Austin Dufault and the Colorado menâ€™s basketball team are one win away from playing in the National Invitational Tournament Final Four. The Buffaloes host Kent State at 7 p.m. today. Here is a little bit of what I learned from watching Dufault, a Killdeer High School graduate and former North Dakota Mr. Basketball winner, after watching the team play on TV last weekâ€¦
I was able to watch the first half of the Coloradoâ€™s NIT game against California on Friday night and I tend to agree with what Buffaloes coach Tad Boyle told me during last weekâ€™s interview â€” Austin Dufault is not a numbers guy. But, heâ€™s doing other things on the court that you donâ€™t see unless youâ€™re only watching him.
Dufault made some nice jump shots and pulled down some good rebounds, but thatâ€™s not where he excels. Itâ€™s what he does that doesnâ€™t count on the stat sheet â€” boxing out, setting screens on pick-and-rolls for standout guard and possible future NBA Lottery pick Alec Burks, making hustle plays on defense and doing all the â€œintangibleâ€ things that coaches love to talk about.
He was held scoreless in the Buffsâ€™ NIT opener against Texas Southern, but responded with his season averages of 7 points and 4 rebounds as he helped the team win its school-record 23rd game with a 89-72 victory over California.
Dufault talked about not scoring against Texas Southern and how he tried to respond against Cal during the press conference following Fridayâ€™s game.
â€œI just havenâ€™t been playing well lately,â€ Dufault said. â€œTonight I wanted to come out and be more aggressive. I had been being kind of passive lately on both end of the floor. Thatâ€™s how I was picking up a lot of fouls. (Cal forward Harper) Kamp was my assignment tonight; I focused on him the first half, playing tough defense on him and being aggressive on the other end.â€