Colorado’s last road win against Arizona was in 1960. The Buffs get a shot at breaking that skid this week.
We love, love, love Tad Boyle.
The Colorado men’s basketball coach is a sports reporter’s dream. He’s forthright and opinionated. He gives honest assessments of his team, the Pac-12 and college hoops.
And perhaps unwittingly, Boyle became the leader in the crusade to clean up the corruption in his sport simply because he doesn’t shy away from the tough questions.
When asked at Pac-12 Media Day about the FBI investigation involving Arizona, USC, Auburn and Oklahoma State, Boyle said: “There is a black market that’s been exposed. That black market is not going away. You’ve just got to learn to deal with it.”
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Boyle sat on a podium with intentions to talk about the Buffaloes, but each of the 20 questions lobbied at him pertained to the problems plaguing college basketball.
He pushed for the NBA to do away with its one-and-done rule and return to the practice of drafting high school prospects.
Few college coaches are saying things like that.
And not many would be as candid as Boyle was following Colorado’s upset win against then-No. 14 Arizona.
When asked whether there was any extra satisfaction in beating the Wildcats because they were one of four teams targeted in the FBI probe, Boyle was initially complimentary toward UA coach Sean Miller and USC coach Andy Enfield.
But then he said: “Hell yes, there’s extra satisfaction.”
Miller has denied any wrongdoing and for his part, he’s taken the high road ahead of Thursday’s rematch at McKale Center.
“My focus is just on coaching our team,” Miller said Monday in a story published by the Arizona Daily Star. “Moving on to Colorado … the last time that we played them they played better than us.
“They played harder than us. And we have to be a better team this time around, more ready for the game than we were last time around and that’s my focus.”
Since entering the Pac-12 in 2011, Colorado has played some epic games against Arizona.
In their first season as conference opponents, the Buffaloes finished 2-1 against the Wildcats, including a win in the Pac-12 Tournament title game.
Since then, Arizona won 10 of the next 12 meetings before falling 80-77 three weeks ago on Jan. 6.
There’s plenty of hype entering Thursday’s rematch because of Boyle’s postgame comments, but history doesn’t give the Buffs much of a chance.
Since Colorado entered the Pac-12, the Wildcats are 111-9 at home including 10-0 this season. In the last four years, they are 77-2 at McKale.
Colorado’s last road win against Arizona was in 1960.
“You have to embrace it,” Boyle said of the expected atmosphere. “We have nothing to lose. We should just go there, let it hang out, play with confidence, play with energy, play with effort. Nothing to lose. There’s no reason to be tight.”
As teams wrap up the first half of Pac-12 play this week, there are several intriguing rematches on the docket.
Most notably, USC gets another crack at Stanford after falling to the Cardinal 77-74 three weeks ago on a last-second 50-foot heave.
And Utah seeks revenge against Arizona State, which held off the Utes 80-77 after guard Justin Bibbins missed a potential game-winning three-pointer with six seconds left.
• California has floundered on the court recently, but the Golden Bears scored big last Saturday with their fans before the Arizona State game. They gave away Jason Kidd bobbleheads commemorating the 25th anniversary of Cal’s win over Duke and ASU coach Bobby Hurley in the 1993 NCAA tournament.
• Oregon State sophomore forward Tres Tinkle is the only Pac-12 player to score in double figures in every game this season.
|Percy Allen’s week 5 Pac-12 power rankings|
|1. Arizona (16-4, 6-1)||All five starters played at least 28 minutes in 73-71 win over Stanford, including freshman star center Deandre Ayton who fouled out with 9 points.||Colorado|
|2. Stanford (11-9, 5-2)||Suddenly Reid Travis looks like a Pac-12 MVP candidate, Daejon Davis will garner FOY votes and maybe it’s time we take a long look at the Cardinal.||At USC|
|3. USC (15-6, 6-2)||Swept the Oregon road trip last week for first time since 2008. Trojans haven’t looked this good since they started the season with four straight wins.||Stanford|
|4. Washington (14-6, 4-3)||Who needs to score if you allow just 68.7 points per game to Pac-12 teams? Backup guard Dominic Green is 52.4 percent on three-pointers in Pac-12.||WSU|
|5. Utah (12-7, 4-4)||One of four Pac-12 teams with a road sweep this season. Snapped four-game losing streak with a pair of home wins, but potential trouble looms.||At Arizona St.|
|6. UCLA (13-7, 4-4)||Lost three straight heading into critical 3-game homestand. Bruins need a win streak to preserve fading NCAA tourney hopes.||Cal|
|7. Arizona State (15-4, 3-4)||Bobby Hurley secured his first five-star recruit in Taeshon Cherry, a 6-8 forward. After 12-0 start, Hurley has to steer ASU clear of 2nd-half collapse.||Utah|
|8. Colorado (12-8, 4-4)||Just when you think you figured out the Buffaloes and project them to make a second-half run for a postseason berth, the Buffaloes lose at home by 10.||At Arizona|
|9. Oregon State (11-8, 3-4)||That team no one wants to play. Best defense in the Pac-12 that allows 66.1 points and 41 percent shooting to league teams.||At Oregon|
|10. Oregon (13-7, 3-4)||Feels like a transition year for Oregon, which lost four starters and has the No. 2 recruiting 2018 class, including two McDonald’s All-Americans.||Oregon State|
|11. Washington State (9-10, 1-6)||The problem with coach Ernie Kent’s three-point offensive attack is the Cougars rank 343rd nationally in FT attempts and 296th in offensive rebounds.||At UW|
|12. California (7-13, 1-6)||In Pac-12 play, last in scoring (66.1 PPG), points allowed (80.7), scoring margin (-14.6), field goal offense (40.6 percent) and field goal defense (51.7).||At UCLA|