The goal of the trip wasn't to go 4-0. For Colorado men's basketball coach Tad Boyle, the purpose of his team's four-game jaunt through Italy was to get an early look at various player combinations on a squad assimilating eight players into the mix that weren't on the active roster a year ago.
Still, going 3-1, as the Buffs did, is far better than limping home after getting repeatedly routed. And no doubt, facing quality competition so early will be a boost to CU's wealth of newcomers.
Having watched only a small smattering of highlights, and without having yet spoken to Boyle about the experience, here is a strictly statistical analysis of CU's four-game Italy sojourn.
The Buffs shot decently overall, finishing with a .411 field goal percentage, but struggled from 3-point range (.281) and at the free throw line (.690). Defensively the Buffs were solid, limiting opponents to a .355 field goal percentage, and they outrebounded all four foes by an average of 10.3 per game.
One alarming number was that the Buffs posted only 51 assists (12.8 per game) against 72 turnovers (18 per game).
While Boyle certainly won't commit to a starting lineup in August, it is worth noting George King and freshman point guard McKinley Wright were the only players who started all four games. Tory Miller-Stewart started three, but no other CU player started more than two.
Two of the new faces were out of action, as freshmen Evan Battey and Serbian guard Lazar Nikolic did not play. Battey presumably was out due to an ankle injury he suffered just before the trip, while Nikolic remains in NCAA clearinghouse limbo.
A glance at a few of the individual numbers for CU's key players.
George King: CU's top returning scorer and rebounder set the pace in those departments in Italy, averaging 13.8 points and 7.3 rebounds. He shot a reasonable .417 from the field and 7-for-20 from 3-point range but was only 8-for-14 at the free throw line. King posted CU's top individual scoring performance (22 points), top rebounding effort (two games with 10), and led the Buffs in steals (nine).
Tory Miller-Stewart: Averaged 5.3 points and 5.5 rebounds while playing an average of 18 minutes a game. CU's most experienced post player went 8-for-17 from the floor and 5-for-7 at the free throw line.
Dom Collier: Even through his ups-and-downs, CU's senior guard generally can be counted on for his solid outside shooting. That touch evidently didn't get through customs, as Collier missed all nine of his 3-point attempts while going 6-for-30 overall. Collier recorded more turnovers (11) than assists (10) while averaging 20 minutes.
Namon Wright: In his first significant action with the Buffs, the Missouri transfer averaged 10.3 points and 4.3 rebounds. Wright shot .484 overall (15-for-31) and made 5 of 10 3-pointers.
Lucas Siewert: Challenged to be a more meaningful force inside, Siewert responded by averaging six rebounds, nearly posting a double-double in one game with 10 points and nine rebounds. However he also struggled with his shot, going 2-for-10 on 3-pointers and shooting .280 overall (7-for-25).
Deleon Brown: Held true to his script by doing a lot of little things well without necessarily dominating. Despite going 0-for-5 on 3-pointers, Brown still shot .524 overall (11-for-21, or 11-for-16 on two-pointers). Brown was one of the few CU players solid at the free throw line (6-for-8) but he also had twice as many turnovers (six) as assists (three).
Dallas Walton: The 7-footer apparently was solid across the board, averaging 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds while playing 14.3 minutes per game. Walton went 7-for-16 from the floor and recorded four blocked shots, though three of them occurred in one game.
McKinley Wright: Boyle seems confident in turning the offense over the freshman point guard, who logged a team-high average of 25.8 minutes per game. Wright seemingly displayed solid shot selection — he went 19-for-34 overall with just three 3-point attempts — and averaged 11.3 points. Wright's next challenge will be to reverse his turnover total (16) with his assist total (13).
Tyler Bey: If defense and rebounding are the areas where the freshman wing can contribute immediately, he came through in Italy with eight steals, four blocked shots, and 6.8 rebounds per game. He went 7-for-21 from the field and 7-for-10 at the free throw line.
D'Shawn Schwartz: The sharpshooter from Colorado Springs went 4-for-6 in the first two games but struggled to a 2-for-10 mark in the final two. Five steals and only one turnover in a total of 60 minutes was an encouraging sign.