BOULDER – After an 0-3 start to Pac-12 play the Colorado Buffaloes now have a record of 10-6. A majority of the conference slate remains to be played and the Buffs have yet to play a home conference game at the Coors Events Center. Yet, with every outing CU asks more question than they answer.
WHO IS THE REAL CU?
The Buffs have been all over the place through about the halfway point of the season. They’ve defeated two ranked opponents and gone toe-to-toe with their conference foe Arizona in their barn. But the Buffaloes have also looked apathetic at times during the non-conference season at in Salt Lake City against Utah.
So which team is Colorado?
Probably somewhere in the middle with a high-end potential better than how bad their low-end potential is.
The thing separating CU from more wins is one thing—consistency.
Perhaps Colorado’s most consistent player to this point has been a player known for his inconsistency over the course of his college career—Xavier Johnson. Looking around the gym, George King has sometimes looked like a menace and other times lost, Wes Gordon can be a monster but he too can be a monstrosity, while star Derrick White has shown an ability to dominate but has also been known to disappear. And those are just the headliners.
It doesn’t take one more than just a peek at the boxscores to see that the Buffaloes seek consistency.
X Marks The Spot
Coming back from a left Achilles tear has been tough on Xavier Johnson. At times it seems that X has lost a step of explosiveness but over the last month and change he has really found a rhythm. For the season he is now averaging his career best for a year in minutes played, points and shooting percentage while hitting just about his career averages in almost every other statistic.
Johnson is stepping up both as a leader and as a player and it has been desperately needed. With his highest usage coming against Arizona with 20 shots taken, 10 threes the fifth-year senior excelled.
He provides mismatches in the frontcourt, a position where the Buffs lack depth. Johnson will be counted upon for the remainder of the year. The Good news for CU is that he has been best as of late.
And They Danced…
The Buffs are in a not-so-good spot as of now in terms of an at-large bid to the big dance. They have an RPI that ranks No. 74 in the country which is something the squad will need to work to overcome. Colorado also needs to record some better wins which should come with conference play. The Buffaloes have a record of 1-3 against the top 100 teams in the country with only seven games left against the top 100. Last year the Buffs went 9-10 against the top 100, meaning CU could go undefeated the rest of the way and still not match that total. Again comparing with last year, the team lost only one game outside of the top 100, this season, that number is already two. Their strength of schedule is also sorry as of now.
Colorado needs to win and do it quick if they plan to dance.