2016 Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament: Tad Boyle admits to lying to Buffs as they prepare for Arizona
LAS VEGAS – Tad Boyle doesn't sound like he regrets lying to his Colorado Buffaloes.
If it's in the name of preparing them for reality, anything is fair game.
"I told these guys after the Utah game – when we really felt like we let one slip away in Salt Lake last week – that that was the last road game they played. Everything else is a neutral floor," Boyle said following the Buffs' 80-56 rout of Washington State in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament on Wednesday.
"Tonight (after the game), I told them I lied to them."
The admitted misinformation happened because of what Colorado faces next: A quarterfinals matchup with No. 4 seed Arizona at 2:30 p.m. PT/3:30 p.m. MT Thursday on Pac-12 Network.
"The Buff fans that are here are going to be loud and proud," Boyle said. "We also know there's going to be a lot of Arizona fans in the building. It may be a little bit of a road-type feel for us. But if it is, hey, we know how to handle that. We just got to play for 40 minutes."
Colorado did that against the Cougars, helping shake a history of blowing leads this season. On Saturday, it was Boyle's squad losing to Utah 57-55 after blowing a 14-point lead with just less than eight minutes remaining.
To open their postseason, the Buffs tired WSU by the first media timeout and jumped out to a 41-22 halftime lead. The Buffs never gave Washington State a run of confidence in the second half to make it a game.
Looking ahead, the matchup against the Wildcats is intriguing beyond Boyle's pregame warnings to his team about preparing for a road atmosphere. In their only meeting this season, the Buffs beat Arizona 75-72 in Boulder.
Pac-12 Networks analyst Kevin O'Neill doesn't see the game going that way again.
"They have to play against the crowd, that's going to be a factor, but more than anything else they have to play against Arizona's frontline," O'Neill said during the Pac-12 Basketball Postgame Report on Wednesday. "I think that's a challenge right now, because Josh Scott struggles to score over length. It's going to be a totally different game for them than the one they played in Colorado. They're going to have a false sense of security – their players, not Tad – but right now their players are thinking, 'We've got a good chance.' I think Arizona comes out and rocks them tomorrow, I really do."
However, Scott did score 26 points against Arizona's front line of Kaleb Tarczewski, Ryan Anderson and Dusan Ristic in the CU victory earlier this year. He went 10-of-18 from the floor, adding nine boards and three blocks.
[Related video: Colorado's Josh Scott: 'Sometimes, you've got to sacrifice to win']
The good news: Colorado's front line will be well rested Thursday, as none of Scott, forward Wesley Gordon or bench big Tory Miller played more than 26 minutes against the Cougars. Scott closed with a quiet six points and five rebounds, but he added five assists.
Despite the meager box statistics, the Buffaloes outscored WSU by 23 points with Scott on the court, best of any Colorado players.
“To me, Josh Scott was so good for us tonight because he played so unselfishly," Boyle said. "He could have had nine or 10 assists because we missed some jumpshots off the inside-out. We played through him, he demands so much attention, he makes life so much easier for all these guys. That's what I love about this team. We can hurt you in so many ways."
For Colorado, the hope is that can continue for at least another 40 minutes.
"Now it's time to rejoice. It's on to Arizona. We know what awaits us tomorrow," Boyle said.