FROM BOULDER, CO. — The Colorado Buffaloes finished tied for 10th in the preseason Pac-12 media poll with Washington State. But two games into the conference season, they've registered wins of 40 and 18 points, and are playing as well as anyone in the Pac-12. For some insight into Colorado's season, we turn to Ryan Thorburn of the Daily Camera in Boulder to answer a few questions.
Our questions to Ryan — and his answers — are posted below. Here's Colorado's team stats page over at ESPN, as well as Ryan's recap of their big win over Washington on Thursday. You can follow him on Twitter: @RyanThorburn.
On to the questions …
1. Colorado was a bit of an unknown entering the conference season. But they seem to have everyone’s attention after winning five straight, including a blowout over Washington. What’s been the key to this recent surge?
Thorburn: “Freshmen guards Spencer Dinwiddie and Askia Booker have played more aggressively and understand their roles on the team this season. Andre Roberson has responded to a bad game at Colorado State by consistently playing like an all-conference player and team leader. And the bench is starting to make the type of contributions Tad Boyle was counting on.”
2. Andre Roberson has been a monster on the glass this year – and some consider him a guard. How would you describe his game?
Thorburn: “I see Roberson as a forward, but his offensive game and shooting range have improved from last season. I would describe his game as Worm-like. The skinny, 6-7 sophomore has a knack for getting to the ball on the offensive or defensive glass like Dennis Rodman used to do.”
3. With the Pac-12 as down as it is this year, is there a feeling in Boulder that Colorado could contend for the conference title?
Thorburn: “I don't think anyone knew what to expect from the 2011-12 Buffs entering the new conference due to the loss of Alec Burks to the NBA and a great senior class that included CU's all-time lead scorer (Cory Higgins, now with the Charlotte Bobcats). This transitioning roster would struggle on the road in the Big 12, but I think coaches, players and fans are starting to see an opportunity for CU, and about six or seven other teams, to contend for the Pac-12 title.”
4. Jaws dropped upon seeing that Colorado-Utah score last week. How were the Buffs able to jump on Utah like they did, and does Utah’s win over WSU give CU confidence they can do the same to the Cougs?
Thorburn: “The Buffs played well but the Utes played like a team vying for “Worst team ever from a BCS conference.” CU's players and coaches, for the most part, were very surprised when they saw that Utah had defeated Washington State. Boyle will do his best to prevent overconfidence on Saturday, which was an issue on a couple of occasions against lesser non-conference opponents.”
5. Is Colorado overachieving right now? Or are they maybe a little better than most gave them credit for before the season?
Thorburn: “CU was picked 10th (tied with Washington State) in the Pac-12 preseason media poll. I voted the Buffs seventh because there is some real talent on the roster and they have a great home-court advantage (27-3 at Coors under Boyle). Based on the conference's weak performance in November and December, I think CU will finish in the upper half of the standings.”