so basically the Buffs scored two points in the final nine minutes of the game while turning the ball over five times. It’s something that can’t really be explained but Colorado head coach Tad Boyle did so anyways after the game.

“I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, as a coach, you just want to make sure your team gets good shots” Boyle said postgame when asked about the scoring droughts. “There’s not a lot you can do if the miss them. Whether they’re layups or whatever, but if we’re taking good shots, which I thought in the second half we were, you got to live with it.”

It’s really tough to win any game going a combined 15 minutes and scoring just two points. Colorado helped themselves out by getting back into the game but frankly, with the way they were shooting, they probably should have lost by double digits.

Even though Colorado got knocked out of the tournament in their first game there is plenty of reason for optimism if you’re a Buffs fan.

“Colorado basketball, the future of it is in great shape” said Boyle after the loss. “We got a lot of young players in our program. We got a lot of good players coming into the program and we’re going to be back here.”

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David LaRose is a College Basketball writer for Rant Sports covering the Pac 12 and the University of Colorado. He’s also a member of the USBWA. You can follow him on Twitter or check out his Facebook page.