As part of our preview coverage of the Buffs basketball program Parker, the newest addition to the Ralphie Report contributing team will be posting a story each day this week leading up to Friday's game. First up, a look at the upcoming schedule followed by a glimpse at each new and returning player on Wednesday and Thursday. - Jon
University of Colorado Men's Basketball Schedule Preview 2011-2012
Colorado Buffaloes basketball became relevant in the college basketball world last year and, although the NCAA committee snubbed them, progress was made under first year coach, Tad Boyle. The Buffaloes move to the Pac-12 this year along with Utah and this year the conference is strong with Arizona, UCLA, and Washington looking like Pac-12 title contenders. The Buffs lost leading scorer and lottery pick Alec Burks, along with senior leaders Cory Higgins, Marcus Relphorde and sharp shooter Levi Knutson; however, they return rising star Andre Roberson, incoming recruit Spencer Dinwiddie, and welcome transfers Carlon Brown and Jeremy Adams. Let's take a look at how their season will fare after the jump.
The Buffaloes start off the season this Friday against Fort Lewis College, an easy opponent, and then they will take part in the Puerto Rico Tip-off. This is a good move by Boyle, getting the team some national recognition before conference play. Colorado had some bad losses to weak teams last year in non-conference play and, as a result, they were snubbed from the NCAA Tournament. This year, the non-conference schedule is particularly easy again with only two road games against Colorado State and Air Force. Colorado first faces Wichita State, last years postseason NIT Tournament Champion in the Puerto Rico Tip-off so right away we will see the talent level of the Buffaloes. Moreover, there is a great chance that Colorado could head into conference play with only one or two losses coming from the Puerto Rico Tip Off and Georgia.
Considering how well Colorado played at home last year, the only home losses should come against Arizona, UCLA, California, and Washington. On the road, I see the Buffs beating Utah, Oregon State, Washington State, and possibly taking one from Arizona State or USC. Most experts are placing Colorado in the bottom two of the conference, but I don't see that happening. Colorado is going to surprise this year and has a small chance to make the tournament. Overall, my prediction for the Buffs is 17- 12 (8-9 in Pac-12 play) putting them between 6th and 7th. That will not get them into the tournament; however, if Colorado is able to upset a couple teams in conference play and play well in the conference tournament, anything can happen.
Ultimately, this team is definitely moving in the right direction. Tad Boyle is a very underrated coach and recruiter and has two four star recruits and one three star recruit who have already committed for the 2012-2013 season. Although no one can truly replace Alec Burks, with the additions of Carlon Brown, Jeremy Adams and Spencer Dinwiddie, and Roberson having a full offseason with the team, this team may exceed expectations and surprise many doubters.