|From the opening tip, this one was a surprising struggle. From: 9news|
No one was immune, even the normally reliable Josh Scott. While he would go on to put up a solid 20/6, he wasn't really initiating anything on either end through the first 25 minutes, or so, and was getting abused on the boards. Everyone has off nights, and he's certainly entitled to one every once in a while (20/6 is a pretty nice 'off' night), but I don't think it's an accident that the Buffs slumped early while their undeniable leader was busy reaching to find his fastball. Who did spark Colorado, however, was Josh's front court mate Wes Gordon. With CU down about 10 early in the second half, Wes started to get into it, blocking shots like he had a cheat code (seven for the game), and putting in the effort defensively. He kick-started the Buffs, who suddenly hit the gas on both ends. Wes' defense paired well with some nice attacks off the bounce from Josh Fortune (who finished with 17 points on 12 shots) to first earn a lead, then grow it. Before you knew it, Colorado was up 10 themselves, and the game's momentum had flipped for good.
|Wes' block party sparked the Buffs. From: the Ralphie Report.|
The first thing you should know about Hampton is that they are miles ahead of where the Colonels are (not hard). A conference champion from a year ago, the Pirates are 4-4 on the year, and have actually beaten a few DI opponents (although, no one of note). If CU comes out like they did Friday night, they could very well get beat on their own floor in a game that, on paper, they should dominate. There is a danger here, with head coach Edward Joyner, Jr's bunch, and one the team would be well advised to heed.
|Reggie Johnson leads the Pirates into Boulder. From: the Sporting News|
One limitation for both, and something that really jumps off the stat sheet for the team as a whole, is that they are not particularly strong outside shooters. All told, Hampton only scores about 26% of their points from deep (mid-200s nationally), and only hit about 31% of all attempts beyond the arc. Instead, they use Johnson to spark and facilitate off the top, making him the kind of presence at the top that could really push CU. Collier will have his hands full taking him out of the game, hopefully without fouling.
|Chievous is the kind of play unafraid of scrapping it up on the floor. From: DailyPress.com|
Up front, Jervon Pressley and Dionte Adams are big bodies posting some nice block rates this season. Pressley, the senior starter from Charlotte is especially worrisome, as he also does a good job helping Chievous out on the offensive glass. Not necessarily a scoring threat, however, meaning the Buffs really need to focus more on defending the perimeter and limiting dribble-drive. If they can do that, then defense inside will take care of itself.
|Pressley can be a force in the paint. From: USA Today.|
Tip-off from the Coors Events Center is set for 7pm tonight. It's another Alumni Band performance, so look to the south stands to catch a glimpse of yours truly vainly attempting to remember the fingerings to the fight song. For those of you unable to make it up to Boulder, televised coverage can be found on Pac-12 Networks, with the radio call on AM 760.
GO BUFFS! PROVE ME RIGHT, AND BEAT THE PIRATES!