Date | February 23, 2011
WHAT TO EXPECT | The Buffs started out on a fantastic streak, but have severely slowed since conference play started. Of course, they've also had a pretty tough road, although they have a bad loss to Oklahoma (on the road) and a bad loss to Nebraska (also on the road, but I think Nebraska is a pretty good team). And if you had asked me whether or not Colorado is an offensive team or a defensive team, I think I would have guessed defensive team, but that's completely wrong. Colorado is actually an excellent offensive team, ranking #26 in adjusted offensive efficiency, and are okay in adjusted defensive efficiency, #139. The Daily Camera's Ryan Thorburn writes that the Buffaloes know that their clock is ticking and if they want to make the NCAA Tournament, they have to start winning:
"It's always in the back of our minds. It's our goal. If you look too far ahead the opportunities pass you by," Knutson said of the NCAA Tournament. "We have two big home games and two winnable road games. Anything can happen in these last four games and at the Big 12 Tournament.
"Obviously, we'd like to be a few games ahead of where we are now, but we're still in the thick of it."
To Knutson's point, Kansas State (18-9, 6-6) and Nebraska (18-9, 6-6) are just one game ahead of CU in the Big 12 standings. And both teams are considered to be on the bubble after respective upsets of Kansas and Texas last week.
If the Buffs were able to handle their business down the stretch they will have swept the Wildcats, pulled off an upset of a top-five team (Texas visits Boulder on Saturday) and split with the Cornhuskers (Nebraska is CU's final home game on March 5).
"Every game is a must-win for us," Nate Tomlinson said. "We've proven we can beat anyone when the right (CU) team shows up."
KEY MATCHUPS | Take a look at the starting lineups below. It's interesting in that Colorado does not have a starter that's shorter than 6-4 and so it's going to be interesting to see how Texas Tech matches up with Colorado. Obviously, PG John Roberson has a quickness advantage, but it appears that there isn't a true point guard on Colorado's team and no matter who Roberson guards, he's going to be at least 5 inches shorter than any player that CU starts. The star for Colorado is Burks and the DT's Jose Rodriguez talks with head coach Pat Knight about stopping him:
"I don’t know if you can ever stop a kid like that, but you want to make it hard on him, make him work for it so maybe he gets tired and you have to sub him out," Knight said. "You can’t forget about him, you can’t lose sight of him even if you’re switching; you’ve got to know where he’s at, and you’re not going to hold a kid like that scoreless."
So much more after the jump, including a word from our sponsor.
So despite Colorado having a relatively tall backcourt, they do not have a big frontcourt and this would be a perfect opportunity for a guy like Lewandowski to make an impact and RP.com's Andy Ellis says that Lewandowski is playing better:
As a big man myself I have to say that I have also been happy to see Big Lew playing better. He has been a pretty good piece in the middle this year. He plays hard every night and is developing more each game with his offensive moves. He still has a ways to go but we can all only hope that he continues to improve this season.
FOUR FACTORS |
Fancy basketball glossary found here.
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