Coming into the season, the biggest question mark surrounding the Colorado men's basketball team was whether they could find a way to make up for the 11 rebounds per game that Andre Roberson took with him to the NBA.
With the non-conference portion of the schedule now complete, the No. 21 Buffaloes (11-2) can confidently answer that question with a "yes."
"We rebound the ball very well as a team," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "Josh Scott has upped his game, Wesley Gordon has come in and done what we thought he was capable of, Xavier Johnson rebounds the ball.
"As a team, rebounding is one of our strengths right now."
That's not a big surprise to Scott, the Buffs' 6-foot-10, 245-pound sophomore forward. He is averaging a team-best 9.2 rebounds, up from the 5.7 average he posted a year ago.
"I know me, personally, and a lot of our other guys, we kind of get tired of hearing about how Andre Roberson was the rebounding at Colorado last year," Scott said. "He's an excellent rebounder, but we've all tried to pick it up. Having Wesley Gordon in there to plug into Dre's spot is not shabby.
"I think we were just kind of challenged and I think we've been more than accomplishing that."
CU's rebounding is one of several areas of strength for the Buffs as they look ahead to the start of Pac-12 Conference play, on Thursday against Oregon State.
The Buffs are disappointed in losses to Baylor and Oklahoma State, but take an overall sense of confidence into the Pac-12.
"For the most part we accomplished what we wanted to," Scott said. "We wanted to be 13-0, but we didn't lose at home and we did good on the road."
Junior guard Spencer Dinwiddie pointed out that the Buffs went 2-2 in their four biggest tests -- against Baylor, Oklahoma State, Harvard and Kansas. They would have liked to have won at least one of the two games they lost, but "I think if you look at it overall, it's been a very successful non-conference."
Aside from rebounding, the Buffs are pleased with how they've come together as a team to this point.
"I think we have a cohesiveness right now that is pretty cool for it being this early," Scott said.
Dinwiddie agreed, saying, "That's probably the best part of our team right now.
"We have a little bit clearer role definition, so that always helps. (The players) know what they're expected to do and they go out and do it and that makes you a better team."
Offensively, the Buffs continue to improve. Saturday against Georgia, an 84-70 win, was one of CU's best offensive outings of the season.
"I think our potential on offense is better than I thought it would be," said Dinwiddie, who is averaging a team-best 15.8 points. "Jaron Hopkins is shooting much better from the 3-point line than I thought he would, and I think (Tre'Shaun Fletcher) and (Xavier) Talton have proven to be reliable scorers off the bench.
"We haven't always shown it, but our potential for offense is a little bit better than what I thought."
Perhaps the best news for the Buffs going forward is that, as well as they've played, there's so much room for improvement.
CU has yet to play a great 40-minute game, and the defense hasn't been as consistently sharp as the Buffs would like.
"The buy in and the identity (on defense) sometimes of our players, it's not there and it needs to be," Boyle said. "We have a short period of time to get that there."
So far, though, the Buffs have proven that they can rise to a challenge and accomplish good things. After a successful non-conference season, they'll now try to keep the momentum going in conference play.
"I like this team," Boyle said. "The upside continues to be there. If we put a game together where we guard the way we want to guard and we execute offensively the way we did (Saturday against Georgia), those are going to be the fun nights."