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CU Buffs look to solve Washington zone D in Las Vegas matchup

Buffs take on struggling Huskies in nonconference affair

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On occasion, Colorado has lit up the active zone defense employed by Washington. At other times, the Huskies have completely shackled the Buffaloes’ attack.

Sometimes those extremes have occurred within the same game.

The last time the two Pac-12 foes met, in January at the CU Events Center, the Buffs prevailed but not without running extremely hot and then ice cold against the defense UW coach Mike Hopkins helped make famous as an assistant at Syracuse.

In that game, it was the proverbial tale of two halves for CU against the Huskies’ zone. During the first half, the Buffs torched that UW zone for seven 3-pointers and 51 points. In the second half, CU held on for the win while going 0-for-8 from long range and scoring just 25 points.

The lesson, according to CU head coach Tad Boyle, is to not relent against a defense adept at putting the clamps down. The Buffs will put that to the test on Sunday night in Las Vegas as the rivals collide in a contest that will be played as a nonconference game.

“They’re a talented team and they’re a team that can lull you to sleep,” Boyle said. “Last year, for example, we scored 51 points in the first half against Washington in the first half at home and we made seven threes. In the second half, we made zero threes and we scored 25 points. Not that you’re going to have 51 in every half, but we can’t have those 25-point halves. We have to figure out a way to score if the jump shot’s not going in. They way you do that is get the ball in the paint, get the ball inside, attacking the basket, getting to the foul line, playing inside-out.”

While Washington’s defense still has the ability to make any game miserable for opposing offenses, it is the Huskies’ struggling offense that has led to a rough start in Hopkins’ fourth season at the helm.

After playing Oregon tough in a three-point Pac-12 loss a week ago, the Huskies turned around and suffered an eight-point loss at home Wednesday against Montana. UW enters Sunday’s game shooting just .393 overall with a .258 mark on 3-pointers. Washington has posted more turnovers than assists in all six of its games so far this season and is averaging 14.5 turnovers per game.

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Although the game will be logged as a nonconference game, Sunday’s matchup essentially is the start of league play for the Buffs, with Tuesday’s date against Grand Canyon counting as the final scheduled nonconference game of the season. The competition in Las Vegas should serve as a competitive bridge between the teams CU thumped at home this week, Northern Colorado and Omaha, and the three Pac-12 road dates the Buffs will face after Christmas at Arizona, USC, and UCLA.

“Our veterans know (UW’s zone defense),” Boyle said. “They know what’s worked. They know what hasn’t worked. So it’s kind of a refresher course, if you will, and fortunately we have a couple days to do that. We spent a lot of time on it (Friday). We’ll spend a lot of time on it (Saturday). We’ve got the shootaround (Sunday). We’ll watch probably another hour’s worth of film between now and the time we tip off to make sure our guys understand how we want to attack it, where do we want to get the ball, how do we want to operate.

“And then we just have to go out and make plays. Because that’s what you have to do against that thing. You have to be basketball players, and I think we’ve got guys that can do that. Now we’ve got to go prove it.”

Washington Huskies vs. CU Buffs men’s basketball

TIPOFF: Sunday, 8 p.m. MT, T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas.

BROADCAST: TV — Pac-12 Networks; Radio — 850 AM and 94.1 FM.

RECORDS: Washington 1-5; Colorado 4-1.

COACHES: Washington — Mike Hopkins, 4th season (64-44 at Washington and overall); Colorado — Tad Boyle, 11th season (214-135, 270-201 overall).

KEY PLAYERS: Washington — G Quade Green, Sr., 14.8 ppg, .417 3-point percentage; F Nate Roberts, R-So., 8.0 ppg, 7.8 rpg; F Hameir Wright, Sr.,6.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg. Colorado — G McKinley Wright, Sr., 17.6 ppg, 5.8 apg, 5.0 rpg, .648 field goal percentage; F Jeriah Horne, Sr., 10.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg, .556 3-point percentage; C Dallas Walton, R-Jr., 9.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg.

WHAT TO WATCH: The Buffs will need a few 3-point shots to go down to solve UW’s zone defense. In wins against Northern Colorado and Omaha this past week, CU went 17-for-39 (.436) from the arc.

CU Buffs look to solve Washington zone D in Las Vegas matchup Buffs take on struggling Huskies in nonconference affair Share this: Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)

Colorado Buffaloes vs. Washington Huskies – How to watch and game thread

Join us for the Buffs – Huskies game tonight at 8:00 p.m.

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Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Where: T-Mobile Arena – Las Vegas Arena

When: 8:00 p.m. MT

TV: Pac-12 Network

Online: Pac-12 Network App

Radio: 850 AM KOA

Washington Blog: UW Dawg Pound

Line: Colorado -9.5

Welcome to the Ralphie Report as the Colorado Buffaloes get ready to take on the Washington Huskies in the sixth game of the 2020-21 season. The Buffaloes are ready to finally start Pac-12 play (even if the game is at a neutral site) as they prepare to take on the Huskies. The Buffaloes come into the game with a 4-1 record with the only loss coming to a tough Tennessee team in Knoxville. Go Buffs!

No need to go anywhere else today, The Ralphie Report has everything you need and we welcome you to weigh in with your live game analysis, critiques, observations and predictions.

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Join us for the Buffs – Huskies game tonight at 8:00 p.m. ]]>