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Crackers Front Range League Preview

November 18, 2014

Another year but a whole new look to the CFRL as the defending champion University of Colorado Buffs have added another CFRL team to their schedule in Northern Colorado. Not quite a true round robin that Id like but a heck of a lot closer to being able to name a true CFRL champion.

Kudos to Tad Boyle for expanding his local schedule and joining Wyoming and Colorado State who have played all the other teams for several years. Denver and Air Force will begin playing each other next season and all that is left if for CU to schedule DU down the road.

The CFRL season has already begun with Wyoming scoring a solid home victory over Northern Colorado as both teams shot the ball very well. The next game comes on Saturday as Wyoming hosts Colorado.

Without further ado, here’s my take of this years CFRL.

1. University of Colorado – Last years CFRL MVP Spencer Dinwiddie is now plying his trade in the NBA. We got a glimpse of the Dinwiddie-less Buffs in the second half of last season and it wasnt pretty as the Buffs became a .500 team. Not a lot of turnover of the Buffs young roster so they could either get better or stand still. Early returns have the Buffs looking a lot better with junior big Josh Scott and senior guard Askia Booker leading the way. The Buffs are a very good defensive team and if they can find consistency on the offensive end, they will not only run away with the CFRL but will also be a threat to finish in the Top 25 nationally

2. University of Wyoming – The Pokes return 4 of 5 starters in Larry Nance, Derek Cooke, Riley Grabau, and Josh Adams and also key reserve Charles Hankerson. Nance suffered a devastating knee injury halfway through the MWC schedule last year and the Pokes struggled. As Nance goes so do the Cowboys and he looks to be ready to play. Adams showed growth in Nance’s absence and Grabau adds years of leadership in the backcourt. Not much of a bench but yoming’s style under Coach Larry Shyall doesnt require much of a bench.

3. Colorado State University – The Rams struggled last season in the CFRL, losing home games to Denver and CU and nearly losing to UNC. They are deeper this year, adding newcomers Stanton Kidd, Dantiel Daniles, Antwan Scott, and John Gillon to a core group of Daniel Bejarano, JJ Avila, and Joe DeCiman. We’ll see if this group cares as much about the CFRL match-ups as the previous group. The trio of Dorian Green, Pierce Hornung, and Greg Smith were 23-5 in their CFRL careers.

4. University of Denver – The Pioneers were 2-0 last season in CFRL action, recording impressive victories over both Wyoming and CSU. They return an underrated senior guard in Brett Olson (who could easily have been named MVP last season if not for Dinwiddie). They did lose a solid performer in Chris Udofia, an undersized but active center who did everything in his 4 years at DU. Joe Scotts team is expected to win the Summit League this year and will be a threat to finish as high as second.

5. Air Force – Hate to say it but it looks like Air Force will play the role of spoiler this year. They lost their leading scorer Tre Coggins to transfer. Plenty of experience returning led by guard Max Yon but the Falcons dont appear to have the size, strength, or skill to make it a go in the CFRL. They will be a dangerous out on nights when they shoot well.

6. Northern Colorado – The Bears are a middle of the pack Big Sky team that can shoot the ball but they don’t play a lot of defense. They return a couple of solid starters in Tevin Svehovic and Tim Huskerson and add a pair of MWC transfers in Ethan Michael (AFA) and Dwight Smith (CSU). Theyre at a huge disadvantage in the CFRL as they play all of their games on the road.

Projected Standings

Colorado 4-0
Wyoming 5-2
Colorado State 4-3
Denver 1-1
Northern Colorado 0-3
Air Force 0-5

Player of the Year – Josh Scott

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