#26 Colorado Buffaloes: College Basketball 111 in 111

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Welcome to The Sports Bank’s fourth annual college basketball season preview series where we break 111 teams in the 111 days leading up to the opening tip-off of the 2013-2014 season.  We will rank the 84 power conference teams (including the new Big East and American Athletic Conferences) and top 27 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

With four starters returning, the Colorado Buffaloes figure to be one of a few Pac-12 teams trying to hang with Arizona in the conference race.  Depth will be a concern though for the Buffs since they don’t have much experience coming off their bench.

Last Season: 5th, 10-8 in Pac-12, 21-12 overall
Predicted Pac-12 Finish: 2nd

Projected Depth Chart
C: Josh Scott (So)/Ben Mills (Sr)
F: Wesley Gordon (Fr)/Dustin Thomas (Fr)
SF: Xavier Johnson (So)/Tre’Shaun Fletcher (Fr)/Chris Jenkins (Fr)/George King (Fr)
G: Spencer Dinwiddie (Jr)/Eli Stalzer (So)/Jaron Hopkins (Fr)
PG: Askia Booker (Jr)/Xavier Talton (So)

Gone: F-Andre Roberson, SG-Sabatino Chen, C-Shane Harris-Tunks, SF-Jeremy Adams (transfer-Grand Canyon)

2013-2014 Outlook:
The strength of this year’s Colorado team will be their junior backcourt of Spencer Dinwiddie and Askia Booker which might be the best guard tandem in the Pac-12.  Both guys are capable of playing either guard spot and are at their best creating off the bounce.  Neither shoots it exceptionally well from the outside but each can lock down defensively.

The Buffs lose their top reserve guard in Sabatino Chen which opens up minutes for Xavier Talton and Eli Stalzer who were each spot guys last year as freshmen.  Newcomer Jaron Hopkins will also try to earn some playing time but figures to be the odd man out of the rotation.

The biggest concern in the frontcourt is replacing double-double machine Andre Roberson who chose to leave school a year early and enter the NBA Draft.  Josh Scott and Xavier Johnson each put together productive freshman campaigns and suddenly become the veterans of a very young group of forwards.  Scott is a productive low post scorer but needs to be more disruptive as a shot blocker and rebounder.  Johnson’s versatility makes him a dangerous threat since he is athletic, can shoot the three ball, and be a nuisance on the defensive end.

Expecting to take Roberson’s spot in the starting line-up is redshirt freshman Wesley Gordon.  Gordon is a highly talented, athletic forward who appears more than ready to assist in the collective effort of filling in for Roberson.  There is young talent coming off the bench at forward with redshirt freshman Chris Jenkins, top 100 recruit Tre’Shaun Fletcher, and fellow freshmen Dustin Thomas and George King.  That should breed quality competition for minutes though I’d expect Fletcher to be the biggest contributor of the group.

There is a lot of young talent on this Colorado Buffaloes team.  Until the bench figures itself out though, Tad Boyle will lean heavily on his starting five in hopes of battling Arizona and UCLA on top of the Pac-12 standings.

Player to Watch: Spencer Dinwiddie
Due to his versatility and ability to do a little bit of everything on the floor, Dinwiddie has become an intriguing prospect for NBA scouts.  He can play either guard spot and defend multiple positions but for him to really take his game to the next level, the junior needs to improve his consistency from beyond the arc.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/8 vs. Baylor (in Dallas)
11/24 vs. Harvard
12/3 at Colorado State
12/7 vs. Kansas
12/21 vs. Oklahoma State (in Las Vegas)
12/28 vs. Georgia

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#27 Tennessee
#28 Baylor
#29 St. John’s
#30 Harvard
#31 UCLA
#32 Iowa
#33 Boise State
#34 Villanova
#35 Oregon
#36 St. Louis
#37 La Salle
#38 San Diego State
#39 Stanford
#40 Arizona State
#41 BYU
#42 Pitt
#43 California
#44 Iowa State
#45 Providence
#46 Cincinnati
#47 UNLV
#48 Purdue
#49 LSU
#50 Illinois
#51 Xavier
#52 Boston College
#53 Ole Miss
#54 Missouri
#55 Washington
#56 Saint Mary’s
#57 Maryland
#58 Butler
#59 Minnesota
#60 Florida Gulf Coast
#61 Akron
#62 Temple
#63 Alabama
#64 Florida State
#65 Arkansas
#66 N.C. State
#67 Kansas State
#68 Davidson
#69 Dayton
#70 Miami FL
#71 SMU
#72 Texas A&M
#73 Long Beach State
#74 UMass
#75 Northwestern
#76 Indiana State
#77 Georgia Tech
#78 Oklahoma
#79 Richmond
#80 Manhattan
#81 Belmont
#82 Texas
#83 Houston
#84 Washington State
#85 Iona
#86 Oregon State
#87 Louisiana Tech
#88 Towson
#89 Wake Forest
#90 Central Florida
#91 Rutgers
#92 Drexel
#93 USC
#94 Charleston
#95 Seton Hall
#96 Vanderbilt
#97 George Mason
#98 Clemson
#99 Penn State
#100 Nebraska
#101 West Virginia
#102 South Florida
#103 Mississippi State
#104 DePaul
#105 South Carolina
#106 Texas Tech
#107 TCU
#108 Virginia Tech
#109 Georgia
#110 Utah
#111 Auburn

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu to Milwaukee.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet , AND the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft. (Yup, nearly 3peat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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