Colorado Basketball – March, 2022


Fresh off of a huge upset of No. 2 Arizona, the Buffs opened March with a renewed sense of optimism … After taking out Utah to end the regular season, the fourth-seeded Buffs opened the Pac-12 tournament with an 80-69 win over No. 5 seed Oregon … The Buffs fell to No. 1 seed Arizona in the semi-finals, landing in the NIT, where CU fell at home to St. Bonaventure … The CU women, meanwhile, earned their first NCAA bid since 2013, but fell to Creighton in the first round of the Big Dance …

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CU has put all of its special teams eggs into one basket, with only one scholarship kicker and one scholarship punter … With no position battles (other than returners, which will likely not be determined until Fall Camp), will special teams receive the attention they deserve this spring? …

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If Gonzalez, Perry and Blackmon had returned, CU’s defensive backfield would have been a strength … Instead, it’s Isaiah Lewis and a bunch of question marks … Will CU’s talented – but inexperienced – defensive backs make a statement, or will CU be forced to rely on post-spring transfers to fill the void? …

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Nate Landman and Carson Wells are gone, but there is still plenty of experience – including five seniors – in the linebacker room … Will this be the year that the Transfer Portal pays off for the Buffs? … Will the Buffs win one (or more) for inside linebackers coach Mark Smith? …

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While new defensive line coach Gerald Chatman may still be finding his way around the Champions Center, the same shouldn’t be said for CU’s six defensive line upperclassmen … Can the Buffs create a quality rotation which will improve on CU’s 2021 stats, or will CU need the Transfer Portal to add quality depth? …

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One of the most popular players on the team, senior tight end Brady Russell hasn’t forgotten his start as a walk-on … A leader on and off the field, Russell talks about CU’s new coaches, the Buff locker room after transfer losses, and the inside joke in the tight end room represented by the “pinkie high five” …

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The good news? CU returns three starters along the offensive line … The bad news? The two returning tackles gave up 16.5 sacks and 40 quarterback pressures … Can transfers Tommy Brown and Alex Harkey provide immediate answers, or will CU need to hit the Transfer Portal this summer for more help? …

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Familiar names – Rice, Stanley, and Shenault – are gone, but there is still talent in the WR and TE rooms … Will Baylor transfer RJ Sneed make Buff fans forget Brenden Rice? … Will this be the year (stop me if you’ve heard this before) that CU uses the tight end position as a weapon in the offense? …

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Alex Fontenot was CU’s leading rusher in 2019, but an injury in 2020 paved the way for Jarek Broussard to become the Pac-12 Offensive POTY in 2020 … Broussard (and Ashaad Clayton) are gone … Are the three returning backs ready to stake their claims for carries in 2022, or will Ramon Jefferson take over this fall? …

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Spring practices open March 31st … Burning questions at quarterback: Is the job Brendon Lewis’ to lose? … Will J.T. Shrout be a “full go”, ready to challenge? … Will Maddox Kopp be a surprise contender to start? … Will Oakie Salave’a be given a full audition to stay on the offensive side of the ball? …

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Robert Barnes had ten tackles, an INT, and a fumble recovery against Washington, a harbinger of things to come? … Barnes, an Oklahoma transfer, was asked to talk to the team about the Transfer Portal – what did he say? … Why is Barnes so positive about the CU locker room? … Let’s find out …

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Buff fans are disappointed CU won’t be in the NCAA tournament this spring, a testament of just how far Tad Boyle has brought the program … Five (should have been six) NCAA bids in 12 years (after two bids in 40 years) … Nine of CU’s 13 20-win seasons … 26 post-season wins (next on the list: Richardo Patton, with eight) …

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