First Chance To See New-Look Buffs

For CU hoops fans, the wait is over. Tonight, the Jeff Bzdelik era begins on the court as the Buffs host Brock University (from St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada) in an exhibition game at the Coors Events Center.

Like his teammates, Colorado sophomore Xavier Silas is anxious to play against players wearing different uniforms. The 6-5 swingman will get the opportunity tonight when the Buffs host Brock U. in a 7 p.m. tipoff at the Coors Events Center.

Silas came in last season with a highly touted group of freshmen. What a difference a year makes. Only four players from that original class of eight remain — Silas, Dwight Thorne, Jeremy Williams (who will miss the non-conference season due to academics) and walk on Trent Beckley.

While the majority of his classmates are gone, so to is some of Silas' naiveté. After going 7-20 last season, he and his teammates are focusing on what's right in front of them, rather than talking about the big picture.

"I know last year we came in with a whole bunch of expectations," Silas told BSN before Wednesday's practice. "This year, we're just going to take one game at a time and not try to say we're going to win the Big 12 or go undefeated in the preseason."

That doesn't mean expectations aren't high. They are, just internally.

"I just expect to play hard," Silas said when asked about what he wanted from tonight's exhibition game.

Even though it won't count in the standings, it will be the first game under new head coach Jeff Bzdelik, who was hired in April. Bzdelik, too, has declined to make any bold predictions about the seasons. Instead, he's repeated a mantra about how the team will need to play 40 minutes with a "desperate energy" in order to be competitive.

Asked on Wednesday what he wanted to see from his team in tonight's exhibition game, Bzdelik simply replied, "I just want us to play well."

Things To Watch For
After several seasons of watching a lackluster half-court offense at Coors, CU fans should get to see something strikingly different when the Buffs have the ball this season. The team has been busy learning a "Princeton-styled" offense. How well they've perfected it at this point will be on display tonight. …Bzdelik will use the team's two exhibition games to tinker with his starting lineup and play different combinations of players with each other. …True freshmen Cory Higgins, Levi Knutson and Caleb Patterson should make their CU debuts tonight.

Hall Update
Senior point guard Marcus Hall has been wearing a splint on the thumb of his shooting hand this week after having surgery to repair a tendon in October. Bzdelik originally thought Hall, who is expected to be a starter this season, would miss tonight's exhibition. Hall told the Daily Camera Wednesday, however, he thought he would play vs. Brock.

Who's Brock U?
Located in Ontario, Canada, Brock boasts four returning starters from last year's team, including 2006-07 OUA West Player of the Year and All-Canadian Brad Rootes.

Before last night, Brock had earned victories over three lower-tier NCAA Division I schools in the past four years. But they can add Air Force to that list. Brock defeated Bzdelik's former team last night in Colorado Springs on a last-second 3-pointer in exhibition play.

After Brock?
The Buffs host Regis in exhibition play Tuesday before opening their regular season against New Mexico at home on Nov. 9. The Lobos beat CU in Albuquerque last season by 41 points.


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