Your Reaction to this story
SUPPORT THE CUI!
CU Independent's Recent Tweets
The 2013-14 college basketball season is one week away, and the CU men’s team has already been well represented in the preseason polls. After finishing 2012-13 with a 21-12 overall record, the Buffs have high expectations for this year.
Pac-12 journalists ranked the Buffs as the third best team in the conference, behind the University of Arizona and UCLA. The USA Today Coaches Poll placed Colorado just outside of the top 25 national rankings, with 93 votes at No. 27. Arizona came in at fifth overall, and UCLA was ranked 23rd.
Sophomore forward Josh Scott said he believes Colorado will be a major competitor in the conference this year.
“I think all of us don’t see Arizona as the cream of the crop,” Scott said. “We’re competing, we’re up there with them. We’re going to be better this year, they’re going to be better this year. It’s up for grabs for anybody, and we’re just competing to get up there.”
The Buffs competed well in a tough Pac-12 conference last season, with a record of 10-8. They fell short in the Pac-12 tournament after losing to Arizona in the second round.
But their regular season record was enough to get them a bid in the NCAA tournament as a No. 10 seed. They didn’t make it past the first round after falling to the University of Illinois.
This year, head coach Tad Boyle will tackle one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the nation. ESPN ranked CU’s schedule the ninth most difficult in the nation, with games against the University of Kansas, Baylor University, Harvard University and Oklahoma State University looming.
Even though they will be playing in a difficult Pac-12 conference and against talented non-conference teams, freshman guard Tre’Shaun Fletcher said that he still expects this to be another good year for the Buffs.
“I think we can make a deep run in the NCAA tournament,” Fletcher said. “I have a lot of expectations that all need to get done this year for the team.”
The program took a big blow in the offseason when it lost defensive powerhouse André Roberson to the NBA. Last season, Roberson averaged 11.2 rebounds per game and 10.9 points per game.
With Roberson out of the picture, rebounding will have to be more of a collective effort for the Buffs.
“I always start with defense,” Boyle said in the media day press conference. “We are going to miss André defensively. We are going to miss his rebounding–we already have. So we are going to have to figure out a way, by committee, to become a better rebounding team.”
Offense should be a strength for the Buffs if they are able to successfully take on their new approach this year.
“For us to take that next step, we need to be a more efficient offensive team,” Boyle said. “With the talent we have and the skill we have, our field goal percentage should be upwards of 48 and hopefully above 50 percent.”
The Buffs have four returning starters in Spencer Dinwiddie, Josh Scott, Xavier Johnson and Askia Booker. This veteran talent will balance the addition of six new players to the active roster.
Sophomore guard Xavier Talton improved significantly in the offseason, something he attributes to a build-up of confidence.
“It’s been a big jump, actually,” Talton said. “Coming in as a freshman, obviously you want to play more, and if you don’t get the minutes that you think you should get, obviously you’re going to be a little under the weather in confidence. They’ve been helping me, and I’ve boosted my confidence a little bit.”
During the offseason, Boyle recruited three Rivals Top-150 and three-star prospects in Jaron Hopkins (no. 119), Tre’Shaun Fletcher (143) and Dustin Thomas (150). Hopkins was named the 30th best shooting guard in this year’s national freshman class, and Thomas was the eighth best prospect in Texas. Although Fletcher said he thinks he’ll play the guard position more this year, Rivals ranked him as the nation’s 26th best freshman small forward.
The Buffs also welcomed true freshman George King, who came to the team as a late commit over the summer. Redshirt freshmen Wesley Gordon and Chris Jenkins will also take the floor this year after sitting out last season.
“We have some athletic freshmen,” Talton said. “I think they will help the team tremendously, on defense especially. They’re so long and athletic, it’s going to help us get up and run a lot more up and down the court.”
The Buffs may be a young team in arguably one of the toughest conferences in the nation, but they have plenty of talent to back them up. The season kicks off at 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8 against Baylor University in Dallas and will be televised on the Root Sports network.
Contact CU Independent staff writer Alissa Noe at firstname.lastname@example.org.