Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series. Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days. This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days. We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
Colorado is four states away from the coast of the Pacific Ocean. In the ever changing landscape of college conferences, that does not matter though as the Colorado Buffaloes will play in their inaugural season in the new Pac-12. Losing four starters including NBA Draft lottery pick Alec Burks will not make it an easy transition for the Buffs though.
Last Season: T-5th, 8-8 in Big 12, 24-14 overall
Predicted Pac-12 Finish: 11th
Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Austin Dufault (Jr)/Shane Harris-Tunks (So)/ Ben Mills (So)
F: Andre Roberson (So)/Trey Eckloff (Jr)/Damiene Cain (Fr)
G/F: Carlon Brown (Sr)/Jerey Adams (So)
G: Nate Tomlinson (Jr)/Sabatino Chen (Jr)/Spencer Dinwiddie (Fr)
PG: Shannon Sharpe (So)/Askia Booker (Fr)
Gone: SG-Alec Burks, G-Cory Higgins, F-Marcus Relphorde, SG-Levi Knutson, SG-Javon Coney
After having their NCAA Tournament bubble burst this past March in their swan song as a member of the Big 12 Conference, Colorado moves to the Pac-12. The Buffs won’t even sniff the bubble this season having lost their top four scorers who accounted for almost 75% of the team’s offensive output. That of course includes Alec Burks who was selected 12th overall by the Utah Jazz in the NBA Draft.
As a result, Tad Boyle will parade a new starting backcourt on the floor. Utah transfer Carlon Brown will be asked to take on a big role alongside Nate Tomlinson and Shannon Sharpe who were serviceable reserves last season. However, that trio is a major downgrade and far less versatile from what Colorado had last season with Burks, Cory Higgins, and sharpshooter Levi Knutson. JUCO transfer Jeremy Adams and freshmen Spencer Dinwiddie and Askia Booker will try to step in right away and provide depth off the bench.
The frontcourt loses the under-sized, but physical Marcus Relphorde to graduation but returns everybody else and gets Shane Harris-Tunks back after he missed last season due to a torn ACL. Harris-Tunks figures to compete with the only returning starter, Austin Dufault for minutes in the middle. Rising sophomore Andre Roberson is a complete player who seems poised for a breakout season and will need to rise to the occasion to help the Buffs during this re-loading season. Trey Eckloff and Ben Mills will try to work their way into the rotation as well.
Tad Boyle walked into a good situation in his first season at CU, but things will be drastically different this year. The Buffs do not have the experience or star power of a player like Burks, and figure to struggle in their inaugural year out west.
Player to Watch: Andre Roberson, SF
Despite not starting a single game last season, Roberson gave Buff fans a glimpse of what seems to be a promising future. The athletic 6-7 wing broke the Colorado freshman record for rebounds and blocked shots in a season, leading the team in both categories as well as steals. He came on strong in during the team’s run to the NIT Semifinals, averaging nearly ten points and ten rebounds per game during the Buffs’ final seven games. Roberson will have to take on more of a scoring role this season, but has the ability to impact a game even when he is not putting the ball in the basket.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/17-20 vs. Temple, Alabama, Purdue, Maryland, Wichita State, Iona, Western Michigan (Puerto Rico Tip-Off)
11/28 vs. Georgia
11/30 at Colorado State
12/7 vs. Fresno State
OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#98 South Florida Bulls
#99 LSU Tigers
#100 Colorado Buffaloes
#101 DePaul Blue Demons
#102 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#103 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#104 Seton Hall Pirates
#105 Providence Friars
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 South Carolina Gamecocks
#108 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#109 Penn State Nittany Lions
#110 Boston College Eagles
#111 Utah Utes
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, 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 fomer contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft on the web.
You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.