Long-awaited homecoming at hand for Colorado men’s basketball against Yale


Colorado guard KJ Simpson believes a tough week of practice will pay dividends for the Buffaloes against Yale. (AP Photo/John Amis)
Colorado guard KJ Simpson believes a tough week of practice will pay dividends for the Buffaloes against Yale. (AP Photo/John Amis)

KJ Simpson was drenched in sweat and still regaining his breath from a practice session this week when he was asked how the Colorado men’s basketball team can toughen up in the course of a few days.

“I promise you it’s been a tough week,” CU’s point guard said. “I promise you it has. That’s on and off the court, in the weight room.”

Following a lengthy road trip that included both impressive highs as well as frustrating lows, Buffaloes head coach Tad Boyle vowed to make his team tougher before they took the floor again. The result of that quest will be on display on Sunday afternoon, as CU returns to the Events Center for the first time in nearly three full weeks to take on undefeated Yale.

“Our record says we’re 3-3. That’s who we are; 3-3 is the epitome of mediocrity,” Boyle said. “I look mediocrity up in the dictionary, and it’s like ordinary. Sub-par. I told them, ‘You want to live in a high rise building that was built with mediocrity?’ I sure as hell wouldn’t. That thing’s going to come crumbling down at some point. You want something that’s sturdy. We’ve got no sturdiness.

“We’re a mediocre team right now, and we selectively play with hunger. We play with hunger at times, in stretches. We can’t be selectively hungry, but we are. That’s why we’re 3-3.”

The Buffs have a pair of top-25 wins to their credit, defeating Tennessee and Texas A&M handily to post the two wins on the trip. But losses against Grambling State, UMass and Boise State quickly snuffed the momentum of those big wins. The Buffs returned to Boulder with Boyle challenging his team to get tougher after surrendering 13 offensive rebounds against Boise in the finale of the two-week trip. In each of those losses, CU allowed the opposition to shoot at least 51% during the first half.

“When (Boyle) talks about toughness, I feel like he’s just talking about heart,” Simpson said. “We don’t play with our heart out there. Physically, we’re tough enough. It’s all about our mindset and playing with our heart. He tried to focus on that and get in our skin and make us play kind of with a sense of anger. Play with emotions but don’t play emotional. That’s just what we’ve been doing this whole week. It’s been a tough couple days though for sure.”



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