Friday marked the beginning of the longest between-games hiatus for the Colorado Buffaloes men's basketball team since late December.
At this stage of the season, extended video sessions and intense reviews of fundamentals and defensive sets can only do so much good. On the heels of his team's latest disappointing outing, Colorado head coach Tad Boyle has challenged his players to consider just what they want their legacy to be.
Given Thursday night's loss against a Utah team that had all sorts of momentum going against it when the Utes arrived at the Coors Events Center, the Buffaloes' immediate future has grown less certain. Even an NIT bid no longer can be considered a lock with home games remaining next week against Stanford and Cal, followed by the Pac-12 Conference tournament.
"We've got to do some soul searching and figure out what do they want out of the rest of the season," said Boyle, whose team will take Friday and Saturday off before reconvening Sunday night. "We knew what was in front of us. We knew exactly what was in front of us, and we didn't get it done (Thursday). Are we going get it done against Stanford? I don't know. We'll see.
"If you say, 'What does this team need to do between now and Stanford?' is do some soul searching and figure out how do you want your senior year to finish? How do you want to be remembered? That's what this team needs."
Utah had lost four consecutive road games prior to Thursday's contest, and the Utes were coming off a loss against an Oregon State team that had been 0-14 in Pac-12 play. On Thursday afternoon the Utes also announced the suspension of freshman Devon Daniels, who owns a .575 shooting percentage while averaging 10.4 points and 4.8 rebounds.
Yet the Buffs still couldn't take advantage, leading for all of 22 seconds in the first half before suffering their seventh consecutive defeat against the Utes. Unless the Buffs can upset Cal they face the prospect of a losing mark in the run of three consecutive home games to finish the regular season.
After Thursday's defeat, Boyle once again invoked terms like "lack of concentration" and "lack of effort at times" to describe his team's shortcomings. Those issues have been a consistent theme throughout an inconsistent season, but after 29 games with a veteran-heavy rotation, chances are two more days of soul-searching isn't going to reveal new answers for the Buffs.
"Coach (Jean) Prioleau said it the locker room after the game — consistency is this team's Achilles heel," Boyle said. "He's exactly right. What happens is late in the year, close games, tough games, your Achilles heel gets exposed. And our Achilles heel got exposed (Thursday) because we weren't consistent enough.
"It's really frustrating. Really, really frustrating. Extremely frustrating. Probably past frustrating to the anger stage."
Pat Rooney: firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/prooney07
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