It's finally here, opening night! GODDAMN OPENING NIGHT! It's like Christmas morning, only better... and with basketball! 2012-13 has arrived, and none too soon. After slogging through a summer and football season that offered little relief, BuffNation will finally have a few moments of honest joy to savor. Tonight is going to be electric.
This game has been a near-as-makes-no-difference sellout for weeks. Imagine that, a November non-conference game against a small school from 1,500 miles away is the hottest ticket of the fall. No one is coming this evening to see the opponent, it's all about the Buffs. As well it should be. Tonight is an opportunity to revel in the return of basketball, to celebrate the championship season of last year, and kick off the new season with a bang.
I'm sure when Wofford coach Mike Young signed up for this game, he wasn't expecting the CEC to be jammed packed with 11,000 hoops-mad Buff fans, but that roiling cauldron is what he's going to get this evening. The underdogs from Wofford are no pushover, however. They're more than some scrub D-2 team, or some bottom feeding RPI 300+ candidate. After claiming back-to-back SoCon championships to start the decade, they are a program with some swagger. Take them lightly at your peril.
Despite fielding 13 underclassmen after years of graduating exodus, they should still be able to compete for the SoCon title once again this season. The key player for the Terriers is 6-1 sophomore guard Karl Cochran. Fresh off the SoCon freshmen of the year award, he's meant to be the lead dog this year. He put up 27% of the team's shots when he was on the court last season, and I expect him to take even more than that tonight. Fellow sophomore Lee Skinner is an interesting forward who grabs a lot of offensive rebounds (13.2%). I'll doubt he'll have much luck in that area tonight, however. They also have a dude on their team named Indiana Faithful. That's awesome.
They favor a very deliberate half-court set, coming in at 324th nationally in adjusted tempo last year, and taking about 62 possessions per game. This is a team who will try to control the pace of the game, and wear the young Buffs into mental mistakes. With an impatient capacity crowd hungry for blood, it'll be up to Coach Boyle and staff to keep the energy controlled, and the team pointed in the right direction.
Even with all the excitement of opening night and a championship banner unveiling, I'm not too concerned about the Buffs running into a wall. Wofford is a team that CU should be able to cruise past at home, and in the process finally bring some joy back to Mudville. A 10-15 point win would be acceptable, more would help salve the wounds left lingering from football season.
C'mon Buffs! Kick some ass, and start the weekend and season off with a bang! The fanbase needs this...
GO BUFFS! BEAT WOFFORD!