Colorado Set To Battle Big CSU Team

Ricardo Patton

Colorado hosts in-state rival Colorado State at the Coors Events Center Saturday night (7 p.m. tip). Inside, notes from Friday's basketball practice.

Head coach Ricardo Patton pulled out some old school tactics this week with his team off to a 3-5 start. CU players were up before the sun and practicing at 6 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday, then back in the afternoon for a second session each day. Friday, the team had just the one afternoon practice.

"You know, the first day you have some complaints getting up to get to practice at 6 and then coming back at 3:30," sophomore forward Jermyl Jackson-Wilson said Friday. "But I think it'll really help us with this game against Colorado State, mentally and physically. We got some rest today."

Jackson-Wilson was slowed some during Monday's home loss to Pepperdine. Suffering from what JJW said "some kind of bug," he had to leave the court in the first half and received IV treatment through the halftime break before returning to the game. He still pulled down seven boards in the game and leads CU with 8.1 rebounds a game. He said he's feeling back to normal now.

Jackson-Wilson and his teammates will have their hands full on the boards Saturday. CSU (6-2) leads its opponents in rebounding 35-31 this season. The Rams feature two 7-footers in their starting lineup — juniors Stuart Creason and Jason Smith. Smith, from Kersey, Colo., is on the preseason watch list for the John Wooden Award and averages 17.8 points and 9.5 rebounds a game.

"Our guards have to help rebound," Patton said. "We can't rely on just our big post guys to rebound for us. Defensively you've just got to not let them bury you in the paint.

Creason and Smith have combined for 27 blocks in eight games, as well.

"When you get around their guards, they've got two 7-footers back there who erase mistakes their guards might make on defense," Patton said.

• The Buffs are 7-4 vs. Colorado State under Patton. He said, however, ""Each year we play this game, you can throw statistics out the window."

Last year's game in Ft. Collins came down to the final possession. When CU failed to convert in the final 10 seconds, the Rams won 83-82.

In Boulder, though, Colorado has dominated the series, winning 51 of 57 games. The last time CSU won in Boulder was 1957.

• After the loss to Pepperdine, Patton said he wanted his players to work harder at getting the ball into the paint to CU's post players. Jackson-Wilson said ball movement has been a point of emphasis in practice this week.

"We've been working on sharing the ball equally," he said. "These past few practices, we've been moving the ball and getting open shots and lay-ups."

• This will be the fifth MWC team the Buffs have played this season. CU is 1-3 vs. MWC teams so far. It'll be the third Big 12 club the Rams have played. CSU lost in double overtime to Baylor on a neutral court, and beat Kansas State in Ft. Collins.

• A man named Miguel Rodriguez is attempting to be the first person to watch hoops in all 337 Division I college basketball arenas in 107 days. He's scheduled to be at Saturday night's CU-CSU game. Here's a link to Rodriguez's blog. Fun site for a college hoops junkie…

Ultimate Hoops Challenge

Probable Starters
Colorado
Dominique Coleman, G, 6-3, Sr., 11.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.5 apg
Xavier Silas, G, 6-5, Fr., 10.8, 3.1, 1.6
Richard Roby, G, 6-6, Jr., 18.1, 6.1, 2.0
Jermyl Jackson-Wilson, F, 6-6, So., 8.5, 8.1, 2.1
Jeremy Williams, F, 6-7, Fr., 6.3, 4.6, 0.8

Colorado State
Cory Lewis, G, 6-0, Sr., 9.9, 4.3, 4.1
Tyler Smith, G, 6-3, Jr., 14.3, 2.9, 2.4
Tim Denson, G, 6-1, Jr., 7.5, 1.6, 1.6
Jason Smith, F, 7-0, Jr., 17.8, 9.5, 1.8
Stuart Creason, C, 7-0, Jr., 9.5, 5.9, 1.6

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