The 2017-18 season began in demanding fashion for the Colorado men's basketball team. Now the Buffaloes are taking advantage of an opportunity to regroup.
After traveling back to Colorado Monday following their title-winning effort at the Paradise Jam over the weekend, the Buffaloes practiced Tuesday but will enjoy two days off before reconvening Friday to begin preparations for Sunday's home game against Air Force.
CU played its first five games over 10 days, improving to 5-0 with Sunday's win against Mercer in the Paradise Jam finale. But while the competition gets more difficult in the coming weeks, it does so at a far more deliberate pace. The Buffs get a full week off before taking on the Falcons, and after that game they play their next three games over the course of 13 days — culminating in their biggest nonconference challenge of the year at No. 15 Xavier on Dec. 9.
"I was looking at some other teams' schedules, and some have played only twice or three times," junior guard Namon Wright said. "The way our schedule worked we played early, now we get two games in two weeks or something like that. I think it's good for us to come back and lock in on practice and get better at the things that we need to get better at."
Head coach Tad Boyle said he believed this is the first time during his tenure his club has taken two days off around Thanksgiving, but the long lull between games following the season's opening salvo provides an opportunity for the Buffs to get healthy and refocus.
"This is a long season," Boyle said. "As a coach, you want that extra day of practice. But in the long run I think getting these guys...traveling wasn't easy coming back from Lynchburg. We ran went up and down pretty good (Tuesday). They deserve it and I want them to enjoy Thanksgiving and come back. This stretch, the way the schedule works it makes sense I think to give them two days. I do think we can use it."
Boyle described the status of Lucas Siewert as doubtful for Sunday's home date against Air Force but remained uncertain how long the sophomore forward might be sidelined. Siewert suffered a sprained ankle in the second half of Saturday's win against Drake and remained sidelined against Mercer on Sunday.
"No feel. It's still a little early," Boyle said. "I'm hoping to get him back for Colorado State (on Dec. 2) but I haven't even talked to (trainer) Rawley (Klingsmith) about that. We'll get a feeling in the next few days."
Arizona State senior guard Tra Holder was named the Pac-12 Conference Player of the Week after averaging 23.7 points in three games. Holder capped his big week by going 13-for-15 with 35 points in a win against UC Irvine...With 468 career rebounds, senior George King now ranks fifth all-time among CU guards. Next on that list is Michel Morandais (497)... On Monday, Pac-12 rival Oregon signed 7-foot-2 Bol Bol to a letter of intent, giving the Ducks one of the top recruiting classes in the nation for 2018. With four of the ESPN 100 recruits now signed with the Ducks — all of them in the top 58 — Oregon's 2018 recruiting class is listed as the top in the nation by 247 sports. Boyle was an assistant for the U.S. U19 World Cup team this past summer and saw Bol at the team's training camp in Colorado Springs.