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January 4, 2012 at 2:53 PM

Tad Boyle on UW: “A different animal”

tad boyle.jpg
Tad Boyle won his first Pac-12 game 73-33 against Utah last Saturday, but the Colorado coach gets his first real taste of the conference Thursday when Washington – the defending tournament champion – comes to town.
It’s Boyle’s first meeting against the Huskies.
Colorado has a respectable 9-4 record, but the Buffaloes had a less than impressive nonconference schedule. According to the Sagarin ratings, their strength of schedule ranks 200 among 345 Division I teams and they faced just one top 50 team.
The Pomeroy ratings also hammer CU’s schedule, giving it a 243 ranking. Colorado’s RPI is 94.
Regardless of what the computers say, Boyle knows Thursday is a big game.
“I don’t know if we can match them point for point,” he said Tuesday during the Pac-12 teleconference. “I think they’re explosive offensively and they have so many different weapons. Our will is going to have to be very strong. Our resolve is going to have to be very strong on Thursday night.”
Here’s a portion of the interview:
(On facing Washington after beating Utah by 40) “It’s definitely a different animal. There’s no question about that. I think our players know that. I got a lot of respect for Washington and what there’s program has done over the last 10 years or so. They don’t have a lot of weaknesses if you look up and down their lineup. They got good players at every position. Tremendous athletes. It will be a heckuva challenge. This will be a great litmus test for our team and where we’re at in the Pac-12 right now.
(On the last two outings, which includes a 92-34 win over New Orleans) “In terms of our last two outings, we finally put together two halves. We’ve been pretty good in stretches defensively our entire nonconference schedule, but we’ve never been consistent enough to have the kind of results we most recently experienced. I think our guys understand what it takes in order to have those kind of decisive wins. Defense – you can’t let up. And we were fortunate enough to play against teams that weren’t able to string together offensive runs.
“Now Washington is a different animal. They are going to be able to be able to put some runs together because they are so talented offensively. What we can’t do is we can’t let that affect our mentality or our energy level or confidence level. Defensively you just got to do what we do and make them beat us, make them make shots over hands and give them nothing easy. If we do that for 40 minutes, I’ll feel good about things.
“But Washington is a team that’s capable of obviously getting out in transition and putting a lot of pressure on the basket and we have to be able to exert a strength 15 feet in and make them beat us with jump shots over hand.”
Photo credit: David Zalubowski


(Are you building a team focused on defense?) “We want our program to be predicated on defense and rebounding. I want that to be year in and year out. I wanted that to be the case last year. We never got to that point, but we got there in stretches. I think with the fact that we lost so much firepower offensively that we have to rely on our defense a little bit more this year. But hopefully our offense has become more efficient. We got good balance. We got four guys averaging double figures so we got some firepower that maybe hasn’t exerted itself consistently so far this year. But when we get that clicking with our defense I think we have a chance to be pretty good.”
(Think Thursday’s game will be a test of wills, CU’s stingy defense vs. UW’s high-scoring offense?) “I don’t know if we can match them point for point. I think they’re explosive offensively and they have so many different weapons. Our will is going to have to be very strong. Our resolve is going to have to be very strong on Thursday night. And we’re going to have to withstand maybe some runs that they make at us. I think it’s going to be more of a toughness and a pride game and really execution. I think those three things is what it’s going to come down to more than just trying to outscore them because I think they’re as athletic and talented at every position as anybody in our league.”
(Will you talk to your team about this being the first matchup with a former Pac-10 team?) “It’s an opportunity for Colorado this year to – you never get a second chance to make a first impression. That’s one thing that we talked to our team about is we have a chance to make an impression on this league and earn some respect. The only way you can do it is by playing well on game night and playing with some grit and toughness and that’s what we can hopefully do.”
(On freshman guard Spencer Dinwiddie) “I think he’s scored in double figures in 7-8 games now and really has been playing with a lot of confidence. A couple of games ago he had six assists and one turnover and he’s rebounding the ball well from the guard position. Spencer has really been doing a little bit of everything for us. He’s gotten much better defensively since our first part of the season. He’s a guy that our players are looking to for some stability, which you don’t always look for that out of a freshman. He’s mature beyond his years. He’s got a great feel for the game. Has a coolness and a confidence about him on the court that as a coach I feel very comfortable with. Spencer is going to be a great player in this league.
“I know he visited Oregon and he visited Harvard and he visited our place. A lot of other schools were recruiting him. We were really, really happy when he chose the Buffaloes because I think that was our first kind of marquee recruit and somebody we can build around.”
(Is he a spot-up shooter?) “Well no. He certainly has the capability if you’re looking at the way he’s shooting it from three, he’s a great spot-up shooter. But he also has the ability to make plays off the dribble. He’s got great size. He’s 6-5, pushing 6-6. Again he can make plays for himself and for others. He’s really been good in transition. He’s gotten to the free throw line shooting over 80 percent from the line. I think he just keeps getting better and better and his game is going to continue to evolve the more experience he gets. And we’re asking him to do a lot. He’s capable of it.”
(On Dinwiddie’s poise) “Poise is probably a better word than coolness. He’s just comfortable with the ball in his hands. One thing about Washington, we’ve been trying to simulate it in practice – I’m not sure we can – but they really pressure. They put a lot of pressure on you defensively and they’re out in lanes and they’re guarding the ball and they’re long. So he’s going to need to really play well on Thursday. Spencer has got to play well for us to win on Thursday.”
(Is Washington comparable to Big 12 teams?) “Absolutely. Washington reminds me of a Big 12 team. They have the athleticism of a team like Kansas State and Oklahoma State, but they’re explosive offensively kind of like Texas has been and Kansas has been. You put those combinations together and they’re pretty scary. I know Washington has had their troubles with consistency just like we’ve have. But when you watch them on film and you look at the players man for man, they put together a nice team. I got a lot of respect for Lorenzo and what he’s done there. Washington is very easily a Big-12-caliber team and probably one of the upper half of that league too.”
Boyle spoke with KRJ-AM’s Dave Mahler this morning. Here’s the audio (below).

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