With Andre Roberson now in the NBA, the Colorado men's basketball team knew that it would have to come up with different ways to get rebounds.
So far, the Buffaloes have done that.
Through the first seven games, the Buffs (6-1) are out-rebounding their opponents by an average of 10.3 boards per game. It's a small sample size, but that's actually better than last year (plus-3.3 per game) when Roberson finished as the second-leading rebounder in the country.
"We knew with Andre being out, that was a challenge for this team," head coach Tad Boyle said. "I think our guys have risen to that challenge.
"It speaks to our athleticism. We knew that Wesley (Gordon) coming into our lineup and moving Xavier Johnson to the three, and then with Josh (Scott) being in there, it gives us three really quality rebounders."
Scott is leading the way, with 8.3 rebounds per game -- a significant increase from the 5.7 average he posted last year as a freshman. Gordon, meanwhile, has come in as a redshirt freshman and given the Buffs 6.6 boards per game.
"Wesley has been more than a pleasant surprise on the glass," junior guard Spencer Dinwiddie said. "He's made up for a lot of what Dre did. Then, Josh has had maturation in that area. We're still a good rebounding team."
In addition to the big guys, Dinwiddie has increased his rebounding from 3.2 per game last year to 4.4 this year. The Buffs have also received nice contributions from true freshmen Tre'Shaun Fletcher, Jaron Hopkins, George King and Dustin Thomas. That group is getting 9.4 boards per game.
While the rebounding effort hasn't been perfect, it has been encouraging.
"What I look at when we watch the film is, how many times do we miss box-outs on the defensive end and how many times should we be going to the boards offensively that we're not," Boyle said.
"I want our guys to be very selfish rebounders. Rebounding wise, we could be very, very good."
The next several games will test the Buffs on the glass. In the next few weeks, the Buffs will face Colorado State, which was among the nation's top rebounding teams a year ago, as well as No. 2 Kansas and No. 5 Oklahoma State.
"Even though the numbers right now are pretty good, the competition is going to get tougher," Boyle said.
He would like to see the Buffs get tougher on the offensive glass. Boyle said he is pleased with how the Buffs rebound on defense, but they need to improve on offense.
"On a scale of one to 10, I'd say we do a six," Boyle said. "I look at (coach) Larry Eustachy at Colorado State; on a scale of one to 10, he does a 10. Their team is the most relentless rebounding team."
Getting a breather
The Buffs played their first seven games in 17 days, with never more than two days between games. After beating Harvard, 70-62 on Sunday, the Buffs finally got to rest a bit.
They are in the midst of a five-day break before going to Air Force on Saturday.
"The timing has actually been great," Dinwiddie said. "I literally took Monday and slept for like 11-12 hours. That was a great day."
Dinwiddie and Boyle both believe this week will give the Buffs a chance to get better.
"I'm glad to have (the slower week) and I'm glad to have it at a time when they are not in class," Boyle said. "They can rest and get their minds and bodies in the right frame of mind for this next push through finals and this next stretch of our schedule, which is going to be much tougher. It comes at the right time."
Boyle said the Buffs would much rather be 7-0 at this point, but he didn't ignore the positive aspect of their record.
"The good news is, we're 6-1 and we still have a lot of room for improvement," he said. "The ceiling for this team is still pretty high. That excites us.
"The challenge is that the schedule gets tougher and there are rough roads ahead."
CU is tied for second in the Pac-12 in free throw percentage (73.9). ... The Buffs are fourth in rebounding margin. ... Saturday's game at Air Force is slated for a 2 p.m. tip.