Date: Saturday, 2/23/19
Tip-Off Time: 7:30 pm PT
TV: Pac-12 Network
Radio: KOMO 1000 AM/97.7 FM and TuneIn
Location: Seattle, Washington
Betting Line: Washington -8
Colorado 2018-19 Statistics:
Record: 16-10 (7-7)
Points For per Game: 75.1 (97th)
Points Against per Game: 68.9 (96th)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 107.3 (112th)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 97.8 (65th)
Strength of Schedule: +1.89 (102nd)
Colorado Key Players:
F-Lucas Siewert, Jr. 6’10, 230: 10.9 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.6 apg, 45.7% FG, 38.2% 3pt, 75% FT
Siewert is still Colorado’s best shooter as a stretch 5 but he has really struggled with his shot in conference play. He made 45% of his 3’s last season and had made 45% when the two teams faced off last month but he’s now shooting just 31% from deep in conference play. The Huskies limited him to just one 3-pt attempt in the first game and that’s the only area where he should be viewed as a real threat.
F- Tyler Bey, So. 6’7, 225: 12.3 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 1.2 bpg, 54.8% FG, 22.7% 3pt, 76% FT
Jamal’s cousin is phenomenal and had a great game against UW the first time around with 15 points and 9 rebounds in just 26 minutes. He’s the best defensive rebounder in the country and whoever can draw more fouls on the other between Noah Dickerson and Bey will give their team a huge advantage.
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 kept Colorado in the UW game last month almost by himself as he is a 25.5% 3pt shooter in conference play against everyone else but was 4 of 5 from deep that night and finished with a team high 22 points. You can be sure that the Huskies will pay a little bit more attention to him even though that performance was his career high and 6 more than his second highest career total.
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 finished the first contest against UW with 8 points, 6 assists, and 4 steals but he was 1 of 10 from the floor and in general he’s a poor shooter from every level of the floor. The Huskies will hope he takes another 10 attempts again this time around.
G- McKinley Wright IV, So. 6’0, 195: 13.4 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 5.0 apg, 52.1% FG, 31.3% 3pt, 77.5% FT
Wright is the heart and soul of Colorado’s team and it was a big loss when he got hurt in the 1st half during the first meeting. He’ll need offseason shoulder surgery to repair the damage but is playing through it for now and playing well. He shot just 20.4% from 3-pt range in conference play during his freshman season but has stepped things up and is now hitting 37.8% from beyond the arc in Pac-12 play this year. If he becomes a legitimate 3-pt threat then he’s infinitely more difficult to contain.
2018-19 Colorado Shot Chart
Normally when you hear about a team being strong up the middle you think about baseball or football but there’s no other way to describe the Colorado shot chart. They’re good at hitting the baseline jumper on the right side but other than that Colorado is below average anywhere else to the sides of the court. Stop penetration and defend Wright/Siewert/Gatling behind the arc in the middle of the court. Easy.
The circumstances of the first meeting between Colorado and Washington make it difficult to determine exactly how closely that game should be viewed as a template for the rematch. Colorado’s primary ball-handler and star player McKinley Wright IV injured his shoulder 12 minutes into the game and did not return. Wright has more than double the assist rate of any other player on his team and consistently plays 32+ minutes so it’s understandable that the Buffs would struggle without him. But UW was up double digits at the time of the injury and despite holding a 13-point halftime lead Colorado came back and almost stole it at the end.
Colorado is 6-3 since Wright returned from his injury and Wright is shooting 60% on 2-pointers and 37.8% on 3-pointers in conference play while ranking 3rd in the conference in assist rate. When he keeps the ball it normally ends up in the basket and he is a very skilled passer. But he has generally struggled against the UW zone. In 2+ games against the Huskies, Wright has shot just 9 of 26 (35%) so if he has a similar shooting night then it gives the Huskies a big edge.
This is not a good shooting Colorado team and they would much prefer to bludgeon the Huskies inside. The rebounding battle will be crucial in this one. Washington narrowly held the edge 31-29 in the first meeting but surrendered an extra 3 offensive rebounds. If Colorado wins this game it will be because Tyler Bey had 6 offensive boards leading to a heavy 2nd chance points advantage.
When the Huskies had the ball in the January matchup they generally torched Colorado as they shot 55% overall and 45% from 3-pt range. The only real offensive flaw was that Noah Dickerson and Jaylen Nowell combined to shoot just 4 of 9 from the FT line which kept Colorado alive until the final minutes. The big advantage that Colorado has is that they almost always limit teams to 1 attempt because of Tyler Bey’s phenomenal defensive rebounding. Washington will get open looks and if they knock them down then this one won’t be close.
Colorado is coming off a close loss in Pullman which ended their 5-game winning streak. I tend not to buy into motivational factors like that playing a huge part but you never know. It had a bigger effect in knocking the Buffs out of the top-75 in the NET and denying the Huskies a Q1 win from their victory in Boulder. Let’s hope Washington takes care of business and then Colorado bounces back to finish strong and get back into the top-75 to make these wins look more impressive.
Washington Huskies- 72, Colorado Buffaloes- 63
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