No. 20 Colorado Survives Loyola Marymount; No. 2 Kansas Awaits
The inevitable hasn't arrived, but you can see it from here. Colorado's poor offense will eventually cost it a game, possibly several, because you just can't expect to hold the other team under 40 percent every night.
Loyola Marymount shot 53 percent and had the No. 20 Buffaloes (7-0) sweating all 40 minutes. D'Shawn Schwartz hit a 3-pointer with 2:35 left to break a 61-61 tie, and Tyler Bey blocked a shot with 1:30 left that put Schwartz back on the line to put Colorado up 68-61.
The good news was, finally somebody hit a big 3 abs Colorado won 76-64. The bad news is, No. 2 Kansas awaits.
The Jayhawks and Buffaloes are similar in that they're both big, post-oriented teams that don't take a lot of 3s. Kansas is bigger than CU inside by a lot, but the Jayhawks really go as point guard Devon Dotson goes. If McKinley Wright can wear him down, the Buffaloes will have a fighting chance.
But not playing like they did Wednesday.
Considering the foe, Colorado played a lousy first half. Loyola Marymount was 3-4 going into Wednesday, with losses to Nevada, Colorado State, Indiana State and a 21-point Primantiing to Duquesne.
The Buffaloes shot 39 percent in the first half and trailed 34-30 at halftime.
You figured this would be more of a "tune-up" game for the one at Kansas. I did, anyway. I figured Colorado would smoke these dudes and go into that Kansas game feeling the best they've felt all year.
The first half didn't give off that impression, exactly, and the second half was only slightly better.
Colorado hardly ever gets an easy basket. Typically, good defense and easy baskets correspond but in CU's case one rarely seems connected to the other. And you can't say it's because the Buffaloes lack size or speed. They're not the fastest team in the country, but they theoretically ought to be able to get up and down.
More and more, it appears to be a necessity. In the half-court way CU has been playing, it's shooting 41 percent from the field as a team. On the other side of it, the defense is so good that it hasn't mattered. But that was only a matter of time.
The Buffaloes shot 41 percent from the floor and went 7-for-21 from 3-point range on Wednesday, and survived. Saturday will be a bigger test.