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Colorado Buffaloes Game Preview & Open Thread

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The Huskies hope for some home cooking against a struggling Colorado squad.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Date: Wednesday, 1/18/16

Tip-Off Time: 8:00pm PST

TV: ESPNU

Radio: Komo 1000

Line: Washington -2

Colorado Statistics:

Record: 10-8 (0-5)

Points For per Game: 74.3 ppg (134th)

Points Against per Game: 71.1 ppg (136th)

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 107.2 (98th)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 98.5 (74th)

Colorado Key Players:

F- Wesley Gordon, Sr. 6-9, 245: 7.5ppg, 7.9rpg, 1.8apg, 46.5% FG, 66.7% FT, 33.3% 3pt

Gordon doesn’t have a very well-developed offensive game, but he’s great in every other aspect of the game. He’s a very good shot blocker, a fantastic rebounder, and draws fouls at a good rate. Gordon has only attempted three 3-pointers on the season so the percentage from deep is a little misleading.

F- Xavier Johnson, Sr. 6-7, 225: 15.1ppg, 5.7rpg, 0.8apg, 51.1% FG, 67.8% FT, 44.4% 3pt

Johnson isn’t a great passer but otherwise has been incredibly efficient in his senior season for the Buffaloes. He’ll be a matchup problem for the Huskies as a stretch 4 and I expect Dickerson to have problems guarding him on the perimeter. Only about a third of his attempts come from behind the arc so he’ll still go inside a decent amount.

G- George King, Jr. 6-6, 225: 10.9ppg, 7.2rpg, 0.8apg, 44.2% FG, 67.5% FT, 32.9% 3pt

King is incredibly athletic as a wing player for Colorado and is not afraid to grapple for the rebound on either end of the floor. He leads the Buffaloes in attempts from beyond the arc and given that he shoots one of the lowest percentages on the team, the Huskies will live with those shots.

G- Dominique Collier, Jr. 6-2, 190: 6.0ppg, 0.9rpg, 1.6apg, 34.1% FG, 66.7% FT, 41.4% 3pt

Collier missed 9 games in the middle of the season but has come back and taken minutes away from Josh Fortune. Two-thirds of his attempts from the field have been 3-pointers and he’s shooting an unfathomable 20% of 2-pointers albeit in a small sample size. The Dawgs should force him to drive if he gets the ball.

G- Derrick White, Sr. 6-5, 200: 15.7ppg, 3.9rpg, 4.0apg, 49.2% FG, 83% FT, 39.1% 3pt

Derrick White is the poor man’s Markelle Fultz for the Buffaloes. His stats are across the board lower than Fultz’s but he’s still above average in almost every aspect of the game for a point guard. The one area where he’s struggled is turnovers as he’s had 3 or more in half of their games this year. UW needs to force White into mistakes.

The Outlook

Colorado may be the biggest disappointment in the Pac-12 this year. Their win against Xavier was one of the best in the Pac during the non-conference slate and they looked very much like a team ready to earn an at-large bid. But nail-biter losses at Arizona State and home to USC alongside three big losses at Utah, Arizona, and home to UCLA have crushed those dreams. The Buffaloes come to Hec-Ed in dire need of a victory.

Colorado has a veteran team with three seniors and two juniors starting but it hasn’t helped them to this point. On offense, they’re between 160th and 181st nationally in shooting from the free throw line, on 2-pointers, and on 3-pointers. As with all recent Colorado teams though they’re aggressive on the glass and rely on offensive rebounds and drawing fouls to make up for the poor percentages. The Huskies will need to hope for an officiating crew that lets them play to avoid running into depth issues with Malik Dime out.

On defense, the Buffaloes are extremely stingy. They don’t take risks trying to create turnovers but instead reinforce good positioning and staying in front of their man. There will be an extreme mismatch of styles when UW has the ball as Colorado’s opponents are 293rd in average possession length while UW is 14th. The Huskies need to show more patience than they have in the last few games because Colorado isn’t going to break down defensively on only one or two passes.

Two weeks ago, I might have picked Colorado to win this game by double digits but now it’s anyone’s guess. Washington has been competitive in every Pac-12 game except for against Oregon but just haven’t been able to pull one out. Colorado has lost two conference road games by 15 points but against a similar caliber team at Arizona State lost by only one point. I think this is a game where the loss of Malik Dime will really cost UW as they get fouls on Atawe and Dickerson early and Timmins gets regularly beat inside.

Prediction

Washington Huskies- 74, Colorado Buffaloes- 76