The Colorado Buffaloes have taken advantage of a (relatively) easy early conference schedule to start out at 3-0 in their first season in the Pac-12. The Buffs have surprised a lot of folks in the media with their quick start, but critics have been quick to point out that the team has yet to leave the friendly confines of the Coors Event Center. Starting tonight, Tad Boyle's Buffaloes have the first, of many, opportunities to prove those critics wrong.
When Colorado tips off tonight in Berkeley, they will be facing a California team that was picked to finish second in the Pac-12. They have two of the conference's best players in Allen Crabbe and Jorge Gutierrez. Gutierrez, a senior point guard who played his high school ball at Denver Lincoln, is averaging just under 15 points and 4 assists a game. Gutierrez was hurt in the second half of last year's 89-72 Colorado win in the second round of the postseason NIT tournament. Crabbe, a 6-6 sophomore guard from Los Angeles, leads the team with 16.5 points per game and is shooting 48% from three. Colorado will also have to account for Harper Kamp, the 6-8 senior forward averaging 9 points and 5 rebounds so for this season.
The Buffaloes have built their 3-0 conference start on the backs of Andre Roberson's continued dominance of the boards and Carlon Brown's ever improving play. Brown was named last week's Pac-12 Player of the Week for his play against Washington and Washington State and a similar performance will be required for the Buffs to handle Cal. The Buffs Pac-12 leading defense has been impressive, but slowing down Gutierrez and holding Crabbe below his averages will be no easy task.
A split in these two Northern California match-ups would be considered a win for this Buffs team, but Colorado fans are hoping for an improved team on the road and proof that the 3-0 start was for real.