by Ray Floriani
NEW YORK CITY- The Big Twelve has a team Final Four bound. No, we are not jumping the gun on Kansas, rather it is Colorado. The Buffaloes defeated Kent state 81-74 in the first NIT quarterfinal to earn the trip to Madison square Garden. The semifinals of the nation’s oldest post season tournament is Tuesday with the final on Thursday. The numbers:
* A 70 possession team, Colorado was not bothered at all by the slower tempo. The key stat here was offensive rebounding percentage. Colorado enjoyed a 58-42% edge in that category and it reflected in other areas. Kent State committed 18 fouls to Colorado’s 11. Getting beat on the boards is a sure way to wind up fouling. The visiting Golden Flashes actually had a better eFG mark at 55% (to Colorado’s 52%). But they gave up too many extra chances. A veritable and versatile star for Colorado was Alec Burks. The 6-6 sophomore guards led the way with 25 points while adding 10 rebounds 4 steals and 4 assists.