The Colorado Buffaloes have survived the early part of their schedule, and now they have a chance to get some more momentum at the Paradise Jam tournament this weekend.
Colorado (3-0) opens the event, held in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, against Southern Illinois (1-1) on Friday night after winning three home games to open the season. The Buffaloes take on a Salukis team that’s trying to get healthy.
Trent Brown has not played in the first two games because of back issues but could make his season debut against Colorado.
“He’s going to be healthy, it’s just a matter of when, and not getting him healthy for one game, but for the season,” Salukis coach Bryan Mullins said on a Zoom press conference with local media on Tuesday.
Southern Illinois could use his experience. Brown started every game last season and the Salukis are facing a Buffaloes team that has forced 44 turnovers and is averaging 90.3 points in its first three games.
Friday’s game will be Southern Illinois’ first in a week while the Buffaloes are coming off a 90-46 win over Maine on Monday night. Colorado left for the Virgin Islands early Wednesday morning so coach Tad Boyle could put his players through a practice following an off day on Tuesday.
The young Buffaloes have gotten progressively better in their three games and have received steady leadership from Keeshawn Barthelemy. With McKinley Wright IV graduating after last season, Colorado needed someone to step up and Barthelemy has been that guy.
He is averaging 20.3 points in the first three games, but he will have to adjust when defenses start scheming to stop him.
“Keeshawn, he wants to be a good player and he wants to do the right things,” Boyle said. “Keeshawn has got a scoring mentality, and he’s going to find out as we go deeper, people are going to start scouting him and they’re going to be maybe helping on drives more.
“Maybe they’re going to be double-teaming him on ball screens. So he’s going to have to learn to become a distributor as defenses kind of key on him. And that’s the beauty of this team. We have guys that can step up and do that.”
–Field Level Media