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  • Colorado Preview

    Nice win against Santa Clara. The fact that we were only favored by 10.5 against them shows the disrespect for our program this year. They have now beaten the spread by double digits in 3 out of the last 4 games including last night where Drew had an off night shooting. I actually thought we looked a little out of it yesterday. The defense in the second half wasn't great and we gave up too many offensive rebounds. Santa Clara got 34.8% of offensive rebounds as a team. Allowing that rate would put us 300th nationally if it were carried over for a season. The Mobleys only had 8 combined defensive rebounds, that has to be better, and Isaiah is more than capable given how good he's been on the offensive glass this year.

    Now to Colorado. Arizona ran them off the court in the second half in Tucson which I was really surprised by. Now was that Colorado not bringing it or Arizona playing above their true level? I think it's some of both, but more the latter. On offense, Arizona basically let James Akinjo and Jemarl Baker go, and it worked out for them. Akinjo was 5-6 from 3 and Baker had 14, albeit inefficiently. You gotta hand it to James Akinjo, the dude was 28-83 coming into the Colorado game from the field and kept hitting off the dribble threes including a few tough step backs.

    What Tad did is he started with Parquet (Colorado's best wing defender) on Baker. Baker made a few contested shots early, then started to miss a few. McKinley Wright is also a very good on-ball defender. He doesn't have as much length as Parquet, but he's super quick and does a great job fighting over screens. If our bigs don't set good screens in pick and roll with Eaddy who I presume Wright will be on for most of the game, Wright can make life hell for Tahj. If we're unable to set a good screen on Wright, look for them to put Parquet in pick and roll more since he's easier to screen.

    One thing about Colorado is they are extremely dependent on McKinley Wright. Wright can dominate by beating his man off the dribble and either getting to the rim or making plays for his teammates. If he can't go or is limited, we should dominate them. Wright was kicking their ass in the first half, and then Sean Miller made the adjustment to help earlier or double team Wright off of screens in the second half, which slowed Colorado down. The other guy who killed Arizona was Evan Battey. Battey scored basically every time he got the ball. He's a big dude, so I'd start with Isaiah on him since Evan is still a little light. I could see Andy throwing Evan on him though since at 6'7 Battey could struggle against Evan's length. That's something I'll be watching for early on. We could go zone and just make Wright score over Evan. My concern though is that Wright can really pass and Colorado has lots of guys who struggle to create offense but can hit spot 3s (Schwartz and Horne) and it's hard to rebound in zone. If we play man and help early or trap ball screens, I don't think Colorado has enough shot creation outside of Wright to score on us. I'll give a brief scout on each of their guys:

    D'Shawn Schwatz: Very capable catch and shoot shooter, can't attack closeouts and is soft. He's a worse rebounder than McKinley Wright for instance despite being 6'6. Average defender who doesn't have the length or foot speed of Parquet.

    Jeriah Horne: Spot up stretch 4. Another good catch and shoot shooter who doesn't create offense. Has good touch and can shoot over smaller defenders. Is only 6'7 so he struggles a bit in the post defensively. Jordan Brown for instance had trouble scoring against Dallas Walton but took scored easily one on one against Horne. I would feed Isaiah or Evan when he's matched up against either.

    Eli Parquet: As mentioned, very good wing defender with length for a 6'3 guy. Isn't as aggressive on D as Wright so he only gets half as many steals/minute but he's also tough to beat and score on. He's improved as a shooter but is still very much below average, and he can't create offense.

    Dallas Walton: Stretch 5 with length defensively. Solid post defender but struggles in space. He can shoot 3's when he's set and make them at an above average rate. But he struggles with decision making when sped up.

    Evan Battey: Really good touch in the post and has range to 3. Ideally we could get him in foul trouble early since he's foul prone. He doesn't get a lot of looks when they move the ball, but he's their second best guy at getting his own when they throw him the ball in the post.

    Keeshawn Barthelomy: He's the closest thing they have to a secondary ball handler. Redshirted last year. He's not very quick and is a poor jump shooter from deep so far. Maybe he'll break out against us and start hitting threes, but if you're Andy you can live with this guy beating you. He's also thin and you can take advantage of his lack of strength on both ends.

    McKinley Wright: He's a star. Super quick and brings energy on both ends. Great passer and decision maker and tough as hell. Has improved as a shooter each year. Completely schooled Ethan Anderson last year on both ends at Galen. I don't think we have anyone who can stay in front of him but I'd start with Tahj on him and be ready to help. Or you go zone.

    Jabari Walker: Athletic, long, Freshman and can shoot spot 3s. He'll help them but needs a year or 2 to get his body right. Kinda like their version of Max but more 4 than wing. Would attack him in the post if you get him one on one due to his lack of strength.

    Maddox Daniels: Shooter. Very dangerous coming off screens and spotting up. Doesn't have any off the dribble game but can make threes in a hurry. He's also an abysmal defender and needs to be attacked on that end whenever possible.

    I think I mentioned this in another post but Colorado is very good in ball screen defense and rotating when they need too. You need to make very quick decisions coming out of ball screens and they will test your PGs IQ. This is part of the reason we beat them twice in JMac's last year and haven't beat them since. Tad is out talented, but their D will be sure to test Drew and Tahj as decision makers in pick and rolls. I think we probably out talent them and get it done, but I hate playing them off a loss. That Vegas only has us as a 1 point favorite at home is disrespectful, hopefully we can continue to murder the spread.

    One last general note, every team we've played in KenPom has improved its standing since playing us, meaning we're underrated. For example, BYU came into our game 79 in KenPom and then fell to 92 after we blew them out. Since then they've risen to 65 in KenPom. What does this mean? It means that BYU was way over punished for losing the way they did to us because we're underrated. KenPom is still factoring in preseason expectations, which hurts us, but that's part of the reason Vegas keeps underrating us. Once the preseason expectation components are eliminated from KenPom's algorithm, the point spreads on our games will start to become more accurate. Let's hope for the best tomorrow, but I caution everyone to change their tune if we lose. Colorado has matched up well against us in non JMac years and is a much better squad than the Arizona box score would indicate.
    Last edited by ; 12-30-2020, 11:10 PM.
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