It was obvious from the start that there would be no repeat of the first half implosion against Notre Dame. The Buffs came out firing from the tip playing aggressive, physical basketball. Overall, they looked comfortable again, like themselves. This was the Buffaloes as envisioned in my team preview -- veteran, versatile, and capable. By the end of the first minute of play, they had already forced two missed shots and claimed three rebounds, and would only go on from there. CU was up nine at half, and easily parried away a counter by the Longhorns late in the second. Game-set-match, moving on to the next one.
|No easy baskets given to Texas, #TadBall was back! From: USA Today|
Elsewhere, We saw George King follow-up on a decent 17/13 performance against Notre Dame with a second-straight double-double (12/13) against the Longhorns. This is the kind of effort on the boards we saw from George as a freshman, and that was absent last season as a redshirt sophomore. He was fearless in the paint, going toe-to-toe with taller, bulkier forwards like Texas' Shaq Cleare. King would battle for position, deny the entry, then recover for a good box out and a strong leap for the ball. I won't go so far as to say he looked like Andre Roberson this week, but George certainly looked like the kind of aggressive forward the Buffs need to clean up loose possessions. There was desire in his pursuit on the glass in Brooklyn, which hopefully will translate to continued rebounding success the rest of this season.
Ultimately, I look at the Legends Classic as a job well done. CU won three of the four quarters played, learned a big lesson against the Irish, and got a solid win against a developing Texas team. While I would've preferred a clean slate, I look at 4-1 with few complaints.
Up next for the Buffs is a visit for old friends Wofford. You may remember the Terriers from a few years back, when they helped Colorado inaugurate the 2012-13 season with a 74-59 result in the Coors Events Center. While no one who saw the court that November night is still with the program, I feel as if I'm seeing familiar faces with Wofford on the schedule. Kudos to Coach Boyle for bringing them back.
|Young and his Terriers are back in Boulder. From: the Herald Online|
Young preaches a measured defensive style predicated on leveraging possession length and getting stops. To call them glacial would demean the architects of the last ice age -- Wofford gets just 66 possessions per game, and looks to force possessions in excess of 20 seconds in length. It's the same on the offensive end, where they are have been, routinely, one of the 50 slowest teams in the country over the years. They will look for a great shot, not just a good one, and rarely break out of a snail's pace. While they will occasional get out in transition (19% of shots w/in 10 seconds of possession change, about the same as CU), once into their set, they could be there a while.
The Terriers are led by sophomore guard Fletcher Magee. The 6-4 wing from Orlando is an expert shooter who hit 94% of his free throws and 48% of his threes as a freshman. It was enough to earn him the Mid-Major Freshman of the Year honors. While he has yet to get back on his blistering three-point pace of a year ago, he's still deadly if left open (shooting nearly 57% of all shots from deep), and the team's leading scorer at over 15/game. Colorado would do well to lock him down on Sunday.
|Magee is the Terriers' best. From: WFSB|
Ultimately, though, I doubt any of them will be enough to push the Buffs too close to the brink. While not a pushover, Wofford shouldn't be within 15 at the final buzzer. Loftier goals remain on the horizon, no time for hiccups here -- Buffs need to roll.
Tip-off from the Coors Events Center is set for high noon Sunday. It's also the first of a handful of Alumni Basketball Band performances scheduled for this year, so look over to the band for a glimpse of yours truly laying down the phat beatz. Coverage for those not in attendance can be found on Pac-12 Networks, with the radio call on 760 AM.
GO BUFFS! PROVE ME RIGHT, AND BEAT THE TERRIERS!