Colorado (2-0) at (16) Baylor (3-0)
Friday, November 16, 12:30 p.m. (ET)
The Sports Network
By Lucas Gulotta, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: TD Arena (5,100) -- Charleston, South Carolina. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Colorado 1-0, Baylor 2-0. Away Record: Colorado 0-0, Baylor 0-0. Neutral Record: Colorado 1-0, Baylor 1-0. Conference Record: Colorado 0-0, Baylor 0-0. Series Record: Colorado leads, 15-10.
GAME NOTES: The Colorado Buffaloes get a chance to avenge last season's NCAA Tournament loss when they take on the Baylor Bears on Friday afternoon at TD Arena in the second round of the Charleston Classic.
The Charleston Classic is an eight-team tournament hosted by the College of Charleston. The team that comes out on top in this one will advance to the semifinals for a Saturday clash with the winner of the St. John's/Murray State matchup.
Colorado improved to 2-0 by earning a 67-57 decision over Dayton in Thursday's opening round. The Buffaloes used their athleticism to force turnovers and score easy transition points to go on a 16-2 run in the second half to push past the Flyers. Colorado got off to a slow start, making good on only 34.5 percent of its first-half field goal attempts, but the team made 13-of-22 shots from the floor (.591) to overcome a four-point halftime deficit. The Buffaloes defeated Wofford by 15 points in their only other outing in here in 2012-13.
The Bears skipped a rebuilding era despite losing three players to the NBA from last season's 30-8 squad. Baylor has been tremendous early on this season, as the team took down the C.J. McCollum-led Lehigh Mountain Hawks, 99-77, in their season opener before handling Jackson State by a score of 78-47. BU overcame a two-point halftime deficit to defeat Boston College, 84-74, in the opening round of this tourney. Coach Scott Drew's team has averaged 18 assists, made 55.7 percent of its field goal attempts, and outboarded its opponents by an average of 10.7 rebounds per game over the span of its first three games.
These schools met in the third round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament, and Baylor advanced with an 80-63 win, which was fueled by current shooting guard Brady Heslip's nine made three-pointers.
Colorado still owns a 15-10 series advantage over its former Big 12 Conference rival.
The Buffaloes have managed to win their first two games despite a slow start by star forward Andre Roberson. The junior averaged a double-double with 11.6 points and 11.1 rebounds per game last season, which he ended with a few outstanding postseason performances. He has only produced seven points per game this season, but he regained his rebounding prowess to collect 14 boards on Thursday. Colorado has not missed a beat however, as point guard Askia Booker is doing a tremendous job steering the ship. Booker was a human highlight reel on his way to a team-high 16 points, four assists and four rebounds versus Dayton. Xavier Johnson provided 15 points off the bench before fouling out.
Despite almost always being the smallest player on the court and having the smooth Perry Jones III and high-flying Quincy Acy on his team last season, Pierre Jackson was the motor in Baylor's highly successful 2011-12 team. The lightning-quick point guard is not going to fly under anyone's radar this season with averages of 23.5 points, 8.3 assists, and 2.3 steals per contest. Jackson stole the show in Thursday's win over BC by logging 31 points and seven assists.
Baylor swept the Big 12's first edition of weekly honors as Cory Jefferson earned the Player of the Week award and Isaiah Austin was deemed the Rookie of the Week. Jefferson was a key reserve on last year's team, but he opened the season with a combined 40 point and 20 rebounds in the first two games. Jefferson cooled off for a three-point outing versus BC on Thursday. Austin is one of the top freshman centers in the nation, and he has scored in double figures in all three games. Heslip was deadly during last year's NCAA Tournament run, but he is off to a slow start with makes on only 4-of-17 attempts from beyond the arc.
Both these teams are clearly gearing up for a return to the Big Dance. Jackson will need to deliver another astounding performance with Austin injured to keep his squad undefeated. Booker is a steady floor general and could make a name for himself with a strong performance versus Jackson.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Baylor 78, Colorado 74
11/16 10:28:42 ET