Colorado Week: Breaking Down The SchedulePosted by AMurawa on July 26th, 2012
While Colorado has not released an official schedule yet, they’ve released a tentative schedule with times still to be announced and dates to be finalized. Today we’ll take a quick look at their slate and figure out which games we’re most excited about.
Early-Season Tournament: After kicking things off with Wofford on November 9, the Buffaloes head to South Carolina for the Charleston Classic, an ESPN-sponsored tournament whose field this year features maybe four interesting teams. The bracket was just announced this morning and CU will open with Dayton, giving them a chance to score a solid, potentially resume-boosting win in the opening round. If things play true to form in the rest of the bracket, Colorado could get a chance at Baylor in the semifinal there, with Murray State potentially waiting in the championship game. All told, the way the bracket lays out, the Buffaloes have a chance to score three really good wins in Charleston. Of course, the flip side of that is that if the drop their opener with Dayton, they could be relegated to playing teams like Boston College and Auburn in their final two games, matchups that will do no good come March. That Dayton game will be a seriously important game for the Buffs to win.
Toughest Non-conference Game: While their early-season trip to Charleston could give them a couple good challenges, by far their toughest non-conference test will be their trip to Lawrence on December 8 to face Kansas. While Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor are gone, the Jayhawks return Jeff Withey and Elijah Johnson from last year’s Final Four team, while adding a strong 2012 freshman class and gaining the services of a couple highly regarded youngsters who were ineligible last year. Roberson and the rest of the young Colorado frontline will get a serious challenge from Withey, freshman Perry Ellis and company, but it is possible the Buffs will have the advantage in the backcourt. But, as always, regardless of who will be wearing the KU uniforms, the trip to Allen Fieldhouse alone makes it a tough trip.
Easy Stretch: After the Kansas game, the Buffaloes head to Fresno State to wrap up their minor in Mountain West basketball (they host Air Force and Colorado State and travel to Wyoming earlier in their schedule), before returning home to host Northern Arizona and Hartford in a pair of games wrapped around their holiday break. In what is traditionally a snooze-worthy time in college hoops, CU’s schedule is no different, but with the Pac-12 schedule looming just after New Year’s Day, they’ll get a pass.
Toughest Conference Stretch: With the conference improved nearly across the board, there are plenty of tough stretches to be found. But for Colorado, it looks like the toughest stretch begins right out of the gate. They open conference play with a trip to the Arizona schools. With ASU looking to be improved and the Wildcats one of the league’s co-favorites, the potential exists for an 0-2 start. The Buffs home opener comes against an improved USC team with UCLA coming in right on their heels, then a trip to the Washington schools may actually seem like a breather, before a return home to host the Bay Area schools. If the Buffaloes can get out of that stretch above .500, they’ll have a three-game road trip (Utah and the Oregon schools) as a reward. The good news for CU is that they get to skip the trip to the Los Angeles schools this year, while missing the visit from the Washington schools.
Scout’s Special: Draft Express currently has Andre Roberson going around 20th in the 2013 NBA Draft. When the Buffaloes host UCLA in the middle of January, Roberson will get a chance to show off against a Bruin frontline that features NBA size. Last year against the Wear twins and Joshua Smith, Roberson went for 12 points, ten boards and a couple of blocks (not to mention the four steals) in a loss. But in January, he’ll not only get a chance to prove his mettle inside against the UCLA bigs, he may also get a handful of chances to check wings like Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson, the type of player who he’ll likely need to guard at the NBA level.
Overall Thoughts: If things somehow break bad in Charleston and the Buffaloes don’t score a couple of resume-boosting wins, there is going to be a whole heck of a lot of pressure on the team to win in Lawrence in early December. Aside from that game and Charleston, the only non-conference matchup against a team that could possibly be in at-large tournament consideration is Colorado State. Now, this year, yes, there should be more chances to score significant wins in the Pac-12, but if the calendar flips to 2013 and CU’s best win is over CSU, they could be bubble-bound, at best.