Colorado coach Tad Boyle shows little resistance to making changes.
So he won’t shy away from shifting gears on the fly when the Buffaloes face a busy upcoming stretch. That begins Thursday afternoon against UMass in the Myrtle Beach Invitational at Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Colorado (2-1) has been wildly inconsistent to open the season. Across a three-day period, the Buffaloes lost at Grambling and beat No. 11 Tennessee at a neutral site — Nashville instead of Knoxville, Tenn.
Now comes a challenging tournament setting with three games in four days.
“Definitely going in with a lot of momentum, a lot of energy,” Colorado guard KJ Simpson said. “But the thing is, we can’t just dwell on this point. … We got to go (to) Myrtle Beach and play a tough team. So we just got to keep our mindset on just maintaining that energy and really, really dialed in on what we’re playing and stay level-headed.”
A lineup change might have helped the Buffaloes – or at least it got the attention of the players. Freshman Javon Ruffin made his first career start.
“I just felt like we got to send a message to the guys that start the game, that they have a responsibility to bring energy and be ready to roll,” Boyle said. “And because we do have quality depth on this team, and it was also a message to those guys on the bench that hey, you better be ready.”
Simpson came off the bench but logged a team-high 28 minutes in the Tennessee game, and led the Buffaloes with 23 points and 10 rebounds.
“I’m a competitive person,” Simpson said. “Definitely knew what (Boyle) was doing.”
The Minutemen (1-1) are coming off a home loss to Towson and there are indications changes could be coming to the UMass lineup. Consider that the team’s top scorers in the Towson game were reserves Isaac Kante and Matt Cross, with 13 points apiece.
Frank Martin is the first-year coach for the Minutemen. He has been demanding.
“He’s not going to let you get away with little stuff,” Kante said. “The details matter.”
It’s time to move on after early results with a long season ahead.
“You can keep your head up (as there are) coaches trying to get you to play better,” Martin said.
For Martin, it’s a return to the state where he spent the past 10 seasons as coach of the South Carolina Gamecocks.
Colorado and UMass will face either Murray State or No. 24 Texas A&M on the tournament’s second day on Friday.
–Field Level Media