South Dakota State vs Colorado Preview

South Dakota State vs Colorado

The Colorado Buffaloes will host the South Dakota State Jackrabbits at the Coors Event Center in Boulder, Colorado tonight–this game features potential tournament teams and NBA players. The main NBA player on the floor tonight, will not be wearing a Colorado uniform.

Of course, we are talking about Mike Daum, the SDSU forward who could have entered the NBA Draft last season, but decided to return to school. MFST has covered Daum a lot during his tenure with the Jackrabbits, naming him to our pre-season All Mid-Major Team.

Colorado head coach Tad Boyle knows all too well about Daum as well. After watching film on the 6’9 junior he came away thoroughly impressed…

“I’m not an NBA scout. I’m not an NBA GM. But he’s an NBA player from what I’ve seen,” Boyle said. “Everybody I’ve talked to who’s coached against him or played against him has said the same thing. He’s got such feel for the game, such knowledge of the game. He’s got great pace to himself. He can shoot the ball with range. And he’s 6-10, so it’s really hard to block his shot.

“He’s a hell of a player. I don’t know any other way to put it. I’ve got great respect for him.”

Daum has averaged 20 points per game for the 9-4 Jackrabbits, topping the 20-point mark seven times. He has posted four double-doubles early this season and is shooting 44 percent from the field.

However, against some of South Dakota State’s more marquee opponents Daum has proven mortal. At the Cayman Islands Classic in a win against Iowa — a team CU faces next week in its nonconference finale — Daum went 4-for-11 and matched a season-low with 10 points. In loss to Wyoming at that same tournament also scored just 10 points with a 2-for-10 mark.

Then again, maybe Daum simply struggled adjusting to the Grand Caymans air. South Dakota State led a No. 6-ranked Wichita State team 50-42 at halftime on the road and Daum was critical in the upset bid, going 7-for-12 on 3-pointers and 6-for-6 at the free throw line in a 31-point, six-rebound performance.

“He’s going to test our principles,” said CU forward Dallas Walton, one of several players who will be tasked with slowing Daum. “It’s not often that we go against a big that has a shot like him, that has movement like him. It’s going to test our help defense. It’s going to test our principles, making sure we’re jumping to the ball with high hands on close-outs.”

For the Buffs, Boyle admitted he hasn’t seen the growth he had been hoping to see out of his young club in the three weeks since returning to Colorado as the champions of the Paradise Jam, where CU won three games in three days. With only two games remaining before the start of Pac-12 Conference play and final exams looming next week, the Buffs are eager to reverse that trend.

Coming off an embarrassing loss to San Diego 69-59, the Buffs shot a terrible 25.9 percent from the floor and only mustered 3-of-18 three-pointers (16 percent). Playing any team and shooting like that will often result in a loss and the Buffs know that.

If the Buffs are going to pull out a victory over a difficult SDSU squad, senior George King will need to step up. King was 4-for-16 from the floor against San Diego and missed all five of his three-point attempts in the loss. Not a single Buff who took at least five shots made 50 percent of their attempts.

You could say it was San Diego’s defense that gave Colorado fits, or an off shooting night, or a combination of both–either way, better shooting will be needed tonight.

Prediction

I haven’t liked the way the Buffs have looked as a unit since their Paradise Jam tournament victory and I don’t see anyone down low who can handle Mike Daum. Currently, the Buffs are two point favorites but I like SDSU to win outright, as much as it pains me to say as a CU fan.

South Dakota State 81 Colorado 77

 

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