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Men's Basketball Month-By-Month Preview: December

The second of a five-part series previewing the 2014-15 men's basketball season

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The month of December is highlighted by a trip to SEC country, a pair of Front Range opponents making visits to Boulder, and Colorado's first preseason tournament since the 2012 Charleston Classic.

Wednesday, Dec. 3         San Francisco

Last time these two teams met was in November of 2010, in one of the most bizarre games in recent memory. Nate Tomlinson and Rex Walters got in a shoving match, earning the former CU point guard and the Dons' head coach twin technical fouls. CU lost in overtime on two technical foul free throws after calling a timeout they didn't have. Both programs have progressed since that meeting back in Tad Boyle's first season. The Dons won 21 games last season, good enough for a birth in the NIT, but they lose their top two scorers. Boyle should be able to even the score against Walters, who also played his college basketball at Kansas.

Sunday, Dec. 7                  at Georgia

In another flashback from Boyle's first season in Boulder, CU will leave the Front Range for the first time all season to meet Mark Fox's Georgia squad. UGA's second place conference finish last season says more about the pathetic nature of the SEC than Georgia's quality. Cross-country road trips are never easy, but Colorado should be able to take care of business against a middle-of-the-road SEC squad.

Wednesday, Dec. 10       Colorado State

After escaping Fort Collins with a ‘W' in 2013 thanks in large part to Spencer Dinwiddie's 28 point performance, the series shifts back to Boulder, where CSU hasn't managed to win since the Ricardo Patton era. The Rams were picked to finish fifth in the always-tough Mountain West. CSU guard Daniel Bejarano landed a spot in the five-player Preseason All-Mountain West team, the first Ram to receive that accolade since Jason Smith of the New York Knicks.

Saturday, Dec. 13             Northern Colorado

Colorado faces Northern Colorado for the first time during Boyle's tenure in Boulder. Former Boyle assistant at UNC B.J. Hill's squad loses Big Sky All-Conference second teamers Derrick Barden and Tate Unruh, but gains CSU transfer Dwight Smith. Smith graduated from Colorado State, enabling him to play right away for the Bears.

Dec. 22 - Dec. 25              Diamond Head Classic

Playing in their first preseason tournament since the memorable 2012 Charleston Classic, Colorado takes to Honolulu for the Diamond Head Classic. Colorado opens with DePaul, who finished 3-15 in Big East play last season. The Buffs should be able to handle DePaul, in which case they'll face the winner of Ohio and George Washington. GW enters 2014-15 coming off a landmark season for head coach Mike Lonergan, notching 24 victories and advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007. The opposite half of the bracket features an upstart Nebraska program led by former CSU head coach Tim Miles, Loyola-Marymount, coached by Mike Dunlap, and Hawai'i. But the most intriguing team in the tournament is Wichita State, who earned a one-seed in the 2014 NCAA Tournament before falling in the third round to Kentucky. WSU lost Cleanthony Early to the NBA Draft, but Ron Baker returns, and should challenge for All-American accolades during his junior season in Wichita. The Buffs and the Shockers should match up in the championship game for the first time since 2011, when Colorado lost in the opening round of the Puerto Rico Shootout.

Predicted Record: 6-1