2009-2010 Colorado Buffaloes Basketball Preview
The last time the Colorado Buffaloes (9- 22 overall, 1- 15 Big 12) were in the post season was in 2006 when they went 9- 7 and attended the NIT. Since that time, they have won a total of seven conference games while losing 41. For head coach Jeff Bzdelik his first two seasons have been very trying as he’s devoted all of his energies to making the Buffaloes a winner. For the 2009- 2010 season expect Bzdelik and the Colorado club to go through even more growing pains.
The team was dead last in scoring, putting up an average of just 62.9 PPG. The highlight of their offense was the club’s 73% free throw rate, which ranked them third in the Big 12. The Buffaloes were 11th in rebound margin at minus-6.0 and 10th in three pointers at 35%. Scoring defense, which was ranked eighth, held opponents to 67.5 PPG.
In the frontcourt, a needed but lacking attribute for the past few seasons has been defense. Last year, the team had the fewest blocks and rebounds in the league and the worst field goal percentage defense. Enter six-foot-eleven, freshman center Shane Harris-Tunks from Sydney, Australia. He’s known to be an able rebound man and a fine defender with solid skills and excellent athleticism. After a good frosh season, sophomore Austin Dufault (8.2 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 1.0 APG) comes back ready to utilize his newly developed muscles. His refurbished frame should help the front court a lot. Forward Casey Crawford (5.5 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 0.6 APG) is a fine shooter who must improve his rebounding and defense.
Junior guard Cory Higgins (17.4 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 2.6 APG), son of Charlotte Bobcat GM Rod Higgins, hones his skills in the off-season working with NBA players. His hard work has paid off as he has shown vast improvement each season. He should contribute even more this year. Senior guard Dwight Thorne II (12.0 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.7 APG) is a solid conference player. Sophomore Nate Tomlinson (7.4 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 3.0 APG) is a pure point guard but needs to do better when it comes to assist-to-turnover ratio.
There’s some good experience on board and also a group of sound new recruits. There’s depth on this team and that means competition for minutes, which should develop this club’s desire to play and win. Coach Bzdelik desperately wants to see some major improvement this season. Honestly, six conference wins would be a major improvement and a winning overall season would be a great accomplishment. Getting out of the cellar into 11th or 10th place is realistic. A NIT appearance equals nirvana.