The Colorado Buffaloes had a golden opportunity today at the Coors Event Center in Boulder. Fresh off a victory over a ranked Baylor team, CU had a chance today in front of an announced crowd of 10,852 to win back to back games against ranked opponents for the first time in school history.
But like many Colorado fans have come to realize, whether you are watching the Buffs play football or basketball, the saying of "same story, different day" applies most of the time. Do I think the basketball program has some players in place to begin to excel in the Big 12? Yes, I think Alec Burks is a special player and no questioning what Cory Higgins brings to the table. But like both programs inability to win on the road, like the football team's ability to be successful in the trenches or on special teams, the basketball program's kryptonite is their lack of inside presence. Against Baylor, the Buffs were outrebounded 36 - 23 but they made 10 more free throws and only turned the ball over five times compared to 18 for the Bears. Essentially, the Buffs made up their inefficiencies on the boards by excelling in other areas.
But in the Big 12, losing the rebounding battle by 10+ is playing with fire because you can't depend on a 10+ turnover margin difference every night. Saturday, Colorado again played with fire and lost.
Colorado wasted a 30 point night from Cory Higgins, five scorers in double-digits and a 50.0% shooting night because they continued that nasty trend being out muscled in the paint. Coming into the game, Colorado ranked 296th in rebounding margin and you could see why today. Kansas State, due to their aggression, had a 41-23 edge on the glass. Yes, 41-23. 19 of those 41 were offensive rebounds that led the Wildcats to shoot six more shots during the game and 14 more free throws.
Until the Buffs find the attitude or the right personnel to battle in the middle, they have enough talent and scheme to stay competitive during games but their will be more losses than wins. It was a good effort but like with the football program, the same issues have been glaring for a while now and one must wonder when these things will start to get fixed.