Date: Saturday, 1/12/19
Tip-Off Time: 7:00 pm PT
Radio: KOMO 1000 AM/97.7 FM and TuneIn
Location: Boulder, Colorado
Betting Line: Colorado -2.5
Colorado 2018-19 Statistics:
Points For per Game: 77.7 (69th)
Points Against per Game: 68.5 (95th)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 104.7 (137th)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 96.2 (61st)
Strength of Schedule: -1.89 (249th)
Colorado Key Players:
F-Lucas Siewert, Jr. 6’10, 230: 11.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.1 apg, 49.6% FG, 45.5% 3pt, 74.6% FT
Colorado’s “center” is by far their best shooter as he’s made 45% of his 3-pt attempts in each of the last two seasons. He’s a terrible rebounder for his size so it’s better to think of him as a tall small forward even though he’ll be Colorado’s tallest player whenever he’s on the court.
F- Tyler Bey, So. 6’7, 225: 11.8 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 1.6 bpg, 54.9% FG, 25% 3pt, 76% FT
Bey is the most Colorado player I can imagine and that’s definitely a complement. He’s an astounding 3rd in the country in defensive rebound percentage at 6’7. Think a poor man’s Jon Brockman. As a tweener I don’t expect him to get much NBA consideration but Bey seems like a lock to be a 1st team all-conference level player the next two seasons.
F- D’Shawn Schwartz, So. 6’7, 226: 7.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.0 apg, 43% FG, 26.3% 3pt, 75% FT
Schwartz is kind of the poor man’s Tyler Bey as they have almost identical height/weight numbers and identical shooting numbers. The difference is that Bey is a much better rebounder and finisher at the basket. Schwartz is really only effective on offense cutting to the basket and letting others create for him.
G- Shane Gatling, Jr. 6’2, 181: 8.5 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 0.9 apg, 35.9% FG, 33.9% 3pt, 80.5% FT
Gatling is a transfer from Niagra and he’s been fairly underwhelming through the first half of his first season in Boulder. For a 6’2 SG he draws fouls at a decent rate and makes his foul shots which is good for the Buffs because he’s only a so-so outside shooter.
G- McKinley Wright IV, So. 6’0, 195: 13.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 5.5 apg, 51% FG, 25% 3pt, 74.6% FT
Wright has seen some slight regression after a phenomenal and out of nowhere freshman campaign. His turnovers are up and his 3-pt shooting has gone down which have capped his efficiency a little. But he’s shooting a very nice 69% in the paint which is simply incredible for someone just 6-feet tall. He’s also still second in the conference in assist rate.
2018-19 Colorado Shot Chart
The Buffs haven’t been a very good shooting team which should be evident by the abundance of non-red areas around the perimeter of the chart. However, they are phenomenal in the paint and at the foul line. Keeping Colorado away from the basket at all costs should be the number one priority for this game.
After a fantastic effort at Utah on Thursday the Huskies have their work cut out for them with the back end of the mountain road trip. Boulder is home to the toughest place in the country to play. Don’t believe me? KenPom created a math based metric looking at a team’s performance between home and road over the last decade and Colorado is home to the greatest home court advantage in college basketball. That’s more due to the altitude than the crowd atmosphere but it highlights the challenge the Huskies will face.
Colorado played one of the easiest non-conference schedules in college basketball and have yet to play a top-125 team at home. But they are 8-0 at home and 2-5 away from Boulder which isn’t entirely about the schedule. The Buffs blew the doors off Washington State on Thursday night by almost double the margin that UW beat them by.
Tad Boyle teams love to bludgeon teams to death on the boards and this squad is no exception led by 6’7 Tyler Bey. They have the potential to create a serious possessions advantage against the Husky zone both by limiting UW second chances and creating their own. The Buffs love to take the ball inside as Lucas Siewert is the only starter shooting a good percentage from deep. Colorado’s other best shooter, Namon Wright, has missed the last 2 games due to injury and his status for tonight is unknown.
Colorado has fared substantially better offense against zone than man but they’ve only played against it on 10% of their total possessions. And the difference is that they get almost twice as many unguarded jump shots than guarded ones against zone which makes me think those numbers are a byproduct of playing teams with crappy zones unlike Washington’s. A random interesting battle to watch will be to see how much success UW has at blocking shots. Colorado is 5th in the country in not having their shots blocked while UW is 4th in defensive block percentage. Something will have to give.
When the Huskies have the ball they may also look to work the ball inside. Colorado has actually been even better than the Huskies at limiting 3-pt makes and the Cougars were just 2 of 18 in that regard on Thursday after hitting 41% of their deep shots against Washington last week. Noah Dickerson will need to emerge from his slump in this one in order to get Colorado’s front line in foul trouble and counter Tyler Bey’s phenomenal rebounding.
This really feels like a make or break game for Washington. There are only 7 Quadrant 1 or 2 games left on the schedule and a minimum of a 4-3 record seems necessary to dream of an NCAA at-large berth. Washington has played like a front runner for the Pac-12 this season and winning this game would cement that status. I think last year’s team suffers a let down here in a near pick’em. I hope this team has learned their lesson.
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