The Colorado Buffaloes (8-4) are looking to open their Pac-12 conference season on a high note and close the book on 2011 in a positive way when they host a struggling Utah Utes team (3-9) on Saturday afternoon. Utah lost eight games in a row earlier in the year, but the team has actually bounced back to win two of their last three games. Meanwhile, the Buffaloes have won four of their last six games, with the two losses coming by a single point each. Colorado has played great basketball at home so far this season (6-1), while the Utes have yet to win a game on the road (0-3).
The Utes are led by senior guard Josh Watkins and junior center Jason Washburn, who are averaging 16.3 points and 11.3 points per game, respectively. No other player on the team averages over 10 points per game. Utah does not stand out in any area of the game, ranking 325th nationally in points per game (58.8), 335th in rebounds per game (29.6), 289th in assists per game (11.1) and 230th in field goal percentage (42.1%). The Buffaloes hold a large edge in every listed category, and rank no worse than 148th overall in any of them.
The Buffaloes have a chance to get off to a good start in a competitive, but wide-open Pac-12 landscape. The crew over at the Colorado blog, The Ralphie Report, weighs in on where they think the Buffs stand:
(Predicted 8th place finisher) Colorado- The Buffaloes fit in perfectly with the theme of the Pac-12: inconsistency. When this team plays well, they look like they are a contender in the Pac-12, however, when they play poorly, they are not fun to watch. The Buffaloes don't have too much depth and will be very reliant on their starters for success this season. Andre Roberson's outstanding rebounding is always going to be there, but, Spencer Dinwiddie and Carlon Brown are both supporting players that need to step up if the Buffaloes want to have success. Nonetheless, the Buffaloes will make every game close this year in conference play and things are only looking up for the program.
According to Odds Shark, the Buffaloes are favored to win by 16.5 points and the over/under for the game is set at 133 points. The game will take place at 4:00 p.m. MT at the Coors Events Center in Boulder, CO, and is available to hear on AM 760 and to see on Root Sports.
For more, stay tuned to SB Nation Denver. Keep tabs on The Ralphie Report, SB Nation's Colorado Buffaloes blog, for more on Colorado. Head over to SB Nation NCAA Basketball for more on the 2011-2012 college hoops season.