Editor's Note: The following post is a part of the 2013 Purple Row Writer Search -- our quest to find some great new contributors to Purple Row. This entry was written by PURPLE DUKE.
The buzz in local college basketball is the CU Buffs after their relatively easy will over Stanford, a team that bashed the Buffs twice last year.
Tad Boyle, who was interviewed Friday on "The Fan", a local sports talk show, gave some reasons why.
1. The inside presence of Josh Scott and Xavier Johnson who were able to defend and rebound which enabled them to get out to Andre Roberson and the guards quickly to pressure the Stanford defense. While Andre Roberson leads the nation in rebounds per game, the more he can operate in the perimeter, the better he can use his passing and speed in the transition offense.
2. The Buffs are doing a better job of sharing the ball on offense. Those of you who saw the road game at Washington will recall Askia Booker shooting 1-10 in the first half, and not much better in the second half, and playing the game like it was his chance to get his shot back. Also recall the slowness of both teams in the Washington game which is what Washington wanted.
Recall also the emergence of Xavier Johnson as a defensive force in the paint. Washington State, a sub-top 100 team, was able to slow the Buffs team who almost beat the Buffs.
Boyle also stressed the value of having good practices. Practicing well improves passing, a revived art of the Buffs in the Stanford game. The Buffs have incrementally and impressively improved on defense this season. Colorado is holding opponents to 39 % shooting over the year, and against Stanford at home, the visitors were held to 31% from the floor.
The Golden Bears are 11-7 for the season, 3-3 in the Pac 12, and they have lost four of the last five against Colorado. They have the top scoring duo in the Pac 12, 6-6 junior Allen Crabbe and backcourt mate Justin Cobbs. Cal began this road trip with a win against Utah, 62-57. Crabbe made four 3 pointers and finished with 23 points.
Keys to the game are: Can the Buffs get the ball out fast on the break?; If the ball continually gets "stuck" in CU's offense, we are back to the Washington loss; If Crabbe and Cobbs get hot at the same time, the Buffs are in trouble; If Colorado's passing game regresses, how badly will it hurt against Cal?
Cal is 2-4 over its last 6 games. Colorado is 4-1 against them lately. Look for a Colorado win, and hope for improvement in passing, defense or both.