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Game Preview: Lafayette Leopards @ Colorado Buffaloes

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Colorado Buffaloes

Lafayette Leopards

Who: Colorado Buffaloes vs. Lafayette Leopards
Where: Coors Event Center (Boulder, CO)
When: 7:00 pm MT
Line: None Available


As we are fresh in the middle of Nebraska week and with the Buffs welcoming another "who" school in town tonight (would be funny if the Buffs hadn't lost to a "who" school and survived against another), forgive me if this preview is a liittle light. Straight to the point with this one.

The Buffs come off a come from behind victory against the Harvard Crimson last Saturday as CU picked up the tempo and were able to claw out a 70 - 57 victory. The score doesn't reflect how close the game was. The Buffs found success by picking up the pace and playing pressure defense, something I expect Colorado to do frequently the rest of the season. A young team plays better when they are not thinking but playing aggressive. Right now the Buffs best player has been 6'5" Sophomore G Cory Higgins who is leading the Buffs in points, rebounds and assists. Higgins has shot a solid 48% from the field on his way to averaging 16 points per game. Higgins is considered a veteran on this team of youth and should continue to be the Buffs meal tickets as Bzdelik's pups continue to develop.

The Lafayette Leopards from the Patriot League come into tonight's game at the Coors Event Center (7:00 pm MT) 2 - 2, beating Wagner and Stony Brook to start the year but losing their last two against Temple and Rider. Lafayette was up by as much as 15 in the second half against Rider before giving up the lead late in the second half. The Leopards don't boast a powerful inside presence, something that should be music to the ears of Colorado fans. But the Buffs will need to defend the perimeter as close to half of Lafayette's 215 field goal attempts are from the three point line (103). That is unbelievable. I guess when you don't have much of an inside game, that is where you go. Last year, Lafayette was able to get hot early in the season and really surprised some teams with their outside shooting ability. Colorado doesn't have the the offensive fire power to match these guys if the Leopards start going off so playing tough on the perimeter will be important for this team. The two leading scores for Lafayette, 6'2" G Jeff Kari and 5'11' G Andre Brown, both have attempted more three point field goals than two point field goals in the first four games. Kari averages 17 points per game and has shot 42.9% from behind the arc this season. The 6'2" guard led the Leopards in all four major statistical categories against Rider so he will be the guy the Buffs must keep an eye on. Brown, who most predicted would be the best player on the team before the season, averages 15.3 points per game and 28% from three point range. Last year, Brown made 40%  of his 3-pointers last year and made 99 treys (third most in the league). Brown is from the state of Colorado.

With the heavy reliance on outside shooting and smaller players, the Buffs will need to dominant the boards. Temple outrebounded the Leopards by 9 and they went on to cruise. The problem is the Buffs are just as bad on the boards as the Leopards. On the offensive end, keep feeding Higgins. Cory has had the hot hand this year so look for the Buffs to try and establish him early and often. Also, Colorado needs to make the effort against a smaller team to win the offensive rebound game. If the Buffs do that and shut down the perimeter play of the Leopards, CU should roll.


Gameday Matchup

LAF 2-2 71.3 73.3 1-2 1-0 L2
COLO 2-1 76 66 2-1 0-0 W1
Team Stat Leaders

Points J. Kari 17.0 C. Higgins 15.7
Rebounds R. Willen 6.3 C. Higgins 7.3
Assists J. Kari 3.5 C. Higgins 4.7
Steals J. Kari 2.3 C. Higgins 2.0
Blocks M. Koltun 1.5 J. Jackson-Wilson 1.0
Projected Starting Lineups

1 Darion Benbow, F Jermyl Jackson-Wilson, F
2 Marek Koltun, C Austin Dufault, F
3 Andrew Brown, G Nate Tomlinson, G
4 Ben Wheeler, G Cory Higgins, G
5 Jeff Kari, G Dwight Thorne II, G