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Five things: Colorado

The ‘Noles and the Buffs square off in the Sunshine Slam title game

NCAA Basketball: Pac-12 Media Day Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Florida State took care of business knocking off UNLV in Monday’s tilt. Now they face No. 18 Colorado for the title. Here’s what to know.

1. The University of Colorado at Boulder is the gem of the UC system, and has pumped out some entertainment icons such as Robert Redford, the creators of South Park, and Jonah Hill. Their football coach is also the pride of Talladega College, and in his first year he’s almost won as many games as the Florida Gators. Go Buffs.

2. The classic Leonard Hamilton teams were considered tough to watch despite how often players whipped passes into the waiting hands of courtside fans. But for an X’s and O’s nerd, the defense was a thing of beauty. The scheme changed game to game, or half to half, or often for the 2011 and 2012 teams, in the middle of a possession. Now the ‘Noles are married to pressure defense switching 1-5, which is great when they’re applying pressure, but terrible when the opponent has time to run offense. Every opponent does the same thing: they get the switch they want, and then have small guards attacking FSU’s big 25-feet from the basket. Thus, FSU’s historically bad defensive 2-pt% of 58%. For reference, the 2011 squad allowed one team ALL SEASON to shoot what teams average now. The point? If FSU is ever going to try something different than the current defense, the Colorado Buffaloes are the ideal opponent. Their center - Eddie Lampkin Jr. - is built in the Big Jelly, or Biscuit mold and while he’s going to be a church league legend he hasn’t attempted a 3-pointer in four years of college. Richmond kept yesterday’s game close by forgetting about him when he was greater than 8’ from the basket, and allowing their own big lug to clog the paint and help shut down Colorado’s impressive guards. If we fail to mix things up against the Buffs, it is safe to assume that that is the only type of defense we will see until a new coaching staff arrives.

3. Colorado has the 19th ranked offense in the nation, and are 3rd in 3-pt%. They’re 11th in eFG% and FSU’s defense is 208th. If you’re looking for more reasons to prepare for an L, they’re 28th nationally in offensive rebounding, and FSU is 306th in defensive rebounding.

Want some bonus bad news? This one’s free. We’re 351st at keeping teams off the line, so it doesn’t even matter how good they are at getting free throws (they’re 81st) you can bet they’re going to attempt a season high.

4. Colorado’s head coach Tad Boyle has only led the Buffs to the NCAAT in one of the past eight years (to be fair, they were a solid bubble team in the Covid cancellation year). In fourteen years at Colorado, they’ve never made it past the first weekend of the Dance. Their previous two coaches accounted for three NCAAT games in 14 years. In short, this isn’t exactly a Blue Blood, so when Tad Boyle says it’s his best team in his tenure, take that with a grain of salt.

5. They do have an All American candidate in senior Tristan da Silva. His father was a professional boxer, his brother was an All-Conference player at Stanford, and he speaks five languages. So we’ll call him versatile. He’s also making 53% of his 3s. He’s currently averaging 16.5 ppg and is coming off a 1st Team All-Pac 12 season.

The other exciting player in Boulder is 6-8 freshman Cody Williams, who was the No. 4 recruit in the nation last year. He’s a big wing who can cover some ground, but still has a lot of development ahead of him. Even so, the Athletic projects him as the No. 18 pick in the next NBA draft.