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Colorado Buffaloes Game Preview/Open Thread

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The Huskies try to end the grueling mountain road trip with a split

NCAA Basketball: Washington State at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Essentials

Date: Saturday, 1/20/18

Tip-Off Time: 3:00pm PST

TV: Pac-12 Network

Radio: KOMO 1000

Location: Boulder, Colorado

Betting Line: Colorado -5

Colorado 2017-18 Statistics:

Record: 12-7 (4-3)

Points For per Game: 74.7 ppg (134th)

Points Against per Game: 73.3 ppg (180th)

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 103.6 (169th)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 97.1 (53rd)

Strength of Schedule: 46th

Colorado Key Players:

C- Dallas Walton, Fr. 7’0, 230: 4.7ppg, 3.1rpg, 0.9bpg, 53.3% FG, 61.9% FT

The Buffaloes rotate a few bigs as their center and Walton is probably the biggest and possibly also the best. He’s not a great rebounder or shot blocker for a 7-footer and doesn’t get very involved in the offense but he could cause problems for Timmins/Dickerson.

F- George King, Sr. 6’6, 225: 14.3ppg, 8.4rpg, 1.2apg, 46.3% FG, 75.9% FT, 39.4% 3pt

King is the veteran leader on an otherwise very young team. He’s one of the best rebounding forwards in the country and can hurt you from every part of the floor. There’s no way he doesn’t have 4+ offensive rebounds.

F- Namon Wright, Jr. 6’5, 205: 12.2ppg, 4.2rpg,1.3apg, 45% FG, 73.4% FT, 34.4% 3pt

Wright is the consummate glue guy/role player. He’s average or better at basically everything you can do on a basketball court although not elite at anything. He can shoot, pass, rebound, and play defense.

G- Deleon Brown, So. 6’4, 165: 5.7ppg, 1.2rpg, 0.9apg, 35.9% FG, 71.4% FT, 35.2% 3pt

Brown’s role in this offense is as a spot up shooter and he’s merely ok in that role. If Colorado has one weakness it’s at their off guard spot.

G- McKinley Wright IV, Fr. 6’0, 185: 15.1ppg, 4.5rpg, 5.3apg, 46% FG, 78.2% FT, 31.6% 3pt

Wright won’t win freshman of the year in the conference but he has overachieved his recruiting spot more than any person in the Pac. He has been phenomenal for Colorado and his only real weakness is his outside shooting. His assist rate is 2nd in the conference behind just USC’s Jordan McLaughlin.

The Outlook

Colorado looked like a mediocre team throughout the non-conference but have turned on the jets since the opening weekend of conference play. They have now won 4 of 5 including victories over Arizona, USC, and UCLA with only a lost to ASU during that time.

The biggest difference for the Buffaloes has been the uptick in their outside shooting. They shot 45% from deep in those three upset victories for a team that makes just 1 out of 3 normally. That will be an interesting test going up against Washington who are tops in conference play giving up just 27.4% of long range makes.

Colorado’s biggest flaw as a team is they really struggle to generate extra possessions via the turnover. They are last in the conference both on offense and defense in turnovers during conference play and one of the worst teams in the country at both. If the Huskies win this game it’s likely because they have a +8 margin in turnovers which leads to an extra 10 or more points. Normally Colorado makes up for that by crashing the offensive glass but they’ve been merely ok in that category this year. That will likely change against a UW team giving up more offensive rebounds than any team in the conference.

Defensively, the Buffs match up much better. They’ve been very stout with their interior defense and are happy to clog the paint and corral misses. They will likely dare the Huskies to shoot from outside. Colorado also is one of the national leaders in bench minutes and expect them to use the altitude to their advantage by cycling in 6’7 swing players and trying to wear down Washington on the 2nd leg of the brutal mountain trip.

At some point, the Huskies are going to shoot the ball on the road. They did it in both the Kansas and USC games and they will likely have to go something like 9-20 from outside to win this one. Is it possible that it happens? Yes. Is it likely? No. If the offense plays even average then the defense should be good enough to get a win but I need to see it to believe it.

Prediction

Washington Huskies- 63, Colorado Buffaloes- 72

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