A short and apathetic list of schools for the Summit League to consider adding

IUPUI leaving the conference creates some problems, or really just brings some problems to light.  The Jaguars cited geography as their primary reason for wanting to leave the Summit league.

When you look at a map of the Summit League and compare it to other small conferences, yeah, it’s looks pretty rough.  The schools along I-29 don’t have it too bad, but travel costs look a little difficult for Denver, Oral Roberts, Fort Wayne, and Western Illinois.

The lack of travel partners made things difficult for teams in basketball.  Someone might luck out one week if they traveled to Vermillion on a Thursday and then play in Brookings on that Saturday, but for the most part teams would get to travel to Fort Wayne for a Wednesday night game and then head to Brookings for a Saturday night game.  The current President of the United States would call that a “total disaster.”

When North Dakota joins the league*, teams will consider it lucking out when they get to spend a half a week in the states of South Dakota or North Dakota, but someone like Fort Wayne could have to deal with flying to Omaha and then getting on a plane the following morning and flying to Tulsa for a Saturday game.

*Will the Summit League ever give us the ultimate North Dakota-Omaha weekend?

  • Thursday night: North Dakota vs Omaha women’s basketball
  • Friday night: North Dakota vs Omaha hockey
  • Saturday noon: North Dakota vs Omaha men’s basketball
  • Saturday night: North Dakota vs Omaha hockey

That might make this whole division one transition experiment worth it.

Can the Summit League also consider the traveling fans?  The South Dakota schools are pretty close to Omaha and it’s not too difficult for the fans to travel to away games in these match ups.  So why is South Dakota playing at Omaha on a Wednesday night?  South Dakota fans do not want to leave Vermillion or Sioux Falls to get to Omaha at 7 pm on a Wednesday night, and then get back in the car and get home late at night.  Games with that proximity should always be played on Saturdays if we’re going to have this wacky Wednesday and Saturday scheduling system.

Fort Wayne is in a weird place.  I assume they are trying to get all the Horizon League members together and frame UIC for murder to open up a spot for the Mastodons.  Let’s get the Farewell cards ready for their potential exit.  While the ‘Dons would be missed, we’d understand their situation.  I’ll also no longer have to debate that 10 hour drive or $500 flight to watch a sporting event.

Fort Wayne would also appear to be in a better situation if they got placed into the Ohio Valley.  They’d still be pretty far away from most of the schools in the OVC, but they would be closer than most of the schools in the Summit League.

Denver also creates a bit of a travel problem for schools.  The city has a major airport, but I can imagine it can be difficult for someone like Omaha or North Dakota State to drive to Vermillion and then cart their stuff to fly out of Sioux Falls to Denver, then fly from Denver back home.  This cuts me to the core to say, but you have to keep Denver happy and in the conference, right?  Their damn soccer team is just too good to let go.

Denver fans appear to hate that the conference is South Dakota based, so I’m sure their blood is boiling now considering that Augustana is considering making a jump to Division 1.

So are there any current D-1 schools to add to the Summit League to help out this geography problem?


Chicago State

Average distance to each WAC school:  ALL OF THE SOUTHWEST RAPID REWARD POINTS

Average distance to each Summit League school:  570 miles

Pros:  1) Travel partner for Fort Wayne (assuming the ‘Dons stay). 2) Chicago is neat. 3) They have all the sports that the Summit League has and wouldn’t have to find a league as an affiliate member for football, wrestling, men’s volleyball, or whatever.

Cons: Their basketball team won six games last year.  One of them was against Billy Wright and Western Illinois!  They also played at Creighton a few years ago.


Northern Colorado

Average distance to each Big Sky school: 817 miles

Average distance to each Summit League school: 698 miles

Pros:  1) The Bears could add a travel partner for Denver.  2) Could add a baseball team to the Summit League (they currently play in the WAC for baseball) 3) Weekend trip to Denver/Greeley!

Cons: Would they join the MVC for football, stay in the Big Sky for football?  What to do!


UMKC

Average distance to each WAC school: HAHAHAHAHAHA

Average distance to each Summit League school: 438 miles

Pros: 1) Travel partner for Omaha. 2) Big airport for the Pioneers to go to and not complain about it. 3) Another city that could compete to have the conference basketball tournaments in. 4) UMKC could actually see a spike in attendance when traveling fans from the South Dakota schools and Omaha travel to Kansas City.

Cons: 2) They might be okay in some sport some day, right?

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Just a few potential random schools to list off to join the Summit League

 

After it was announced that New Mexico State football would be leaving the Sun Belt Conference, their administration has mentioned that they would form a committee to research a move looking into a new conference for their Olympic sports.  Their administration mentioned The Big Sky as a conference that they have been in contact with, and one other unnamed conference.  The move would more than likely break up the WAC, which is just the worst anyway, so how about we open up a topic of: Could the Summit League be growing anytime soon.

Here are some potential schools that could join the Summit League as a 10th member from the WAC or just something at random I felt like bringing up.


New Mexico State 

Geographically there are conferences that would work out better for New Mexico State for their non-football sports.  The SWAC, Southland, Big West, Big Sky, and the West Coast Conference all come to mind as suitors for New Mexico State to join.  The Mountain West would too if the conference wanted to take on a 13th football member.  Have you heard Wichita State has thought of adding football and joining the Mountain West?  Oh wait, anyway…

You might be thinking that New Mexico State could be a travel partner with Denver, but really New Mexico State is a 9 hour drive from Denver.  This is a school that is currently in a conference with programs in Kansas City, Chicago, and Seattle; so Denver may not be all that far away really in their minds.  And Denver dream every week of joining a new conference.  They’re probably somewhere right now discussing about how moving to the Big West would be better than the Summit League.

The school is open to the possibility of moving to FCS in football and maybe the Missouri Valley would be the most competitive conference for them to move into than the Big Sky.  I have a friend who was a quarterback at Montana, and he said he would be against New Mexico State joining the Big Sky because it would put them at 15 teams with Idaho also joining the conference in 2018…and that is just too many damn teams.  Though, the back up quarterback for Montana in the early 2000s does not decide who joins or leaves the conference.  Or could he?  It could be like that terrible Swing Vote movie with Kevin Costner that only Kevin Costner and whatever family member he forced to go with saw.

Again, the Aggies joining the Summit is a long shot, but the school could really help improve baseball for the Summit League.  It would put the league at 7 baseball programs, and it is never bad for your conference to get more South and more West for baseball and softball recruiting.  Aggies Baseball is coached by Brian (not Austin) Green, who is a former assistant of Kentucky and UCLA.  He helped take the Aggies from a 10 win team to a 34 win team in baseball.


Northern Colorado

So maybe New Mexico State does join the The Big Sky and the conference does annoyingly have too many teams.  If that happens, some school may want to get out of the conference.  Maybe that school is Northern Colorado.  It would make sense.  Their football team could move to the Missouri Valley for football, wrestling would still be in the Big 12 with North Dakota State, and Denver would have a travel partner.  Again, Denver is apparently a wild card in remaining in the Summit League.

The Bears may not be the most competitive athletic program, but it works out as far as what sports they have to offer.  It would be hard for me to turn down a weekend trip to Colorado for the Mavericks versus the Pioneers and Bears.  A weekend of college basketball, and possibly NBA basketball, hiking, Illegal Pete’s breakfast burritos, breweries, and maybe some hockey.


UMKC

Really, why did they leave the Summit League?  I was a little pumped to get to Kansas City to see the Kangaroos and Mavericks play year after year.  There was a decent number of Maverick fans that made the drive when I went in 2013.  I don’t think I can turn down a short drive to see the Mavericks and the prospect of eating at Oklahoma Joe’s.  Now, I’ve got a shorter drive to look forward to get to Vermillion and eat at…Chick Fil-A is probably pretty exciting I guess.  I just crave their cups of expired fruit.

If the WAC did end up breaking up, I really do not see where else the Kangaroos could go.  Hold on, I just tried to think of how to compare the ridiculousness of UMKC asking to get back into the Summit League to my Trump loving uncle asking me for portions of spaghetti noodles in the 2020 American Civil War.

UMKC has very fan support.  The Kangaroos have under performed in basketball the last few years under Kareem Richardson.  Men’s soccer has a losing record in WAC games.  They have no baseball and no football.  Their main bargaining chip is that Kansas City is a pretty fun place, and I think we’re actually all okay with that.


Drake

Honestly, I just really think that the Summit League needs to go all in to get Drake to join the conference.  I have no idea what I mean “go all in” because I don’t know what the official conversations consist of when a conference invites a school to join.  Maybe we wave some fees?  Give them a post season tournament?  Buy them a steak?  Squeak a cute dog toy in their direction and say “cooooooommmmeeee onnnnn.”

I have never really heard of Drake being consistently competitive in anything in the Missouri Valley, and for some reason their football team plays in the Pioneer League?  Their women’s basketball, volleyball, and softball team have been okay the last few years, but nothing great.  Drake could consistently be in the top half of every sport in the Summit League.

The Bulldogs in the Summit could help recruit some more Iowa kids to the conference, and open up another place like Des Moines for Summit League championships.  I’m told that Des Moines is a great place by every boring person on the planet.


Central Arkansas

The Bears men’s basketball have not been eligible for post season play for the past two seasons due to APR penalties, so they may not be the most ideal program to add to the Summit League.  Russ Pennell actually seems like he could turn their basketball program around with a little time.  Other men’s teams are really not all that competitive, but their women’s teams are all pretty competitive in the Southland.  The women’s basketball team finished the season at 28-4 with a trip to the NCAA tournament; and tennis; softball; and volleyball all finished with winning records as well.

Central Arkansas may actually benefit from joining the Summit League than the Summit League would benefit from Central Arkansas joining the conference.  They could join the conference as a travel partner with Oral Roberts as they are only 3 hours away from Tulsa.  The closest Southland school to Conway, Arkansas is a 5 hour drive.  My initial feeling if Central Arkansas were to join the Summit League would be that the Denver fans would want out of the conference, but they find a new reason to get out of the Summit League every week.

By the way, they call their women’s teams the “Sugar Bears.”

 

2015-2016 opponent preview: Game 7, Montana State Bobcats

Montana State

2014-2015 Record: 7-23

2014-2015 Home Record:  5-9

Final 2014-2015 RPI:  323

Big Win in 2014-2015:  vs UT-Arlington (180 RPI) 104-81

Random Stat:  UNO and Montana State both won at North Dakota last season by the exact same score of 80 to 78.


When you first hear of Montana State, you assume this could be an easy road win.  I mean, it is Montana State of all schools.

Okay, this has been getting a little stale talking about who is returning, and what new players might be good, but now we get to add a new ingredient to the recipe.  Some fish.

Brian Gosh Darn Fish.  I really do not think that his is full legal name, but it could be.  The Mavs may not have a shot at playing Creighton, but they do have a shot at former Creighton/Oregon/San Diego/Marshall Assistant Coach, Brian Fish.  Trying to get his program going, Fish will take on the Mavericks in their first full year of division one.  This seems like it should be a home and home series.  I feel like we should be able to expect the Bobcats in Omaha in 2016.

I cannot really think of many press conferences that introduced a new basketball coach that required him to wear a hat. So this must be serious, right?

I felt pretty confident in Fish’s ability to recruit a good team and make a positive impact on Montana State right from the second he got hired.  He appeared to be Dana Altman’s number one guy after Kevin McKenna left Creighton.  Fish was responsible for recruiting some great players to the Bluejays.  Every time Creighton played a team that had a coach in the hot seat, Fish appeared super into the game, like he wanted the opportunity to be a head coach.  It was always in him.  He had been rumored for a number of head coaching jobs before, one in particular was hearing his name being floated around when Western Illinois needed a new head coach…twice that came up actually.

We are going to throw in a pinch of another ingredient though.  Fish was able go all the way to Rock Island, Illinois to go after a recruit named Tyler Hall.  Why is this an item of interest?  Tyler Hall was rated a 3 star recruit by ESPN, but ESPN’s recruiting website is not all that great at rating players so it might not be that big of a deal in the long run.  However, Hall was given a scholarship offer by the Mavericks as well; and on top of that he saw offers from South Dakota, South Dakota State, Ohio (Saul Phillips), and Western Michigan.  So yes, Fish came into Omaha’s backyard and stole one from us.  It could be a big deal, it could not be.  The Bobcats are advertising Hall as a player that will be competing for a starting spot, but they won 7 games last season, so I assume every new guy is competing for a starting spot.  Fish was also able to get a commitment from Minnesota native, Sam Neumann.  The Mavericks did not offer Neumann, but Minnesota is an area the Mavericks like to get into for recruiting…Neumann did receive an offer from South Dakota State.

Actually kind of stoked to see JT Gibson and Hall go head-to-head.

This could give Omaha fans an indication of what kind of guys the Mavericks are losing out on and what type of guys we are going after, other than the obvious list of players that are currently on the roster.  As a fan, you like to know your team is offering guys that are capable players.  I hate it when Nebrasketball fans lose out on some recruit to Auburn and that player turns out to not be competent enough to player in a power conference, and the Husker fans get all giddy that the player “sucks”.  Shouldn’t you be upset that this dude was almost on your roster, but he did not think your team was good enough for his abilities?  Am I right?

How else has Fish done in recruiting?  Like many coaches trying to turn their team around quickly, Fish went after junior college players to add experience to his team.  He signed 5, that is right, 5 junior college transfers to his team.  3 of those junior college players are 6’8″ or taller.  I’m just going to do some quick math here.  5 junior college players, 4 freshman…that is 9 new players to work into the mix.  With 9 new players, it feels kind of worthless to bring up many teams stats from 2014-2015.


Key losses for the Bobcats.

Michael Dinson – 5’9″ G: 14.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.0 spg, 41 FG% 39 3ptFG%

You can average 4 rebounds a game at 5 foot 9?

Eric Norman – 6’9″ C:  6.2 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.7 bpg, 31 FG%, 27 3ptFG %

Blake Brumewell – 6’7″ C: 2.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 51 FG%

Montana State also had 3 players transfer away from the program, who all according to a Big Sky blog were “non-contributors” and should not be a big deal to lose.


Key returns for the Bobcats

Marcus Colbert – 5’11” G, SR: 13.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 4.7 apg, 43 FG%, 42 3ptFG%, 50 3ptM

The Mavericks were 2-0 against non-conference opponents in 2014-2015 that had a player that ended up averaging more than 4 assists per game.  Those wins were against Central Arkansas and North Dakota.

Stephan Holm – 6’3″ G, JR: 9.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 39 FG%, 34 FG%, 50 3ptM

Danny Robison – 6’8″ F, SR:  9.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 45 FG%, 37FG%, 34 3ptM


 

Omaha is 4-0 against the Big Sky since becoming Division 1, but in reality, 3 of those wins are against North Dakota.  This will be the second game of 2015-2016 that the Mavericks go up against the Big Sky after playing at Northern Colorado.

This should be a difficult game for the Mavericks.  Road game, on Sunday, in a place like Bozeman, Montana.  With so many new faces for the Bobcats, it could be difficult to scout Montana State, but the Bobcats could still be trying to figure each other out at this point.  Brian Fish is not going to be surprised by the Mavericks either, he should be pretty knowledgeable of the program and have a plan for this game.

 

 

 

2015-2016 opponent preview: Game 4 UNC Bears

Northern Colorado

2014-2015 finish: 15-15 (10-8)

RPI:  241

Last season at Omaha: Omaha won 92-82

There is nothing like a good ole fashioned battle between UNO and a former NCC member.  Actually, there are probably many things like it.  After a tough battle with Colorado in Boulder, the Mavericks will travel to Greeley, Colorado…I have never been to Greeley, but it sounds like the most boring name possible for a town.

Let me start out by saying that I dislike the University of Northern Colorado.  It really has nothing to do with athletics really, and it is entirely based on one former staff member that caused my spine to tingle in annoyance whenever I hear the school’s name.  When I worked at Weber State, there was this employee that used to work at Northern Colorado and she would always, and I mean ALWAYS, refer to the school as UNC.  Every time she said UNC, and I mean EVERY TIME, I would get flustered and ask “you went to grad school and worked at North Carolina?”  It just seemed like a set up to get me thinking every time, or like she wanted people to not ask and just assume she worked at North Carolina.  I often wondered if she was hired based on her boss assuming she went to grad school at North Carolina and not Northern Colorado.

Let me make a terrible transition here by pointing out that UNC ranked 31st in the country last season in points per game.  See, was I talking about North Carolina or Northern Colorado there?  It’s annoying, it is a shade under someone kicking the back of your seat annoying.  Anyway, I am talking about Northern Colorado.  North Carolina ranked 17th in the nation in points per game, but that has nothing to do with anything here.

It is hard to put it together that Northern Colorado had such a high scoring offense last season.  It is no offense to them, and as a completely biased fan I sit here and say “Northern Colorado, how can they be good at things?”  Then I remember how many Omaha Mavericks shirts I own over how many Nebraska Cornhuskers shirts I own.  I realize UNC Bears fans are probably saying the same thing about Omaha.  “Nebraska-Omaha, how can they be good?  It’s their first day.”

The first thing I notice when I look at the Bears’ roster is that they have no seniors.  Not a one.  That could be a good thing for the Mavericks, right?  The Bears lost 5 key players from their 2014-2015 roster.


Tevin Shihovec, 6’2 G:

13.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.8 apg, 43 FG%, 76 FT% 35 3pt%

Against the Mavericks last season:  14 pts, 3 rebs, 1 ast, 7-13 FG

Tim Huskisson, 6’5″ G: 

10.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.2 apg, 57 FG%, 72 FT%, 37 3pt%

Against the Mavericks last season: 19 pts, 2 rebs, 1 ast, 7-11 FG, 3-5 3ptFG

Dominique Lee, 6’5″ F:

10.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.2 spg, 60 FG%, 63 FT%, 41 3pt% 

Against the Mavericks last season:  19 pts, 9 rebs, 1 ast, 5-10 FG, 1-1 3ptFG, 8-11 FT

Cody McDavis, 6’8″ F:
5.9 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 47 FG%, 70 FT%

Against the Mavericks last season:  2 pts, 1 reb, 1-4 FG

Corey Spence, 5’9″ G:

4.9 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 2.1 apg, 38 FG%, 84 FT%

Against the Mavericks last season: 1 pt, 4 rebs, 4 asts, 1 steal


Note the field goal percentages from these players are all pretty high.  Northern Colorado had the 26th best field goal percentage in the country.  Also, aside from the great scoring, the Bears ranked 319th in scoring defense by allowing 73.4 points per game.  Omaha was 346th in the country, but they had one of the fastest paced offenses, so it’s cool.  I’m not biased at all.  I said shut up.

Remember how much of a drop off the Mavericks had when 5 key players left after 2013-2014.  They did not necessarily have a huge drop off in talent, but it was a struggle at times figuring out who played best on the floor with each other.  Finding that on the court chemistry appeared to be an issue for the Mavericks last season.  So who do the Bears have returning if they have zero seniors on the roster?  They have 3 key players returning.


Cameron Michael, 6’5″ G/F, JR:

12.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.3 apg, 43 FG%, 75 FT%, 39 3pt%, 66 3ptFM

Against the Mavericks last season:  4 pts, 1 reb, 1 ast, 1-6 FG

Jordan Wilson, 5’7″ G, JR:

8.8 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1 spg, 42 FG%, 85 FT%, 40 3pt%

Against the Mavericks last season: 18 pts, 4 rebs, 2 asts, 1 stl, 6-10 FG, 2-5 3ptFG, 4-4 FT

Jordan Wilson gave the Mavs fits last season. He has changed his number to 25. He likes to copy UNO's point guards, I think.
Jordan Wilson gave the Mavs fits last season. He has changed his number to 25. He likes to copy UNO’s point guards, I think.

Jeremy Verhagen, 6’10 F,  SO:

3.1 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 59 FG%, 52 FT%

Against the Mavericks last season:  6 minutes, 2 fouls


The Bears did find two junior college post players to add to their roster to make them a bigger team, and they also have a guard, Dallas Anglin, that transferred from Doc Sadler’s Southern Miss, who left last December, so I am unclear if he will be available for the games in the first semester or not.


Jamal Evans, 6’7 JuCo transfer

Sophomore season at Midland JC: 9.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg

Tanner Morgan, 6’9 JuCo transfer

Sophomore season at Casper College: 8.0 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 42 FG%


Last season against the Bears, the Mavericks were lead by their returning core of now graduated Mike Rostampour and CJ Carter, and 2015-2016 senior guards Marcus Tyus and Devin Patterson (and actually every Mav that entered the game scored).  Tyus scored 19 points, grabbed three rebounds, and he dished out six assists against the Bears.  He also shot 5-8 from the floor and was 3-3 from behind the three point line.  Patterson had 23 points, 3 rebounds, and 4 assists against the Bears last season.  Patterson was also named Summit League Player of the Week for his performance.

This season the Bears will be coming off a game at Kansas and a game at home against Division 2 Colorado Christian, and also American East Maryland at Baltimore County before the Mavericks come to town; so they could have a few things figured out by the time they take on the Mavericks.

With very little coming back and not being a great defensive team, you have to like the Mavericks’ chances with their high rolling offense in this one.  No game is a guarantee, and it is a road game for the Mavericks, but the Bears had no answer for Devin Patterson and Marcus Tyus last season.  Have they figured out a solution to them yet?  I doubt they have been formulating a game plan this entire time.  There is that damn altitude factor, Omaha was 0-2 last season in the state of Colorado last season, that was on separate trips though so maybe they can get used to it after a few days at mile high.  The Bears were 12-3 at home last season with the losses coming to: UC Davis, Montana State (ouch), and Montana.

Maverick fans will always feel like they have a shot with Devin Patterson on the roster.
Maverick fans will always feel like they have a shot with Devin Patterson on the roster.

I like these games against the Big Sky schools, they are measuring sticks for the Mavericks when it comes to playing the Summit League.  I do wish the Mavericks could schedule some of the better teams in the conference though, like a Montana or a Weber State or a Eastern Washington, to better prepare themselves possibly for the North Dakota State and South Dakota teams of the Summit League.  This is a game that the Mavericks need to win.

 

 

 

2015-2016 opponent preview, Game 3: Colorado Buffaloes

After opening up the season with 3 games at Baxter Arena, the UNO Mavericks basketball team will take a nice little trip to the state of Colorado for a Sunday match up against the Buffaloes (and then Northern Colorado on November 25th).

This could be a fun trip if any UNO fans wanted to take an adventure to the neighboring state.  Colorado is always a great time, unless you are one of those people who like to binge watch the crap out of a show like Vampire Diaries instead of getting out and living life.  You got your great breakfast and lunch restaurants, some of the best breweries in the world, tremendous hikes with beautiful views, and if you were to also make this trip you could check out the Denver Nuggets take on the Clippers and Warriors.  You can also hear stories from locals on you should try edibles, but also not try edibles because you could die doing something dumb.

The Mavericks built a bit of a reputation of being able to give bigger conference teams a little scare over the last two years, by being close in games but then losing in the final minutes when depth became an issue.  The Mavs will not be afraid to go into Boulder and compete against the Buffaloes, but Colorado could be a little scary for a team that finished with a losing record in 2014-2015.

This is going to be used for memes in the future.
This is going to be used for memes in the future.

The Buffaloes lose their leading scorer, Askia Booker, a 6’2″ guard that averaged 17.2 pointes per game, and shot 39% from the field.  With that in mind, Colorado had a Providence transfer sitting out last season.  6’5″ junior, Josh Fortune will look to make an immediate impact for the Buffaloes this season.  Fortune averaged 8.4 points per game in his sophomore season at Providence, while also shooting 35% from long range.  Fortune became a big piece for Providence, who won the Big East in his sophomore season.  In the months of February and March, he averaged 11.4 per game after being inserted into the starting line up.  Combine Fortune with what Colorado has for a front court, and you have yourself very tough piece of competition in front of you.

Josh Fortune is the type of player that gave UNO fits last year.  Doesn't Josh Fortune sound like a comic book villain name?
Josh Fortune is the type of player that gave UNO fits last year. Doesn’t Josh Fortune sound like a comic book villain name?

The Buffaloes will also see plenty of players in the post returning:

Josh Scott, 6’10” Sr: 14.5 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 1.8 bpg, 54 FG%, 75 FT% in 2014-2015

Xavier Johnson, 6’7″ Sr: 10.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 45 FG%, 65 FT%, and 37 3pt% in 2014-2015

Wesley Gordon, 6’9″ Jr: 6.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.8 bpg,  55 FG%, 67 FT%

Tre’Shaun Fletcher, 6’7″ 5.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 45 FG%, 71 FT%, and 46 3pt%


While Colorado has a lot returning in the front court, the Buffaloes will not have much of their back court returning, so (I am guessing) the Mavericks will look to utilize the speed and shooting of Devin Patterson, Marcus Tyus, Tra-Deon Hollins, and JT Gibson as much as possible in this game.  While depth has been an issue for the Mavs going up agains these bigger teams, the Mavs will have some added depth this season with so many players coming back and quality players being added to the roster.

Relying on Patterson and Tyus is not a terrible thing at all.  In 4 career games against power conference teams, Devin Patterson has averaged 18.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 4.0 apg, and 2.0 spg while shooting 47% from the floor.  In 8 games against power conference teams, Tyus has averaged 8.4 ppg and 3.3 rpg while shooting 53% from the field and 47% from three point range.  So you have to feel comfortable with those two guys going against an experienced back court, right?

These two...
These two…

As the first road game and the first game against a big school, some of the Mavericks could have some jitters as this could be the biggest stage they have ever played on.  Colorado ranked 49th in the nation last season in attendance with 9,135 fans per game.  With that on your mind, Tre’Shawn Thurman had 12 points and 7 rebounds off of 6 of 7 shooting in his first big game his freshman season at Marquette.  Marquette averaged 13,657 fans per game last season.

Also Colorado does not really have that much of a home advantage.  If you ever frequent to Colorado, you will notice that not many people even really care about the Buffaloes (in anything).  The area has many people that have migrated from somewhere else in the country, which is why downtown Denver is filled with alumni bars to go watch their teams play.  The Giggling Grizzly is a Husker and a Michigan State bar, that can be weird on some days I am sure.

One advantage that Colorado has that people love to point out is the altitude.  It can be difficult for teams who are not used to it to come in and play for a full 40 minutes, especially with the Colorado players so accustomed to the atmosphere.    Actually, Colorado was 12-5 at home last season (if you include their CBI win) and 2 of those home losses were to Colorado State and Utah, who are both used to the altitude.  The other three losses were to Oregon, Washington, and Arizona who are not bad teams at all.  So maybe Colorado does have a geographical advantage here.  So can the Mavs maintain their pace from last season in Boulder?

Colorado finished last season with an RPI of 118, with Fortune being inserted into the line up, and much of their returning core coming back, Colorado will be looking to improve on that RPI.  Colorado had a trip to the CBI tournament where they lost to Seattle.  I kind of wanted to put a question mark at the end of that sentence.

So how do we look here?  Colorado is deep in the post, very deep actually.  Aside from the players listed above, they also have Tory Miller on the roster.  Miller is a 6’9″ sophomore who only averaged a shade under 9 minutes a game last season, but he is a Kansas City native who was offered by Creighton and Nebraska…so even the guy they are not using much has some upside.  Much of this game will rely on how well Jake White and Tre’Shawn Thurman can compete with that post, but as I have said it a few times before, Devin Patterson is the Mavericks’ blood line.  If Patterson can play well, the Mavericks will play well through him (did I sound real hippy-ish there).  Do you need evidence for that?


 

Patterson vs. Marquette: 26/6/8 and the Mavs win.

Patterson vs. UMKC: 8/6/3 and the Mavs lose.


 

I know there are more to stats than that, and I wish there wasn’t more to stats than that, but I have seen Patterson tweet that he loves the big games and the big opponents.  It seems like he loves these moments, and based tweets from Tre’Shawn Thurman since he was a senior in high school, I am pretty sure he loves these moments as well.  Man, I feel like a creep now.  When you have a senior leader bringing that energy and quality of play to the point guard position, you have a shot at getting another upset against the power team.  Obviously, other Mavericks will need to step up in order to get a win against a team like Colorado on the road, but Patterson has the ability to raise their ability with his great passing.