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Colorado freshman McKinley Wright and the young Buffs are preparing for three different opponents in a three day span at the Paradise Jam.
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Colorado freshman McKinley Wright and the young Buffs are preparing for three different opponents in a three day span at the Paradise Jam.

As the first semester’s final exams loom closer, the youngsters on the Colorado men’s basketball team are not only learning to focus in the classroom. This week, for the first time, they are experiencing the demands of preparing for multiple opponents in a short amount of time.

Following more than a month of preseason workouts, including scrimmages against Colorado Mines and SMU, the Buffaloes passed their first test with an opening win against Northern Colorado last week. Four days later, on Tuesday, they topped the University of Denver. Yet even that between-game pace will seem leisurely compared to the rest of the week, as the Buffs prepare to play three games in three days at the relocated Paradise Jam at Liberty University in Virginia.

“I told them that there’s some guys out here still thinking, ‘Oh, we’re playing against UNC,’ or we’re doing this coverage defensively, or we’re playing this offense,” Boyle said. “I can still see some of our guys still playing our UNC game plan. And it’s like no, we have to shift gears. We’re not playing UNC, we’re playing DU. And DU is a different animal than UNC is. The game plan changes and we have to adjust.

“And guess what? Quinnipiac is going to be different than Drake or Wake Forest. We know we’re going to play three games in three days, so it will be another opportunity for our guys.”

Originally scheduled for the U.S. Virgin Islands but relocated following the hurricanes that ravaged the region earlier this fall, the Buffs open the Paradise Jam on Friday against Quinnipiac and will play either Drake or Wake Forest on Saturday. The Buffs will play a third game Sunday, with the time and opponent dependent on the earlier results.

It is the only time before the Pac-12 Conference tournament in March that CU will play on consecutive days, and that scenario would require the Buffs winning at least one game at the tournament. However, five of CU’s weekend pairings in Pac-12 play feature just one off-day between games, so this week should provide a good primer for the youngsters in the art of moving on from one game to prepare of the next one.

Less than 12 hours after defeating the DU Pioneers, the Buffs left for Virginia early Wednesday morning and will practice at Virginia Commonwealth University before hitting the floor at Liberty.

“I’m just trying to take it game-by-game,” freshman point guard McKinley Wright said. “I’m not looking forward to the third game right now. We’re focused on Quinnipiac. I’m just trying to do a good job, hit the road, get some practices out of the way, and focus on Quinnipiac.”

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