When the college basketball season tipped off nearly two months ago, Colorado coach Tad Boyle hoped his team could somehow navigate the non-conference portion of the schedule undefeated.
The fact that Boyle was bold enough to consider it even an option says a lot about where he thinks his program is in terms of talent because Boyle was simultaneously describing his team as inexperienced and his schedule as extremely difficult.
Boyle says at the beginning of the season there were other win-loss totals he thought he could stomach at the end of non-conference play, but he wasn't willing to share them Friday. Yet, he did offer a rather large clue as he prepared for the final non-conference game of the regular season at home against Georgia on Saturday (8:06 p.m., Pac-12 Network).
With his team sitting at No. 21 in the Associated Press poll with a 10-2 record and hosting a 6-4 Georgia team with no impressive wins on its resume and a few ugly losses, Boyle is clearly eyeing a victory in this one.
"If we get through this game and we're 10-3, we'll be extremely disappointed," he said.
Boyle said his team went through several good practices after Christmas and he expects to go into the Georgia game with no significant injuries to report. He believes his team is in a good place mentally and physically but he isn't ready to label the non-conference portion of this season a success without a victory over the Bulldogs.
There are two items at the top of Boyle's agenda that he plans to address and hopes to see improvement from his team in Saturday's game and when Pac-12 play begins next week.
Boyle said the Buffs have a goal of allowing no more than seven transition baskets per game and they haven't met the goal even once this season. He said transition defense was costly in a loss to Oklahoma State in Las Vegas just before Christmas that ended CU's 10-game winning streak.
The Buffs allowed 14 baskets in transition in that game. If it doesn't get fixed soon, it could be much more costly for his program, Boyle said.
The other major area Boyle would like to see his team improved in going into Pac-12 action is playing with more poise and maturity on the road. He wants to see the Buffs who show up for games in Boulder to have the same look about them in Tucson, Ariz., Seattle or Los Angeles.
"Every coach wants his team to play better on the road," Boyle said. "I think we really are at a point where we have to do that to take another step and get better."
The Buffs can take another step toward achieving one of their preseason goals with a win over the Bulldogs. CU would like to go undefeated at home this season. They're 8-0 at the Coors Events Center this far and 52-7 at home under Boyle.
They will have to handle a deep Georgia roster led by 6-foot-5 guard Charles Mann, who is averaging 13 points and three assists a game. Boyle said the scouting report for the Bulldogs was 11 players deep because coach Mark Fox is playing so many players in his rotation.
Boyle said when he sets up non-conference games, he targets teams that can help his team get better and help his team's resume once March arrives.
"This is a game that offers us an opportunity to achieve both of those things," Boyle said.
TODAY: The No. 21 Colorado Buffaloes (10-2) host the Georgia Bulldogs (6-4) in an 8 p.m. game at Coors Events Center in Boulder.
BROADCAST: Radio -- KOA (850 AM), with Mark Johnson on play-by-play and Scott Wilke providing color commentary. TV -- Pac-12 Network, with Jason Knapp and Dan Belluomini on the call.
STORYLINES: This is CU's first game since a 78-73 loss to Oklahoma State in Las Vegas on Dec. 21. The loss snapped a 10-game win streak and dropped CU from No. 20 to No. 21 in the Associated Press poll. The Buffs stayed at No.24 in the USA Today Coaches' poll. ... This is the first time since 1997 that CU has been ranked in three consecutive weeks. ... Georgia has won five in a row, most recently a 65-63 win over Western Carolina on Dec. 21. ... The Bulldogs are 0-3 away from home this season. Dating back to last year, they've lost eight in a row away from home. ... CU is off to its best 12-game start since a 10-2 start in 2005-06. ... The Buffs are 8-0 at home this season and 52-7 at home under coach Tad Boyle. ... CU is 8-1 this season when out-rebounding the opposition, and 62-11 under Boyle when holding advantage on the glass. ... At home this season, the Buffs have connected on 48.2 percent of their shots, while holding the opposition to 41.7 percent. ... CU is 7-0 when leading at the half. ... Going into Friday, CU was No. 9 on the RPI rankings, while Georgia was No. 292.
KEY STAT: This season, CU has won its eight home games by an average of 14.2 points -- 80.2 to 66.0.
COACHES: Tad Boyle is 79-40 in his fourth season at CU and 135-106 for his career. Mark Fox is 71-67 in his fifth season at Georgia and 194-110 for his career.
PROBABLE STARTERS: Colorado -- G Spencer Dinwiddie, 6-6, Jr. (15.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.9 apg); G Askia Booker, 6-2, Jr. (12.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.8 apg); F Wesley Gordon, 6-9, Fr. (7.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg), 1.3 bpg); F Xavier Johnson, 6-7, So. (9.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg); F Josh Scott, 6-10, So. (13.0 ppg, 8.9 rpg). Georgia -- G Kenny Gaines, 6-3, So. (11.8 ppg, 2.4 rpg); G Charles Mann, 6-5, So. (13.4 ppg, 2.8 apg); G Juwan Parker, 6-4, Fr. (5.0 ppg, 4.3. rpg); F Donte Williams, 6-9, Sr. (7.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg); F Marcus Thornton, 6-8, Jr. (6.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg).
SERIES: Georgia leads the series, 6-2, with the teams knotted at 2-2 in games played in Boulder. CU won the most recent meeting, 70-78, on Nov. 28, 2011, in Boulder.
UP NEXT: CU will open Pac-12 Conference play by hosting Oregon State on Jan. 2.