How to watch (and bet)
Date: Sunday, 12/4/22
tip-off time: 12:00 p.m. PT
TV: Pac-12 networks
Location: Seattle, Washington
DraftKings Betting Line: Washington Huskies +1.5
Colorado Buffaloes 2022-23 Stats:
Points per game: 72.4 (133.)
Counter points per game: 68.3 (134th)
Adjusted Offense Efficiency: 106.6 (84th)
Adjusted Block Efficiency: 93.6 (42nd)
Schedule Strength: 39
Colorado Key Players:
G-KJ Simpson, Sun. 6’2, 177: 16.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 3.5 apg, 41.2% FG, 32.7% 3pt, 71.9% FT
I had Simpson as my preseason pick for most improved player in the conference and he makes me look smart. He only plays 29 minutes a game but is one of the most ball-dominant players in the country on the pitch. He’s shooting 6.5 3s per game and his shooting has improved from 24% to 33% on deep shots. His assist rate is far higher than when taking on real point guard duties, and you can be sure he’ll get his money’s worth in the game.
G-Jalen Gabbidon, Sr. 6’5, 195: 7.6 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.6 apg, 39.1% FG, 28.6% 3pt, 65.5% FT
The transfer from Yale was the Ivy League DPOY last year and lives up to that. He is 3rd on the team in block rate and 2nd in steal rate in their first 8 games and is their best full-back. It should come as no surprise that his shooting stats have dropped quite a bit as he rises in the competition, but he also turns it around a lot less and has less ball-handling responsibility.
F-J’Vonne Hadley, Jr. 6’6, 215: 9.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.2 apg, 52.3% FG, 71.4% FT
The JUCO transfer has been the surprise player for Colorado so far, leading the team as a 6’6 winger on the rebound. He is 36th nationally in offensive rebound rate and has the potential to destroy the UW Zone with second chance points. However, he is not at all a perimeter shooting threat and much prefers to play as almost a small ball center.
F-Tristan da Silva, Sr. 6’9, 217: 11.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 0.9 apg, 49.3% FG, 33.3% 3pt, 68.2% FT
Former Stanford star Oscar’s brother didn’t quite make the leap that many have envisioned. He much prefers to play on the edge and just shoot 1⁄3 from deep after making 48% in conference play last season. But with his size you have no chance to block his shot. Da Silva’s rebound numbers reflect his preferred role rather than his 6’9 height, as he almost never gets an offensive board.
C Lawson Lovering, so. 7’1, 225: 3.1ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.1bpg, 38.1% FG, 69.2% FT
I said prior to the season that if they exceeded expectations, Colorado would need Lovering to step up, and he didn’t. He’s the only true center on the roster and at 7’1 he’s shooting less than 40% from the field with just 2 total dunks. That means he has 5/15 on non-dunks in the suit and has a defensive rebound rate that matches PJ Fuller. On the plus side for Colorado, he was at least a good shot blocker and offensive rebounder.
If you were to pick the team with the most bizarre resume in the whole country right now, it might be Colorado. They have arguably the best win in the nation, beating Tennessee 6-1 78-66. They beat 5-2 Texas A&M by nearly 30 points. The Buffs also lost at #277 Grambling State and against #126 Massachusetts. To top it off, they lost to UW in almost as heartbreaking fashion on Thursday night when ASU hit a 3-pointer while they were 2 down with 3 seconds left.
For now, Washington is the walking wounded, but Colorado is all about her depth. You play between 12 and 29 minutes per game against 10 different guys. Boyle did the same last year with an extended rotation and it’s hard to say if it paid off or hampered the team. It’s not a common approach as Colorado is 27th in % of minutes coming off their bench.
This is by no means a particularly good-shooting buffs team. They rank 200th or worse nationally in 2-point, 3-point and free throw percentages. Still, they kind of have a top-100-adjusted offense because they’re getting offensive rebounds, getting to the free-throw line, and playing a tough schedule. Javon Ruffin and Ethan Wright came off the bench to shoot 45% on 3-pointers combined, but nobody on the starting lineup gets more than 1 of 3 points.
This has come back to bite the buffs in their 2 worst losses. Against Grambling State and Massachusetts, they made less than 25% of their 3s in over 20 tries. Washington is 20th in the country so far in 3-point defense, but with both centers injured we’ll find out how much it changes what the Dawgs can do at that end of the court.
The good news for Washington is that this isn’t a Colorado team that will punish a lack of rim protection with a dominant center. Colorado only plays 2 rotation players taller than 6’8 and one of them is a 6’9 stretch big who plays like a shooting guard and the other is a 7’1 center who is limited as an offensive player I’ve ever seen this size. I won’t be surprised if we see the Dawgs try to keep Keion Brooks center for most of the game and have a broader offensive approach.
When UW has the ball, this is a stingy buffs defense. They have a lot of quality defensive wings between 6’3 and 6’6 that should be able to hold up well against Fuller, Bey and Bajema. Given that Washington is prone to huge offensive droughts against every team, I’d expect we’ll see a lot of that again on Sunday. If the Huskies pull this off, it’ll have to be a low-scoring affair, like Colorado’s 60-59 loss Thursday night.
With a healthy Braxton Meah or Franck Kepnang, I think this could actually be a cheap matchup for Washington. Without either one, I think there just isn’t enough interior space for the huskies to withstand. If Keion Brooks Jr. gets into trouble, there’s no way UW can keep up on the boards. Hopefully we’ll see Brooks start in the middle and Koren Johnson switch to the starting lineup, but that probably won’t be enough. But man, a win here would be great with a trip to the kennel on Friday night.
Max’s record this year: 5-3 straight up, 5-3 against the spread
Washington Huskies– 58, Colorado Buffaloes – 67