Tad Boyle offers CU Buffs’ reaction to cancellation of NCAA Tournament – The Denver Post
The idea of savoring each and every minute on a basketball court, whether during games or even through the daily grind of practice, always has been a coaching point for Colorado’s Tad Boyle.
This past week, that theoretical lesson became a harsh reality for the Buffaloes, whose collective disappointment from a late-season slide was magnified tenfold by the cancellation of the 2020 NCAA Tournament due to ongoing nationwide concerns regarding the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Buffs woke up in Las Vegas Thursday morning, hours after getting eliminated in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament by Washington State, to learn the remainder of the league tourney had been cancelled. Hours later, the NCAA followed suit by cancelling the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, which was expected to include CU despite its season-ending five-game losing streak.
It was a bitter pill for every team hoping to land among the 68-team field, which would have been announced Sunday. Instead, Boyle already has begun conducting his annual postseason one-on-one meetings with his players, an exercise he was hoping wouldn’t begin until the end of March at the earliest.
“I think the one message that I’m trying to relay to all of our players, and we talk about it a lot, but I think this experience and life lesson kind of hammers it home is the fact that we have to appreciate every day that we have an opportunity to compete,” Boyle said. “I always use Dallas Walton and Evan Battey as examples. Dallas having three ACLs, and Evan Battey missing so much time on the floor and going through the stroke and all he went through. Now these guys are experiencing the fact that Washington State was our last game.
“We didn’t know it was our last game. If we would’ve known it was our last game, would it have changed how we prepared or how we played? Or our focus, our effort? If the answer is yes, something is wrong. We need to take every game and every day at practice like it could be our last. It’s easy to say that, but after experiencing something like that you nod your head and realize it’s true.”
Once Boyle’s player meetings are concluded, the Buffs will be somewhat in limbo in the upcoming weeks. Given the squad planned to be competing in the NCAA Tournament, none of the team members made plans for next week’s spring break.
This week, the team will be on campus. While the campus officially is closed, Boyle said the facilities remain available for the Buffs. After that, much like the football team, Boyle said he is leaving it up to each player to make their individual decisions whether they want to return home or remain in Colorado.
Boyle also made it clear that even after three consecutive weeks of traveling for his squad, everyone is healthy and none of the players are reporting any virus-like symptoms.
“A lot of our players didn’t make plans for next week or the following week for spring break for our assumption that we were going to be in the NCAA Tournament. So the guys don’t have anything planned,” Boyle said. “I’m going to let them make their own decisions based on if they want to go home, if they want to stay here. They’ll have an opportunity to do either-or. But we’re here for them, and we want to make sure they make the best decision for them. The biggest thing we have to make sure that all of our players do is stay on top of their academic situation as we move into next week and the entire spring. Because we don’t know what the rest of the spring is going to look like.
“We had a good year. We can’t say we had a great year because of the way it finished. But we had a good year and we did some good things and we’ve got a bunch of great kids. It was a great team to coach. Certainly we did not finish the way we wanted to finish.”