Tad Boyle, CU basketball waiting patiently for 2020-21 season plan

Michael Brian/For
CU-Boulder head basketball coach Tad Boyle shouts at the referees after an early call for CSU Friday evening Dec. 13, 2019 at Moby Arena in Fort Collins. The Ram’s made a second-half comeback but fell to the visiting Buffs 56-48. (Michael Brian/For the Reporter-Herald)

Certainly Tad Boyle is excited about the prospects of the Pac-12 Conference backing off its Jan. 1 re-start date for men’s and women’s basketball.

Yet until speculation becomes reality, Boyle plans to approach the fall the same way he has dealt with his sport’s uncertainty since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic robbed the Buffaloes of a likely NCAA Tournament appearance in March: One day at a time.

This past week, CBS Sports reported the NCAA is considering three separate delayed-start dates for the college basketball season. Likewise, the San Jose Mercury News reported the Pac-12 is at least mulling the idea of pulling back from the delay in athletic competition, at least for basketball.

Boyle and his fellow basketball coaches around the league were blindsided by the Pac-12’s Aug. 11 decision to postpone all athletic competition until Jan. 1. But Boyle also traveled to Las Vegas in March for the Pac-12 believing his team would return to the NCAA Tournament a week later. If the past five months have taught CU’s 11th-year head coach anything, it’s that making assumptions about what the world might look like even just a few weeks down the road is a foolish practice.

“My whole thing with this whole situation is that I’m going to wait and see,” Boyle said. “I’m going to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. That’s what I talk about all the time with our players, and that’s how I have to approach it as a coach.

“We’re hoping that we can play college basketball. I think any coach and any player would rather do it sooner than later. But we also have to prepare for the fact it may not happen until January first. I’m just getting up each day and doing what I can do to get our program better and move forward.”

For now, the team’s routine isn’t too much different than what it normally would be one week into the fall semester. The CU coaching staff is allowed eight hours with the team, which typically have been evenly divided between the weight room and on-court workouts. Because even best-case scenarios include a delayed start to the season, Boyle did say the club might start leaning a little more heavily into the weight room workouts in the near future.

Until further direction, it almost is business as usual for the Buffs, except that the team still is working out in its smaller functional groups instead of as a full squad. Dan Gavitt, the NCAA’s senior vice president of basketball, has targeted mid-September as to when a plan will be formalized for the start of the 2020-21 college basketball season.

“We’re kind of where we’d normally be at this time of year,” Boyle said. “The only difference might be is we’d be lifting weights as an entire team without COVID. The shooting and workouts we’d do as a team if it wasn’t for COVID. But now we’re doing them in functional groups rather than as a team. That’s really the only difference.

“We’re just operating in a little different fashion with the functional groups where we’d normally be together all as a group.”