No doubt, the CU men's basketball team isn't taking time to acclimate slowly to the 2015-16 season, opening the campaign Friday against No. 7 Iowa State in what will likely have the feel of true road game for the Buffaloes in Sioux Falls, S.D.

The same could be said of senior forward Josh Scott, who begins his final season in a CU uniform with a showdown of premier big men against the Cyclones' Georges Niang.

"I've thought about it since last spring when we found out we were playing them," Scott said. "I always enjoying playing against other good big guys. They're talented and it's going to be fun way to open the year.

"I think the best way to demonstrate how good you are is to do it against the best players. For me, it's just another opportunity to show how good I am. And for us as a team, against a really good team, it's a chance for us to show how good we are."

Niang, a 6-foot-8 senior, has landed on numerous preseason watch lists after earning first team All-Big 12 honors and third-team All-America honors a year ago.

Niang averaged 15.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per game last season, and he enters the 2015-16 campaign as the only NCAA Division I player to collect at least 1,500 points, 450 rebounds and 300 assists in his career.


A big man who can capably step outside — Niang shot 40 percent (46 for 115) from 3-point range last year — the Cyclones' top threat will be a headache for more CU players than just Scott. Expect Wesley Gordon and perhaps a cast of others to take shifts attempting to slow Niang.

"I'm not even sure how we're going to match up with him," CU coach Tad Boyle said. "Iowa State is an interesting team. They have a new coach, and I don't know if they'll have a new system or not. So I don't know if Josh will be on him or Wes will be on him. But somebody will be on him. We're going to know where he is. We have to."

While Scott can make an immediate statement that he is ready for a monster season after last year's injury-plagued affair, the same can be said for the Buffs as a whole.

Rarely have the Buffs opened a season with such a high-caliber opponent, and a national TV audience will give the program a huge early platform. While Scott is doing battle with Niang down low on Friday afternoon, a strong performance from the team will simultaneously allow CU to battle the perception of being an overlooked team.

"I think any opportunity is a big deal, whether they're ranked or not," Scott said. "Every matchup matters. For us, looking at Iowa State as our first matchup of the year, we're really excited to get after it. They're a great team and we're hoping we can come out of there with a W."

Pat Rooney: or