Buff Win Streak to be Tested Against Utah

The University of Colorado men's basketball team will bring its season-high four-game win streak to the table in front of the largest audience it's seen thus far on the season. The Buffs continue their longest homestand since 1999 in hosting a feisty Utah team at the Coors Events Conference Center in Boulder tonight. Here is a game preview.

Colorado began the current six-game local stint Friday night with a convincing 71-44 victory over Tennessee State in Boulder. The Buffs cruised to victory in front of more than 8,000 fans, despite showing obvious lasting effects from the team's nine day layoff following its win in the annual rivalry win over Colorado State the week before.

CU shot a dismal 30.8 percent from the line in the first half, but rebounded to shoot 6-of-10 in the second, pushing their game average up to 43.5 percent. The Tigers gave Colorado a rare glimpse at a relatively effective 2-3 zone which rendered seven-foot junior center David Harrison essentially ineffective through the game's first 20 minutes.

"We're going to get open shots because teams focus so much on David (Harrison)," senior Blair Wilson said of a zone defense which he and his teammates hadn't really seen heading into Friday night's game. "We just have to knock those shots down when we get them. I just could not get into my rhythm, and I wasn't able to hit some of those threes."

Wilson, quickly climbing the charts among CU's all-time three-point leaders, shot 4-12 from beyond the arc; accounting for the majority of his team's 9-27 figure on the night.

Colorado forward Michel Morandais may have had the best shooting night of any of the Buffaloes against a befuddled but equally baffling Tennessee State defense, dropping a team high 17 while hitting a respectable 3-7 from downtown and a commanding 7-15 from the floor.

"We don't have a team full of great shooters. When teams put that kind of pressure on your perimeter guys they have to be on," Colorado head coach Ricardo Patton said. "We got good shots tonight. Blair (Wilson) got 12 from three and Michel (Morandais) had 15. It wasn't like we weren't getting shots; we just did not knock them down."

Colorado will need to knock down the majority of its shots in a hurry if they want to claim an added advantage against a Utah team which has claimed victory in seven of the ten games they've played already this season.

"It is going to take a much better effort to beat Utah," Harrison admitted following his team's most recent win. "I know they have some big guys who can be really physical. We have to play a much better game all around. I have seen them on film and they looked impressive. It will be a very good test for this team."

Utah head coach Rick Majerus has clearly made 6-foot-4 senior forward Nick Jacobsen the centerpiece of his team's offense. The three-year letterman holds astounding team leads in several categories, including: minutes played (333), steals (10), and points per game (12.1).

Jacobsen has also remained Utah's offensive constant, shooting higher than 43 percent from the field (44-102) and beyond the three-point line (20-46).

The freshman-sophomore duo of Andre Bogut and Richard Chaney round out Utah's noticeable scoring threat from the starting two and four positions, respectively.

Bogut, a 6-foot-10 native of Australia will most likely remain the responsibility of Harrison throughout the night. It will be up to the tallest player in Colorado history to get in the way of the 223-pound Aussie's 12-points-per game average.

Bogut has shot a lethal 62 percent from his post position in just under 30 minutes a game for the Utes, and is his team's only real rebounding threat on either side of the ball. The agile big man has averaged a double-double (12.1 points and 10.1 boards) through ten games for Utah. His rebounding total (106) represents more than a third of Utah's total output and is higher than any three of his teammates' individual grabs combined.

Utah has outscored opponents 610-526 in their young 7-3 season after getting off to one of the earliest starts of any team in the country. The Utes hold stark shooting advantages over their opponents; draining .470 from the floor and .353 from beyond the arc, while holding the opposition to .390 and .235, respectively.

While Tuesday night's Fox Sports Net telecast will be the second one anyone outside of Boulder has seen of the Buffaloes, the Utes have already been featured in four nationally televised contests: vs. Minnesota on Nov. 11 (66-54 win on ESPN2), vs. Texas Tech on Nov. 26 (65-54 loss on ESPN2), vs. Connecticut on Nov. 28 (76-44 loss on ESPN2), and vs. LSU on Dec. 16 (65-51 loss on ESPN).

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