Colorado Basketball – December, 2019

December 30th 

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs move up one spot in AP poll; sitting at No. 26 – Oregon up to No. 4

From CBS Sports … For just the third time this season, last week’s AP-ranked No. 1 team in college basketball is this week’s AP-ranked No. 1 team in college basketball, as Gonzaga held steady in the top spot in updated rankings on Monday. The Bulldogs (13-1) took over the top spot a week ago using a win over North Carolina and stayed there despite a week off from competition, garnering 63 first-place votes. They play Monday night at home against Detroit.

Elsewhere, the rest of the top five is completely reshuffled after Ohio State and Louisville took losses over the last week. The Buckeyes and Cardinals dropped to No. 5 and No. 7, respectively. Duke jumped up to No. 2 and Kansas jumped to No. 3. Oregon and Ohio State round out the new top five. Baylor, Louisville, Auburn, Memphis and Villanova make up the final newly-minted top-10.

1Gonzaga (63)13-11,6211
2Duke (1)11-11,5164
3Kansas (1)10-21,4975
5Ohio State11-21,2772
13San Diego State13-078015
14Michigan State10-374714
16West Virginia11-171922
18Florida State11-253117
21Penn State11-231220
22Texas Tech9-317523
24Wichita State11-1135NR

With non-conference slate behind them, Buffs turn attention to crucial Oregon matchup

From the Daily Camera … Ready or not, big-time college basketball is coming to Boulder.

Not that it’s completely foreign to the CU Events Center, particularly during coach Tad Boyle’s 10 seasons at the helm. However, the week ahead offers a huge challenge for a Buffaloes team attempting to make a run at a Pac-12 Conference championship. And Thursday’s date against No. 6 Oregon in the Pac-12 opener will be one of the biggest home games of Boyle’s tenure.

Despite some inconsistent play and far too many turnovers during a nonconference run that features a 10-2 mark going into Sunday’s nonconference finale against Iona, the Buffs rekindled every ounce of their lofty preseason expectations with a stirring overtime win at the buzzer against nationally-ranked Dayton a week ago in Chicago. A conference championship — either in the regular season or at the Pac-12 tournament — remains a prominent goal of the 2019-20 Buffs.

The schedule sets up in the Buffs’ favor. After beginning league play on the road for five of the first seven games in two of the past three seasons, CU gets the advantage of playing five of the first seven Pac-12 games at home for the first time since 2011-12, the Buffs’ first season in the league. Back then, CU took advantage of that scheduling quirk to start 5-2 in league play, winning all five home games. Two months later, the Buffs were cutting down the nets at the end of the Pac-12 tournament and were making travel plans for what became the first of four NCAA Tournament appearances in five seasons.

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December 29th – Game Day!

… CU in the Arena … 

Tad Boyle collects win No. 200 as Buffs run away from Iona, 99-54

From … Tad Boyle collected his 200th win at Colorado here Sunday in resounding fashion, as his Buffaloes ran away with a 99-54 win over Iona at the CU Events Center.

The win — Colorado’s final non-conference tuneup before opening Pac-12 play Thursday at home against No. 6 Oregon — improved the Buffs to 11-2 while Iona fell to 2-5.

Boyle, already the second-winningest coach in CU men’s hoops history, saw his record improve to 200-125. He trails only Russell “Sox” Walseth (261-245) on CU’s all-time list.

His 200th win was never in doubt. The Buffs led from the start, scoring the first eight points of the game and pushing their lead to as much as 18 in the first half before settling for a 35-19 halftime edge. Colorado then quickly bumped the cushion to 30 with a 17-3 run to open the second half and led by as much as 47 down the stretch.

The Buffs finished with seven players in double-digit scoring and Evan Battey and McKinley Wright IV both finished with double-doubles. Battey had 12 points and 12 rebounds for his second career double-double while Wright had 13 points and 10 assists for his second straight and seventh career double-double.

Colorado’s D’Shawn Schwartz just missed a double-double, as he finished with a team-high 14 points and nine rebounds (tying his career high). Lucas Siewert added 12 points, Tyler Bey had 11 and Maddox Daniels and Daylen Kountz each chipped in 10.

CU also tied the school record for 3-pointers in a game with 17, matching the 17 the Buffs hit against Oklahoma State in 2005. Nine different Buffs hit 3-pointers, with Schwartz leading the way with four.

E.J. Crawford led Iona with 14 points.

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December 28th

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs taking on Iona Gaels – Sunday, noon, MT, Pac-12 Networks 

From … One of the messages Colorado coach Tad Boyle had for his Buffaloes after Saturday’s practice was to not take their home court for granted.

Boyle’s 10-2 Buffs, fresh off an overtime victory against No. 13 Dayton one week ago, return to action Sunday at home with a noon game against Iona at the CU Events Center (Pac-12 Network). While the 2-4 Gaels have struggled thus far, Boyle needed only to remind his team of their home loss to Northern Iowa earlier this season as to what can happen if the Buffs take anyone for granted.

“A dangerous team from my standpoint as a coach,” Boyle said of the Gaels, who have made four straight NCAA Tournament appearances. “We talked to our players about the Northern Iowa situation. We have to respect everybody as they come into this building. We can’t just rely on the fact that we’re playing at home to guarantee a win.”

Sunday’s game is CU’s last non-conference tuneup, with Thursday’s Pac-12 opener at home against No. 6 Oregon looming very large. But while the matchup against the Ducks is no doubt big, the Buffs want to head into that game with some momentum.

That means playing well Sunday.

Continue reading story here


From … Colorado is 10-2, winners of three straight coming back from the holiday break. The Buffaloes won their 10th nonconference game of the season in dramatic fashion, defeating No. 13/12 ranked Dayton in Chicago, 78-76 in overtime, on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from junior D’Shawn Schwartz.

Dayton is the highest ranked opponent CU has defeated away from Boulder since beating No. 6 Missouri at the 1990 Big Eight tournament in Kansas City (March 9, 1990). The win snapped a four-game overall losing streak against ranked teams. It was the first ranked win away from Boulder since beating #22/21 Texas in Brooklyn Nov 22, 2016 (last game on an NBA floor).

ABOUT THE GAELS: Iona is 2-4 overall, playing its first game since dropping a 90-86 overtime decision to Princeton on Dec. 17.

This will be just the third game for the Gaels in the month of December. Iona averages 69.8 points while shooting 42 percent from the field. Defensively, the Gaels allow 71.3 points while opponents are shooting 45 percent from the field. Iona leads the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in steals at 8.8 per game while ranking second in turnovers forced at 16.7 an outing. Both numbers also rank in the top 40 nationally.

Senior forward Tajuan Agee is the MAAC’s leading scorer at 17.2 points per game. He also tops the Gaels and ranks fourth in the MAAC in rebounds at 8.3 per contest. Agee is second the MAAC in shooting at 60 percent. Senior guard E.J. Crawford is second on the team in scoring at 16.5 points while pulling down 5.0 rebounds per game. Junior guard Asante Gist averages 11.2 points an outing while leading Iona in assists (24) and 3-point field goals made (12). Junior guard Isaiah Washington is second on the squad in assists (18) and rebounds (5.2 rpg) while averaging 8.0 points per contest.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the first meeting between Colorado and Iona. It will be the third for the Buffaloes against a MAAC school; both CU wins. Colorado defeated Quinnipiac 70-69 in the first round of the 2017 Paradise Jam in Lynchburg, Va. Colorado defeated Canisius on the road, 35-34, on Dec. 29, 1945.


Tad Boyle: “What’s gratifying is to see things you’ve worked on in practice come to fruition in a game”

From the Daily Camera … The record probably is where it needs to be at this stage of the season, and now the Colorado men’s basketball team has a legitimate NCAA Tournament credential-building win to its credit.

Nevertheless, it often has been a ragged and inconsistent form of basketball on display for the Buffaloes throughout much of the nonconference schedule. Yet against then-No. 13 Dayton last week in Chicago, the Buffs pulled off a critical overtime victory.

The telling shot that erased a month’s worth of frustrations arrived on D’Shawn Schwartz’s game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer. Yet it was following through on a pair of the primary coaching points in recent weeks — one team-wide, another individually — that put the Buffs in position to win.

First, the Buffs managed to curtail their turnovers for one of the few times this season. And more importantly, at crunch time, Tyler Bey was able to slow the game down in the face of a double-team, calmly delivering a pass out of a chaotic scene in the paint to a wide-open Schwartz on the opposite wing while the clock ticked away.

“What’s gratifying is to see things you’ve worked on in practice come to fruition in a game,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said.

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December 27th

… CU in the Arena … 

Chauncey Billups took McKinley Wright under his wing: “He’s your kind of dude”

From The Athletic … Growing up, McKinley Wright IV’s bedroom walls were plastered with posters of his favorite basketball players. He would look at them longingly, just wishing to get the chance to be in their shoes.

Kobe Bryant and Chauncey Billups, Wright’s two favorite players, were the most featured. So the day Wright got to meet Billups, he couldn’t believe it. To make it even more surreal, Billups invited Wright to work out with him.

“To be able to meet him was a dream come true,” Wright said. “Then to have the chance to work with him, I mean, he helped me polish my game and take care of the little things.”

Colorado coach Tad Boyle called Billups to tell him about Wright during his freshman season at CU.

“Coach hits me and was like, ‘Chaunce, we got this new little freshman,’” Billups said. “‘He’s a guard, and you’re going to love him. He’s special. He’s your kind of dude. You’re going to like how he plays. He’s an excellent kid and he does the work.’”

Billups made the drive to Boulder to see what this kid was all about, and admits that Boyle was right — Wright was precisely the kind of player Billups loves to watch.

After a game, Billups approached Wright in the tunnels of the CU Events Center and told him they should get to the gym.

Wright agreed without any hesitation.

“Whatever he had for me to work on, I was all for it,” Wright said. “He’s been around, played high school, college, professional, NBA All-Star, Hall of Famer, so he knows the game way better than I do. So to be able to be all ears and all open for him was pretty cool.”

Continue reading story here … (Subscription required) …

Pac-12 All-Decade team includes CU’s Andre Roberson

From the San Jose Mercury News … As might be expected from a conference that sent just one team to the Final Four this decade — one berth out of the 40 available — the talent level in the Pac-12 was a bit underwhelming in the 2010s.

Pac-12 consensus All-Americans by decade, according to the conference’s own bookkeeping:

1990s: 15
2000s: 12
2010s: 6

The lack of star power became clear to the Hotline while researching our all-decade team, a task that first required framing:

Base the all-decade list on talent in pure form, and it would surely include the likes of LaVine and Brown, Ball and Deandre Ayton.

We opted for the other model — one that leans slightly to impact:

To qualify for our all-decade team, a player must have named to the all-conference team at least twice.

High-level play for multiple seasons.

… Second-team … 

Colorado F Andre Roberson: One of our favorite players from the decade because — like Gutierrez — he deeply impacted the game without high-level scoring.

Read full story here


December 26th

… CU in the Arena … 

ESPN Bracketology: CU back up to a No. 7 seed after win over Dayton

From Joe Lunardi at ESPN … Five teams from the Pac-12 are in the latest tournament bracket:

  • No. 3 Oregon … v. No. 14 New Mexico State
  • No. 5 Arizona … v. No. 12 Northern Iowa
  • No. 7 Colorado … v. No. 10 Liberty
  • No. 9 Stanford … v. No. 8 Iowa
  • No. 10 Washington … v. No. 7 Seton Hall

Others … 

  • No. 1 Kansas v. No. 16 Oral Roberts
  • No. 4 Dayton v. No. 13 Vermont


December 25th – Merry Christmas!!

… CU in the Arena … 

Shane Gatling thankful to the head coach at Iona (CU’s next opponent) for getting him to CU

From the Daily Camera … After its big win Saturday against then-No. 13 Dayton, the Colorado men’s basketball team was released for three days of holiday R&R.

The Buffaloes will reconvene in Boulder on Thursday afternoon to begin preparations for their final nonconference game of the season, a Sunday home date against Iona (noon, Pac-12 Network). For at least one CU player, it will be a somewhat emotional matchup.

Senior guard Shane Gatling was in basketball limbo following his freshman season, and it was some advice and guidance from Iona coach Tim Cluess that helped Gatling get his future sorted out. Cluess recruited Gatling out of high school, and Gatling said he also competed against Cluess’ son on the AAU circuit.

When Gatling was seeking a change of scenery after his freshman season at Niagara, he reconnected with Cluess. Though league rules prevented Gatling from transferring from Niagara to Iona, rivals in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Cluess used some of his connections to help Gatling land at Indian Hills Community College in Iowa.

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December 24th

… CU in the Arena … 

Neill Woelk: Takeaways from CU’s win over No. 13 Dayton

From Neill Woelk at … Just a week ago, Colorado basketball fans were teetering on the edge of despair, despite the fact that their Buffaloes were 8-2 and ranked in the top 35 in the nation in the NCAA NET rankings.

But always the optimist, this corner wrote that there was no reason to succumb to “the sky is falling” attitude.

Now, just seven days later, the sky is once again blue and the future is rosy in the eyes of CU fans. The Buffs put together their best overall effort of the year Saturday and came home from Chicago with a 78-76 overtime win over Dayton, a team that started the day ranked 13th in the AP poll and 10th in the NET.

What changed in the span of barely a week?

Actually, not that much. The Buffs didn’t shoot particularly well against the Flyers, which was nothing new. They entered the game shooting roughly 41 percent from the floor for the year and connected on just under 40 percent against Dayton.

But, the Buffs also did what they almost always do in other key areas. They rebounded, they played defense, they hit their free throws and — here’s what was different — they took care of the ball, to the tune of just 10 turnovers.

Most of all, they adhered to another characteristic of Tad Boyle teams. They played with a measure of toughness that bothered the Flyers. The Buffs were the more physical team, especially inside, on both ends of the floor.

Simply, the Buffs finally played up to their abilities — particularly in clutch situations — which is something Boyle and CU fans have been waiting for. The result was a quality win, and a great sign of what this team is capable of accomplishing.

So what else did we learn?

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Poll Tracker – Who voted for CU in the poll

From College Poll Tracker

Highest ranking: 16th … Edgar Thompson (Orlando Sentinel)

Notables … John Feinstein (NPR) – 21st … Seth Davis (CBS) – 21st … Jon Wilner (San Jose Mercury News) – 21st

Totals … 21 voters put CU in their rankings (down from a high of 53) … 44 did not place CU in their rankings (up from a low of 12) …


December 23rd

… CU in the Arena … 

Gonzaga new No. 1; CU just outside the polls at No. 27

From CBS Sports … Gonzaga is the new No. 1 team in the latest AP Top 25 college basketball rankings, the sixth different team this season to earn the top spot in the poll. The Bulldogs jumped one spot over the last week past Kansas, which dropped from No. 1 to No. 5 after falling on the road to Villanova over the weekend. Gonzaga notched home wins this week over North Carolina and Eastern Washington.

The Bulldogs are 13-1 on the season with their lone loss coming in late November to Michigan. Since then, they’ve won five-straight, with wins over Texas Southern and Eastern Washington book-ending a three-game stretch of impressive wins over top-45 KenPom teams: Washington, Arizona and North Carolina. They earned 54 out of 65 possible first-place votes.

It’s a tribute to what Mark Few has built at Gonzaga that it has reached the No. 1 spot, and Monday’s achievement is a continuation of stayed success. Four of the last eight seasons have consisted at Gonzaga reaching No. 1 in the rankings, with its last time at No. 1 taking place in the penultimate update last season.

1. Gonzaga (54)13-1
2. Ohio St. (9)11-1
3. Louisville (1)11-1
4. Duke (1)10-1
5. Kansas9-2 … Down four spots from last week 
6. Oregon10-2 … Up two spots from last week
7. Baylor9-1
8. Auburn11-0
9. Memphis10-1
10. Villanova9-2
11. Michigan9-3
12. Butler11-1
13. Maryland10-2
14. Michigan State9-3
15. San Diego St.12-0
16. Virginia9-2
17. Florida St.10-2
18. Dayton9-2 … Down five spots from last week
19. Kentucky8-3
20. Penn St.10-2
21. Washington9-2 … Up one spot from last week
22. West Virginia10-1
23. Texas Tech8-3
24. Arizona10-3 … Down eight spots from last week
25. Iowa9-3

Others receiving votes … Wichita State (112) 10-1; Colorado (79) 10-2; Xavier (68) 11-2; DePaul (54) 12-1; Indiana (45) 11-1; Liberty (40) 14-0; Utah State (36) 12-2; Saint Mary’s (29) 12-2; Marquette (28) 9-2; Tennessee (24) 8-3; Northern Iowa (23) 11-1; Creighton (12) 10-2; Purdue (11) 7-5; Georgetown (9) 9-3; Stanford (7) 11-1; St. John’s (4) 11-2; Brigham Young (4) 10-4; Virginia Tech (3) 9-3; Seton Hall (2) 8-4; Yale (1) 10-3; E. Tennessee State (1) 11-2;


December 21st – Game Day !

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs top No. 13 Dayton in overtime, 78-76, for best away win over a ranked team in 29 years

Related .. “CU basketball tops No. 13 Dayton on D’Shawn Schwartz buzzer-beater” … from the Daily Camera

From … D’Shawn Schwartz’s 3-pointer at the buzzer Saturday lifted Colorado to a heart-stopping 78-76 win over No. 13 Dayton at the United Center.

While the calendar said December, the game had every bit of a March Madness feel to it, as the Buffs erased a 14-point first-half deficit to take a second-half lead only to see Dayton tie it up at the end of regulation.

The Buffs then outscored the Flyers 12-10 in the extra period to improve to 10-2 while Dayton dropped to 9-2. Schwartz took a pass from Tyler Bey on the wing and drained the shot just before the buzzer (video below).

McKinley Wright was a standout all night for Colorado, finishing with 29 points and 10 rebounds for his sixth career double-double. Schwartz finished with a season-high 20 points and Evan Battey had nine points and 12 rebounds.

The win over the Flyers was the highest-ranked team the Buffs have beaten away from home since knocking off No. 6 Missouri in the 1990 Big Eight tournament, and it broke a four-game losing streak against ranked teams.

HOW IT HAPPENED: The Buffs never led in the first half and trailed by as much as 14 early. But a 15-2 run helped them climb back to within four by intermission, 36-32, and a 15-4 run early in the second half gave them their first lead of the game.

Bey started the run with a dunk off an assist from Gatling and a Wright drive with 15:02 to play tied the game at 40-40. The Buffs then finally gained the lead for the first time, 42-40, on a pair of Battey free throws at the 14:41 mark.

CU then pushed the lead to seven as Bey had six points in the 15-4 run and Siewert capped the surge with a 3-pointer.

The Flyers, though, wouldn’t go away. Colorado bumped its cushion to eight, 59-51, on a Schwartz 3-pointer with 7:51 to play, but the Flyers slowly chipped away at the lead, finally pulling to within one, 64-63, with 1:56 to play on a Toppin dunk.

Battey then hit one of two free throws after an offensive rebound to push CU’s lead to 65-63 with 35 seconds remaining before Wright added one of two free throws after a Dayton miss with 13.8 left.

But Toppin, who had missed five straight 3-point attempts, finally hit his first of the night with six seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime.

Continue reading story here

Here is the Pac-12 Network video recap, along with the D’Shawn Schwartz buzzer-beater:

CBS Bracketology: CU down to a No. 10 seed (before upset win over No. 13 Dayton)

From Jerry Palm at CBS Sports … A new bracket projection is up, the first since the preseason bracket back in November. Unlike that one, I am not looking ahead as to what might happen. This bracket and all future ones will be what I think the NCAA Tournament field would look like if it started today.

It should come as no surprise that this bracket looks significantly different top to bottom than the preseason one, especially with all the upsets at the top of the rankings so far this season. Only seven of my preseason top 16 seeds are still top 16 seeds in this bracket, and two of my preseason top 16 seeds are out entirely.

Those two might be teams you have heard of – Kentucky and North Carolina …

From the Pac-12 … (Dayton a No. 3 seed) …

  • No. 3 seed – Oregon
  • No. 4 seed – Stanford
  • No. 4 seed – Washington
  • No. 4 seed – Arizona
  • No. 10 seed (v. No. 7 seed Richmond) – Colorado

Dayton game in Chicago a homecoming of sorts for McKinley Wright

From the Daily Camera … It won’t be a homecoming game in the traditional sense for McKinley Wright. Yet Saturday’s long-awaited showdown in the Windy City might be as close as it gets for Colorado’s point guard during his Buffaloes career.

During his early teenage years, Wright lived in Chicago for three years. He has an extensive network of relatives that call Chicago home. And when the Buffaloes take on No. 13 Dayton Saturday evening, the cheering section for CU’s junior guard will take up several dozen seats at the United Center.

Adding to the subplots is that Wright originally was committed to Dayton, and the Buffs topped the Flyers nine months ago in Boulder in a hotly-contested battle in the first round of the NIT. Both programs entered the season harboring big expectations, and while the Buffs have struggled at times to meet those expectations, the Obi Toppin-led Flyers have perhaps exceeded them while surging up the AP Top 25 to the program’s highest national ranking in 51 years.

“Before the season started coach told me we were playing Dayton again, and my eyes lit up,” Wright said. “It’s going to be fun. I know a lot of those guys from when I was committed there. I’ve got a lot of family in Chicago. I’m going to have 50, 60 family members there. It will be fun.”

Continue reading story here


From … Colorado is 9-2, rebounding from a brief two game slide to win its last two, including an 83-64 decision over Prairie View A&M on Dec. 19. The Buffaloes began the season at 7-0 before dropping a pair of games against Kansas and Northern
Iowa; two teams ranked in the Top 30 of the latest NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) ratings.

Defense has been the early calling card for Colorado. The Buffaloes are second in the Pac-12, and 24th in the nation, in scoring defense
at 59.7 points per game. Colorado has held five opponents under 60 points and three of those under 50. It’s the first time since 2012-13 Colorado has held three opponents under 50, and that was over a 34-game season.

ABOUT THE FLYERS: Dayton is 9-1 overall and ranked No. 13 (AP) and No. 12 (Coaches) in the latest national polls. The Flyers’ only loss on the season came against current No. 1 Kansas, 90-84, in overtime, in the championship game of the Maui Invitational.

Dayton averages 84.8 points while shooting 53.7 from the field. The Flyers average 10.3 3-pointers per game while shooting nearly 40 percent from long range. Defensively, Dayton allows 66.4 points per game while opponents shoot 43.4 percent.

All-Atlantic 10 Conference forward Obi Toppin leads Dayton at 20.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. Toppin shoots 64 percent from the field and 41 percent from 3-point range. Guard Jalen Crutcher is second on the team in scoring at 12.5 points while pacing the Flyers at 5.5 assists per game. Forward Ryan Mikesell averages 10.9 points and shoots 51 percent from the floor. Trey Landers averages 10.2 points and shoots 61.3 percent.


December 19th – Game Day!

… CU in the Arena … 

Strong second half allows Buffs to take down Prairie View, 83-64

Related … “Late run pushes CU Buffs basketball past Prairie View A&M” … from the Daily Camera

From … Colorado played solid defense for 40 minutes and the Buffaloes’ offense came alive down the stretch Thursday night, lifting CU to an 83-64 win over Prairie View A&M at the CU Events Center.

The Buffs, who travel to Chicago on Saturday for a matchup with 13th-ranked Dayton, improved to 9-2 while Prairie View dropped to 3-8.

Colorado led by just five with 10 minutes to play, but used a 17-3 run over a three-minute stretch late in the second half to pull away for good, building the lead to as much as 24 in the final minutes.

Evan Battey led the Buffs with 20 points and nine rebounds while Tyler Bey had 13 points and seven rebounds. D’Shawn Schwartz also had 13 points for Colorado, all in the second half, including three 3-pointers in CU’s decisive run. McKinley Wright IV had 11 points, seven rebounds and six assists for CU.

Gerard Andrus led PVAMU with 12 points.

The Buffs held Prairie View to just 36.8 percent shooting (25-for-68), including 1-for-9 from 3-point range. The Buffs shot an even 50 percent from the floor (26-for-52) despite a 5-for-20 night from long range and Colorado also held an 43-29 edge on the boards.

“A good workmanlike effort,” CU coach Tad Boyle said. “I really thought there were some really some things we can build on, especially offensively. Eighteen assists, which is always a good number on 26 baskets — we’ll take that every night. We still turned it over a little bit too much (16 turnovers) … but I like how we shared the ball and moved the ball. We’ll take the win and we’ll move on and and now it’s on to Chicago and the Dayton Flyers.”

HOW IT HAPPENED: After taking a seven-point lead at the half, 35-28, Colorado built its cushion to as much as 11 early in the second half. Battey had 11 points for the Buffs in the first seven minutes of the half and a Lucas Siewert bucket at the 13:30 mark gave Colorado a 48-37 lead.

But the Panthers refused to go away, cutting the margin back to five, 50-45, on a pair of Faite Williams free throws with 10:01 remaining.

That’s when the Buffs found their offensive footing, thanks in large part to Schwartz. The CU junior had a nice pump-fake and bucket for his first points of the game to put Colorado up by seven, 54-47, then hit two straight 3-pointers in a 10-0 run that gave CU a 66-49 cushion with just more than six minutes to play.

Continue reading story here


CU v. Prairie View (6:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks) … Colorado is 8-2, snapping a two-game skid with a 56-48 win at Colorado State on Dec. 13. The Buffaloes began the season at 7-0 before dropping a pair of games against Kansas and Northern Iowa; two teams ranked in the Top 30 of the latest NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) ratings.

Defense has been the early calling card for Colorado. The Buffaloes are second in the Pac-12, and 23rd in the nation, in scoring defense at 59.3 points per game. Colorado has held five opponents under 60 points and three of those under 50. It’s the first time since 2012-13 Colorado has held three opponents under 50, and that was over a 34-game season.

ABOUT THE PANTHERS: Prairie View A&M is 3-7 overall and looking to snap a two-game losing streak. Thursday’s game will be the Panthers’ 10th of an 11-game road trip, where they’ve already faced Power 5 teams such as Arizona State, California and Texas.

Prairie View A&M is the defending Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament champion and is the league favorite once again. The Panthers average 70.9 points while shooting 42.8 percent from the field. Defensively, Prairie View A&M allows 72.8 points per game while allowing opponents 43.4 percent from the floor.

Senior forward Devonte Patterson, selected as the 2019-20 SWAC Preseason Player of the Year, has only played in the last two games but is averaging a team-best 14 points while shooting 56 percent. Senior guard Gerard Andrus is second on the team in scoring at 13.6 points while shooting 54 percent. Senior guard Chancellor Ellis has a team-best 29 3-pointers, hitting on 45 percent of his attempts. Ellis is fourth on the team in scoring at 11.3 points per game. Junior forward Lenell Henry tops the Panthers in rebounding at 7.4 per game while pitching in 7.0 points an outing.

Buffs can’t afford to overlook Prairie View (an NCAA tournament team last year)

From … Tad Boyle’s Colorado Buffaloes have spent the last three days working on fundamentals, trying to correct some of the issues that have hounded them thus far this season.

Thursday night, the 8-2 Buffs will have a chance to see if that work has paid dividends when Prairie View A&M (3-7) pays a 6:30 p.m. visit to the CU Events Center (Pac-12 Networks).

One of the issues the Buffs have spent plenty of time addressing is turnovers. Colorado is averaging 15.5 miscues per game, including a season-high 21 in last week’s 56-48 win at Colorado State.

The Panthers, who have been forcing an average of 17.5 turnovers per game, should offer a good measuring stick in that regard.

“It’s going to be a great test with Prairie View coming here tomorrow night,” Boyle said after Wednesday’s practice. “Number one, they play extremely hard, and they’re very active defensively. They really try to get their hands on a lot of balls, they play passing lanes, they’ll double the post, they’ll double the ball handler, they’ll throw a lot of different things at you defensively. It should be a great test for us.”

The Panthers were an NCAA Tournament team last season after winning the SWAC regular season and tournament titles, but graduated the heart of that team.

Still, despite their 3-7 record, they are a team that can cause problems. They have spent the vast majority of their season on the road thus far — their only home game was their season opener — and they have played well against Power 5 teams. They lost by just four, 54-50, at Cal in mid-November, then dropped an 88-79 decision at Arizona State last week. The Panthers were within seven of ASU with just less than three minutes to play in a game in which the two teams combined to shoot 84 free throws.

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December 17th

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs stressing fundamentals in practice – “Right now, we’re beating ourselves”

From … With a little extra time this week to prepare for their next two games, the Colorado Buffaloes returned to some basic fundamentals at their Monday practice.

“We started with passing the ball and trying to catch the ball — just simple fundamentals,” coach Tad Boyle said after the workout. “Ten of our 21 turnovers against Colorado State  were passing and catching … fundamental basketball.”

The Buffs will play two games this week before taking time off for the holiday break. They play host to Prairie View A&M on Thursday in a 6:30 p.m. game at the CU Events Center (Pac-12 Network), then travel to Chicago on Saturday for a 4:30 p.m. matchup with 13th-ranked Dayton at the United Center (CBS Sports Network).

Thus far this year, the 8-2 Buffs are averaging 15.5 turnovers per game, well above Boyle’s target of 11, and 1.5 ahead of last year’s pace after 10 games.

Strictly in terms of the win-loss columns, those turnovers haven’t been particularly damaging — CU actually had fewer turnovers than its opponent in both losses. But the Buffs also know they are playing with fire if they continue the trend. While their season-high 21 turnovers at Colorado State didn’t cost them the game, they did allow the Rams to erase a 15-point deficit and turn the game into a nail-biter.

The next time the Buffs might not be so lucky.

Thus, along with some extra work on fundamentals, Boyle instituted some practice tweaks to drive home the point. In Monday’s scrimmage work, he subtracted two points from a team’s total after a turnover.

“When you’re turning the ball over, you’re giving (an opponent) another opportunity,” Boyle said. “Good teams are going to use those opportunities to score points on us. So it was just to get our guys to understand immediately the significance of taking care of the ball.”

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December 16th

… CU in the Arena … 

CU drops out of Top 25; Kansas new No. 1

RelatedFirst NET Rankings came out today (which the Selection Committee will use, replacing the old RPI rankings) … CU comes in at No. 31 in first rankings … 

From CBS Sports … For the fifth time this college basketball season, a changing of the guard has taken place in the No. 1 spot of the AP Top 25. Kansas overtook the No. 1 ranking in the poll for the first time this season on Monday, jumping past Louisville after it suffered its first loss of the season. Kansas received 47 of a possible 65 first-place votes in leaping past the Cardinals.

Louisville fell two spots to No. 3 after falling 70-57 to Texas Tech on Tuesday, followed by a rout of Eastern Kentucky on Saturday. Louisville’s minor drop is part of a substantial top-five shakeup after the first, third, fourth and fifth-ranked teams all lost over the last week.

KU’s No. 1 ranking marks the eighth different season in which the Jayhawks have been ranked as the AP’s top team in college basketball since Bill Self took over in 2003-2004. Kansas was ranked as the preseason No. 1 team last year, fell to No. 2, took back No. 1 ahead of the new year, then was never ranked inside the top five for the remainder of the season. KU finished the year at No. 17 in the AP poll. This year, Self’s club ranked No. 3 in the preseason and hasn’t dropped further than No. 5. It opened the season with a loss to Duke but has won nine consecutive games dating back to early November.

1Kansas (47)9-11,6072
2Gonzaga (15)11-11,5526
3Louisville (1)10-11,4121
4Duke (2)9-11,5527
5Ohio State9-11,3343
15Michigan State7-365616
19Florida State8-244921
20San Diego State10-043125
23Penn State9-2182NR
24Texas Tech6-3115NR
25West Virginia9-176NR

Others receiving votes … North Carolina 41, Xavier 40, Iowa 39, Wichita State 31, Purdue 30, Liberty 25, Indiana 23, Marquette 23, VCU 21, Utah State 14, Saint Mary’s 13, Northern Iowa 12, Colorado 12, Texas 10, Florida 7, DePaul 6, Richmond 3, Virginia Tech 3, Georgetown 3, Stanford 3, LSU 3, Seton Hall 3, Oklahoma State 2, Arkansas 1, BYU 1, Duquesne 1

Neill Woelk: Despite recent issues, sky is not falling

From … Ten games into the season, Tad Boyle’s Colorado Buffaloes are 8-2 with two wins over teams currently in the nation’s top 50 RPI (Arizona State and Sacramento State) and their two losses against teams in the top 30.

Yet there seems to be a “sky is falling” mentality from the outside, thanks in large part to the rather lofty expectations that have been part of the CU storyline since the season began.

Boyle is the first to admit the Buffs haven’t played up to their fullest capabilities. But with the Buffs just one-third of the way through the schedule, there’s no reason to think they can’t clean up some of the issues that have hounded them in their first 10 games.

Thus, here’s a look at what we’ve seen so far — and a guess at what might be ahead:

— Yes, turnovers are an issue. CU is averaging 15.5 miscues per game, a number that won’t cut it when the Buffs roll into Pac-12 play. If they had an easy answer, they would fix it.

But the gut feeling here is that they will figure out a way to reduce those mistakes.

After Friday’s win over CSU, which came despite 21 turnovers, Boyle reminded his team of last year’s NIT win over Dayton. Colorado had seven turnovers in that game. It was proof that they can take care of the ball and, as Boyle noted, this year’s team is virtually the same squad.

Now for your stat anomaly of the day: the Buffs are 3-0 when they have more turnovers than their opponent. Meanwhile, in both of their losses, Northern Iowa and Kansas, Colorado actually had fewer turnovers than the opponent.

No doubt, it’s an issue that needs to be fixed. We’ll have a very good idea Saturday whether they’ve made any progress when they face Dayton in Chicago.

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December 15th

… CU in the Arena … 

Turnovers a looming issue for Buffs: “We’ve just got to do a better job of executing”

From the Daily Camera … Turnovers have never been the strength of Boyle’s teams during his previous nine years at the helm, but his 10th CU team has taken that weakness to a new level through 10 games. In previous years the turnover shortcomings tended to strike in bunches as was the case, in one prominent example, in the Buffs’ loss to UConn in the first round or their most recent NCAA Tournament appearance in 2016.

Those bunches are occurring more frequently. Boyle’s first CU team in 2010-11 averaged 11.7 turnovers per game, which remains the lowest mark of his tenure. In the eight full seasons afterward, the high-water mark was 14.1 turnovers two years ago, while the average turnover total in the other six seasons hovered within a thin range between 12.1 and 13.4.

Through 10 games this season, the Buffs are averaging 15.5 turnovers per game. They have enjoyed just one game in single-digit turnovers, committing seven against UC Irvine on Nov. 18, but CU hasn’t posted fewer than 12 in any other game. The Buffs will go into their Thursday night home date against Prairie View A&M (6:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks) averaging 18 turnovers over the past five games.

“I think we’ve just got to do a better job of executing,” CU senior forward Lucas Siewert said. “I think our defense has been there since the season started. Our offense hasn’t. I feel a lot of it is because of turnovers. We’ve had a little problem with that. I think that’s the only reason why we haven’t really blown teams out. As coach said, CSU got 17 more shots up than we did. That just shows how much improvement we have (to make) on offense, and that’s the key for us to live up to that expectation everyone is looking to.”

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December 14th

… CU in the Arena … 

Unless CSU’s RPI improves dramatically, series will end after 2020 game

From the Daily Camera … Colorado State will visit the CU Events Center next season.

Beyond that, state’s biggest annual basketball rivalry might be in more danger of going on hiatus that it was a year and a half ago.

Barring an unexpectedly positive run by Colorado State this season, the current agreement between the schools will expire after next season. When the previous contract expired following the 2017-18 season, a year that saw CSU top a young, short-handed Buffs team in Fort Collins before going 7-17 the rest of the way, Boyle and then-new CSU coach Niko Medved entered into an agreement unique to the rivalry.

Unless CSU’s average RPI for last year and this season falls between one and 150, the current agreement will end with another home date in Boulder next season. Finishing between 1-151 would invoke another game in Fort Collins in 2021-22. Yet given the Rams finished last season in the 230’s, depending on which RPI system is referenced, CSU would have to end this season in the range of a lower-tier seed in the NCAA Tournament in order for the series to be continued in the 2021-22 season.

“I’m going to do the same thing. I’m going to have the same stance I have right now,” Boyle said. “I’m not changing my stance on it. I think Colorado State is a quality one right now. But what we can’t have happen, I think it was coach (Larry) Eustachy’s last year when they beat us and it turned into a bad loss. If we play Colorado State, we’re risking losing a game. And if we lose a game, and they’re not a quality opponent, I would be the dumbest coach in America to keep the series going. As long as it’s a quality game, we’ll play them.”

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December 13th – Game Day!

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs build big lead, lose it, then pull away for 56-48 behind 20 from Shane Gatling

Related … “No. 24 CU Buffs survive ugly affair at Colorado State” … from the Daily Camera

From … What could have been — maybe should have been — a runaway turned into a nail-biter for the Colorado Buffaloes here Friday night.

But after allowing a 16-point second-half lead to melt away, Tad Boyle’s Buffs recovered down the stretch to come away with a 56-48 win over in-state rival Colorado State at Moby Arena.

The No. 24 Buffs ended a two-game losing streak and improved to 8-2 while CSU dropped to 7-6.

Colorado led 27-12 at the half and 36-20 early in the second half, only to see the Rams come back and tie the game at 39-39 with 7:14 left to play. But the Buffs slowly rebuilt their edge to 46-40 with under four minutes to play, then held the Rams at bay down the stretch by hitting eight free throws in the final minute.

CU’s bench came up big in the game, with senior guard Shane Gatling scoring 20 points and Lucas Siewert chipping in 12 points and six rebounds. D’Shawn Schwartz added eight points and a career-high nine rebounds. Overall, CU’s bench scored 34 points while the starters had just 22.

Isaiah Stevens had 10 points for CSU and Nico Carvacho had nine points and 10 rebounds.

The Buffs overcame a season-high 21 turnovers that led to 14 CSU points, but did have a 44-32 edge on the boards. CU also held the Rams to just 29 percent shooting from the field (18-for-62), including just 2-for-22 from 3-point range.

Colorado shot only 37.8 percent from the floor (17-for-45), but hit eight of its 18 3-point tries.

“I’m not sure how we won that game tonight, especially after looking at the stat sheet” said Boyle, whose Buffs collected their second straight win over the Rams. “There’s some eye-popping numbers that say we probably didn’t deserve to win, but the reality is we did because we defended at a very, very high level for 40 minutes.”

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Buffs taking on nemesis Rams: “We have a veteran team. We know what we’re in for” 

From … Whenever Tad Boyle‘s Colorado Buffaloes square off with Colorado State, they can be assured of one thing: they will get the Rams’ best.

The No. 24 Buffs (7-2) are expecting nothing different Friday, when they travel to Fort Collins for a 6 p.m. matchup with CSU (7-5) at Moby Arena (CBSSN).

“We know how big this game is in the state,” Boyle said after Thursday morning’s practice. ” And we know that certainly the last three, four years we’ve played them they’ve played literally their best game of the year … We have to be ready.”

Indeed, even in down years the Rams have given the Buffs fits over the last few seasons. CSU has won two of the last three — CU won, 86-80, in Boulder last season — and three of the last five. That streak includes a 72-63 Colorado State win in Fort Collins two years ago, a year in which CSU finished 11-21.

Friday’s game will be just CU’s second true road game of the season, and it is sure to be a raucous environment for the in-state rivalry.

 “Our guys have been through it before,” Boyle said. “It’s just a matter of going out and getting it done.  We have a veteran team. We know what we’re in for.”

Another thing the Buffs can count on is a steady performance from CSU big man Nico Carvacho. The 6-11 senior, who led the nation in rebounding last season, has averaged 12.3 points and 10 rebounds per game in three appearances against Colorado.

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From … Despite the recent two-game setback, defense has been the early calling card for Colorado. The Buffaloes are second in the Pac-12, and 32nd in the nation, in scoring defense at 60.6 points per game. Colorado has held four opponents under 60 points and two of those under 50.

On other Pac-12 charts, Colorado is fourth in rebounding margin (+5.2) and turnover margin (+2.8) and fifth in blocked shots (3.7 bpg) and steals (7.8 spg). Colorado has forced at least 13 turnovers in each game, averaging 17.7 per contest, with a season-high 22 against UC Irvine. The Buffaloes had a season high nine blocked shots vs. Loyola Marymount.

ABOUT THE RAMS: Colorado State is 7-5 overall, picking up a 72-68 home win over South Dakota State on Dec. 10 to snap a two-game slide. The Rams have already began Mountain West Conference play, dropping their first two league games to San Diego State and Boise State. Colorado State averages 71.3 points while shooting 47 percent from the field. Defensively, the Rams allow 70.9 points
while opponents shoot 45 percent from the field.

Senior forward Nico Carvacho leads Colorado State at 13.3 points and 9.9 rebounds while shooting 53 percent from the field. Freshman guard Isaiah Stevens paces the Rams in assists at 3.6 per game while ranking second in scoring at 11.0 points an outing. Sophomore forward Adam Thistlewood leads Colorado State in 3-pointers with 23 and is shooting 45 percent from long range. Thistlewood is third on the team in scoring at 9.8 points per game. Senior guard Kris Martin averages 8.7 points and 3.8 rebounds a game.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 129th meeting between Colorado and CSU with the Buffaloes holding a commanding 90-38 lead.The series has been closer in recent years with the two teams splitting the last 10 match ups. Colorado broke a two-game series slide last year with an 86-80 victory at the CU Events Center on Dec. 1, 2018. Colorado holds a 36-28 advantage in the series in Fort Collins.


December 12th

… CU in the Arena … 

Tad Boyle: Buffs “toughness and character” being tested (“We failed the test Tuesday night”)

From the Daily Camera … To borrow a baseball analogy Colorado basketball coach Tad Boyle has been invoking for almost two weeks, in order to get back on track, the Buffaloes need to bunt more.

Keep the game simple.

Tuesday’s 79-76 home loss against Northern Iowa that almost certainly will drop the No. 24-ranked Buffs out of the top 25 next week exposed, in crunch time, the exact concern Boyle has repeated since the beginning of last week.

Too often the Buffs are trying to make the flashy, home run play instead of executing the simple option. And too often, those poor decisions are proving disastrous for CU. The Buffs will have another chance to address those issues when they travel to Fort Collins Friday night for a rivalry battle against Colorado State (6 p.m., CBS Sports Network).

“Even if we had beaten Northern Iowa and somehow sneaked away with a win, the Colorado State game is just as big as it is now,” Boyle said. “We’re going to be tested. Our toughness and our character, that’s going to be tested. It was tested (Tuesday) night. We failed the test last night. We’ll see if we pass or fail on Friday in Fort Collins.”

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December 10th – Game Day!

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs fail to overcome 19-0 run by Panthers, fall 79-76 to Northern Iowa – “They deserved to win. We did not”

Related … “Northern Iowa makes the plays down the stretch to stun No. 24 CU Buffs” … from the Daily Camera

From … Colorado coach Tad Boyle called Tuesday night’s matchup with Northern Iowa “the biggest trap game of the year” for the Buffaloes.

The Panthers made Boyle’s fears come true, as UNI hit 14 3-pointers and scored the last six points of the game to produce a 79-76 win over No. 24 Colorado at the CU Events Center.

The Buffs dropped to 7-2 with their second straight loss while UNI improved to 9-1.

The Buffs battled back from a double-digit deficit early in the second half to take the lead midway through the period, and the game then saw 10 more lead changes down the stretch. CU used a 10-2 run to go up 76-73 with 1:39 to go, but the Panthers hit a 3-pointer with 1:10 to play, then added a layup off a turnover and a free throw in the final 50 seconds while the Buffs missed two 3-point tries in the final seconds.

Lucas Siewert led CU with a career-high 21 points, McKinley Wright added 16 and Tyler Bey had 14.

Trae Berhow and AJ Green each had 20 for UNI.

The Panthers won the game from beyond the arc, shooting a red-hot 14-for-26 from long range. Northern Iowa also had a 31-29 edge in rebounds, including 15 offensive boards they converted into 15 second-chance points.

“Extremely disappointing loss,” Boyle said. “I thought we fought hard in the second half to come back and take the lead, but our attention to detail is just not not good enough right now. It  was really evident tonight by the way we guarded … They deserved to win. We did not.”

Boyle on Northern Iowa: “They’re the second-best team we’ve played all year”

From … Colorado coach Tad Boyle made no bones about what kind of challenge his team will face Tuesday when the No. 24 Buffaloes play host to Northern Iowa in a 7 p.m. game at the CU Events Center.

“I’m telling you, this is the biggest trap game of the year for Colorado,” Boyle said after the 7-1 Buffs wrapped up their Monday morning practice. “It’s going to be a physical game. If we have an emotional letdown after the Kansas game, which is sometimes a natural thing, we’re going to be in for a battle.”

The Buffs are coming off their first loss of the season, a 72-58 loss at No. 2 Kansas on Saturday. The loss dropped the Buffs four spots to No. 24 in the Associated Press national rankings and two spots in the USA Today/Coaches poll, to No. 23.

UNI, meanwhile, brings an 8-1 record to Tuesday’s game that includes wins over South Carolina, Old Dominion and Northern Illinois, as well as a narrow loss to West Virginia in a game the Panthers led by 15 in the second half.

Boyle’s familiarity with Northern Iowa goes clear back to his days as an assistant at Wichita State in the Missouri Valley Conference. Greg McDermott built UNI into a quality program and when he left, Ben Jacobson took over and continued the trend. He has guided UNI to four NCAA Tournament appearances and four NCAA Tournament wins, and he is the only coach in MVC history to knock off two No. 1-ranked teams (Kansas and North Carolina).

“They’re the second-best team we’ve played all year behind KU,” Boyle said. “Clemson has better athletes, Clemson runs good stuff, but Northern Iowa’s got guys that can shoot it from multiple positions. They’re not as athletic — you look at them in warmups, they don’t look like Clemson. They don’t play in the ACC. But they’ve got tough-minded Midwestern kids who understand how to play the game and they’re well-coached. It’s a dangerous game.”

The Panthers make their living on defense. They are holding opponents to just 61.1 points per game and a .398 field goal percentage thus far this season. They are not particularly big, but they play tough post defense and force teams to shoot from the outside — much the same approach that stymied the Buffs at Kansas.

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From … Colorado is 7-1 on the season, dropping its first game of the year at No. 2/3 ranked Kansas, 72-58, on December 7th. The Buffaloes started the season 7-0, tying for the fourth best in program history and the best since 1982-83.

Colorado is 19-5 over its last 24 games, its best run since a 20-4 stretch spanning the 1961-62 and ’62-63 seasons.

Defense has been the early calling card for Colorado. The Buffaloes rank 18th in the nation in scoring defense at 58.3 points per game, ranking second in the Pac-12 Conference in that category. Colorado has held four opponents under 60 points and two of those under 50.

ABOUT THE PANTHERS: Northern Iowa is 8-1 on the season and has won its last two. The Panthers will be playing their first game in eight days and just the second in the last two weeks. Tuesday’s game will be just the second true road game for UNI. The Panthers average 76.0 points per game while shooting 47.8 percent from the field. UNI has scored at least 70 points five times, and is coming off a 110-point effort vs. Luther College. Defensively the Panthers allow 61.1 points per game while holding their opponents to 39.8 percent shooting.

Sophomore guard AJ Green leads Northern Iowa in scoring at 14.4 points per game. The 2018-19 Missouri Valley Conference Freshman of the Year, Green also paces the Panthers in assists (3.6 apg) and is second on the team in 3-point field goals (20). Junior guard Trae Berhow is second on the team in scoring at 13.9 points per game while leading the Panthers with 27 3-pointers. Berhow shoots a solid 57 percent from the floor. Sophomore forward Austin Phyfe is UNI’s top rebounder at 6.7 per game while averaging 9.8 points on 73 percent shooting.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the first meeting between Colorado and Northern Iowa. The Buffaloes are 15-18 against teams that currently make up the Missouri Valley Conference. Most recently, Colorado split a pair of games with MVP opponents last season. The Buffaloes opened the 2018-19 season with a 100-71 home win over Drake on Nov. 13, and fell to Indiana State, 72-67 on Dec. 22, in the first round of the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu.


December 9th 

… CU in the Arena … 

(8-1) Northern Iowa (Tuesday, 7:00 p.m.) “biggest trap game of the year”

From the Daily Camera … Hot shooters never expect to get derailed. D’Shawn Schwartz is no different. And before he turned in a performance he’d rather forget during Saturday’s loss at Kansas, Schwartz figured another big game might be in store.

It wasn’t the case at all, for Schwartz or the rest of the Buffaloes. Yet CU has a quick turnaround before facing another quality opponent, this time at home Tuesday night against Northern Iowa, and CU’s junior wing is taking an approach the entire team is attempting to replicate: Forget about Kansas and move on.

… Following Monday’s workout, CU head coach Tad Boyle expressed great respect for Northern Iowa, which brings an 8-1 mark to Boulder and has excelled on defense. That could be a problem for a turnover-prone Buffs attack that is coming off its worst shooting performance of a season that hasn’t exactly been highlighted by lights-out shooting.

“This is the biggest trap game of the year for Colorado,” Boyle said. “These are the ones that you think, OK, it’s a quality team at home. But then as the game gets closer you’re like, ‘Why the hell did I schedule this?’

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Buff remain ranked; in at No. 24

RelatedESPN’s Joe Lunardi Bracketology for December 9th … CU remains a No. 7 seed (v. No. 10 seed Indiana) …

From CBS Sports … Ohio State’s steady climb up the rankings continued Monday as the Buckeyes, one of only eight unbeaten teams left in the college basketball world, made a leap three spots all the way up to No. 3 in the latest AP Top 25 rankings. They sit behind No. 1 Louisville and No. 2 Kansas after another flawless week that included wins at No. 7 North Carolina and at home against Penn State.

The Buckeyes jumped ahead of Maryland, Michigan and Virginia to reach their highest ranking as a basketball program since the 2013-14 season — when Thad Matta was coaching the Buckeyes.

The top two of the rankings stayed the same as last week after unbeaten weeks from Louisville and Kansas. It’s the first time all season a No. 1 team has stayed No. 1 in the rankings, after Louisville took care of business this week with wins over Michigan and Pittsburgh. Kansas notched a comfortable home win over former Big 12 foe Colorado to stay steady at No. 2.

  1. Louisville
  2. Kansas
  3. Ohio State
  4. Maryland
  5. Michigan
  6. Gonzaga
  7. Duke
  8. Kentucky
  9. Virginia
  10. Oregon … up three spots from last week
  11. Baylor
  12. Auburn
  13. Memphis
  14. Dayton
  15. Arizona … down three from last week
  16. Michigan State
  17. North Carolina
  18. Butler
  19. Tennessee
  20. Villanova
  21. Florida State
  22. Seton Hall
  23. Xavier
  24. Colorado … down four from last week 
  25. San Diego State

Others receiving votes: Utah State 160, Washington 144, Purdue 130, Indiana 13, Marquette 11, Liberty 9, Saint Mary’s 8, Texas 6, Florida 5, Penn State 5, Georgia 4, West Virginia 3, Richmond 3, LSU 2, Duquesne 1, DePaul 1, Virginia Commonwealth 1


Neill Woelk Early Season Takeaways: Margin for Error razor thin against better teams

From … Tad Boyle’s Colorado Buffaloes didn’t come home from Kansas empty-handed after Saturday’s 72-58 loss to the second-ranked Jayhawks.

There were plenty of lessons to be learned from their foray into Allen Fieldhouse, beginning with the fact that when you play elite-level teams — especially on their home floor — the margin for error is razor thin. If you aren’t at your best, the outcome won’t be pretty.

But the Buffs don’t have time to lick their wounds. What might be the best overall non-conference schedule CU has played in Boyle’s 10 years in Boulder is far from over. The Buffs play host to a talented Northern Iowa team on Tuesday (7 p.m., Pac-12 Network), then engage in the annual rivalry game with Colorado State on Friday in Fort Collins (6 p.m.). Also still on the horizon are games against Dayton and Iona, with the Jan. 2 Pac-12 opener against No. 13 Oregon looming closer and closer.

So with the regular season now roughly at the one-quarter turn, what have we learned about Boyle’s 7-1 Buffs?

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December 7th – Game Day !

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs shoot 30% from the field in falling to No. 2 Kansas, 72-58

From … Colorado’s offense never got untracked and Kansas’ big men made the difference Saturday as the No. 20 Buffs fell from the unbeaten ranks with 72-58 loss at Allen Fieldhouse.

Colorado fell to 7-1 while second-ranked Kansas improved to 7-1.

The Buffs never led in the game. CU trailed by 12 at the half and the Jayhawks steadily increased the margin down the stretch, leading by as much as 23.

The Buffs had just one player in double figures, with Evan Battey scoring 14 points and grabbing seven rebounds. Tyler Bey had five points and nine rebounds and McKinley Wright IV had eight points and seven rebounds.

Ochai Agbaji led Kansas with 20 points.

The Buffs shot just 18-for-60 from the field (30 percent), including an ice-cold 7-for-34 from 3-point range. Kansas shot 27-for-51 (52.9 percent) and hit six of its 13 3-point tries. KU also had a 39-36 rebounding edge.

HOW IT HAPPENED: While the Buffs never led, they kept it close early. But the Jayhawks slowly assumed control by asserting their will in the paint while frustrating CU’s big men and forcing the Buffs to shoot from the outside.

After a back-to-back 3-pointers from Lucas Siewert six minutes into the game pulled Colorado to within one, 10-9,  the Jayhawks put together a 9-0 run to build their lead to double digits, and they took a 34-22 lead into intermission.

The Buffs finished just 7-for-26 from the field in the first half while Kansas was 15-for-30. The Jayhawks also had a 24-13 rebounding edge and a 26-6 edge in points in the paint.

Colorado managed to stay within striking range in the second half through the midway point. While KU built its lead to as much as 16, the Buffs cut the margin back to 12, 54-42, on a Wright 3-pointer with 8:17 remaining.

But that was as close as Colorado could come, as the Jayhawks slowly pushed their lead into the 20s down the stretch.

McKinley Wright on Kansas: “It’s a challenge and I look forward to all challenges. I’m ready for it”

From … If there has been a central theme for the Colorado Buffaloes in their preparation for Saturday’s game at Kansas, it is “opportunity.”

“All you can ask for in life is an opportunity to do something special, and we have that opportunity in front of us,” said CU point guard McKinley Wright IV after Friday’s practice in Boulder. “All of our fans asked coach (Tad) Boyle for improved strength of schedule and he did that. The No. 2 team in the country is on our schedule. That’s an opportunity for us to make a name for CU, get our name out there more and get some respect. It’s up to us to go out there and give it our best shot.”

Wright will be a key part of that equation for the No. 20 Buffs (7-0) in their quest to create a little history against the No. 2 Jayhawks (6-1) in the nationally televised 5 p.m. contest (ESPN2). Considered to be among the nation’s best point guards, the Colorado junior will be matched against Kansas’ Devon Dotson, a front-runner for a long list of national awards. KU’s 6-foot-2 sophomore is averaging 19.7 points and 4.3 assists per game, and is no doubt the straw that stirs the very formidable Jayahawks drink.

“It’s a big-time challenge for me,” Wright said. “He’s their leading scorer, he’s their playmaker. I take pride in my defense and my game. It’s a challenge and I look forward to all challenges. I’m ready for it.”

Boyle and his team have spent the week answering questions about the atmosphere they will face in KU’s famed Allen Fieldhouse. It is a building in which head coach Bill Self has constructed a 253-13 record over the last 16-plus seasons and one that is renowned for its deafening environment.

It is also a building in which Colorado has lost 29 straight times, with CU’s last win there coming in 1983.

“It’s going to be something they haven’t experienced,” Boyle said. “It’s going to be Arizona on steroids.”

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From … Colorado’s 7-0 start ties for the fourth best in program history. It’s the first 7-0 start since the 1982-83 season,
which is also the last time Colorado defeated Kansas in Lawrence, 75-74, on Feb. 10, 1983, a Jayhawks team that featured Tad Boyle.

Colorado is 19-4 over its last 23 games, its best run since a 20-4 stretch spanning the 1961-62 and ’62-63 seasons.

Defense has been the early calling card for Colorado. The Buffaloes rank 11th in the nation in scoring defense at 56.3 points per game
and are the early leader in the Pac-12 Conference in that category.

Colorado has held four of seven opponents under 60 points and two of those under 50. The Buffaloes have held two opponents under 50 points in the same season for the first time since the 2017 Pac-12 schedule, defeating Washington State 81-49 on Feb. 12, 2017, and California, 54-46 on March 4, 2017. The 41 points given up to Wyoming are the lowest since Utah had 41 in the first round of the 2012 Pac-12 Tournament (CU won 55-41).

On other Pac-12 charts, Colorado is second in field goal defense (.378), third in rebounding margin (+7.4), fourth in blocks (4.6 bpg)
and turnover margin (+2.9) and fifth in rebounding defense (31.6).

ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS: No. 2/3 ranked Kansas is 6-1 overall and has won its last six since opening the season with a 2-point loss to Duke. The Jayhawks are coming off a Maui Invitational championship, defeating Dayton, 90-84, in overtime in the title game. Kansas averages 83 points pre game while shooting 52 percent from the field. Defensively, the Jayhawks allow 64.7 points while opponents shoot 39 percent.

Sophomore guard Devon Dotson leads Kansas at 19.7 points and 4.3 assists per game. Senior center Udoka Azubuike averages 15.1 points and 7.6 rebounds per game while leading the nation in field goal shooting at 79.7 percent. Junior guard Marcus Garrett averages 10.0 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game.

Bill Self is in his 17th year at Kansas with a record of 479-107.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 164th meeting between the former long-time conference rivals. Kansas holds a 123-40 advantage in the series including a 62-7 record in Lawrence. Colorado won the last meeting, 75-72, in Boulder on Dec. 7, 2013, on a buzzer-beating 3-point field goal by Askia Booker. Colorado’s last win at Allen Fieldhouse came on Feb. 10, 1983.


December 6th

… CU in the Arena … 

McKinley Wright named to Oscar Robertson Watch List

From the Daily Camera … CU point guard McKinley Wright IV landed on another watch list Thursday, as the junior was one of 44 players named to the watch list of the Oscar Robertson Award, which is given to the player of the year as voted upon by the US Basketball Writers Association.

Wright scored 16 points with five assists and two steals during Wednesday’s win against Loyola Marymount, moving to within three points of the 1,000-point plateau in his career. On Saturday, Wright will face two other players featured on the Oscar Robertson Award watch list in the Kansas duo of Udoka Azubuike and Devon Dotson.

Other future CU opponents on the Robertson watch list are Oregon guard Payton Pritchard, Arizona freshman Zeke Nnaji, USC forward Nick Rakocevic, Oregon State’s Tres Tinkle, and Dayton’s Obi Toppin.

Wright also was named to the preseason watch lists for the Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy, both player of the year honors, as well as the Bob Cousy Award as the top point guard in the nation.

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Tad Boyle on facing No. 2 Kansas: “We are not going to be afraid”

 … Note … From the “If you believe in good karma” Department … CU has lost 29 straight games in Allen Fieldhouse. Prior to CU’s win over Arizona State, the football team hadn’t defeated a ranked team on the road since 2002. The streak which was broken? 29 games … 

From … Colorado coach Tad Boyle knows what his Buffaloes are about to encounter Saturday night when they make their foray into Kansas’ storied Allen Fieldhouse for a matchup with No. 2 Kansas.

His players don’t. While the Buffs annually play in some raucous arenas — Arizona, Oregon and Utah come to mind — they haven’t encountered anything like Allen Fieldhouse, a historic old barn that seats 16,300 and seldom has an empty seat.

“That crowd is unlike anything our players have seen,” Boyle said Wednesday night, after his 20th-ranked Buffs had beaten Loyola Marymount, 76-64, to improve to 7-0. “(But) we are not going to be afraid. We respect everybody and fear nobody.”

Fear and respect aside, the Buffs have historically struggled on the Jayhawks’ home floor. Even though Colorado once played at KU on an annual basis when the Buffs were members of the Big Eight and Big 12, successful trips were a rarity.

In fact, Colorado has lost 29 in a row at Allen Fieldhouse, a streak that stretches back 36 years. The last time CU scratched out a win in Lawrence came on Feb. 10, 1983, when the Buffs took a 75-74 win.

Starting at guard that evening for the Jayhawks was Tad Boyle.

“I don’t remember it,” Boyle said with a laugh Thursday morning. “I can’t remember what I had for breakfast.”

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December 4th – Game Day !

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs (again) overcome turnovers, pull away from LMU late, 76-64 – Boyle: “We make it really hard on ourselves”

Related … “Late push allows No. 20 CU Buffs to survive Loyola Marymount upset bid” … from the Daily Camera

From … What some saw as a warm-up for the Colorado Buffaloes ahead of Saturday’s game at Kansas came perilously close Wednesday to burning a hole in CU’s national ranking.

But the No. 20 Buffs righted themselves just in time, outscoring visiting Loyola Marymount 15-3 down the stretch to come away with a 76-64 win at the CU Events Center. The Buffs improved to 7-0 while LMU dropped to 3-5.

The Buffs trailed at halftime, 34-30, and the Lions maintained their edge for much of the second half. Colorado didn’t regain the lead for good until a D’Shawn Schwartz 3-pointer broke a 61-61 tie and started a 7-0 run with 2:38 left in the game. Schwartz capped the run with a pair of free throws at the 1:23 mark and the Buffs then held the Lions at bay over the final minute.

Schwartz and McKinley Wright IV shared scoring honors for CU with 16 points each while Tyler Bey had 13 points and eight rebounds. Wright also had six rebounds and five assists while Evan Battey had eight points and eight rebounds, including some big offensive rebounds and putbacks at critical moments.

LMU’s Eli Scott led all scorers with 31 points.

“Tip of my cap to Loyola Marymount,” Boyle said after the game. “I thought they came in here and played a heck of a game. We knew it wasn’t gonna be easy, and it wasn’t. I think sometimes you expect so much of yourself and your team that you forget that they have good players too.”

The Buffs were definitely not at their best, committing 18 turnovers that led to 24 LMU points. But CU did win the rebounding battle, 39-30, and the Buffs also hit 25 of their 33 free throw attempts. That was enough to make up for Loyola’s 51.9 percent shooting night (27-for-52), the best by any CU opponent this year.

“We make it really hard on ourselves,” Boyle said. “We have to make the game simpler and easier, and the way you do that is by just making simple and easy plays. And right now some of our guys aren’t doing that. You don’t make simple plays and turn it over 18 or 19 times like we have the last two games.”

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CU announces added Pac-12 games for 2020-21 – Buffs to open at Arizona … in December

From … The University of Colorado will add a home game with Washington State and travel to Arizona as part of the Pac-12 Conference’s transition to a 20-game men’s basketball schedule which begins for the 2020-21 season, the league announced Wednesday.

Colorado will open the 2020-21 Pac-12 schedule at Arizona on Wednesday, Dec. 2, and host Washington State on Saturday, Dec. 5. Arizona, along with Arizona State, will still come to Boulder next season while the Buffaloes will travel to both Washington State and Washington.

The added games and dates were selected based on the single-play opponents from the league’s current annual rotation model, and availability based on prior non-conference schedules and academic calendars.

The remainder of the Conference schedule will be determined based on the current rotation model (see below), which completes its 10-year cycle at the conclusion of the 2020-21 season. Determination of future schedule rotations will be announced at a later date.

All 12 additional contests were slotted into windows in November or December as recommended by the Pac-12 Council and Athletics Directors’ Committee upon approval of the 20-game schedule in spring 2019, with 11 of the games to be played on dates with students on campus.

Below are the matchups to be added, one home and one away for each team, for the 2020-21 season:

Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 – Stanford at USC
Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020 – Colorado at Arizona; Oregon State at Washington State
Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020 – Arizona State at California; UCLA at Oregon; Washington at Utah
Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020 – Washington State at Colorado; USC at Oregon State
Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020 – Utah at Arizona State; California at UCLA; Oregon at Washington
Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020 – Arizona at Stanford

Loyola-Marymount: “a dangerous opponent we have to take seriously” (8:00 p.m., Pac-12 Networks)

Related … “Five Reasons to Attend CU v. Loyola-Marymount” … from

From … “Respect everybody, fear nobody.”

It is a fundamental tenet of Colorado coach Tad Boyle, and one the Buffaloes will exercise on both ends of the spectrum this week.

Wednesday night, Boyle’s 20th-ranked and unbeaten Buffs (6-0) play host to Loyola Marymount in an 8 p.m. contest at the CU Events Center (Pac-12 Network). The 3-4 Lions will bring their best to Boulder in hopes of recording an upset while the Buffaloes will play the role of the team with the target on its back.

Saturday, the script will be flipped when Colorado travels to Lawrence, Kan., for a 5 p.m. meeting with second-ranked Kansas in storied Allen Fieldhouse. There, the Buffs will be to the hunters, aiming for a head-turning upset of their own.

But first things first. As the Buffs wrapped up practice Tuesday morning, there was no discussion of their upcoming road trip. Rather, all of their attention was focused on LMU, a team Boyle described as “a dangerous opponent that we have to take seriously.”

CU’s coach wasn’t blowing smoke. Upsets have been plentiful this year. Unranked Evansville won at No. 1 Kentucky. Unranked Stephen F. Austin won at No. 1 Duke.

“There’s no doubt, we’ve got a target on our back,” Boyle said. “Our guys are starting to understand that. We have to be able to handle other people’s best shots. I expect to get Loyola Marymount’s best shot. We have to be able to handle it and impose our will and execute and do the things we’re capable of doing. If we do that, I’ll live with the results.”

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From … Colorado is 6-0 for the second time in three seasons after defeating Sacramento State 59-45 on Nov. 30. It’s the 12th 6-0 or better start in program history and only the third in the last 30 years. The 6-0 start is tied for the seventh best in team history.

Defense has been the early calling card for Colorado. The Buffaloes rank eighth in the nation in scoring defense at 55 points per game and are the early leader in the Pac-12 Conference in that category. Colorado has held four of six opponents under 60 points and two of those under 50.

The Buffaloes have held two opponents under 50 points in the same season for the first time since the 2017 Pac-12 schedule, defeating Washington State 81-49 on Feb. 12, 2017, and California, 54-46 on March 4, 2017. The 41 points given up to Wyoming are the lowest since Utah had 41 in the first round of the 2012 Pac-12 Tournament
(CU won 55-41).

Colorado also leads the Pac-12 and ranks 11th in the nation in field goal defense at 35.6 percent. The Buffaloes are third in rebounding margin (+7.2), fourth in turnover margin (+3.0), fifth in blocks (3.8 bpg) and seventh in steals (7.0 spg). Colorado has forced at least 13 turnovers in each game, averaging 17.0 per contest, with a season-high 22 against UC Irvine.

ABOUT THE LIONS: Loyola Marymount is 3-4 overall, coming off a 61-51 home win over Southern Utah on Dec. 1. The Lions average just under 70 points per game while shooting an impressive 50.7 percent from the field, a figure that ranks 13th in the nation. Defensively, the Lions hold their opponents to 63.4 points per game and
allow 42 percent shooting.

Sophomore forward Ivan Alipiev leads LMU in scoring at 13.0 points per game and has a team-high 14 3-point field goals. Junior Eli Scott leads the Lions in rebounding (5.7 rpg) and assists (5.9 apg) while averaging 12.9 points per game. Junior forward Parker Dortch is third on the team in scoring at 9.0 points per game while shooting 58.5 percent from the field. Freshman forward Keli Leaupepe is averaging 8.0 points per game and shooting 57.9 percent from the floor.

Mike Dunlap is in his sixth season at LMU with a record of 73-91. In his 21st season as a collegiate head coach, he holds a record of 412-213.


December 3rd

… CU in the Arena … 

Poll Tracker – Who put CU into the poll

From College Poll Tracker

Highest ranking: 11th … by Seth Davis (CBS) – up four from last week

Notables … John Feinstein (NPR) – 16th – up from unranked last week … Jon Wilner (San Jose Mercury News) – 18th – down one from last week … Dick Vitale (ESPN) – 19th – up two from last week

Totals … 55 voters put CU in their rankings (up from 53 last week) … 10 did not place CU in their rankings (down from 12 last week) …

Tad Boyle on lackluster offense: “The bottom line is we have to be able to execute the halfcourt”

From … After reviewing the film from Saturday night’s 59-45 win over Sacramento State, Colorado coach Tad Boyle found a few more positives in his Buffaloes’ performance.

“You’re never as good as you think you were when you play well,” Boyle said of his weekend film review. “You’re never as bad as you think you were when you don’t play well.”

The 6-0 Buffs certainly weren’t at their best offensively against the Hornets, as they shot just 44.4 percent from the field (20-for-45) while committing a season-high 19 turnovers. But they were once again stellar on the defensive end, holding Sacramento State to just 28.3 percent shooting (17-for-60) while also holding a solid 41-32 edge in rebounding.

It was enough to give them a bump in Monday’s weekly polls, as they moved up to No. 20 in the Associated Press national rankings and No. 21 in the USA Today/Coaches poll. The Buffs will be back on the floor Wednesday when they play host to Loyola Marymount (3-4) in an 8 p.m. game at the CU Events Center (Pac-12 Networks).

Monday morning, the Buffs spent a good portion of their practice working on their offense, particularly their halfcourt sets. While the Buffs have had no problem scoring in transition, they have struggled when forced to settle into their halfcourt offense.

“Its moving the ball side-to-side, getting the ball swung from one side of the floor to the other and getting the ball in the paint,” Boyle said. “When we do those two things, we usually have good offensive possessions. When we struggle is when we take quick jump shots. We haven’t swung the ball, we haven’t gotten the ball inside … The bottom line is we have to be able to execute the halfcourt  when we can’t get out in transition.”

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December 2nd

… CU in the Arena … 

CU moves up to No. 20 in AP poll; will play at No. 2 Kansas this Saturday

… Related … CU moves into CBS “Top 25 and 1“, coming in at No. 23 … “Tyler Bey scored 11 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in Saturday’s 59-45 victory over Sacramento State. The Buffaloes won despite finishing with 17 turnovers and just 10 assists.”

From ESPN … Louisville became the fourth team in five weeks to claim the top spot, receiving 48 of 65 first-place votes from a media panel in The Associated Press men’s basketball poll released Monday.

No. 2 Kansas, coming off the Maui Invitational title, had three first-place votes and No. 5 Virginia received five. Maryland rose to No. 3 in a week when every spot in the poll changed from last week.

Michigan (7-0) knocked off Iowa State, No. 7 North Carolina and No. 9 Gonzaga to win the Battle 4 Atlantis title in the Bahamas. The Wolverines were rewarded with nine first-place votes and matched Kansas (1989) for the biggest jump from being unranked in the history of the poll, which dates to 1949.

Not a bad first season under former Michigan star Juwan Howard.

“I’m sure we’re on the map now,” Howard said. “A lot of teams are looking and seeing Michigan as a name that’s out there. When you beat teams like Creighton and Iowa State as well as North Carolina and Gonzaga, you’re no longer under the radar.”

Louisville wasn’t exactly under the radar after opening the preseason poll at No. 5. The Cardinals (7-0) made a steady climb to No. 2 and moved to the top spot when previous No. 1 Duke lost at home to Stephen F. Austin. Duke dropped to No. 10 after its 150-game home winning streak against nonconference opponents ended in Durham.

Louisville has its first No. 1 ranking in six years after beating Akron and Western Kentucky last week.

1. Louisville (48) 7-0
2. Kansas (3) 6-1
3. Maryland 8-0
4. Michigan (9) 7-0
5. Virginia (5) 7-0
6. Ohio State 7-0
7. North Carolina 6-1
8. Kentucky 6-1
9. Gonzaga 8-1
10. Duke 7-1
11. Michigan State 5-2
12. Arizona 9-0 … up two spots from last week 
13. Oregon 6-2 … down two spots from last week
14. Auburn 7-0
15. Memphis 6-1
16. Seton Hall 6-2
17. Florida State 7-1
18. Baylor 5-1
19. Dayton 5-1
20. Colorado 6-0 … up one spot from last week
21. Tennessee 6-1
22. Washington 5-1 … up one spot from last week
23. Villanova 5-2
24. Butler 7-0
25. Utah State 7-1

Others receiving votes … Florida (111) 6-2; Xavier (91) 7-1; San Diego State (89) 8-0; Saint Mary’s (86) 8-1; Oklahoma State (85) 7-0; Texas Tech (43) 5-2; West Virginia (28) 7-0; Purdue (24) 4-3; DePaul (18) 8-0; Arkansas (17) 7-0; Indiana (13) 7-0; Penn State (9) 6-1; Stephen F. Austin (7) 6-1; Oklahoma (6) 6-1; Liberty (5) 9-0; Notre Dame (2) 6-1; Richmond (2) 6-1; VCU (2) 6-2; Delaware (1) 8-0; SMU (1) 7-0


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