After taking care of a pair of instate rivals, Colorado will head east to take part in the Paradise Jam in Lynchburg, Va., where they will tip off Friday against Quinnipiac. The Buffaloes used strong defense to thwart Northern Colorado and Denver and should be able to make easy work of the Bobcats.
Tad Boyle’s team will have a different look this season as he will rely on a handful of underclassmen after losing four seniors from last year’s 19-15 squad. Heading the list are freshmen McKinley Wright IV, who is averaging a team-high 28 minutes, Tyler Bey and D‘Shawn Schwartz. “Our rotation is going to be a work in progress and a game-to-game thing,” Boyle, who has had four 20-win seasons in Boulder, told the media. “So, I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in who’s in the starting lineup right now. The bench will be really important, and we’ll have 12 capable players.” The Bobcats opened their season by splitting with a pair of Ivy League squads, beating Dartmouth and falling to Brown.
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ABOUT QUINNIPIAC (1-1): If he can continue with the gradual improvement he’s shown throughout his career, Chaise Daniels is certain be one of the top players in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference this season. The 6-9 senior forward looked the part with 39 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks over the first two games and has now scored in double figures in 15 of his last 17 games. Freshman guard Rich Kelly has made an impact right away by scoring in double figures in both games while dishing out 17 assists and Cameron Young has 23 points and 15 rebounds, which is more the senior guard had all last season for the Bobcats.
ABOUT COLORADO (2-0): With Wright IV, Dominique Collier and freshman Lazar Nikolic from Serbia, the Buffaloes have no shortage of players who can run the offense and Boyle hinted that playing them all at the same time is an option. Collier has weathered the storm to make it to his senior season with the Buffaloes, but it seems that each season he has been forced to take a back seat to another point guard. Last season, it was future NBA first round pick Derrick White and this season it looks like it will be Wright IV, who was Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball last season.
1. After producing three 20-win seasons between 2009-10 and 2013-14, the Bobcats are a combined 34-57 in the last three seasons under Tom Moore.
2. Though listed as a guard, 6-6 senior George King has been Colorado’s top rebounder this season along with 6-10 sophomore Lucas Siewert from Brazil.
3. The winner plays Drake or Wake Forest in Saturday’s semifinals.
PREDICTION: Colorado 82, Quinnipiac 62