Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Basketball notes with two days to go

That countdown clock over on the right side is starting to get real small.  With the start of basketball essentially upon us, I though it'd be a good time to catch up on some notes that have been bouncing around the last couple of days.


Starting lineup for opening night -

In my season preview, I mentioned that my version of the starting lineup would include freshman Xavier Johnson, but that early season lineups may include senior Sabatino Chen.  That appears to be the case as Chen has been mentioned as a starter in multiple places.

My reaction to this is... well, tepid.  I certainly understand the experience angle, and Coach Boyle is well served by lifting up the team's lone senior in a year where youth will dominate the run of play.  However, I remain unconvinced by stories describing Chen's newly developed outside shot.  The transfer from DU has yet to hit an in-game three for the Buffs, missing all outside shots taken both last season and in the preseason exhibition trip to Europe.  I take pronouncements of improvement as evidence of things not seen. Without that shot, his intangibles are a lot less appealing, especially as a starter. 
But... then again... the hair.
That said, with Johnson untested, and secondary option Jeremy Adams once again starting the season in street clothes (injury issues continue to plague the Mississippi native), Chen may be the only realistic option.  It should serve for Wofford, regardless. 

Here's to hoping that Chen's outside shot really is ready for prime-time, and Coach Boyle has found a second bite at the Levi Knutson senior-explosion apple.


Blindly flinging spaghetti -

Nothing drives me further up a wall that a drawn-up bracket in early November.  Heaven help us, the college basketball landscape is far to complicated to project before a single game is tipped off.  If you want to randomly project conferences, fine, and Kenpom is fun to pour over, but the nature of the RPI system and the chaos of non-conference play renders a November bracket essentially meaningless.

For that reason alone, I barely recognize it when people like Lunardi and Glockner release a completed bracket, down to site and opponent (For the record: Lunardi has CU as the next four out, Glockner has the Buffs in as a 7-seed), this early.  It'd be better to simply release a top-40 teams list; far more valuable when considering who is a potential at-large candidate.  Placing teams into regions right now is an exercise in futility.

At least these brackets are more reasonable than ones drawn up in fucking August (the very definition of a waste of time).  Right now, prognosticators at least have something to base their guesses on: preseason exhibition tours, practices, injury reports... Kenpom


Murals at the CEC -

The Athletic Department has broken out the paint brushes to honor the defending Pac-12 champions.  First came this mural of graduated guard Carlon Brown from the halls leading up to the practice facility:
I think that does a fantastic job of emphasizing the payoff available for all the hard work the team does behind the scenes.  Now comes a mural placed proudly in the CEC depicting the champions at their best:
(From: Brian Howell at the Camera)
Imagine you're a visiting team looking up at a packed-house and that mural as the clock ticks down...

It may not be a subtle script of "Defending Pac-12 Champions" under the mid-court Ralphie logo, as I have wanted, but I think the Athletic Department did a fine job with these murals to celebrate last year's championship run. 

There's still the little matter of the banner unveiling, which is set for Friday night...


Catching up with the Buffs-in-the-NBA -
  • Alec Burks, the 2011 first round pick of the Utah Jazz, continues to ride the pine.  Through four games, he has only seen 11 minutes of play.  According to one source, his lack of playing time the result of a roster crunch, rather than an organizational decision.  At least when watching this video you can still see the old Alec we came to love from 2009-11.  #FreeAlec 
  • Cory Higgins is still clinging to the Charlotte Bobcats roster, but has only seen four minutes of play in the early going.
  • The best story continues to be Chris Copeland, who snuck onto the final New York Knicks roster, and has become a solid bench warrior.  He's appeared in each game on the season, and has seven points to show for it.  The dude can still score.
I'm getting a kick out of Cope's run in the NBA

Friday can't come soon enough!


Claroofus Jones said...

It is ON! Let's clear up any confusion that may linger. Chen can't shoot - he can barely play. I think Boyle will play experienced guys even to the detriment of the team, at least until about December 28th or so.

Levi is the all time leading schoolboy scorer in Colorado. Chen is a very bright student athlete who can only play a little bit. So he has no chance of filling Levi's shoes as a Colorado-raised player.

RumblinBuff said...

Don't get me wrong, I wasn't trying to say that Sabatino is within sniffing distance of Levi. I was only saying that I hoped he could somehow pull the rabbit out of his hat to have a strong senior campaign.

Levi's explosion his senior year can be chalked up to the injuries which hampered him for most of his career (hip in particular) healed, allowing his game to emerge from storage. Sabatino has had no such excuse to allow for sudden growth heading into his final campaign.