With eight new players dotting the roster, Colorado needs nonconference games such as Tuesday’s against visiting Denver to become cohesive before the rigors of Pac-12 life begin. Among those making their debuts was freshman point guard McKinley Wright IV, who contributed 10 points, four rebounds and three assists in Friday’s 66-51 season-opening victory over Northern Colorado.
“He’s the best freshman nobody’s talking about nationally right now,’’ Colorado coach Tad Boyle told reporters of Wright. “They should be and guess what? In time, they will. He’s as dialed in on defense as he is on offense — his motor, his intensity. You can’t teach what he’s got. He’s special.” Wright enjoyed his first college game despite shooting 5-for-14 from the field — 0-for-3 from 3-point range — and committing three turnovers. “It was fun. I’m excited to be here, the energy that these fans bring to us as a team is really great,’’ Wright told reporters. “I had a great time out there playing with my guys and we are excited for the season. It’s going to be a good one.” The Pioneers, who meet the Buffaloes for the first time since 2007, lost their season opener 83-69 at UC Irvine on Sunday and were voted to finish fifth in the Summit League preseason poll.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network
ABOUT DENVER (0-1): Daniel Amigo, a 6-10 senior forward and All-Summit League first-team preseason selection, recorded 13 points and 10 rebounds Sunday after averaging team highs of 15.5 and 7.1, respectively, last season. Junior guard Joe Rosga, an All-Summit League second-team preseason pick, had 15 points, four rebounds and three assists versus UC Irvine, nearly mirroring his averages from last season (15.2, 4.1, 3.2). The Pioneers shot 33.3 percent Sunday with Amigo and Rosga combining to go 7-for-22 from the floor.
ABOUT COLORADO (1-0): Despite having so many newcomers, the Buffaloes’ starting lineup features three seniors in guards George King and Dominique Collier, and forward Tory Miller-Stewart. King recorded 12 points and nine rebounds versus Northern Colorado while Miller-Stewart contributed 11 and five, and Collier chipped in two points, three assists and two steals. Lazar Nikolic, a 6-7 freshman guard, grabbed six rebounds in 15 minutes and sophomore forward Lucas Siewert had six boards in 16 minutes.
1. King needs 108 points to reach 1,000.
2. Colorado is 102-19 at home under Boyle.
3. The Buffaloes were voted to finish ninth in the Pac-12 preseason poll.
PREDICTION: Colorado 80, Denver 58