I have to lead off with a CU football commit playing basketball this morning. It was just too impressive not to. Alright, you see 21 rebounds in the pro game from guys like Dwight Howard, etc probably once a month but to do it in a high school game with shortened periods and a lack of a shot clock, that is something pretty special. Well, future Buffalo, TE DaVaughn Thornton of Denver East, scored 18 points and grabbed 21 boards last night to lead the Angels to a Denver Public League crown. You have to like the pedigree of a raw talent at tight end with basketball player athleticism. Some of the best tight ends have a similar athletic combination. Very impressive night for DaVaughn. Also, Quentin Hildreth, a preferred walk-on running back, scored 10 points for East last night.
Also our incoming quarterback, Clark Evans, showed well last night in his high school performance. "Evans surged in the first half, and he finished with a team-high 24 points and 11 rebounds." His Los Al team lost, though, in the playoffs which was only their second of the season. They finished with 27 wins.
Now on to our collegiate basketball squad who plays that team from Missouri, who has been nothing but a thorn in our side the last couple of years in both football and on the hardwood. In football, Missouri has out scored the Buffs 113 - 10 in the last two years. Let's just say the departure of Maclin, Daniel and Coffman will make no opponent happier than the Buffs as Coffman can probably thank his first pay check in the NFL to playing against the Colorado pass defense.
On the basketball court, things were not much better this year as the first Big 12 conference game, the Buffaloes were introduced to a more talented and difficult task than they had faced in the non-conference schedule. At that time, no one thought much of Missouri, but the Tigers have probably been the biggest surprise in college basketball this year. They are currently the 10th ranked team in the country, averaging a whopping 82.8 points per game and only giving up 65.5. That is what they call scoring margin, which Missouri ranks third in the nation. Very impressive. That is not good for the Buffs, who have a hard time scoring but also a tough time defending. Teams are hitting their shots at a 46.0% clip, which is dead last in the Big 12 and 291st in the nation overall. It is easy to see why the Buffs have one conference win this year and are sitting dead last in the Big 12. They currently have more turnovers than assists, ranking them 255th in the nation in the assist-turnover ratio and their rebounding margin is -4.8, ranking them 309th in the country. Poor guard play with a lack of an inside presence really sums this team up.
In the first meeting with Missouri, Colorado lost 107 - 62, which was the most points scored against and the biggest margin of defeat this year. It was a punch right to the gut for all Buff fans as they knew once again, at that time, conference play would be a struggle. CU turned the ball over 26 times, shot 37% and let the Tigers hit 63.3% of their shots. That is recipe for disaster.
Today, Colorado is a 12 point underdog at home which should be positive news for Buffs fans after losing to Missouri by 45 the last time they played. Yes, CU has not been dominate at home but they have not won on the road in Big 12 play in the last 27 games so it has to be better than playing on the road, right? Missouri, if their is a kink in the armor, is 16 - 0 at home, but is 4 - 3 on the road. Also, Buff fans, Colorado has played exponentially better since the early part of the Big 12 schedule.
The key for today's game is, as always, to get Higgins into a groove and create shots for him. Higgins has a tendency to disappear in the first half of games like he did against Nebraska due to strong defense by the Huskers but also, Colorado not making an effort to feature him in the offense. Higgins needs to have more shots than three in the first half. Also, the Buffs have to make sure they are ready to play in the second half as most of Missouri's blowouts have been due to great second half play, especially the last few games. Third, hopefully Colorado has a plan to break the pressure defense that Missouri will deploy. In the first meeting, the result of being on the road and without a strong point guard/press breaker, Mizzou forced 26 turnovers.
For more on today's game, check out the following links:
In other news,
How about Outland Trophy winner and first round potential draft pick, OT Andre Smith from Alabama, really disappointing already. He isn't letting down in his numbers but the fact that he didn't lift yesterday because "he wasn't ready and hadn't started lifting until late." Now he is AWOL for his combine workout and no one knows where he is. This is the same guy who contacted an agent prior to the Sugar Bowl and could not play in the game. Losing money with every bad decision he makes. Smith was supposed to be a early first round draft pick.
As I posted in an earlier fan shot, sad news from the combine as Michael Crabtree has a stress fracture in his foot that will require surgery and a screw. He will be out 10 weeks and won't be able to participate in any offseason workouts before the draft.