Date: Thursday, 2/9/16
Tip-Off Time: 7:00pm PST
Radio: Komo 1000
Record: 13-11 (3-8)
Points For per Game: 73 ppg (186th)
Points Against per Game: 75.7 ppg (105th)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 111.8 (65th)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 103.2 (125th)
Colorado Key Players:
For individual player descriptions, check out what I wrote before the first matchup: here.
F- Wesley Gordon, Sr. 6-9, 245: 7.2ppg, 7.3rpg, 2.0apg, 49.2% FG, 66.7% FT
F- Xavier Johnson, Sr. 6-7, 225: 15.2ppg, 6.1rpg, 1.0apg, 52.2% FG, 65.8% FT, 44.1% 3pt
G- George King, Jr. 6-6, 225: 11.2ppg, 7.0rpg, 0.8apg, 45.1% FG, 66.1% FT, 36.6% 3pt
G- Dominique Collier, Jr. 6-2, 190: 5.9ppg, 0.9rpg, 1.5apg, 29.9% FG, 72.7% FT, 38% 3pt
G- Derrick White, Sr. 6-5, 200: 16.8ppg, 4.1rpg, 4.3apg, 48.5% FG, 83.2% FT, 37.8% 3pt
At the time, the Huskies' overtime win over Colorado at home 85-83 was viewed as a potential turning point in the season. The Dawgs overcame a 15 point halftime deficit on the heels of two failed rallies on the road against Stanford and Cal. Progress, right? Unfortunately, the trend of playing at least one terrible half of basketball continued and the Huskies have now lost 5 in a row. Meanwhile, Colorado has pulled an about face with a 3 game winning streak including an upset over Oregon before a loss at Cal on Sunday.
In the past month, the Buffaloes have looked more like the team we were expecting to see after their solid non-conference schedule. Also, 5 of their last 7 games come at home so expect them to keep climbing in the standings. The Huskies best chance at a W tonight is the fact that two of the leading players for Colorado, Xavier Johnson and Wesley Gordon, were suspended for their last game and their status is up in the air tonight. Coach Boyle said on Tuesday that both players were day-to-day with regards to their suspensions. That's normally a term reserved for nagging injuries rather than suspensions but given the coy response I'm expecting both to play tonight.
Johnson in particular killed the Huskies in their first meeting with 24 points and 11 rebounds. Neither team shot the ball particularly well in that game and the Dawgs predictably were heavily out-rebounded by a physical Colorado team. The difference in the game were the 15 Colorado turnovers and that Markelle Fultz had the best game of his short career. Playing in Boulder is always tough and it will likely take a similar effort again to turn things around against a suddenly feisty Buffaloes team. I'm making this prediction assuming that both Johnson and Gordon play but if they don't, I think it will come down to the last shot.
Edit: Christian Caple is reporting that Markelle Fultz will miss tonight's game with a sore knee. That obviously changes things immensely for the Huskies. This game will serve as an interesting experiment for how the rest of the team will react without their primary ball handler. It's extremely unfortunate this happened in what is one of the few remaining games when UW would be viewed as having a legitimate shot at victory with Fultz. However, Colorado is missing probably their best and 3rd best player as Johnson and Gordon are in fact suspended. I don't think anything can make up for the importance of Fultz for this team but it may still be relatively close.