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IBN/Las Vegas Classic: Indiana Hoosiers v. Colorado Buffaloes (preview).

Colorado Buffaloes
Current record: 7-4
Current RPI: 201 (IU is #129)
Current Sagarin: 119 (IU is #75)
Current Pomeroy: 73 (IU is #61)
2009-10 record:  15-16 (6-10)
2009-10 RPI: 120
2009-10 Sagarin: 93
2009-10 Pomeroy: 86
Pomeroy scouting report
Series:  Tied 1-1
TV: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, CBS College Sports
Blog: The Ralphie Report

IU takes on Colorado at 7:30 tonight in the consolation bracket of the IBN/Las Vegas Classic.  If there is any consolation to take from IU's loss it's that we have avoided the inevitable hype of an Alford-against-Indiana matchup.  Alford's Lobos knocked off the Buffaloes in the late game last night.   I'm glad that Steve is doing well at New Mexico, but I just don't have the energy to deal with the comparisons and with the small but hardy band of Hoosier fans who think we should have hired him.   


As if IU fans aren't grumpy enough after last night's game, allow me to remind you that the last meeting between Indiana and Colorado was in the first round of the 1997 NCAA Tournament.  The 1997 season began with much promise, particularly Andrae Patterson's 39-point performance in a blowout win over Duke in the preseason NIT championship game, but ended up being another mediocre year, and the blowout loss to the Buffaloes in the 8/9 game was a low moment.  Fortunately, Chauncey Billups has exhausted his eligibility. 

The Buffaloes are led by first-year coach Tad Boyle, who came to CU from Northern Colorado.  At this point, it would appear that offense is the strength of this Colorado team.  Their offensive efficiency is #14 in the nation, compared to #155 in defensive efficiency.  At this point in the season, Colorado is shooting very well in every respect: CU ranks #16 in the nation in three point shooting (40.8 percent), #45 in two pointers (52.5 percent), and #15 in free throws (77 percent).  Add in their excellent turnover percentage (15.1, #3 in the nation), and it's not hard to see how CU's offense is succeeding.  As noted, the Buffaloes' defensive numbers are less impressive, so this may be a high-scoring affair. Colorado has four double-figure scorers, with  Alec Burks leading the way with over 20 points per game, followed by Cory Higgins, Levi Knutson (50 percent from three point range), and Marcus Relphorde.

I don't know what to expect tonight, but this is an important name.  I've said all along that an NIT bid and winning season would be important steps for this program.  To make the NIT, IU probably will need a 17-14 record entering the Big Ten Tournament.  Had IU managed an 11-2 record, they would have been guaranteed a winning record with a 6-12 Big Ten record.  Now it's 7-11, and if IU loses to Colorado, then absent 8 Big Ten wins, the Hoosiers may miss the postseason again.  We'll see.