Prediction: Northern Iowa at Colorado
If you were to design an underdog that could give this particular Colorado team a real hard time, you have a hard time coming up with anything better than Northern Iowa.
UNI is one of those deeply frustrating mid-major teams that keeps everything in front and dares you to beat it with jump shots. If you’ve been watching Colorado this season you know that jump shots or a big problem for this team.
“This is the biggest trap game of the year for Colorado,” Buffs coach Tad Boyle told reporters Monday. “
That is in part because Northern Iowa’s opponents are shooting worse than 40 percent from the field and is 8-1. Boyle says UNI is probably the second-best team No. 24 Colorado has played this year, after Kansas.
Compounding the problem is that Colorado has been turning it over a lot lately and doesn’t shoot it very well to begin with. Northern Iowa is not the most aggressive team when it comes to perimeter defense, but it will trap the post hoping to get the ball worked back out to a two-point jump shooter.
Meaning I expect to see a lot of long offensive possessions from both teams, and I expect CU to get very frustrated on offense for long stretches.
You also have to factor in the possibility Boyle is so worried about — an energetic and emotional letdown after the Kansas loss.
I think Northern Iowa is going to outplay Colorado in the first half and take a small lead into halftime. The Buffaloes will go on a spirited run the first few minutes of the second half to take the lead, and will make two or three key plays at the end to come up with a 58-56 win.