The big story against the Pilots was the play of Colorado's trio of scoring wings: Tre'Shaun Fletcher, Josh Fortune, and George King. Most of the headlines last week went to King, who filled it up against Iowa State and Auburn, but, while he still put up a game-high 18, George wasn't quite the effusive shooter and scorer he had been on the road trip (only 5-12 shooting, 1-4 from deep). But, while King was having an 'off' night (I could do with 28 more of those 'off' nights from him), Fortune and Fletcher were picking up the slack. Tre almost pulled a 'Spencer,' only missing two shots on the night (one three pointer and one free throw attempt) to put up a pure 17 points in 20 minutes of action, while Josh was busy stuffing every inch of the stat sheet. The transfer from Providence had the first big night of his CU career with a 17/14/6/3/1 effort (I guess I never realized he could rebound like that). Combined, the three wings put up 47 of the Buffs' 85 points, fueling the rout.
|Fortune and the wings powered the Buffs on Friday. From: the BDC.|
I am a little concerned, however, with the continuing struggles from the point guard slot. Dom Collier started, but couldn't defend without fouling, and spent most of the game's key minutes on the bench. Xavier Talton was the first to spell him, and did hand out four assists in 18 minutes, but eventually saw freshman Akyazili Thomas take what appeared to be his second-string opportunities. The Belgian import actually ended up playing the most minutes (24) of any of the three, and I'm not sure if that was an indication that he had leapfrogged Talton for the backup role, or if it was just a product of the coaching staff simply wanting to give him more PT in an easy non-conference spot. Regardless, Colorado is going to have to get something consistent from this group if they hope to maximize production this winter. Right now, just as expected, point guard play is the biggest single question mark on the court.
|Akyazili is getting a lot of minutes early as the point guard position remains unsettled. From: the BDC|
If you haven't heard of the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks before, you aren't alone. I wasn't even aware that they were Division-1 before the schedule was announced over the summer. Part of the oversight might be because they weren't D-1 prior to a few years ago. They started the transition process in 2011, and are only just this season becoming full-fledged members of the collegiate top-flight (eligible for post-season play). A part of the Summit Conference, they are one of the smaller members of a really small league... on paper, at least, that makes them a solid step down in competition from even Portland.
|The Mavs are new to D-1 play. From: Omaha.com|
Head coach Derrin Hansen has been running the program for the past decade, but transition to full D-1 status will be quite the challenge. With a new arena and six newcomers, however, he hopes to put a good foot forward quickly. Their best player, though, is a returner, sophomore forward Tre'Shawn Thurman. A versatile four, Thurman puts up good numbers on both ends of the court (14/8 averages through three games this season). At the point is another holdover, senior Devin Patterson. He has been struggling so far, though, with 10 turnovers and an offensive rating in the low 70s. Rounding out the players to keep an eye on is forward Jake White. The senior started his career at Wichita State, and has been playing efficient offensive basketball to start the season. None of the three - or really anyone on their roster - should cause too much concern for the Buffs, however.
|Thurman is the best on a roster light on talent. From: Omaha.com|
Tip-off from the Coors Events Center is set for 12pm this afternoon. Coverage can be found on Pac-12 Networks, with the radio call moved to 760 AM on a Broncos Sunday.
GO BUFFS! PROVE ME RIGHT, AND BEAT THE MAVERICKS!