(CBS4) - The Colorado Buffaloes (22-8) are in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2016. They are the No. 5 seed in the tournament, and they will play the No. 12 seed Georgetown Hoyas (13-12) on Saturday at 10:15 AM on CBS4. But how do the Buffs matchup with the Hoyas?
The Buffs are led by senior point guard McKinley Wright IV, who averages 15.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 5.6 assists. CBS Sports college basketball insider Jerry Palm believes Wright needs is the key for the Buffs to have a long run in the NCAA Tournament.
"He's one of the elite guards in the country and he needs to play at that level because this team is only going to go as far as McKinley Wright takes them, Palm told CBS Denver's Justin Adams.
Colorado Buffaloes guard McKinley Wright IV drives to the basket against USC Trojans forward Evan Mobley during the men's Pac-12 Tournament between the Colorado Buffaloes and the USC Trojans on March 12 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. (credit: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
"He scores, he assists, the offense flows through him and he needs to play a smart game on both ends of the floor and have a productive game on both floors. Really, he just needs to be himself and himself is an elite point guard in college basketball."
One of the main focuses for CU will need to be able to limit the production of Georgetown's center Qudus Wahab. The 6-11 sophomore leads the Hoyas with eight rebounds and is the second-leading scorer with 12.4 points a contest.
"He's not their leading scorer, but he's a fantastic rebounder. Their offense is going to go inside out through him. He's been prone to foul trouble and probably the best way to stop him is on the defensive of end and draw some fouls and get him out of the game," Palm said.
Palm also points out that the Buffs will need to slow down a pair of Hoyas guards in Jahvon Blair and Dante Harris. Blair leads Georgetown in scoring (15.8 points) and Harris was the most outstanding player in the Big East Tournament.
"If they can defend the perimeter and keep those guys in check, keep them from going off, because when they do it opens up the inside for Wahab. So sometimes you can defend the inside by defending the outside. If you can take care of those three guys, then Colorado has a very good chance at winning this game," Palm said.
With all this in mind, Palm is picking Georgetown to upset Colorado due to their losses to California, Washington and Oregon State. But, if the Buffs can beat the Hoyas, he believes Colorado could go on a run.
"They got a nice draw. Florida State is a very difficult team to play against because of their length and athleticism in the 2nd Round. But you got a No.1 seed in Michigan that is limping. So, you get past Georgetown, win a tough battle with Florida State, maybe you get a slowed down Michigan team, and you are in the Elite 8 where you are going to play a very talented team in Alabama or Texas, most likely. The prospects for Colorado are widely varied," he said.
Colorado plays Georgetown in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday at 12:15 PM on CBS.
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