On Sunday afternoon No. 15 Colorado picked up its best win of the season to date, beating then- No. 10 Oregon 100-91 with the guard tandem of Askia Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie combining for 50 points and 11 assists. Those two juniors are expected to lead the way for Tad Boyle’s Buffaloes, and on most nights they do.
Wednesday’s game against Washington State in Spokane (the students are still on break, which is why the game wasn’t played in Pullman) wasn’t one of those occasions, with Booker shooting 2-for-12 from the field (13-for-14 FT) and Dinwiddie accounting for just six points and two assists after not attempting a single shot in the game’s first 20 minutes. In instances like these Colorado’s fortunate enough to have the services of one of the Pac-12’s most improved players in sophomore big man Josh Scott, and against the Cougars his play was a critical factor in the Buffaloes’ 71-70 overtime victory.
Scott accounted for 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting to go along with nine rebounds, with 15 points and six rebounds coming in the second half and overtime. And with the guards struggling every one of those points and rebounds were needed at Spokane Arena. The Cougars were once again without the services of leading scorer DaVonte Lacy, but 24 points from Dexter Kernich-Drew and double-doubles posted by D.J. Shelton (14 points, 12 rebounds) and Royce Woolridge (ten points, 11 assists) kept Ken Bone’s team in position to pull off the upset.
But the Cougars couldn’t match the production of Scott and Xavier Johnson, who added 14 points, in the paint with the Buffaloes outscoring the Cougars 36-18 in the paint. Wednesday’s performance certainly wasn’t a pretty one for Colorado, with their starting guards struggling as mightily as they did. But in conference play, there are some nights in which teams simply have to gut out a win.
Thanks in part to Josh Scott, Colorado was able to do that and remain undefeated in Pac-12 play.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.