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bsn BSN: Five questions about the CU Buffs before Pac-12 play answered

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Dec 27, 2015.

  1. RSSBot

    RSSBot News Junkie

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    Reflecting on the Colorado Buffaloes nonconference play and answering questions about their Pac-12 slate.

    As the Buffs enter the Pac-12 portion of their schedule, which begins on New Year’s Day, one wonders if they can continue their success. They finished the nonconference season with an 11-2 record which is tied for second-best in the Pac-12. One may argue that the Buffs could be 13-0 or even 9-4 to this point but with a perfect home and road record, they enter 2016.

    1) Will they be last year’s Buffs who struggled with beating themselves?

    First and foremost, what we have learned from the first thirteen games is that this team is not last year’s. Tad Boyle is not accepting the lapses he did last year from his players. This comes from him going back to his basics of defense and rebounding. Not only has he improved there but his crafting of their nonconference schedule has the Buffs gelling and playing confident basketball. On the court, he has answered some fans questions about his lineup management which has not only improved but he handed that part of the coaching over to assistant Mike Rohn.

    The Buffs are in no way shape or form anything like last year’s group. This team is one who enjoys playing roundball with each other. They have all set egos aside and so far it has worked. Colorado passes the ball beautifully and the three-point shot is a legitimate weapon. Yes, there are still questions on the defensive end but their cohesion offensively is a vast improvement from last year.

    2) Will they be same old Buffs who can’t win on the road in conference play?

    One thing the Buffaloes must do for a tournament bid is win road games against Pac-12 opponents. If they were to win four of their nine road games they’d be almost assured an at-large bid because they’d be in the top half of the Pac-12. The bigger question is not if they win x amount of games on the road will they make the tournament, rather, it is can they get wins in half their remaining road games. So far the Buffs are 2-0 on the road with a win at an SEC school and a win against in-state foe Colorado State. Their offense has traveled for each road game, but it has not traveled to neutral site games – the Buffs have only averaged 66 points in those three contests. In their other ten, they are averaging 88 points a game. Which is indicative of what will happen? I’d bet on the first. Tad Boyle will tell you himself he needs his defense to improve and many coaches will tell you defense carries from stadium to stadium. If the Buffs were to win four of their nine road games they need to be able to rely on their defense, not their offense.

    3) Will Josh Scott be the senior leader?

    Perhaps the reason why Colorado has improved this year is center Josh Scott. The senior has gone from one of the best players in the Pac-12 to an All-American candidate. Forget his improved numbers, Scott has stepped up to be this team’s leader. His leadership is the type rarely seen from a college big man, yet the Buffs have found success with this formula because Scott’s play has been so dominating.

    There is no reason to think that this won’t continue as long as Scott stays healthy. The Buffs will start to play some tougher competition here and self admittingly Scott’s two worst games this year (both double-doubles still) came against the Buffs toughest competition. On the other hand, Scott did get his normal shots in each game he just struggled to make them. Scott had the same problem against CSU before this season, and he was able to fix it. I’d bank on Scott sorting out his shooting troubles in big games. He continues to be one of the most reliable players in the country it’s just a matter of him getting his touches which the Buffs have not struggled with too much to this point. All of the senior’s numbers are up and he’s just a fraction of a number away from averaging a double-double. His 18.4 points per game combined with his efficient 62.3 field goal percentage are proof of just how big of factor this big man has been for the Buffs.

    4) Will they end their 10-game losing streak versus ranked opponents?

    Yes. Take out the first eight games that was a different team that played in the shadow of Spencer Dinwiddie’s knee injury. This team is 0-2 against ranked opponents but has played each very tough losing each game by two possessions. Factor in a home court advantage or a few more bounces going CU’s way and the Buffaloes are bound to snap this streak in one of their upcoming bouts against a ranked team. Colorado will circle Utah on January eighth as the night they look to upset a ranked program. If they don’t get it that night they should have at least three more opportunities to upset a ranked team with the Pac-12 having two teams ranked and a few more close.

    5) Will they make the tournament?

    This question will probably remain an uncertainty until March 13th unless the Buffs are able to win the Pac-12 Tournament again. Right now I’d say the Buffs need to win 22 games for an at-large bid. If the Buffs are able to take care of business at home and win a few road games this will be no problem. The key for the Buffs will be to get into the Pac-12’s top four, AKA getting a first round bye in Las Vegas. They took care of their nonconference schedule with relative ease and their halfway home, if they have a solid conference season they shouldn’t have a problem getting their name called on Selection Sunday.

    Jake Shapiro
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