In order to get ready for the start of the 2012-13 Buffaloes basketball season today, the staff here at Ralphie Report got together (virtually) to share our thoughts on the upcoming season. Dig in!
1) Who are you most excited to watch this year out of our returning players?
Parker: I'm most excited to see Spencer Dinwiddie. He's in the point guard spot now and has control of the offense. He's added muscle and has assumed a leadership role on this team. He's coming off an exceptional freshman campaign where he started every game and was named to the Pac-12 Conference All-Freshman Team. Now with added muscle, experience, and expectations, I see Dinwiddie being a major factor for this team.
Ash: Andre, for sure. Blocking shots, denying the basket.
David: CHENSANITY! No, just kidding. I'm most excited to see how Spencer Dinwiddie plays this season. As awesome as Andre "Animal Style" Roberson is, the offense doesn't run through him. It runs through The Mayor, and his development as the lead guard is going to help our freshmen assimilate into the offense and going to bump our team from simply good to very good, or even great. I know all of our guards are going to have an impact on who gets the ball, but Dinwiddie is a guy with NBA talent, great size and he showed some phenomenal instincts. In addition to his development as a distributor, I would bet he scores a bunch more points.
Jon: I'm most excited to see the maturation of Spencer Dinwiddie. He is going to be the guy making this offense run and there isn't a whole lot of depth behind him. If he makes a jump in play similar to what we saw from Andre Roberson in year two then this could be a special season for him.
2) Who are you most excited to watch this year out of our newcomers?
Parker: It'd be easy to go with Josh Scott or Xavier Johnson. Scott is going to be good, there's no doubt about that and Xavier Johnson will come along slowly, but should be a good player for the Buffs. However, I'm most excited to see Eli Stalzer. He's at the college level now and wasn't able to stand out in high school because of all the talented players he played with. I want to see if he can step up as the back-up point guard, hit the timely three and play good defense. A reliable back-up point guard is a great thing to have for this type of team and I'm excited to see what Stalzer can do.
Ash: Xavier Johnson, Phil promised dunking, and I expect to see dunking.
David: Obviously XJ & Jelly, but for this, I'm excited to see how a Wesley Gordon can impact our squad this season. He's underrated offensively, and he's a beast on defense. We need a guy like him and he can give us serious minutes at the 4 and 5, with enough ballast to actually hold up against some of the bigs around the conference.
Jon: Josh Scott. Having a true inside presence like Smith could potentially be is a game changer at this level of basketball. We haven't had a guy like him in a long, long time and his addition has the potential to make a lot of other guys on this team significantly better. I'm trying to keep my expectations for him in check, but we've had some great luck with first year players over the past two seasons and I'm hoping that doesn't change any time soon.
3) Who do you want to beat more, if we get to Baylor, Baylor or Kansas?
Parker: I know how badly everyone wants to beat Kansas and beating them would definitely be a bigger thing than beating Baylor. But, Baylor stopped us from the Sweet Sixteen and it was only because of that great shooting by Brady Heslip. I don't think I want to beat either of them more, I just want to beat them both.
Ash: Baylor, and that dang mullet kid with the 3's.
David: Both. Beating Kansas would be HUGE, not just from an excitement and confidence standpoint, but from an RPI and national recognition standpoint. But emotionally, it's definitely Baylor. I hate them for all sorts of reasons, but that loss last season was just painful. The way it happened...ugh
Jon: Baylor, Baylor, Baylor. That game last year pissed me off to no end. Brady Heslip is public enemy number one with his moronic hand motions. A good performance in Charleston could set the tone for the entire season and we have to get through Baylor to have that happen.
4) Taking into account our first year in the conference and how the match-ups went, who is the one Pac-12 team you want to beat more than any other?
Parker: Stanford. They killed us on the road, which was expected, but they came into the Coors Event Center last year and absolutely crushed us. We could not get any momentum in the entire game and the game was basically over at half. I would like to see the Cardinal do well this year as a Pac-12 fan, however, when they come to the Coors Event Center, Colorado has to come out firing and show them that this year is different.
Ash: All of 'em? I felt like winning the tournament avenged most of our conference losses last year. But a victory over Stanford would be at the top of my list of Pac-12 to-do's.
David: Stanford. They had out number last season and we dodged a bullet when we dodged them in the conference tournament. I'd like to show that we've got that figured out this season.
Jon: Oregon. Maybe it's that their uniforms can resemble Baylor's. Maybe it's their stupid floor. Maybe it's the fact that their football team has run roughshod over the Buffs twice (and let's not forget in the BCS Bowl). I want to crush them every time we play.
5) Assuming you have a range in your head for how this season could go, what are both ends of that range? (random example - "The Buffs making the Elite Eight would exceed my expectations while CU finishing lower than 8th in the conference would be lower than I thought they could go this year").
Parker: My range is the Buffs making the Sweet Sixteen would exceed my expectations and the Buffs not making the tournament would be lower than I thought they could go this year.
Ash: My ranges would be this: Bottom range, we win 18, get halfway through the Pac-12 tournament, and then tear through the NIT. Top: we win 22, win the Pac-12 tourney...AGAIN, and then fight our way to the elite eight.
David: I will be crazy happy with a trip to the Sweet 16, and I will be disappointed with a finish that is below 6th in the Conference.
Jon: I think the high end for me is making the tournament again. Certainly doesn't mean that the Buffs can't do better than that, but if they don't make the tourney for the second season in a row I will definitely feel some level of disappointment. The floor for me is finishing in the top six of the Pac-12 conference. Any lower than that and we will lose a ton of momentum from last season. Have to keep that going.
6) If someone with the power to do so offered you a Final Four appearance for Tad Boyle would you do it (i.e. - we make the Final Four this season but Boyle leaves after it's over. You can't know how we do in said Final Four)?
Parker: No, I wouldn't want to make the Final Four if Tad Boyle left. Boyle is slowly building this program up to heights its never seen before and if he left, this would not be an ideal college basketball job, however, with Boyle continuing to recruit and coach here, by the time he leaves (if he ever leaves) it will be a desirable destination for coaches. The path Tad Boyle is on right now for recruiting and coaching is a great one and I don't believe there is a coach out there who would be more committed to this program than Tad Boyle.
Ash: Nope. Tad is worth more than an appearance in the final four this year. Because Tad can get us to the Final Four next year.
David: No. But that's partly because I don't think he's going to jump ship even with a super-successful year.
Jon: No way. I want Tad Boyle to be the face of this program. Our Mike Krzyzewski. A one year run would be great, but Boyle is being a foundation here that could last a lifetime. Having him split this early in his regime would seriously damage that foundation.
7) What's your prediction for the season?
Parker: My prediction for the season is 3rd in the Pac-12 with an NCAA Tournament appearance. Andre Roberson has a great year and goes to the draft while Spencer Dinwiddie has a great year as well and is ready to return next year and make this his team.
Ash: Split the difference: we win 20, get to the finals of the Pac-12 tourney, and then get to the Sweet 16. And all our sophomores and juniors stay on, and then in the next season, Colorado will win the National Championship. That would be the Spring of 2014, making all the Mayan apocalypse prophecies absolutely true.
David: I think we're going to finish top-4 in the Conference with at least a couple of Conference Tournament victories and enough Non-Con wins to get us into the NCAA tourny and at least another 1st round win.
Jon: 13-5 in conference, nine losses overall, third in the Pac-12 back in the tournament.
Gives us your responses in the comments!