There’s nothing worse than writing a recon for a first-round NIT game, it’s like crafting a eulogy for a grandparent you never really knew. It feels forced, there’s no emotion behind it and the whole thing feel purposeless. Luckily, @LOWD_RudyFlyer has selflessly volunteered to give us all a quick primer on the Colorado Buffaloes basketball squad. This act of kindness will not go unanswered by the karma gods.
The 2018-19 Dayton Flyers return to the NIT tournament in 2019 for the programs seventh visit this millennium (8 NCAA Tournament Appearances and 5 seasons with No Postseason). While many fans are rightfully disappointed and/or disinterested in the NIT, Anthony Grant and the players at least claim to be excited for the opportunity to get the sour taste of Brooklyn out of their mouth. The opponent in this respectable but irrelevant tournament is the Colorado Buffaloes. If you care even a little bit, here is the low down on this year’s Colorado team.
Colorado finished the season with a 21-12 record overall and 10-8 in conference, good for a tie for fourth-place finish in the PAC 12. KenPom has Colorado rated 65 and Dayton rated 60, with the game being in Colorado this results in a 60% likelihood that this is the Final game of Josh Cunningham’s career, (and Frankie Policelli? And anyone else??) as the Flyers, according to KenPom, are predicted to fall short by two points while Vegas has them as five-point dogs.
If you live somewhere other than the West Coast, this game is ungodly late. So, here is what you can expect to see from Colorado as you fall asleep tonight:
- The Buffs are led by their own pair of sophomores in 6’7” Tyler Bey, who averages 13.3 pts/9.8 rebounds and former Dayton Commit McKinley Wright IV who averages 13.1 pts/5.0 rebounds/4.8 assists. Bey is listed as a guard/forward on the roster but he doesn’t shoot the three and does almost all his work in the paint, He seems like a very difficult matchup for the Flyers.
- The battle between Dayton’s former point-guard recruit and the current Flyer lead guard is clearly one point of interest as the two come into the game with very similar statlines and both are asked to play over thirty minutes each night – although Crutcher is noticeably better at not turning the ball over (on average). Wright is without a doubt the key to the Colorado offense. Colorado took two losses in January while McKinley missed time to nurse a shoulder injury.
- Outside their top two, Colorado has six other players in the rotation that seem to be solid contributors but don’t excel at anything in particular. Gatling and Siewert are the three-point threats for Colorado. They are very much the Jordan Davis type of perimeter shooters, their shooting percentage is decent and they attempt nine a game combined, but they tend to be streaky.
- As a team, Colorado’s weaknesses are three-point shooting and turnovers, the Buffs turn the ball over on almost 20% of their possessions. Luckily for them Dayton does not force many turnovers. CU’s strengths lie in securing rebounds and getting to the free-throw line.
Dayton lost to Colorado in the 2013 Charleston Classic, just prior to one of the top three over-serving incidents of my drinking career. I’m not sure what happened that night but I know I spent time rolling in the gutters of Charleston and somehow survived without getting arrested. Prior to that matchup, Anthony Grant led the Flyers to a split with Colorado during his playing days. The Flyers and Buffaloes are set to meet again this December in the Windy City in the Chicago Legends tournament.
This is an interesting and challenging matchup for The Flyers. Both teams are young, stink at shooting 3’s, turn the ball over a little too much while not doing enough on D to cause Turnovers. Colorado has been good at home (13-2), while Dayton has been good on the road. Side note, The CU Events Center seats 11k and sports the #2 home court advantage in all the land (seriously, I was shocked to learn this. Legal pot, and sending basketball players up to a mile high elevation is apparently an almost unbeatable combo for the Buffs). In the end, I think we see some sloppy and uninspired basketball from both teams but in the end Chip, Obi and Josh bring just enough to get the Flyers over the hump tonight after their rough outing in Brooklyn. Flyers win 71-67.