Now into the numbers – Colorado gets to the line a lot (5[SUP]th[/SUP] highest rate) in large part because they take the ball to the rack 6% more than average (44.1% of CU shots come at the rim). This may prove to be an interesting dynamic in the game. Oklahoma St. is not a team you’d consider tall, (241[SUP]st[/SUP] in effective height) and they don’t have a guy on their roster that plays that’s taller than 6-8, but somehow they block the 5[SUP]th[/SUP] most amount of shots at the rim (22.4%). What’s even more amazing is that there isn’t one guy blocking all of these shots, Oklahoma St spreads the blocks at the rim over 6 people and they do so without sending their opponents to the line, they’re below average in that department. They also boast the 29[SUP]th[/SUP] best defensive FG% at the rim. What to watch? What Oklahoma St. may lack in size, it certainly does not seem to be affecting their interior defense, can CU’s size advantage translate into a tangible advantage? This is a match-up of two of the top teams in terms of “Extra Scoring Chances per Game” (calculated as Offensive Rebounds + Opponent Turnovers - Opponent Offensive Rebounds – Turnovers). CU is 17[SUP]th[/SUP] at 5.9 per game while Oklahoma St is 19[SUP]th [/SUP]at 5.8 per game. CU’s number is probably artificially inflated a bit – CU is #1 in keeping opponents off of the offensive glass, but are they really? A handful of CU opponents didn’t even attempt to grab offensive boards in an attempt to limit CU’s transition opportunities. Oklahoma St. does a pretty good job of limiting transition opportunities while also doing a decent job on the offensive glass. Oklahoma St. doesn’t appear to be a team that’s going to retreat back on defense in an attempt to limit CU’s transition opportunities, they’ve got the athleticism to hit the boards while being able to get back on defense. What to watch? Can CU keep Oklahoma St. off the offensive boards and get out on the break? Half-court offense, will CU be able to score in the half-court? Oklahoma St’s defense is…..good. 15[SUP]th[/SUP] overall – they force turnovers, they block shots, and teams shoot poorly from mid-range and at the rim against them. They are in the top 10% in nearly every defensive category. Yes their defense is….. good. What to watch: Can CU score in the half court against an elite balanced defense? CU’s is defense is as always the hallmark of a Tad Boyle team, 18[SUP]th[/SUP] overall. But as I stated before, this is probably slightly inflated due to CU’s opponents forgoing offensive rebounds, making CU’s rebounding numbers skewed and making the defense on paper look a little better than it may actually be. So how does CU stop Oklahoma St and Marcus Smart? I’m guessing waves upon waves of players. You’ve most likely got to give Dinwiddie the first crack on Smart. But Smart is big and strong, XJ may get a crack, Hopkins could get a go on him and do we see the zone again? What to watch: Who guards Smart? What defensive schemes does Tad throw out there? How did Memphis beat Oklahoma St? In the first game of the season Oklahoma St. got out in transition and subsequently took 42.6% of their shots at the rim, it also didn’t hurt that Memphis couldn’t hit an outside shot to save their lives (23.1% from three). In the second game Memphis was able to limit Oklahoma St’s transition opportunities and forced them into taking 42.3% of their shots from mid-range. CU’s going to have to do something similar, Oklahoma St. is fast and athletic, so CU’s going to have to limit Oklahoma St’s transition opportunities and shots at the rim, these are two things CU does pretty well. They are 52[SUP]nd[/SUP] in opponent’s % of shots at the rim and 37[SUP]th[/SUP] in % of opponent’s initial shots that come in transition. What to watch? Can CU force Oklahoma St into a half-court offense and prevent them from getting good looks at the rim?