Scouting report: No. 15 Colorado
Game info: 12 p.m. Sunday at Alaska Airlines Arena (10,000 capacity).
TV: Fox Sports 1 (Aaron Goldsmith and Marques Johnson).
Radio: KJR 950 AM (Bob Rondeau and Jason Hamilton).
Coach: Tad Boyle s 83-40 (.674) in his fourth season with the Buffaloes and 138-105 (.574) in eight years as a head coach. He’s fourth on Colorado’s all-time coaching wins list. He’s also the first coach to guide CU to three straight 20-plus win seasons. Prior to joining Colorado on April 19, 2010, he spent four years at Northern Colorado where he amassed a 56-66 (.459) record. Boyle, 51, played at Kansas (1981-85).
Prediction: Picked to finish third in a preseason poll in the Pac-12 by media who cover the conference. Colorado received 1 of 23 first-place votes.
Series: The series began Dec. 30, 1953 and Washington leads 8-7. The Huskies are 6-1 in Seattle.
Last meeting: During its 64-54 win on Jan. 16, 2013, Washington led from the start to the finish and dominated defensively. The Huskies held the Buffaloes to a season-low shooting 36.2 percent (21 of 58) from the field and just 1 of 10 three-pointers. CU’s 54 points were its second fewest of the season. C.J. Wilcox poured in a game-high 25 points and Scott Suggs added 13.
Previous game: Colorado beat Washington State 71-70 in overtime on Wednesday at Spokane Arena.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
— Junior point guard Spencer Dinwiddie is projected as a first-round pick in the 2014 NBA draft. If the projections are true, then he would be the third Colorado player taken in first round of the draft in the past four years joining Andre Roberson (2013) and Alec Burk (2011).
Dinwiddie leads Colorado in scoring (15.8 points per game), assists (4.1) and steals (1.8). He’s fourth in rebounding (3.3).
At 6-6, he’s versatile enough to play four positions. He can be a mismatch nightmare for smaller guards inside and he’s an adept ball-handler who is quick enough to blow by forwards on the offensive end. Dinwiddie’s best attribute is drawing fouls and making free throws. He leads the Pac-12 with 114 FT attempts and he shoots 86.8 at the charity stripe, which is fifth in the Pac-12.
— Junior Askia Booker is a streaky volume shooter who is the X-factor for Colorado. The 6-2 shooting guard has had two incredible offensive performances this season including a 30-foot buzzer beater to defeat then-No. 6 Kansas and a career-high 27-point outing that led CU in a win over then-No. 10 Oregon. He’s also had seven games where he’s failed to shoot over 35 percent from the field.
Dinwiddie told the Daily Camera: “When Ski plays really well, we play really well. When he’s down, we struggle.”
Booker is a below-average three-point shooter and yet, he leads CU with 72 attempts behind the arc. He averages 29.2 percent on 3s. He’s extremely athletic with a 42.5 vertical jump. He’s a decent play maker, who averages, 2.2 assists. But when he drives to the rim, he’s likely to take the shot or draw a foul. He’s taken over 10 shots in 14 games. Booker is outstanding at the free-throw line where he shoots 85 percent. He averages 13.9 points, which is second on the team. Booker has won the Pac-12 Player of the Week award twice this season.
In the previous game against Washington, Booker fouled out in 34 minutes. He collected seven rebounds, but had just nine points on 3-for-14 shooting. As a freshman, Booker converted 4 of 8 field goals, including three three-pointers for 12 points during an 87-69 CU win at Coors Events Center.
— Josh Scott, a 6-10 sophomore forward, who replaced Roberson in the post. Scott averages 13.6 points, which is third on the team, and 9.4 rebounds, which is second in the Pac-12. He’s tied for first in the Pac-12 double-double category with eight. He’s two off the national lead. The Huskies held him to just eight points and two rebounds last year. Scott
— Booker and Dinwiddie are the only upperclassmen in the 10-man rotation.
— Scott (7), Dinwiddie (6) and Booker (5) have led Colorado in scoring in every game.
— Colorado is a battle-tested team that’s 2-2 against ranked teams with wins over then-No. 6 Kansas and then-No. 10 Oregon. CU’s only losses are to then-No. 25 Baylor and then-No. 7 Oklahoma State. The Buffaloes also have nonconference wins at Air Force and Colorado State.
— CU is off to its best start since the 1968-69 team, which finished 21-7 and won the Big Eight title.
— The Buffaloes do an amazing job at drawing fouls, getting to the free-throw line and making shots. The have more free throws (363) than six teams Pac-12 teams’ have FT attempts. CU averages 31.2 FT attempts per game, which ranks second nationally. During an 84-70 win over Georgia on Dec. 28, Colorado made 26 of 26 free throws.
— Dinwiddie and Booker are one of the highest-scoring backcourt tandems in the nation, but for the second straight season the Buffaloes are one of the worst teams in the Pac-12 in assists. CU averages 12.6, which ranks 11th.
— Since leaving the Big 12 and joining the Pac-12 three years ago, Colorado has made significant recruiting inroads in California. Last year, the Buffaloes mined the state of Washington for its first player in 14 years. Colorado signed 6-7 forward Tre’Shaun Fletcher out Tacoma’s Lincoln High, which was a bit of a surprise considering his final five also included: Washington State, UCLA, Arizona State and Oregon State. Saturday’s game is a homecoming for Fletcher who is expecting a large cheering section at Alaska Airlines Arena. He’s averaging 3.5 points, 1.9 rebounds and 10.2 minutes as a reserve.
— Freshmen Jaron Hopkins, Dustin Thomas and Fletcher figure prominently in Colorado’s bench production, which has been somewhat sporadic. Sophomore Xavier Talton is also a key reserve.
— Under Boyle, Colorado is 55-7 (88.7 percent) at home and 7-10 in Pac-12 road games.
F – Josh Scott, 6-10, 245, So., 13.6 ppg., 9.4 rbg., 1.1 bgp., 55.6 FG%
F – Wesley Gordon, 6-9, 225, Fr., 6.7, 6.0, 1.1 apg., 0-3 3-Pters
F – Xavier Johnson, 6-7, 220, So., 10.3, 5.9, 1.0 spg.
G- Spencer Dinwiddie, 6-6, 200, Jr., 15.2, 3.2, 3.9 apg., 1.6 spg., 85.3 FT%
G – Askia Booker, 6-2, 170, Jr., 13.9, 3.0, 2.2 apg., 1.4 spg., 85.0 FT%