On a live streaming event today, CU Buffs coach Tad Boyle discussed the 2015-16 season, reflecting on the team’s heartache, challenges and future.
The Buffs’s 74-67 loss to UConn in the first game of the NCAA tournament was disheartening for the team and fans alike. Boyle and his players did not plan on being one and done.
“The situation in Des Moines was hard for this team to accept,” Boyle said. “We went there expecting to advance.”
And the way in which they lost, blowing a large halftime lead, is indicative of their whole season. The Buffs were seemingly capable of beating any opponent that crossed their path, but closing the deal was easier said then done. Losing four seniors, including star player Josh Scott, this offseason won’t help.
You could make a case that Scott’s absence two seasons ago played a critical role in the Buffs missing the tournament for the only time in the last five years, just as you could make the case that his presence spurred them to an appearance this season. Entering life without him won’t be easy for CU, but Boyle is ready for the task.
“I look at next year’s team and I’m excited,” Boyle said. “We lose four seniors, but we had two good players sitting out: XJ and Derrick White.”
The question for Boyle, though, is: Who will step up and lead this team?
On and off the court, Scott was a constant for the Buffs; someone will need to step up and become the face of this Colorado team.
There’s work to be done in Boulder, and next year is the year to do it. Boyle’s teams may be coming off their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in five years, but they’ve yet to advance past the Round of 32; in fact, they’ve only advanced past the Round of 64 once.
With so much turnover, a large part of the growth will have to come in the development of Boyle’s players by he and his staff, a skill he takes pride in.
“We pride ourselves on the development of the player,” Boyle said. “It starts with the players, what do they do in the offseason.”
The Buffs have been more successful in these last five years than they have in the previous five decades. Still, they’re not prepared to settle. For Boyle and his staff, they’re no longer comparing themselves to Buffalo teams of the past; they’re comparing themselves to the other great programs in the nation.