Colorado basketball team capsule: Spencer Dinwiddie, Askia Booker look to lead Buffaloes in 2014
The Colorado Buffaloes have experienced a resurgence under head coach Tad Boyle the past couple seasons. After making a surprise run to the Pac-12 Tournament championship in 2012, the Buffs put together another strong season in 2013 and landed a No. 10 seed in the Big Dance before being bounced in the opening round.
With most of the roster from last year's team returning, CU will be one of the top teams on the west coast given their athleticism and experience. Here is all you need to know about the 2013-14 Buffaloes.
2013 Record: 21-12, 10-8 in Pac-12
Key Additions: Tre'Shaun Fletcher, Jaron Hopkins, Dustin Thomas
The loss of Roberson cannot be overlooked. He was the ultimate glue guy for CU, and after leading the country in rebounding the last two years, someone will have to pick up the slack around the rim. Fortunately for the Buffaloes, there's no shortage of talent.
Colorado's backcourt duo of Dinwiddie and Booker will rival nearly anyone's in the country. With the Pac-12 expected to be a guard-heavy conference next season, Boyle will need his two juniors-to-be to shine.
Despite leading the team in scoring, Dinwiddie became a bit too shot-happy at times in 2013 and hurt his team down the stretch with poor decision making. If he's able to play under control for a full 40 minutes, it'll be tough to beat the Buffs. Booker is more of the prototypical point guard, although his assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.1 will have to improve moving forward.
Josh Scott was one of the better freshmen in the country that no one really talked about last year. He ranked fourth on the team in scoring (10.2 points per game) and second in rebounding (5.7 per game), and he always seemed to save his best performances when the lights were brightest. He scored double-digits sixteen times, including a 19-point outburst against Kansas in early December. Scott will be looked to help replace Roberson's production, and he could contend for All-Conference honors as his minutes increase.
Xavier Johnson was another freshmen who went under the radar despite being arguably the best shooter on the team. At 44 percent from behind the arc and 51 percent from the floor, Johnson could be primed for a big sophomore campaign on the wing.
Tre'Shaun Fletcher is the prized piece of Boyle's four-man recruiting class. A top-100 prospect who really emerged on the AAU circuit last summer, this lefty gets to the rim with ease and has a smooth mid-range game. He will need to add strength in the weight room and continue expanding his jumper to behind the arc, but he is the safest bet to land early minutes. Jaron Hopkins and Dustin Thomas have some upside to their games, though it's unlikely they see more than a handful of minutes once conference play begins.
If there is a weakness to this team, it will come in the paint. Harris-Tunks was the lone true center on last year's team, and he elected to return home to Australia last spring. Scott has some length with his 6'10 frame, although he's still relatively slight of build and can be moved around by larger players. With no true centers in Boyle's recruiting class, look for opposing teams to attack the rim early and often.
The loss of Roberson will hurt, but this should still be coach Boyle's most talented team since he took over in Boulder. With four legitimate scoring options on the roster, it'll be tough to slow down the Buffs on the offensive end, especially once they really start to push the tempo at the Coors Events Center.
Due to their lack of depth in the paint, most pundits will have them behind Arizona, Oregon, Stanford and possibly UCLA to begin the year. Regardless of their finish in the upper-half of the Pac-12, another trip to the NCAA Tournament looks to be in the cards.
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