Date: Sunday, 12/20/20
Tip-Off Time: 7:00 pm PT
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Radio: KJR 950 AM/KVI 570
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Betting line: Washington +8
Colorado Buffaloes 2020-21 Statistics:
Points For per Game: 75.8 ppg (91st)
Points Against per Game: 53.8 ppg (8th)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 106.9 (61st)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 89.2 (19th)
Strength of Schedule: 179th
Colorado Key Players:
G- McKinley Wright IV, Sr. 6’0, 196: 17.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 5.8 apg, 64.8% FG, 46.7% 3pt, 84.6% FT
Wright has basically been a walking 5 rebounds and 5 assists since he stepped on campus for Colorado 4 years ago but his scoring has taken a leap. He’s a career 29% 3-pt shooter in 48 career tier A and B opponents per KenPom and yet is making nearly 47% so far. It seems likely he’s due for some regression to the mean.
G- Eli Parquet, Jr. 6’3, 195: 7.3 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 1.0 apg, 61.1% FG, 55.6% 3pt, 100% FT
Speaking of unsustainable shooting, how about that 77% true shooting percentage? Eli falls into the “nearly invisible” usage category on KenPom so he basically doesn’t take a shot unless he’s wide open. But he’s fully capable of knocking it down when he is. He also already has 3 blocks this year at just 6’3 so he’s probably going to get the more difficult matchups on defense.
C- Evan Battey, Jr. 6’8, 262: 7.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.2 apg, 44.1% FG, 0.0% 3pt, 64.3% FT
I love watching Battey play as he is an absolute brick house down low. He has shows the ability to occasionally make a 3-pointer in past seasons but is 0/6 this year and also turning it over a higher rate than normal. It wouldn’t be surprising though to see him finish with 4-5 offensive rebounds and a big game against Washington’s zone though.
G- Maddox Daniels, Sr. 6’6, 211: 6.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 0.8 apg, 32.4 FG, 26.3% 3pt, 100% FT
Last season Daniels was a 3pt sniper who struggled with turnovers and so far this year he’s taken care of the ball but can’t make a shot. We’ll find out which one is the real Daniels as the season continue but he’s about the only Buff so far who is dramatically underperforming on the offensive end.
F- Jeriah Horne, Sr. 6’7, 220: 10.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.2 apg, 43.6% FG, 55.6% 3pt, 100% FT
It has been a winding road for Horne who started his career at Nebraska before spending the last two seasons at Tulsa. He’s a Tad Boyle wet dream as a 6’6/6’7 power forward who is a better rebounder than his size might indicate. He’s a career 36% 3pt shooter so he is absolutely a good shooter even if he’s not going to keep up the 10/18 small sample size mark he’s currently putting forth.
Colorado 2020-21 Shot Chart
Before getting into the analysis, this game despite the opponent being a conference foe does not count towards the conference record. UW is only slated to play the Buffs once in the Pac-12 schedule and since both teams had to struggle to fill their non-conference slate they decided to meet one additional time. Now on to discussing UW playing the 5th ranked scoring defense in the country.
What’s that you say? You don’t feel good about the Husky offense playing a top-20 defense in the country. Colorado hasn’t exactly played a grueling schedule but their defensive prowess does appear to be legitimate. They haven’t allowed more than 61 points in a game so far this season. They grind opponents out on that end of the floor and don’t give them anything inside.
Colorado is allowing opponents to shoot an astonishing 36.4% on 2-pt attempts so far this season. For context, last year Washington finished 4th in the nation allowing just a 42.4% mark so that total is unsustainable over the course of a season. But given the way the Huskies have played this season on offense (especially in Las Vegas) it definitely doesn’t have to even out starting in this game.
On the offensive end I’m also expecting that the Buffs have to cool down. They managed to score just 47 points at Tennessee but have put up at least 76 against their other 4 opponents. Though those 4 opponents are all significantly worse than Washington on the defensive end. Horne and Wright IV are 2nd and 3rd on the team in 3-pt attempts and both are shooting about 15% above their career averages so I’d expect that to change starting right about now.
Washington has traditionally been able to slow down Wright IV which is encouraging since he’s their engine to their whole team. Last year he had 6 turnovers in their only meeting with UW and the year before that scored just 6 points in 46 combined minutes. If he has another dud it would at least give the Dawgs a chance.
There have only been 2 games this season when Washington has shot better than 21% from 3-pt range. Those are by far the best 2 games they’ve played so far. It isn’t exactly rocket science. If Quade Green is hot and he gets some support from Battle, Bey, Wright, and Stevenson then Washington will look surprisingly competitive. If they continue to miss open looks then it’s a complete non-starter. Given Colorado’s stout interior defense I’m expecting the Huskies to settle for a lot of outside shots and given how things have gone so far this year that’s not exactly encouraging.
Washington Huskies- 49, Colorado Buffaloes- 62
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