CU men's basketball preview: Nebraska-Omaha
MATCHUP: Nebraska-Omaha (2-1) at Colorado Buffaloes (2-1).
GAME TIME: Sunday, noon, Coors Events Center.
BROADCAST: Radio — 760 AM. T — Pac-12 Networks.
COACHES: Nebraska-Omaha: Derrin Hansen, 11th season (163-139 at UNO and overall); Colorado: Tad Boyle, sixth year (102-69; 166-135 overall).
LEADERS: Nebraska-Omaha -- Scoring: F Tre'Shawn Thurman, So., 14.3 ppg; Rebounding: Thurman, 7.7 rpg; Assists: G Tra-Deon Hollins, Jr., 4.3 apg. Colorado -- Scoring: F George King, So., 19.7 ppg; Rebounding: F Josh Scott, Sr., 8.3 rpg; Assists: G Xavier Talton, Sr., 3.3 apg.
NOTABLE: UNO has played all three of its games at home, opening the season with a loss against UC-Santa Barbara before posting wins against St. Mary's (Minn.) and Missouri-Kansas City ... CU's Josh Fortune enjoyed a breakout game in Friday's win against Portland, recording 17 points, 14 rebounds and six assists ... The Buffs' homestand continues Wednesday against Air Force.
After a monster effort off the bench Friday night, Tre'Shaun Fletcher will be in Colorado's starting lineup today.
But don't call it a promotion.
George King has led the Buffs in scoring the past two games — both wins — but he'll come off the bench against Nebraska-Omaha (noon, Coors Events Center).
But don't call it a demotion.
Josh Fortune, who registered 17 points, 14 rebounds and six assists in the Buffs' home-opening rout of Portland, isn't going anywhere. Well, until Air Force comes to town on Wednesday. Then it will be his turn to come off the bench for coach Tad Boyle.
"Coach said we have three starters — Tre', myself and Josh Fortune — and we have two spots," King said. "He pulled us all aside (Thursday) and said we're going to rotate."
The trio of wing-based guards combined for 52 points Friday night and has given the Buffs much-needed scoring clout after the graduation of leading point-producer Askia Booker and the indefinite Achilles injury to Xavier Johnson.
"George, Josh and Tre'Shaun create a three-headed monster out there on the wing for us," Boyle said. "We're going to need all three of those guys to play well for us."
For now, Boyle will operate strictly on a rotational basis with the three. King sits, then Fortune, then Fletcher. That could be adjusted down the road based on matchups or if one is exceedingly hot or struggling, but the plan is in place for now.
"It's not about who starts since they're all going to play in the rotation for us," Boyle said. "The minutes will only be affected by how they play on a night-to-night basis."
Buffaloes fans are only recently becoming acquainted with Fortune, who practiced with the Buffs last year during his NCAA-mandated transfer year. He played his first two seasons at Providence, where he averaged 7.0 points and scored a career-high 24 against St. John's as a sophomore.
Sitting out a year — and spending much time with King, who did the same — left him energized and refocused.
"It was kind of a long, tough year," Fortune said. "We both stayed in the gym and tried to get better and help our teammates get better. ... The game slowed down a lot, watching other teams and how they like to do things. I got some techniques from certain players and things like that. It was a good learning experience."
If the trio has any dislike for the rotation, they aren't saying so.
"It's a battle and competition, but I know me, George and Fortune won't let this affect each other," Fletcher said. "We all want each other to do good. We just want to go out there and play hard."