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Random Thoughts – Volume VII

CU’s 2021 schedule … It’s finally on the books!

It sure took a long time …

The Pac-12 normally releases its schedule for the upcoming season in late January, but, for a variety of reasons, didn’t get around to it until March 2nd this year (it’s not all COVID-related … the SEC released its schedules on January 27th. The Big Ten was the fourth of the Power Five conferences to release their schedule, doing so on February 11th).

Oh well, better late than never (and better than releasing it during March Madness, when no one would be paying the conference any attention).

CU’s non-conference schedule – v. Northern Colorado on Friday, September 3rd; v. Texas A&M in Denver on September 11th; v. Minnesota on September 18th – has been known for some time. It was also known which conference opponents CU would play, and where.

All that was left was the when.

And now we know. Here is CU’s 2021 schedule …

Sept. 3: vs. Northern Colorado (Friday)
Sept. 11: vs. Texas A&M (Denver)
Sept. 18: vs. Minnesota
Sept. 25: at Arizona State
Oct. 2: vs. USC
Oct. 9: Bye
Oct. 16: vs. Arizona
Oct. 23: at Cal
Oct. 30: at Oregon
Nov. 6: vs. Oregon State
Nov. 13: at UCLA
Nov. 20: vs. Washington
Nov. 27: at Utah (Friday)

Some initial thoughts … 

— The Buffs knew that they would play seven games in the state of Colorado this fall, including the A&M game in Denver. What’s strange about the schedule is that, of the seven home games this season, only two come in the second half of the season. After staying home for five of the first six games, the Buffs finish with four of six on the road;

— The bye week could have come a week or two later. Resting up for the easiest Pac-12 game of the season (at home against Arizona) won’t be as helpful as, say, a week off before traveling to play Cal or Oregon;

— Only one team on CU’s schedule gets a bye week before facing Colorado, and that’s UCLA. The Bruins get the week off before hosting the Buffs, but then will turn around and play rival USC on the road the following week, so the Bruins may not be as focused on CU as they might otherwise be coming off of a bye. CU’s game at Cal comes a week after the Bears play a Friday night game, but that game is at Oregon, so the extra day off might not be that great an advantage;

— CU only plays on Fridays in the opener and in the finale, which is a change from previous seasons, when CU consistently had Friday night games during the regular season;

— No need to bring a parka to CU’s first road game. The Buffs travel to Tempe to play Arizona State on September 25th. Since joining the Pac-12, CU has played in Tempe five times. All five were at night, with the lowest temperature at kickoff being 79-degrees. The last time the Buffs were there, in 2019, the kickoff wasn’t until 8:00 p.m., local time, and the temperature was 91-degrees when the game started;

— This will be the third time since joining the Pac-12 that CU has opened its conference season against Arizona State. Oddly enough, among teams in the South, CU has never opened Pac-12 play against USC, Arizona, or, of course, Utah;

— The Buffs, despite the decade of misery since joining the conference, is 5-5 in Pac-12 openers, with wins the last three seasons (including at Arizona State in 2019);

Here’s what Jon Wilner at the San Jose Mercury News had to say about CU’s 2021 schedule … Comment: We’ll find out immediately if the 2020 success was a fluke with those two daunting non-conference dates — Minnesota won 11 games the last time there was no pandemic — followed by a brutal opening to league play with ASU and USC in double-whammy fashion … The bye is well placed and will undoubtedly be desperately needed … Consecutive trips to the North division in late October begin a grueling stretch run for CU in both location and opponent. (The visit to UCLA comes with the Bruins fresh off a bye.) … One slight positive: Colorado could catch Oregon in a look-ahead situation with its rivalry game in Seattle the following week … Four of the last six are on the road — good luck, Buffs.

— Of course, you have to take Wilner’s comments with a grain of salt. Other than Arizona – and, perhaps, Washington State – everyone looking at the Pac-12 looks at Colorado as being a “winnable” game for the opposition. This thinking is what led Las Vegas to put CU’s win over/under projection last year at .5 (for CU’s seven game schedule). Best guess for CU’s projected under/over for wins from Vegas … 3.5.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12 … 

The full Pac-12 schedule can be found here

— Stanford, with non-conference games against Kansas State, Vanderbilt, and Notre Dame, is the only Power-Five conference team in the nation playing a full 12-game schedule against other Power-Five opponents (CU, of course, faces 11);

— Oregon conspiracy theory, Part I: Oregon is the only school in the Pac-12 which doesn’t have to play back-to-back road games;

— Oregon conspiracy theory, Part II: Utah; Washington; and UCLA all have Oregon at home … after playing back-to-back road games;

— USC conspiracy theory: The Trojans have no cold weather dates (at Washington State September 18th; at CU on Oct. 2nd); no Friday night games; no conference road games against teams coming off of a bye … and a bye week before facing Notre Dame;

McKinley Wright Appreciation – By the Numbers

McKinley Wright scored 24 points in CU’s 75-61 win over Arizona State in his final game in the CU Events Center. Head coach Tad Boyle spoke for us all when he spoke about his star guard:

“I’m going to miss that kid … I just told him how much I loved him and how much I’m going to miss coaching him. I’m going to miss coaching all seven of those seniors. But McKinley Wright is going to go down as one of the greatest players in Colorado history. What he’s done, from where he’s come from and what he’s overcome is really, really special.”

Where to start on McKinley Wright’s contributions to CU? We can start with the numbers …

One of the most decorated players in Colorado history is leaving his name dotted throughout the CU record book.

— The record which is most often cited during CU’s telecasts is that Wright has become the first Pac-12 player to reach the 1,700-600-600 plateau. Wright became the first to reach 1,700 points, 600 rebounds and 600 assists after a 21-point performance at Oregon State. He had already been the first in league history to reach 1,600, 600 and 600. He’s is one of seven in NCAA Division I dating back to 1985-86 to reach 1,700 points, 600 rebounds and 600 assists, and only the second from a Power-Five conference (joining Greivis Vasquez of Maryland, 2006-10);

— Wright is the Pac-12’s active leader in career points and assists and is second in rebounds, third in steals and fifth in 3-pointers made;

— With 24 points v. Arizona State, Wright has scored in double figures for his 104th career game, adding to his school record (he passed Josh Scott’s 95 earlier this year);

— For the year, Wright has 154 assists and 56 turnovers (a 2:75-1 ratio). The 154 assists are now the 10th-most in a season (passing Billy Law’s 151 in ’91-92). Wright owns four of the top 10 season marks in school history;

— Wright has earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors four times this season (Nov. 30th, Dec. 28th, Jan. 18th and Mar. 1st), the most of any conference player. Wright, who already owns Colorado school marks for conference Player of the Week honors in a season and career (six), joins a short list of all-time Pac-12 honorees. He is the seventh Pac-12 player to earn six Player of the Week honors joining Gary Payton (Oregon State – 9), Chris Mills (Arizona – 7), Harold Miner (USC – 7), Sean Elliott (Arizona – 6), Adam Keefe (Stanford – 6) and Don MacLean (UCLA – 6).

— Wright broke Colorado’s career assists mark during the win over California and did it in style with a then personal single-game high 12 assists. He entered the game tied with Jay Humphries at 562 and now has the all-time record of 655 and counting.

Colorado Career Assists:
Rk. Player Years Assists
1. McKinley Wright IV 2017-present – 655
2. Jay Humphries 1980-84 – 562
3. Mike Reid 1982-86 – 446
4. Jose Winston 1998-01 – 440
5. Marcus Hall 2003-06, ‘07-08 – 423

Wright’s nine games with double-digit assists and nine points-assists double-doubles are both CU career records. His 14 assists against USC gave him his ninth double figure game, breaking the tie he had with Jay Humphries who had eight from 1980-84.

Games With Double-Digit Assists:
1. McKinley Wright IV (2017-present) – 9
2. Jay Humphries (1980-84) – 8
3. Mike Reid (1982-86) – 6
Jose Winston (1998-01)-  6
5. Chauncey Billups (1995-97) – 5

Wright is also prominent in Colorado’s all-time scoring, steals and rebounds list. He is the only player in school history with 1,500 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists, much less his current 1,700-600-600 status.

Colorado Career Scoring:
Rk. Player Years Points
1. Cory Higgins 2007-11 … 2,001
Richard Roby 2004-08 … 2,001
3. Donnie Boyce 1991-95 … 1,995
4. Cliff Meely 1968-71 … 1,940
5. Shaun Vandiver 1988-91 … 1,876
6. McKinley Wright IV 2017-present … 1,783
7. Askia Booker 2011-15 … 1,740
8. Stevie Wise 1987-91 … 1,727
9. Josh Scott 2012-16 … 1,709
10. Emmett Lewis 1975-79 … 1,680

Colorado Career Rebounds:
Rk. Player Years Rebounds
20. Donnie Boyce 1991-95 … 644
21. Brian Johnson 1977-81 … 628
22. Randy Downs 1982-86 … 622
23. McKinley Wright IV 2017-present … 620

Colorado Career Steals:
Rk. Player Years Steals
10. Marcus Hall 2003-06, ‘07-08 … 140
11. Mike Reid 1982-85 … 137
12. McKinley Wright IV 2017-present … 135

Colorado Career Field Goals Made:
Rk. Player Years FG Made
5. Richard Roby 2004-08 … 688
6. Cory Higgins 2007-11 … 653
7. McKinley Wright IV 2017-present … 641
8. Randy Downs 1982-86 …609

Colorado Career Field Goals Attempted:
Rk. Player Years FG Att.
5. Emmett Lewis 1975-79 … 1,520
6. Stevie Wise 1987-91 … 1,415
7. Cory Higgins 2007-11 … 1,397
8. McKinley Wright IV 2017-present … 1,366
9. Shaun Vandiver 1988-91 1,307

Wright became the second player in Colorado history to reach 4,000 career minutes during the road California game. He is third in starts with 125. A deep postseason run would be needed for himto catch Cory Higgins all-time mark of 131 set from 2007-11.

Colorado Career Starts:
Rk. Player Years Starts
1. Cory Higgins 2007-11 … 131
2. Austin Dufault 2008-12 … 130
3. McKinley Wright IV 2017-present … 125
4. Wesley Gordon 2013-17 … 122
5. Josh Scott 2012-16 … 120

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3 Replies to “Random Thoughts – Vol. VII”

  1. Thank you for the comprehensive description of Wright’s substantial contributions to the school’s record book. Impressive contributions in varied areas.

    With so many prognosticators downplaying the prospects of a successful Fall, 2021 for the football team, I see 2-1 in the first three games, 2-1 in the final three games, and 3-1 against Arizona, Cal and the two Oregon schools. In my book, ASU and USC are the unknowns. Split those two and it could be an 8-4 record. Rose colored glasses, yes, but within the realm of possibility. I just do not see Utah as strong as others predict and UCLA could be in a tailspin late in the season. As a thought, I so much hope THIS is the year when CU defeats USC.

    1. Ya know what?
      I am with ya.

      I believe HCKD can make this year happen.
      New DC who saw last year what was wrong with the D
      New Strength coach with a great rep. (Hope he can fix miller)
      No matter what we may think, the Oline coach is real and good.
      It is clear HCKD has taken steps to improve, enhance, fix the defense.

      He seems to believe that the OC is fine and will improve and grow in that role. (fast learner required)

      Won 67% of the games last year
      Means, cause that is just how it is
      this year
      8 wins.

      Yup go buffs

  2. Random Ramblings
    TAD-BALL

    So this is the test?
    Is this the best team he has ever had?
    Can he coach and lead them to glory…………….finally.

    I am hoping he can………………cause it is on him…………if the players start flailing during the game it is up to him to step in and not just watch it happen and hope it gets better.

    Tough measuring stick for him……………

    The ol schedule…………..it is what it is………

    first glace says………….3 and 9 maybe 4 and 8……….At least that would be the look over the last 10 years of WACMAC type coaches.

    HCKD is real.

    minimum of 6 and 6 and bowl.

    Go Buffs

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