Rust could be a major problem for both teams when Colorado plays host to Washington State in a Pac-12 game on Thursday night.
In what has been a familiar refrain all over college basketball the past several weeks, both teams will be coming off COVID pauses. The Buffaloes (9-3, 1-1) have not played since defeating Cal State Bakersfield 60-46 on Dec. 18.
The Cougars (8-5, 1-1) have not played since a 58-52 loss to Boise State in Spokane, Wash., on Dec. 22.
Colorado had a game against Kansas canceled and games at Oregon State and Oregon postponed. In fact, the game against the Ducks was postponed twice, first on Dec. 30 because of Colorado’s COVID issues and then because of Oregon’s issues after the Buffaloes had arrived there Monday for a rescheduled contest. Colorado coach Tad Boyle got the bad news from Oregon coach Dana Altman.
“When you get a call these days from the opposing coach on game day, it’s not good news,” Boyle said. He said the team stayed for a while in Eugene, Ore., and got in a practice session on Oregon’s court before heading home.
As for Washington State, Boyle said, “They can shoot the ball. They can drive the ball. They can score the ball and they’re good defensively.”
Washington State coach Kyle Smith indicated his team might be short one player, as of Tuesday, but declined to identify that player. He mentioned a problem that many coaches have talked about during virus shutdowns. With limited numbers of players available, it makes holding full practices difficult.
Washington State’s Dec. 29 home game vs. rival Washington was postponed because of the Cougars’ COVID issues.
“We’ve got some guys who have had only one or two practices since Dec. 22,” Smith said. “You really can’t add new stuff or work on stuff (such as) late-game situations and defensive stops.”
Boyle mentioned South Alabama transfer Michael Flowers (13.3 points, 40.4 percent from 3-point range) as a key to the Cougars’ offense. Colorado’s Jabari Walker (13.3 points, 8.1 rebounds) has double-double potential.
–Field Level Media