Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My Massive Basketball Preview

Color me unsurprised to hear the skeptical outside previews of the Colorado Buffaloes Men's Basketball team. Hell, I'm surprised the Big XII coaches didn't pick us last out of force of habit. It's Colorado Basketball, why should anyone expect anymore out of the program than a .500 record and a shot at the NIT? The outside perception of the program is dogshit; I shouldn't expect anything else. In the 13 years since Chauncey Billups set the CEC on fire the team has made 1 other trip to the big dance. In essence the program has given outsiders no reason to expect better than what we have been. The only way to turn around this perception of a loser program with some surprising, but ultimately meaningless, talent is to have the season that I expect them to have.

 (It's basketball time!  From: The BDC)

I expect this team to win 20 games; hell, prior to the Shane Harris-Tunks injury I thought they could win more than that, but let's set that as the season's benchmark.

Throughout this preview I'll break down not only the players, but the games they will play and the conference they will leave after this season. It's really 3 columns rolled into 1!  If you care, even a bit, about CU basketball: stay tuned. If not: you're no longer my friend :-)


(Hey!  A new feature!  This post is soooooo long, that I've included a "jump break" for the first time.  Click below for more ramblings...)





--

THE TEAM

I trust 3 things in basketball: guard play, free throw shooting, and rebounding. This team knows it has 2 of those 3, and Tad Boyle was brought in to help the 3rd. Corey Higgins and Alec Burks are the best guard combo in the conference, and the addition of Shannon Sharpe should make the back-court one of the most exciting in the nation. Scoring, athleticism, chance creation, shooting, rebounding, defense: the three combine to not only fill every prerequisite to winning, but the score sheet as well. Were this team a mid-major darling (Like let's say Wichita State or Southern Illinois) Dickie V would be jizzing his pants over this guard trio. As it is, they get some nice mentions with some knowing looks, as if to say "Yeah, they're kind-of-good, but their jerseys say 'Colorado' on the front; how good are they really?" Let me tell you: they're real good, and any coach worth his salt would jump over a table to get them.

The rest of the team... well, they are certainly feisty. Look, we all know what this team is about. If Burks and Higgins play to their potential, the Buffs can beat any team in the country. If they struggle, the Buffs can get blown out by a team or two. This team is top-to-bottom more talented than any since the 2002-03 team that I fell in love with my freshmen year, but that doesn't mean it's without its faults. We lost some good senior leadership and production in Dwight Thorne, but for the most part, sans the Shane Haris-Tunks injury, the team is intact from last year.

Post play will be an issue, and I'm interested to see how quickly the team adapts to the new style under new head coach Tad Boyle. Guard play will be the teams strength, and I wouldn't be surprised to see 5 guard sets from time to time in attempt to run-and-shoot the opponent to death. This team certainly has the potential to score a bunch, but will they be able to defend and rebound enough to reward Coach Boyle?

-Guards
 

11 - Corey Higgins - Sr, 6-5, 180 from Danville, CA.

  • Corey Higgins is the rock, the mainstay of the CU Men's basketball team. He's started every game in his career, and is good for 30+ minutes and near 20 points a night. The slick-skilled 2 guard from Danville, California is the Buffs most polished player, and his consistency is what makes him impressive. Growing up in a basketball family, and surrounded by basketball greatness (he practices with Michael Jordan in the off-season) has certainly lent Corey the polish that many College players lack. I sometimes forget how fast Corey is, he just sort of springs into the lane with ease, taking some defenders off guard. Things come easy for him, and his experience with levels of basketball most will never attain gives him a perspective on game action that is of no doubt beneficial. Semi-quietly Corey has amassed some pretty stellar numbers in a Buffalo uniform. He's 9th on the all-time CU scoring list, and has a decent shot to break Richard Roby's all-time mark. Additionally, he's the conference leader in steals per game, and he's one of the best free-throw shooters in the conference. He is a complete package.
10 - Alec Burks - So, 6-6, 195 from Grandview, MO.

  • The story of the 2010-11 CU Buffaloes might end up being the story of this outstanding sophomore from the Show-Me State. He can score in the lane, rebound, dunk, pass, create both on and off the ball, and even defend a little bit. He can do almost everything (although most draft experts agree that he should focus on improving his shooting ability). My favorite part of his game is his ability to hang in the air for that extra half-second should he miss-time a jump; he's got incredible hang-time. Al is coming off of probably the most impressive season a freshman has ever had in Boulder. Seemingly coming out of nowhere (he was so lightly recruited that we could land him) Burks set the CU record books on fire by becoming the first freshman to ever score more than 500 points in a season. Additionally, while earning numerous Big XII and National honors for his performance, he lead the team in rebounding (as a guard no less) and came second to Higgins in scoring, minutes and a handful of other categories. He had top line splits of 17/5/1. 14 times he cracked 18 points, and only missed one game. His versatility on the offensive side of the ball, while turning CU into a post-season contender, has also garnered him lottery pick gossip. NBAdraft.net has Alec as their #1 sophomore and has him currently going in the top 8 picks next April. He's is the most exciting player to wear Black and Gold since Chauncey Billups, and the hopes of the future of the program rest on his shoulders, even if, like Chauncey, he goes pro after only 2 years in Boulder.
2 - Shannon Sharpe - RFr, 6-1, 200 from Corona, CA.
  • I haven't been this excited to see a CU freshman since I heard about Richard Roby tearing up preseason practices in 2004. Just check out this video of him and his friends messing around in a dunk contest:

    That's just incredible explosion out of a 6 foot guard, and his dunking ability reminds me of the Celtic's Nate Robinson (although Nate is much shorter). He's also got some good size that should help him survive his first, and only, Big XII season (Not that he's going pro... it's the whole Pac-12 thing). He's also apparently an intense on-ball defender. Unfortunately, that explosion that serves his game so well also cost him a year. Within the first 5 minutes of last season's opening practice Sharpe messed up his knee, and was subsequently lost for the year, during a dunk attempt. So far word is that he hasn't lost any of his speed, first-step, or explosiveness, but I expect it will take some time for his to get back to full speed. While I don't think he'll be the starting point guard to begin the season, I wouldn't be surprised to see him take the job over come Big XII play. His defense and fast-break potential is better than Nate Tomlinson's, and those are attributes that will be emphasized in Boyle's fast-break offense. While I am expecting an adjustment period, he should provide a spark.
1 - Nate Tomlinson - Jr, 6-3, 190 from Sydney, Australia.

  • Nate's an interesting case. Many people bemoan his appearance on the court, yet I just can't get enough of him. Yes, costly turnovers down the stretch cost the Buffs a few games last year, but, as I pointed out in February, he makes the team better when he's on the court. People complaining about his turnovers need to realize that he's just now entering his Junior year, and those numbers should drop. Even still he had more than 2 to 1 assist to turnover ratio (130 to 64) last season, which isn't too bad...  I worry that in a new offense focused on speed and defense Nate might be left behind by the faster Sharpe. However, you can't keep a lights-out shooter on the bench for long, and Tomlinson makes over 50% of his 3's (!!!!!!!!). How can you leave that kind of shooter on the bench late in a game? With opponents probably double-teaming Higgins and Burks all year, I'd be interested to see if his open looks increase... I'd hate to see him marginalized, because I think he can be a hell of a player.
24 - Levi Knutson - Sr, 6-4, 200 from Littelton, CO.

  • Oh, Levi. I keep hearing that he's a really good ballplayer, yet all I see is a kid struggling with the game. To be sure, he's improved by leaps and bounds over the past few years, and he has been saddled with some painful hip injuries, but he just wasn't a consistent enough shooter to perform in Bzdelik's offense (last year he only shot 39%). A couple of years a go I would've sworn on my mother's life that he missed every mid-range shot he took in Big XII play. However, Levi is versatile, and he plays extremely hard on defense. Considering Boyle's emphasis on defense, that may be enough to keep him on the court. In addition, he showed last year that his hip injury has faded and that he can knock down some big shots (Oklahoma St. and Kansas games). He's also seems comfortable defending taller players, which will be imperative with the loss of Harris-Tunks. Reporters love to talk about his hustle.
21 - Andre Roberson - Fr, 6-7, 195 from San Antonio, TX.
  • He's an interesting young Texas product who essentially replaces Keegan Hornbuckle, who transferred. He's got good size for a guard, and I wouldn't be surprised if he starts playing swing forward at some point; we may end up relying on his size in the paint. Maybe the last CU basketball recruit out of Texas?
14 - Javon Coney - Sr, 6-3, 210 from Chicago, IL.
  • Javon is the modern day version of Preston Slaughter and Billy Boydock. No offense to the kid, but he's just not a Big XII player, and has turned into our victory cigar. If he sees too much playing time, we've got problems. Sometimes shoots one-handed.
23 - Sabatino Chen - Jr, 6-3, 180 from Louisville, CO.
  • Sabatino is a transfer from DU, and will sit out this year and have two years of eligibility remaining. He was recruited by Coach Boyle when Boyle was at UNC, but ultimately chose DU. He didn't see too much playing time during his two years there, but did show he can shoot free throws well and jump out of the building. He sounds like a well-rounded player that needs a different look, and maybe we can provide him that opportunity. He was born in Boulder, and it's always nice to see local products on the roster.
30 - Carlon Brown - RSr, 6-5, 215 from Riverside, CA.
  • After 3 years as a team leader at Utah he's transferring to CU because of reduced playing time as a junior. Carlon will get a chance to face his old team in 2011-12 as he will sit out this year due to transfer rules. He's an explosive guard who should stunt the pain of losing Higgins and (probably) Burks. Carlon is a finisher and will provide instant offense when he eventually sees the court. I'm excited to see him next year.
-Forwards/Centers

5 - Marcus Relphorde - Sr, 6-7, 220 from Chicago, IL

  • Marcus will be an important cog this year. His size and versatility make him vital to the Buffs success. After having seen 6 coaches in 5 years, I was impressed at how quickly he became a big player in the Buffs attack. He was an 11/4/2 guy last year, and I think he could bump that up to 14/5/2 this season. His double-double against KU last year was one of the more impressive performances of the year; he killed a bigger/stronger KU team on the boards, and CU needs more efforts like that to win 20+ games this year. He disappeared a little bit in the Big XII tournament game against Texas Tech, but, again, that was his first year at this level, and I still expect him to improve over last year. Marcus was the team leader in # of 3 pointers last season (34), and should get plenty of kick-out looks this season to replicate that number.
33 - Austin Dufault - Jr, 6-9, 225 from Kildeer, ND

  • The book on Austin Dufault includes a massive notation next to foul trouble. He simply takes way too many cheap fouls. This comes from the fact that he often plays out of position against taller, stronger, and more experienced forwards. A further year of practice and playing time should see a drop in this problem area. He simply can't keep getting into early foul trouble with HT out for the year. He's money with a 15-foot set shot, but I don't know how many of those looks he'll get this year. The hyper-Princeton offense that Bzdelik ran gave him plenty of opportunities to knock down shots that he may not see under Boyle. He's had problems with finishing at the rim, and aggressive defenders make him look foolish when he tries to finish in the paint. 8/3/1 is just not a good enough line from someone who starts every game. However, he is still growing, and any basketball fan will tell you big guys take time to develop. If he can kick those numbers up to 10/5/1, CU would be much better for it. I'd also love to see him get angry and start finishing stronger at the rim.
55 - Trey Eckloff - Jr, 6-10, 235 from Englewood, CO
  • His influence on our style of play may end up being extreme when compared to his skill level. Trey is still developing, but with the loss of HT, he will be the one asked to step up the most. Austin was always going to see a lot of the floor, but Trey just received an extra 15 minutes a game because of HT's injury. Can he play near 20 minutes per night in the Big XII and be effective? Well we'll just have to wait and see.
32 - Ben Mills - Fr, 7-0, 215 from Hartland, WI
  • Well, he's tall. Only the 3rd 7-footer in CU history, Mills is probably too underweight to make an immediate impact; but, that's alright. Big men usually take time to develop, and I expect nothing else from the career path of Mills. He may get important minutes simply because of our paucity of available low post players, but, for the most part, I think we'd do best to take it slow with him. Averaged 17/11 in high school, but that's not that surprising from a 7-footer in high school. In the State playoffs he moved his line to 20/10 which is nice to see. I'm very interested to see him develop over the next 4 years.
35 - Hassan Safieddine - RSo, 6-7, 210 from Denver, CO
  • He's another transfer player who will sit out this year due to transfer rules. Comes from Flagler college in Florida... and that's about all I know about him... says here he likes music and traveling, so he's got that going for him.
15 - Shane Harris-Tunks - So, 6-11, 250 from Liverpool, Australia
  • Damn, I wanted to see him play this year. You could tell that he was getting more and more comfortable towards the end of last season. All reports from early in training camp indicated that he had added muscle and was really impressing Boyle and his staff. Such a damn shame that he went down with an ACL tear the same week that he was getting all of this positive press. Hopefully he's able to come back strong and healthy next year, but, for the time being, his absence will cause some painful matchup problems. (Hey, injuries are a part of sports, and good teams find a way to play over them.) You can't teach size, and HT had also shown some enticing court awareness in his first season. He had a willingness to run the floor, and, while still adjusting to the American game, had proven to be a difficult defensive matchup at times. 
-Head Coach

Tad Boyle - 47 years old, from Greeley, CO, graduated from Kansas



  • When Mike Bohn needed a replacement for largely successful former head coach Jeff Bzdelik, he turned his eyes north to Greeley and his college buddy Tad Boyle. I don't bring up their personal relationship as a negative, in fact having the AD and head coach on the same page is a good thing. Tad comes from UNC where he essentially built the current version of the Bears program from scratch. In his first year in Greeley, the local high school product led the Bears to a 4-24 record. 4 years later they were finishing 25-8 and second in the Big Sky conference. They were in the midst of transitioning from Division 2 to Division 1 status when Boyle took over, and he quickly made them a winner. Boyle insists that coaching CU basketball is his "dream job," which , while noble, is most likely bullshit. However, since I'm dedicated to the program, I'll happily lap up that bullshit while he's here. His coaching roots are built around the coaching tree of Wichita State's Mark Turgeon, who is very well respected around basketball circles. He has high level basketball playing experience, having been a member of the Kansas Jayhawk basketball program from 1981-5; this means he learned the game under Larry Brown, who is one of the best basketball minds in the country. He preaches a fast, defensive style of basketball; I think this will work well as we can utilize our current athleticism to gas opponents at altitude. When we go to sea-level, however... Hey, defense and rebounding wins championships, so I certainly don't have any problem with this style, but I do expect a rough transitioning patch while the gears are shifted from the more methodical Princeton offense and zone defense combo. He has built his staff with some familiar Colorado names: Assistant Coach Tom Abatemarco, who was here before, having coached under Joe Harrington, and Rodney Billups ("You-Know-Who's" brother). If the goal was to find a group of people who care about basketball in the State of Colorado, then we've succeeded. I expect good things from Boyle; he has a good player foundation left over from Bzdelik, and institutional support that predecessors like Ricardo Patton never had.  I like the style he runs; his UNC team apparently whipped the young Buffaloes around in a closed door scrimmage prior to last season, so you know his scheme can be effective against bigger, faster opponents.   I think this is the right hire for the program; combine that with the new practice facility currently being built and the future is very bright for the often dull basketball program.
--
THE SCHEDULE

Boyle has been blessed with a relatively easy non-conference schedule to work out the transition kinks before the Big XII beast rears its head for the final time.  Basketball schedules can be a grab bag; with so many teams looking for games (300+ in division 1) you're going to play some weird teams, but this season is lamer than most.  Basketball powerhouses like Alcorn St, Texas-Pan American, Longwood and Western New Mexico will be haunting the CEC over the next 2 months.  Yuck!  In addition to being light-sellers at the box office, wins against these teams aren't likely to help our RPI should we end up on the bubble come March...

Kenpom.com, a basketball geek's orgasmic paradise, has us going 13-1 in non-con (they don't have the second Las Vegas game), but only 6-10 in conference.  Is 19-11 without that Las Vegas game (either Indiana or Northern Iowa), and before  the Big XII tourney, enough to get us into the dance?  Not even close with this non-con schedule.  We're going to need to out perform our statistical projections to get into the Tourney, plain and simple.

Non-Conference Schedule

11/12 - Idaho State - Boulder, Colorado
11/16 - Georgia - Athens, Georgia
11/20 - San Francisco - San Francisco, California
11/23 - Alcorn State - Boulder, Colorado
11/28 - Harvard - Cambridge, Massachusetts
11/30 - Texas-Pan American - Boulder, Colorado
12/4 - Oregon State - Boulder, Colorado
12/8 - Colroado State - Boulder, Colorado
12/17 - The Citadel - Boulder, Colorado
12/19 - Longwood - Boulder, Colorado
12/22 - New Mexico - Las Vegas, Nevada
12/23 - Indiana or Northern Iowa - Las Vegas, Nevada
12/29 - Maryland Eastern Shore - Boulder, Colorado
1/2 - Cal State Bakersfield - Bakersfield, California
1/5 - Western New Mexico - Boulder, Colorado

That's a lot of weak opponents.  Assuming the empty Coors monster doesn't bite us at some point, I just can't see us losing a home game other than Oregon State, and even that should be a relatively easy victory.  On the road, games like the trips to the Dons of San Francisco and HAAAAHHVAHHHD could be tricky, but we should still be able to handle them; the Georgia game is probably a loss since it comes so early in the year.  In all reality, the Las Vegas Tournament is the only part of the non-conference schedule that we should struggle with.  Say 1-1 there with a loss to Georgia, and CU should go into Big XII play with a respectable record of 13-2.  With a random loss or 0-2 Vegas trip thrown in and it's 12-3.  Any worse than that and the season has NIT stamped all over it.


Conference Schedule

1/8 - Missouri - Boulder, Colorado
1/12 - Kansas State - Manhattan, Kansas
1/15 - Oklahoma State - Boulder, Colorado
1/18 - Nebraska - Lincoln, Nebraska
1/22 - Oklahoma - Norman, Oklahoma
1/25 - Kansas - Boulder, Colorado
1/29 - Baylor - Waco, Texas
2/1 - Iowa State - Boulder, Colorado
2/5 - Missouri - Columbia, Missouri
2/9 - Texas A&M - Boulder, Colorado
2/12 - Kansas State - Boulder, Colorado
2/19 - Kansas - Lawrence, Kansas
2/23 - Texas Tech - Lubbock, Texas
2/26 - Texas - Boulder, Colorado
3/2 - Iowa State - Ames, Iowa
3/5 - Nebraska - Boulder, Colorado
3/9 - Big XII Basketball Tournament - Kansas City, Missouri

Woof.  Unlike football, the Big XII North is not only competitive but downright dangerous.  Having to play Kansas, K-State, and Missouri twice is damn near criminal.  K-State may indeed be overrated but they are non-the-less a talented and, above all, physical team; Kansas is always Kansas; Missouri is damn tough, especially for us.  At least we get ISU and the Huskers home-and-home.  Combine with South trips to Norman, Waco, and Lubbock and this schedule is a beast.

With the loss of HT 9 wins is the maximum.  Taking for granted 4 wins from ISU and NU, add in home victories against Oklahoma State and an upset of Texas (no givens), and you got 6 wins as a baseline.  I've always thought Jeff Caple at OU was an abysmal coach who couldn't diagram his way out of a paper bag.  With Bzdelik at the helm, I'd have chalked this up as an automatic win, but, with the change to Boyle, I'm not so sure; for now I'll slide it into the win column for old times "Cable Sucks!" sake.  Say we steal one against the Big 3 North teams or finish off A&M at home (yeesh), and you've got 8 conference wins, barely.  I think we can do that....

Overall, we're looking at 20-11 heading to KC for the Big XII Tournament.  Should we win a game there, I'd say that's good enough for the dance. However, the margin of error is razor thin.  We can't pull a Ricardo Patton and drop a game at home in December against a weak opponent.  In conference play, we can't drop to Nebraska or Iowa State; the rest of the conference is just too good.


--
THE BIG XII CONFERENCE


The Big XII has, quietly, become a basketball conference.  Unlike football, where UT and OU dominate things, the league is often filled with parity as 11 schools have received tourney bids in the last 10 years (Fuck you Nebraska).  It is often the top-rated RPI conference, and is damn tough to get through.  Expect the conference champion to get a #1 seed, because anyone who gets through this league deserves it.

The following is my quick break-down of the 11 non-Colorado teams in the conference:

Iowa State
  • This team will struggle this year.  Former ISU great Fred Hoiberg has returned to his alma mater to try and drag the Cyclones back to prominence.  Gone is former stud post player Craig Brackens who now plies his trade for the New Orleans Hornets.   When fired up, Hilton Coliseum is a damn tough place to play, and more than a few good CU teams have fallen there.  The Cyclones recently lost Royce White to ineligibility, who was a promising, young transfer.  We need to take both games from this team.
Kansas 
  • As always, KU is damn tough.  While Frankenstein-Cole Aldrich and Xavier Henry are gone, the team is still loaded.  Bill Self's Jayhawks are always strong with their high low motion, and Allen Fieldhouse is, of course, the arena that CU hasn't won in since before I was born (they almost changed that 2 years ago).  The Morris twins are back, and they'll cause enough problems by themselves to probably grab 2 wins from the Buffs.  They're my pick to win the conference, and I expect them to go deep in the tournament.
K-State
  • Everyone is riding high on the Wildcats.  Frank Martin has built something special, and Jacob Pullen is back again.  But I'm not so sure about them.  You bet, they'll win a ton of games, but are they really national title contenders?  They're a brutal team to play, and will slug it out with the best of them, but I'm not sure that's enough to beat good teams on the road.  Even an above-average team (*cough* CU *cough*) could catch them if they hit their free throws.  Come tournament time, they could easily run into a ref crew who won't stand for their bullshit, and key players could find themselves riding the pine leading to an early exit.  They're good, to be sure, but I expect them to finish 3rd (maybe even 4th if Mizzou pans out), and possibly not even make it to the second week of the Tournament.
(You stay angry, Frank)

Missouri
  • Coach Mike Anderson has been a revelation in Columbia.  He preaches a 40-minutes-of-hell style that he learned under former Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson, and it has been very effective, especially against CU.  Kim English is still there as well as flashy Marcus Denmon; they are joined this year by #1 Ju-Co recruit Ricardo Ratliffe.  While you never know what you'll get from  Ju-Co guy, most everyone is positive on his abilities.  Missouri will be tough again this year, and may end up surprising some people by challenging for the conference title.
Nebraska
  • They suck.  Hey, it's Nebraska Basketball; it's what they use to pass the time between football season and plantin' time.   Doc Sadler is fun to watching on the sidelines, however.  His temper is infamously hilarious.
Baylor 
  • I love this stat from the K-State is overrated article: "1,229 points scored in 1,081 possessions; in other words, on each trip down the floor during their conference season, Baylor on average scored 1.14 points."  They are an efficient team, which will just kill you with every possession.  Scott Drew, son of former Valparaiso head coaching legend Homer Drew, has his shit together, and is possibly the best coach in the conference.  Perry Jones III is the latest in the line of talent flooding into Waco, and the program is getting scary good.  LaceDarius Dunn's indefinite suspension for domestic violence is the only thing that could hold this team back.  Even still, they are probably the best team in the State of Texas, and I expect the Bears to go far this year.
Oklahoma 
  • I love to poke fun at Jeff Cable, but he has lured some good talent to Norman.  Unfortunately, for him at least, that talent is mostly on the LA Clippers right now.  The team is relatively young, and after a year of growth could get interesting.  However, this isn't the program it was even 2 years ago, and Caple hasn't found the ability to replace vacating talent like Blake Griffin.  Our trip to Norman should be successful.
(Over-rated. *clap*, *clap*, *clap, clap, clap*)
Oklahoma State
  • Guard James Anderson, and his 22.3 points per game, is now on the San Antonio Spurs, and the Cowboys will have to look elsewhere for his lost production.  Little-Fuck Keiton Page is still there raining 3's, and Marshall Moses is a beast on the block.  Travis Ford is one of my favorite young head coaches out there, and I expect him to really get this program running in the future.  I think they'll have a similar season to that of the Buffs, but they have a stronger non-conference schedule, and it may cost them a trip to the dance.
Texas
  • I always think of Texas as being better than they really are; it's probably residual sentiment from football season.  As much as anybody else in the conference (read: us) the UT fanbase is looking forward to basketball season.  Rick Barnes is well respected in the coaching ranks, but he now has a lot more teams (Baylor, A&M) vying for the top talent in an area he used to be able to dominate.  Forward Jordan Hamilton looks to be a emerging player, and he will have to carry the load.  In the end, I really like our chances to upset them at home this year.
Texas A&M
  • Hey, look, Mark Turgeon!  Coach Tad Boyle's mentor at Wichita State has taken over the Aggie program from Billie Gillespie and won 73 games in 3 years.  Dash Harris and B.J. Holmes look to guide the team from the backcourt, and forward David Loubeau will eat up a ton of defenders on the block.  A solid team, but one I could see making an early exit in March
Texas Tech
  • I've never been a big fan of Pat Knight.  If his father isn't Bobby Fucking Knight, is he running a Big XII-level program right now?  Of course he isn't.  He's also known for having more coaches on his staff than he could possibly know what to do with.  He has, however, surprised me a few times.  Is he finally getting the program going? There are a lot of seniors on this team, and Coach Knight may want to win now, because he'll have a lot of new faces next year.  Forward Mike Singletary is a good player, and may be one of the better swing forwards in the conference.  CU's trip to Lubbock will be a tough game.
(Look at all those coaches!)

Overall, I expect KU to win the league, with Baylor possibly winning the Conference Tourney.  I just don't like K-State as much as the national voters do.  Baylor will make a national name for themselves this year, and Scott Drew will get buckets of money thrown at him from some Big East or Big 10 school to leave after the season.

This is the final year for CU in the Big XII.  Next year the likes of Arizona, UCLA and Washington will be taking over for the likes of KU, K-State and UT.  Honestly, CU should be better able to compete in the Pac-12 as the Big XII is getting really good..  Hopefully, we can make one last statement in the conference before we head west.  Maybe that illusive win in Lawrence?  Hey, a kid can dream..........

--
IN CONCLUSION

This is a very important year for the CU Men's Basketball Program.  With the talent on the team, a year not in the NCAA Tournament is a year of dissapointment.  Yes, the loss of Shane Harris-Tunks hurts the season's prospects, as he was expected to help hold the line against bigger conference foes, but I don't think that him not being on the court cripples the season outlook.  He was still a largely unknown quantity, and I've known tons of players who show promise on the practice courts who can't translate it into gameday performance.  With Alec Burks and Corey Higgins, this team should still win the all important 20 games, and, with an expanded Tourney Field, that may be enough to still get us into the dance.  Alec Burks is the most exciting talent to come through the program in 13 years, and every CU fan should treasure the 17 opportunities to see him play this year.  Hopefully in the future we'll see more talent of his caliber wearing the black and gold, but you never know...

The key will be holding serve in non-conference.  Any stumbles there, and they season might never get off the ground.  It will be key to shock a team, or two, at home.  That is the CU tradition; we may not be the best team in the land, but wait til we get you up at 5,345 of Rocky Mountain High Altitude. This team is battle tested, and explosive, and I expect them to make the leap to respectability this season.










2 comments:

aaron.jordan said...

Luckily I have so much free time at work that I can read novels like this about CU. I am excited for the season, and I agree with pretty much everything you said, do you think there is any real chance we will beat Georgia?

RumblinBuff said...

LOL, yeah it's about 6,000 words or so. I got a little carried away.

Sure we could beat Georgia; SEC basketball isn't that great, and Georgia is no powerhouse program. The only reason I think we lose is that it's on the road and it's the second game under Boyle. Later in the non-con schedule and I'd give us a better chance...