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Media Day tips off 2012 season for ‘Baby Buffs’

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by allbuffs, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. allbuffs

    allbuffs Administrator

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    Media Day tips off 2012 season for ‘Baby Buffs’
    By Michael Krumholtz

    Media day comes and goes every year to mark each season’s awaited beginning. For an exceptionally young CU team it’s the dawn of an era that includes championship and NCAA tournament expectations.

    Tad Boyle’s Baby Buffs are set to begin their baptism against some of the nation’s best, just six months removed from a Pac-12 Championship and second round tournament win. With six freshmen coming and four seniors going, youth will not just be served - it will be stuffed non-stop into opponents’ chests.

    “This will be a team that you will be able to watch grow and develop as the season goes on and continue to get better,” said Head Coach Tad Boyle. “Right now we are in the growth stage, we’ve got a lot to work on.”

    Despite last year’s run through the conference tournament, the media picked the Buffs to finish sixth in the Pac-12. Somewhere Rodney Dangerfield, if he isn’t already dead, is sympathizing with the Buffs.

    Last season they picked the eventual champs to finish 11[SUP]th[/SUP]. These basketball weathermen are again predicting storms over a Coors Events Center that looks sunnier than ever.
    The strictest critic of them all is Boyle, who remains unimpressed with where his team is after a summer Euro trip and recent practices.
    “Well, let me say this, the expectations of this team are far ahead of where the team is,” he said. “They are a little out-of-whack right now.”

    Boyle’s group will be thrown into the fire from the start. The non-conference schedule includes a stacked field in the Charleston Classic tournament, a trip to the Phog to tangle with No. 7 Kansas, and four stingy Mountain West opponents. And the opener with bracket-busting Wofford won’t be too easy either.

    Starting point guard Spencer Dinwiddie, who averaged ten points per game as a freshman last season, said the new-look’s team mold will be formed early. If the pressure burns too hot on the young talent, the whole season could melt away.

    “Winning keeps everybody happy,” Dinwiddie said. “If we start losing and doing things of that nature, that’s when our chemistry, and our true bond as a unit is going to get tested.”

    Once they start Pac-12 play, the road to repeat only gets bumpier. The first pothole comes when the Buffs open conference play at 12[SUP]th[/SUP]-ranked Arizona. And this year the conference should be much improved after a season in which only two of its teams were invited to the big dance.

    “The schedule we have this year would really be appropriate for our team next year when we have everybody back and have some experience behind us,” Boyle said. “But, it will be a great challenge for this year’s team.”

    The projected starting five will include one junior, two sophomore guards, and two freshmen forwards. That seems a lot of weight for such undeveloped shoulders to burden.

    Junior Andre Roberson’s defensive presence will go a long way in putting imprint into this team’s shape. The likely future NBA draft pick led the team in blocks, steals, and rebounds the previous two seasons. As the team’s best player, and one of its elder statesmen, he is the clear leader.

    “He can obviously finish at the rim better than 99% of the rest of the country can,” Boyle said. “(And is) probably the best defender in the league, in my opinion.”

    A season ago the Buffs led the league in defensive rebounds and were second in field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to convert on just above 40 percent of shots. Askia Booker, who is the go-to perimeter defender, said that he doesn’t expect the defensive output to decrease.

    “I think on defense, we are athletic this year, our guys are taller; I think that the wing position is pretty much sealed,” Booker said. “I don’t think anybody is going to have an easy time getting to the basket on us from there”
    The preseason expectations and predictions weren’t just coming from media members at the annual press conference. Dinwiddie made a not-so-subtle hint as to who he thinks will take home the Pac-12 crown.

    “I made a prediction last year that ended up coming true,” Dinwiddie said. “This year, Tad [Boyle] told us not to make any prediction, but if you heard my prediction last year, I’m just going to say that I plan to stay the course.”

    The ship is all set to sail, as the green Buffs will open on Saturday Nov. 9 at Coors Events Center against Wofford. Basketball is back in Boulder. So are expectations of another championship.
    “We have to stay hungry enough to make those (championship aspirations) happen, and humble enough to understand that if we slip up it is all taken away,” Boyle said. “We have to come to work every day.”

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