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Colorado coach Tad Boyle’s mission to fix college hoops riles up Pac-12 drama

Colorado head coach Tad Boyle was one of the first to speak out.

When an FBI investigation involving fraud in college basketball led to arrests of four assistant coaches, including Arizona Wildcats assistant Book Richardson, Boyle was outspoken and critical of teams’ dirty recruiting practices.

His apparent satisfaction in fighting alleged cheating hasn’t wane, but he’s since added a tinge of accusations citing specific schools.

After Boyle’s Buffaloes beat Arizona on Saturday, the head coach was asked if a win over the Wildcats came with any extra satisfaction due to the investigation.

“Absolutely, absolutely there is. I’ve got great respect for Sean Miller and the kind of coach he is. They recruit very, very well. They’ve recruited very, very well, their staff has. USC has recruited very, very well. The two most-talented teams in our (conference) from top to bottom are USC and Arizona. So hell yes, there’s extra satisfaction.

“To answer your question: Hell, yes.”

That didn’t sit well with USC’s coach Andy Enfield, whose assistant Tony Bland was arrested in the wake of the FBI case and whose best player, De’Anthony Melton, will miss the entire season as an investigation takes place.

Not only did Enfield read a prepared statement expressing “disappointment” in Boyle for implying USC’s guilt before the Trojans played the Buffs on Wednesday:

“We are disappointed in Tad Boyle’s comments and what they imply,” Enfield said Tuesday. “Not only is it unfair for someone to comment who doesn’t have all the facts, but those comments are unfair to those of us involved in the USC men’s basketball program, most importantly to our student-athletes and their families. They’re outstanding young men who chose USC to receive a world-class education and compete for championships.”

Enfield also let Colorado have it with a pointed, late timeout Wednesday with his Trojans leading by double-digits.

“I just had some things to say to my team,” Enfield told the Orange County Register.

Right. The timing of the unnecessary timeout wasn’t missed by Boyle.

“I will say this, that was a very strategic timeout from Andy Enfield and I’m not going to forget about it, and neither will our players,” Boyle told the Buffaloes’ radio broadcast after the game, per the OC Register.

There are two angles to view Wednesday night’s petty war.

For one, the tactic of revenge via timeout is reminiscent of Miller’s use of a late timeout with 0.9 seconds left and the Wildcats holding a double-digit lead on UCLA last year.

From the wider lens, it’s created an interesting storyline for Colorado’s season as it faces USC and Arizona down the line.

The key dates to watch, by the way:

– Jan. 25 at Arizona

– Feb. 21 at home against USC

That’s when we can expect Boyle and the two programs he called out to potentially continue their war of words.

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