OK, well, this one is going to be far shorter than the usual KenPom previews. Because we already previewed the Buffaloes here just two weeks ago, it makes little sense to regurigtate the same, exact statistics. So, we won't. Instead, we'll just talk about what has changed with the Buffs in the past two weeks; a discussion that has some light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel aspects for Colorado.
So, this one will all be encapsulated right here, on the intro paragraph. No jumps, no breaks, no nothing. Just, straight-up, some updates and that's all.
Editor's Note: In most cases, we'll do preview stuff talking about how they played last time we played, and all of that fun stuff. But not for this game. Sorry, but I just can't get up for it. I dreaded having to write this preview, for the first time all year. I just don't care about this game like, at all. It's sad, I know, but true. I'll watch it, and cheer loud and everything, but no. Just, no.
Well, since our contest, the Buffs have played three games. All of them were close contests in which they showed improvement. They lost narrowly in Lubbock to the Red Raiders, lost in overtime against the Powercats and beat the Cyclones in Boulder. None of those are great teams, of course; they could be the three worst teams not named Colorado, actually. But the close losses (and victory!!!) do show progress.
The Offense and Defense
Their shooting percentages have fallen significantly,which isn't a good sign given the teams they've gone up against. Of course, all of this data also includes our dominating performance, so there's that. Still, it isn't that this team is worse offensively than it was; it's just that it is more obvious just how bad it is. That's what happens when you play conference games instead of playing Western State.
Still just as bad at everything on defense, though. Not a whole lot of regressing to the mean to occur, because they were already damn near there. Overall, sure, they're a better defensive team than offensive, but not by much, and shooting percentages tend to be more affected by conference play than anything else (this isn't a statistical fact, just something that has always made sense inside this noggin of mine).
OK, that's all I can take. This game seems so pointless on so many levels, it's really hard to get up for. I just hope that the team isn't taking the same attitude. As Sherron said, "we aren't gonna take nothing from nobody". I do understand that, and I do understand that no matter how poor the Buffs may seem to be, they are still a halfway-decent basketball team. And sure, Craig Brackins' superhero level and homecourt advantage played a part, but just three days after we struggled late against the Clones, Colorado beat 'em. So, it isn't like this team is completely incompetent. With that said, I'll stick to my three keys from last time. The last one, getting the ball to Cole, will be interesting. But, given his struggles on Wednesday night, and the Buffs' taller roster (not by much, but there is a big difference between 6'8" and 6'5"), I think he'll have a monstrous comeback game.
So, here are the keys. Again.
- Treat Them Like a Real Team - This is ridiculous. This shouldn't have to be a key in a conference road game, particularly for a team who has yet to win a road game, but hey, that's the deal. In all seriousness, we need to be focused on simply winning a road game. Not only because we can't afford to have a loss to Colorado, but because it'd be nice as hell to actually win a game away from Allen.
- Guard the Perimeter Shooters - Basically, Colorado's offense is the shooting game of Higgins, Thorne and Tomlinson, in descending order. They have some other contributors on the team, but those are the central three. If we can shut them down, we are in tremendous shape. 99.99% chance of winning kind of shape. I'd imagine that Brady will draw Higgins, TyTay will be assigned Thorne and Sherron on the freshman, Tomlinson. All three have to play lockdown D. If they get hot, and get enough confidence, we could lose. That's pretty much the only way I can think of that could end up in a Kansas L. So, yeah, let's not let that happen.
- Cole, Cole, Cole - I'm going to keep saying this until we bump it up the priority list. I understand that we shouldn't simply run every play through Cole, but he needs a bigger role in our offense. I promise.
Don't you love how lazy I am? But, for real, I just can't get hyped up for this game. I tried. Not very hard, but I did. But, all of my energy is already being stored for Big Monday. I know it sounds terrible, to be looking so far ahead when there is a very real chance we lose in between, but I don't care. I don't have an influence on the team. Now, if the team thinks that, then that sucks. But if I do? I'm pretty sure it doesn't affect anyone. And I'd be willing to wager that most are merely treating this as a game to get through, just a minor, foot-high hurdle standing between us and the much-anticipated KU-Baylor matchup down in Waco.
That sounds funny, doesn't it?
"Much anticipated KU-Baylor matchup in Waco."
But seriously, that's the truth.
Bring on the Bears.