Record: 22-11 (10-8)
NCAA Tournament Seed: 8 (South)
How they got to the Big Dance
The Buffaloes will be heading back to the tournament after a one year hiatus. They opened the season will a 68-62 loss against No. 7 Iowa State, then proceeded to go on an 11-game winning streak. In conference play, the Buffaloes had some trouble beating the top competition in the Pac-12. They were, however, able to pick up several quality wins over the course of the season. Those quality wins include a 91-87 win over Oregon, a 70-62 win over California and a 75-72 win over Arizona. It should be noted that Colorado also lost to these same teams in different games. Colorado entered the Pac-12 tournament as a No. 5 seed. They beat the No. 12 seed Washington State by 24 points before losing to Arizona in the quarterfinals 82-78.
Why they are a legitimate contender
Colorado is historically a big and physical team. This trend shows up in their ability to rebound the ball year in and year out. They rank fourth in the country this season in rebounds per game. The Buffs are able to create second chance opportunities thanks to their 11.3 offensive rebounds per game, and they hit 38.9 percent of their 3-pointers, which ranks 17th in the nation. The thing is, they don’t shoot many of them. If Colorado decides to take some more threes, chances are they will make a lot of them. Also, if Colorado can get to the line more often, they could find some success, considering they make over 70 percent of their shots from the free throw line. Colorado may not be the most talented team in the country, but their size and physicality could scare some teams in the tournament.
Why they are not a legitimate contender
Colorado hasn’t made it past the Round of 64 since 2012 when they beat UNLV in the first round. Since then, they’ve been bounced twice in the Round of 64. Although they are big and physical, the Buffaloes do give up over 70 points per game. For a team as big as Colorado usually is, they should be protecting the rim a little better than that. They also turn the ball over quite a bit, and don’t force many turnovers either, which could spell trouble for the Buffaloes. They rank 311th in the country in the amount of turnovers they force per game. This sounds a lot like Colorado teams from the past, the same kind of teams who can’t ever seem to get past the first weekend.
Player to watch- F Josh Scott
The 6-foot-10 senior is the leading scorer and rebounder for the Buffaloes. He averages 16.1 points and 8.7 rebounds while blocking almost two shots per game. Colorado prides itself on its size and physically, so it is not a surprise that the bulk of their offense goes through Scott. He did have a pretty poor Pac-12 tournament and perhaps that’s why they lost to Arizona in the quarterfinals, a team they had beaten in the regular season. If Colorado wants to make a run in the tournament, Scott is going to have to put up numbers that his teammates and coaches are used to.
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