Basketball Preview: Colorado Buffaloes at Stanford Cardinal

CU logo

VS.

CU logo

Colorado Buffaloes

Stanford Cardinal

Who: Colorado Buffaloes at Stanford Cardinal
Where: Maples Pavilion (Stanford, CA)
When: 8:30 pm MT
Line: Stanford by 15

The young Buffs will be on the road for the first time this season after going 3 - 1 in the first four. The Buffs have been exactly what we thought they would be: young and small inside. Colorado has been out-rebounded by a lengthy margin this year, especially on the offensive side end. The Buffs have been holding the oppositions to lower shooting percentages but due to the lack of rebounding, teams have been able to get extra chances against the Buffs. With freshman Toby Veal not ready for collegiate play, according to Jeff Bzdelik, the Buffs don't have a big answer in the middle. The 6'5" guard, Cory Higgins has 6.0 rebounds a game which is tied for the lead. That is a problem especially when the Buffs start Big 12 play.

Their have been a few bright spots this year and it starts on the offensive end of the court. CU has shot 50% from the field against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Harvard and Lafayette. Buffs guard Cory Higgins leads the team in what seems like every major statistical category. Last game, Higgins had a team high and personal career high 24 points but three other players had double digits as well so there is some balance on this team. Back to Higgins, look at the improvement from his freshman year. He has definitely led this team to the record that they currently have. Higgins, the 6'5" guard from Florida, is a sophomore which is considered a veteran on this team. Look for him to continue to get better and better as the Buffs youth grows around him.

Season Averages - Cory Higgins
SEASON MIN PTS REB AST TO A/T STL BLK PF FG% FT% 3P% PPS
2007-2008 33.6 8.3 4.3 2.3 2.1 1.11 1.1 .3 2.1 .459 .680 .333 1.29
2008-2009 36.8 17.8 6.0 3.8 2.8 1.36 2.3 .0 2.0 .528 .732 .231 1.97

Another few positives to this year already in each of the four games the Buffs have played this year, they have had four players in double digits and overall, Colorado is shooting over 50% from the field on the year. For a young team, offense doesn't seem to be the problem. The fans would like to see more on the defensive end nad boards.

The Buffs will get a taste of higher level collegiate basketball tonight as the Stanford was a sweet 16 team last year. Stanford is currently on the "Colorado Tour" as they there last game was against Air Force (W - 76 - 57), Colorado Saturday night and then @ Colorado State in 15 days.

The Cardinal are 3-0 on the season with a pair of home against CSU-Northridge (103-85) and Air Force (76-57), played on Wednesday. Stanford opened the season with a 75-67 winner at Yale. The Cardinal returns seven players and three starters from last year's 28-8 Sweet 16 team. Sounds like a dangerous team right? Well, the two players who are missing are 7-foot twins, Brook and Robin Lopez, both of whom are in the NBA. That has caused first year coach, Johnny Dawkins a long time Duke assistant, to go relatively small this year. The good thing for the Cardinal is that they are led by three seniors, something the Buffs will have to wait a long time to say. Forward Lawrence Hill, who was great as a sophomore then struggled last season, will need to have a big season for the Cardinal to be successful in the PAC 10. Currently, Hill is second on the team in scoring, averaging 18.0 points and 7.0 rebounds a game. The leading scorer is point guard Mitch Johnson, who is the team leader, is averaging an impressive 21.3 points a game. Scoring has not been a problem so far for the Cardinal, averaging 85 a game. This team wants to play on the perimeter. Against Air Force, Stanford hit on 12 of 25 shots from three-point range.

The Buffs are going to have their hands full defending the high flying offense of the Cardinal but the good news for the Buffs is the Lopez twins are gone and Stanford will not be overpowering inside. For the Buffs to be successful tonight, rebounding will be key.

Other Notes:

  • Colorado is an early 15 point underdog. I would expect that to possibly go up even though this Cardinal team should not be expected to make a lot of noise in the PAC 10 this year
  • Tonight's tip off is at 8:30 MT
  • The game will be on Fox Sports Network. The first televised game this year for the Buffs.
  • For more on tonight's game, check out the rivals yahoo preview of Stanford.
Quick Stat Comparison

W-L PF PA HOME ROAD STK
COLO 3-1 75.3 64.3 3-1 0-0 W2
STAN 3-0 84.7 69.7 2-0 1-0 W3
Team Stat Leaders

COLORADO STANFORD
Points C. Higgins 17.8 A. Goods 21.3
Rebounds C. Higgins 6.0 L. Hill 7.0
Assists C. Higgins 3.8 M. Johnson 6.0
Steals C. Higgins 2.3 A. Goods 2.0
Blocks J. Jackson-Wilson 1.3 L. Fields 1.0
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