It perhaps was somewhat expected that Dominique Collier would experience his share of ups and downs during his first season as the Colorado Buffaloes' floor general.
While there have been more lulls than head coach Tad Boyle or even Collier would prefer, the sophomore point guard has displayed an impressive knack for shaking off rough patches of play.
With time running out on the 2015-16 schedule, Boyle and the Buffs hope the Collier on display during the recent two-win homestand can remain intact through next week's Pac-12 Conference tournament and beyond.
Boyle praised the inside-out attack that led to a Collier 3-pointer to open the second half Sunday against Arizona State. Collier's other 3-pointer Sunday gave CU its first lead in the opening moments.
"It speaks a lot to his resiliency and his mental toughness," Boyle said. "The one thing we know about playing inside-out, which we're doing a good job of right now, is Josh (Scott), Wes (Gordon) and Tory (Miller), those guys are going to demand attention in the paint when they catch it. And when they're getting double-teamed ... and we kick it back out, we need guys to step up and make shots."
While his shot generally has been steady all season — Collier's 37-for-82 mark from 3-point range (.451) trails only teammate George King among the Pac-12 Conference leaders — Collier has weathered a roller-coaster ride at the point.
The Denver East graduate opened the season with six turnovers in a narrow loss against nationally ranked Iowa State, but it took Collier five games to commit his next six turnovers.
When he endured a midseason stretch of three games without an assist, Collier responded with a seven-game run in which he recorded 26 assists with just seven turnovers. That run included arguably Collier's two most productive games of the season — a career-high 21 points on a 6-of-7 showing from 3-point range at Washington, and a 14-point, three-assist, zero-turnover night in a home win against Cal.
Collier's most recent slide culminated in his only scoreless effort of the season at USC in a game in which he also committed six turnovers. He was out of the starting lineup for the first time all season in the following game at UCLA, yet Collier once again turned it around during the recently completed final homestand of the season.
Collier didn't have a great shooting night (1-for-8) in an upset win against then-No. 9 Arizona, but he turned in one of his better defensive performances of the season with three steals and just one turnover in 22 minutes. In Sunday's win against Arizona State, Collier finished with an efficient line of nine points, five assists and three turnovers in 32 minutes.
"We talked about aggressiveness and confidence offensively, and that's what we need Dom to do — play with aggressiveness, play with confidence," Boyle said. "When he does that, he's pretty good."
CU's wins against Arizona and Arizona State put the Buffs' at No. 28 to begin the week in the NCAA's RPI rankings. Monday's bracketology update from ESPN's Joe Lunardi had the Buffs listed as a No. 8 seed in a first-round matchup against Providence in Raleigh, N.C.
Such a scenario would provide solid storylines, as CU junior Josh Fortune played on an NCAA tournament team for Providence two seasons ago before transferring.