BOULDER - The Colorado Buffaloes are very much a work in progress.
Head coach Tad Boyle even quipped tonight, "this is why we normally have closed scrimmages... and we need a lot of time [before the season starts], man."
But hidden deep within a game where CU kept it close with division two Colorado School of Mines—before pulling it out late 78-52—there were was a major positive.
2017-18 will be full of growing pains and that was apparent right away. Getting out-rebounded is unacceptable for a Boyle team and there was so much wrong, including having zero clue of what the rotation will look like and an undetermined starting lineup.
"A little ugly out there would be a fair statement," Boyle admitted. "There wasn't much flow to the game tonight but look it was October, 30. I wasn't expecting a masterpiece and we didn't get one. But I like this team and we have a long way to go and a short time to get there."
Always honest, Boyle even said he's not sure how he's going to replace the 22 rebounds that graduated from last year.
Basically, an essential part of Boyle's game-plan and 12 days before the season starts he doesn't know how his team will execute it.
We all know this, what we didn't know was how smooth his freshmen were.
Forward Tyler Bey showed a lack of fear shooting and rebounding and guard McKinley Wright IV never put his head down despite Boyle saying postgame he can be way better.
"We need to play with confidence; these guys are good players, when they make a mistake I don't want their heads to go down I want them to stay positive," the coach explained. "You gotta go to the next play and our guys did a pretty good job of that tonight—having a short memory."
That was recognized from fifth-year senior George King as well.
"They're gonna make mistakes but you have to be confident throughout that process of mistakes and we'll take a step forward as a team," he said. "For them to have that as a freshman, that's really good, the sky is the limit."
There are a lot of question marks, the team had zero flow, and nobody is really standing out to Boyle.
Yet one thing was answered tonight: Colorado's crop of young players will not back down this season, which is the absolute best thing any Buffaloes fan could hope for with such a young team.