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Colorado aims to stymie defensive-challenged Utah Tech

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The preseason part of the schedule is wrapping up for Colorado but the Buffaloes can’t overlook their next opponent before beginning Pac-12 play next week.

The Buffaloes (8-2) are coming off a solid 90-68 win over Northern Colorado on Dec. 15 and now face WAC member Utah Tech in the final tuneup before opening conference play against Washington on Dec. 29.

Colorado has some solid wins and its two losses have been to ranked teams. The Buffaloes beat then-No. 15 Miami by 27 points in Brooklyn on Dec. 10, and the setbacks were to Florida State in overtime and at then-No. 20 Colorado State.

One part of the Buffaloes’ game that has been a pleasant surprise is the board work. Despite not having a dominant center to clean up the glass, they’ve done it by committee, and they rank second in the Pac-12 in team rebounding.

“Personally, I think we can do even better,” said J’Vonne Hadley, who is averaging six rebounds a game. “There’s some times out there we miss the simple things, like box outs. We’re mostly all vets, so we can’t let too many of those go. There’s always areas to improve, especially on the glass. That’s how it should be. We should be killing lots of teams on the glass.”

The Trailblazers (5-6) have lost two straight and are coming off a home setback to North Dakota of the Summit League.

Utah Tech will not only have to step up its rebounding but it will be facing a Colorado team that shoots well from beyond the 3-point line.

The Trailblazers also have to improve their defense. In their consecutive losses they’ve let opposing players get hot and take over games.

“Our man-to-man defense just was not there (against Cal State Northridge). The zone got us back into the game but we just struggled to keep them in front,” Utah Tech head coach Jon Judkins said after that loss. “Late in the game we were aggressive, started getting downhill, kicking it out for open shots … one that I thought we should have won but we’ve just got to be tougher.”

–Field Level Media

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