Colorado's Andre Roberson, left, is not bashful about battling with bigger boys, like UCLA's Josh Smith, for loose balls. (AP photo by Mark Terrill)
Between not playing each other in football, and the odd scheduling quirk that didn't bring Colorado and Oregon St. together until the second half of the hoops season, the fan bases aren't very familiar with each other. Limited coverage of Colorado games by ROOT Sports hasn't helped matters either, and the teams' recent history has hardly garnered much attention.
So we got together with the guys over at the "Ralphie Report", a very well written SB Nation brother blog, to get some insight into the Colorado hoops team before the Beavers meet them tomorrow night, and how things are going in Boulder for the new guys in the Pac-12.
Here's our answers to what interests Buff fans, or at least Buff beat writers.
Parker Baruh covers Buffs basketball better than anyone, and knows them inside and out. Here's his take on what we were curious about:
Colorado has changed a lot since Oregon St. saw them last year in the pre-season, and given there's been next to no TV coverage of the Buffs in the northwest market, can you give Beaver Nation a scouting report on what kind of game Colorado typically plays?
Austin Dufault's point production has really spiked upward in his senior season. What caused/prompted/allowed him to elevate his game so?
Colorado plays an up-tempo game and they try to push the ball on offense as much as they can. When they run their set offense, they do a lot of cutting and screening to try and get isolation play for their superior guards.
Colorado plays good man defense, but at times doesn't help, and sometimes is overaggressive when guarding. Overall, Colorado likes to get out and push the ball and force the opponent to take ill-advised shots.
Austin Dufault worked very hard in the offseason and his game over conference play has shown that. He has really stepped up and hasn't been outmatched like he was sometimes in previous years. One of the more successful moves that he has added to his repertoire is a running fade away in the middle of the lane. It is similar to a jump hook; however, it can be blocked. Ultimately, Dufualt has become a better player due to his improved outside shot and patient post play.
Carlon Brown seems to have come out of nowhere after transferring, ironically from Utah, to Colorado, to really play well for the Buffs. What is the back-story on him?
Carlon Brown is one of the more interesting players on this year's squad. He plays at such a high level in some games and then he will be invisible in others. He has a very good elbow pull up shot and can get the basket easily if he chooses. If Brown shoots efficiently and does not make careless turnovers, the Buffaloes do not usually lose.
Despite being only 6'7", Andre Roberson seems to be a force on the boards for the Buffs, who play essentially without a post presence, 6'11" sub Shane Harris-Tunks notwithstanding. How does he do it? And is the 3 guard, 2 smallish forward approach something coach Tad Boyle favors, or was it more a matter of the talent available?
Andre Roberson is so efficient and great on the boards because of his timing and jumping ability. No one seems to rebound over him and whenever he can't grab a rebound with both hands he keeps tipping it up until he can get it.
As far as the 3 guard, 2 smallish forward approach, that is more a matter of talent available. Boyle will play the best players he has and can only incorporate size so much because of this. There just aren't a lot of big players on the Buffaloes that can play a lot of minutes and contribute.
The Buffs have been really tough at home. How much of that is the effect of altitude, especially against a bunch of former Pac-10 mostly low-landers, and how much is the atmosphere at the Coors Event Center? Is Buff basketball a happening for conference games?
The home-court advantage for the Buffaloes is a combination of the altitude and the fans. The Coors Event Center is one of the smaller arenas in the Pac-12 so it is easy to fill up and the fans really do influence the play of the Buffaloes. Furthermore, the Buffaloes continue to have a huge home-court advantage and Boulder will be a hard place for all of their new Pac-12 opponents.
Colorado's conference losses have all been on the road, and surprisingly, a couple of them have been pretty lopsided. Why the big difference away from Boulder? Was it just a coincidence of where the Buffs ran into some difficult matchups? Or somethng else?
Winning on the road is a difficult thing to do and the Buffaloes haven't been able to accomplish this consistently. They get outmatched easily and make too many careless turnovers. Along with the turnovers, the poor shot selection prevents the Buffaloes from winning.
Clearly it is more difficult to win on the road than home, however, the Buffaloes play so much differently on the road that the mental aspect is a factor as well.
Speaking of poor TV coverage, what's the relationship between Colorado sports and ROOT Sports Rocky Mtn.? ROOT Sports' northwest channel has been pretty good to the northwest teams, and fans in this region are surprised to see such limited coverage of Colorado?
ROOT Sports more covers the Pac-12 rather than just Colorado. As a result, they'll cover the more premier games and Colorado hasn't played that many premier games yet.
Let's just say the new TV deal can't get here soon enough.
Recognizing that football was rough, but basketball is going pretty well, how do Buff fans feel at this point about being in the Pac-12 vs. the Big XII? Are you still happy with the move? If the "Texas problem" didn't exist, would Colorado have still made the jump? And what have you run into in the Pac that surprised you?
Colorado Buffalo fans are definitely happy with the move to the Pac-12. Colorado has a lot of alumni in California, home to many Pac-12 schools, and being a part of this conference has already helped out recruiting.
Additionally, Colorado would have made the jump regardless of the "Texas Problem". As far as surprises in the Pac-12, there really has not been anything that stands out. It seems like a very well run league with strong alumni.
Thanks, Parker for the great insights!
Beaver Nation is looking forward to developing a good competitive relationship with the Buffs, a program that we think will be a good fit for the conference.