THE GAME: The University of Colorado travels to face the University of Illinois on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 12 p.m. MST at Assembly Hall in Champaign, Ill.
BROADCAST: Saturday's game will be broadcast live on KKZN AM 760. Mike Rice will have the play-by-play with Carol Callan of USA Basketball providing the color commentary. A live video stream will be available through the Big Ten Conference's Digital platform. Visit http://www.btn.com for more information. Subscription fees may apply.
OPENING TIP: Colorado is 10-7 in its last 17 true road games, including postseason, dating back to the end of the 2010-11 season.
ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is off to a 5-0 start for the second straight year after battling out a 68-59 win over region rival Wyoming on Nov. 28 at the Coors Events Center. The Buffaloes are 5-0 in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1992-93 (15-0) and 1993-94 (7-0). The Buffaloes have been especially good in the nonconference schedule under head coach Linda Lappe. Colorado has won its last 18 nonconference regular season contests and 25 of 29 dating back to the 2010-11 season.
Colorado's offense has played well, averaging 72 points per game and twice hitting 75. The Buffaloes are shooting 44 percent from the field and 30 percent from 3-point range. Part of Colorado's offensive success has come from sharing the ball. The Buffaloes are averaging 14.4 assists per game with a season-high 17 coming in the win at UMKC. Colorado also has held a sizeable advantage in rebounds (plus-11 average) and has limited its opponents to 35 percent from the field.
Defensively, Colorado is the top steals team in the league, averaging 12 per contest and ranks third in the league in turnover margin at plus-3.2 per game. The Buffaloes also rank second in rebounding margin (+11.4), third in scoring defense (56.0 ppg) and fourth in scoring offense, scoring margin (+15.6), field-goal percentage, field-goal percentage defense, rebounding offense (43.0 rpg), rebounding defense (31.6 rpg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.0).
Redshirt freshman forward Arielle Roberson is averaging 17.2 points on 57 percent shooting over her first five collegiate games. She also leads the Buffaloes in blocked shots (5) and is second in rebounding at 6.4 per game. Roberson was named the MVP of the Omni Hotels Classic after averaging 16.5 points and 7.5 rebounds over the two-game tournament. She is the first CU freshman to win that honor in the 26-year history of the tournament. Roberson ranks seventh in scoring, ninth in offensive rebounds (3.4 orpg) and field-goal percentage, 14th in blocked shots and 16th in overall rebounding on the Pac-12 charts.
After sitting out the season opener, All-Pac-12 guard Chucky Jeffery is beginning to hit her stride. She leads the team in assists (3.3 apg), rebounds (6.8 rpg) and steals (3.0 spg), while ranking second in scoring (13.0 ppg). Jeffery recorded the team's first double-double of the season - and 21st of her career - with a game-high 21 points and 10 rebounds in the win over Wyoming. She was named to the Omni Classic All-Tournament team after averaging 13 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 3.0 steals over the two games. She is the first four-time Omni All-Tournament team honoree, earning MVP honors in 2010 and '11. Jeffery ranks third in steals, seventh in defensive rebounds (5.8 drpg), eighth in free-throw percentage (.889), 11th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3), 12th in assists, 15th in rebounding and 17th in scoring on the Pac-12 charts.
Junior guard Brittany Wilson has started all five games and ranks second on the team in steals (2.0 spg) and assists (2.0 apg) while coming in at fourth in scoring at 8.2 points per contest. She paced the Buffaloes in the season-opening win over Idaho, with 18 points, including a perfect 8-of-8 from the free-throw line. Wilson, who leads the Pac-12 and is tied for the national lead in free-throw percentage with a perfect 12-for-12 mark, has made 28 of her last 34 free throws (.824) dating back to last season. Wilson also ranks 13th in the Pac-12 in steals.
Sophomore forward Jen Reese has made a successful return from an eye injury that kept her out of the final nine games of 2011-12. She is third on the team in scoring (9.0 ppg) and rebounding (6.2 rpg) while hitting 50 percent from the field and 92 percent from the free-throw line. She narrowly missed a double-double with 14 points and a team-high nine rebounds in the Omni Classic championship game. Reese was a perfect 6-of-6 from the line against San Diego State, a career best. On the Pac-12 charts Reese is fourth in free-throw percentage, 15th in field-goal percentage and 18th in rebounding.
Junior center Rachel Hargis joins Wilson as the only Buffs to start all five games. Hargis is averaging 5.8 points on 52 percent shooting, but her striking number is 10 assists which ties for second on the team. She dished out a career-best four assists in the win at UMKC to go with eight points and two rebounds. She had at least two assists in all four games after recording multiple assist game just four times in each of her first two seasons.
Sophomore guard Jasmine Sborov has started the last three games. She recorded 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting in the two Omni Classic games. She matched a career-high with 10 points against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, scoring all 10 in the first half. Sborov is a red-hot 59 percent from the field over the first five contests (10-of-17). Sborov ranks 14th in the Pac-12 in offensive rebounds at 2.6 per game.
Colorado has seven players averaging between four and nine points per game. Freshman forward Jamee Swan, made a splash against UMKC. After playing limited minutes in her collegiate debut, swan got the starting nod against the Kangaroos and responded with 14 points on 6-of-9 from the field.
The Buffaloes are enjoying their best depth in the Lappe era. Thirteen different CU players have already hit the hardwood, with 12 of them having registered points.
ABOUT THE FIGHTING ILLINI: Illinois is 4-2 overall and coming off a 95-82 home win over Wake Forest on Nov. 29. The Illini are averaging an impressive 78.5 points per game and have hit 80-plus in all four of their wins. Illinois is hitting 42 percent from the field and 30 percent from 3-point range. The Illini like to shoot from deep, putting up nearly 24 3-pointers per game, making just over seven per contest. Defensively the Illini are giving up 70.7 points per game and allowing opponents to shoot 39 percent.
Senior forward Karisma Penn is averaging a double-double on the season, leading the Illini at 20.3 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. Penn also shoots 58 percent from the field and also averages nearly three blocked shots per game. Sophomore guard Ivory Crawford is second on the team in scoring at 17.3 points on 47 percent shooting. Junior guard Amber Moore averages 13.8 points per game and is Illinois' top 3-point shooter with 21 on the season. Sophomore guard Alexis Smith averages 7.5 points and 8.0 assists per game.
Matt Bollant is in his first year at Illinois, and 11th as a collegiate head coach with an overall record of 286-57. He joined the Illini after five highly successful seasons at Wisconsin-Green Bay.
THE SERIES: This will be the fifth meeting between Colorado and Illinois with the series tied at two games apiece. The Buffaloes have made only one trip to Champaign, on Jan. 4, 1998, where the No. 13 ranked Illini defeated the No. 21 ranked Buffaloes 88-44 at Assembly Hall. Illinois also won the last game in this series, a 63-59 decision at the Coors Events Center on Dec. 4, 2010.
Colorado has a 47-44 record against teams that currently make up the Big Ten Conference. The bulk of those games came against former Big 12 Conference rival Nebraska (CU leads 41-28).
Linda Lappe is 0-1 against Illinois as a head coach. Matt Bollant has never faced Colorado as a head coach.
COLORADO BASKETBALL UNDEFEATED: Colorado's men's and women's basketball teams each enter the weekend undefeated, with the men's team at 6-0 heading into Saturday night's game at Wyoming. It is the first time the men's and women's programs have both started with five or more wins since 1982-83 when both teams started 7-0.
OMNI HOTELS CLASSIC CHAMPS: Colorado improved to 42-10 all-time in its home holiday classic and has won four straight and 16 of the 25 tournament titles contested. The Buffaloes won this year's classic by defeating Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and San Diego State.
ROBERSON AMONG ELITE COMPANY: Freshman guard Arielle Roberson has scored in double-digits in the first five games of her career, the fourth best mark in team history. Roberson's teammate Lexy Kresl, now a sophomore, had a similar run last season, reaching double digits in her first six. Tracy Tripp holds the mark of 10, set during the 1985-86 season.
BENCH PRODUCTION: Colorado is getting good production from its bench to the tune of 25.8 points (36 percent) and 22.0 rebounds (51 percent) per game. Sophomore forward Jen Reese has headed the bench effort averaging 9.0 points and 6.2 rebounds, both figures ranking third overall on the team. Colorado's shooting remains consistent with the bench hitting 42 percent. CU's bench has been outstanding from the free-throw line hitting 82 percent. Reese is 11-of-12 from the line and junior guard Ashley Wilson is 6-of-8.
Colorado scored a season-high 42 bench points in the win over UMKC. The bulk of those came from freshman forward Arielle Roberson who scored 23 points in 19 minutes on 9-of-12 from the field in her lone game off the bench this season. Her 23 bench points are tied for the second most in the past 10 years and her nine field goals are the most. Only Bianca Smith, with 25 points off the bench against San Jose State on Dec. 22, 1999, had a bigger bench game in the last 10 years.
BUFFS EXPERIENCED FROM DEEP: While Colorado looks to achieve balance on its 2012-13 squad, there is no questioning its experience from shooting from the perimeter. The Buffaloes have four players with at least 50 career 3-point field goals, and all four rank among CU's career Top 20. Senior Meagan Malcolm-Peck tops current Buffs with 83 and ranks 12th on CU's all-time list. Junior Brittany Wilson is 13th all-time with 75. Lexy Kresl, who set CU's freshman record in 2011-12 is 15th with 69. Senior Chucky Jeffery rounds out the current Buffs at 17th with 54.
JEFFERY MOVING UP CAREER LADDERS: Junior guard Chucky Jeffery needs just three points to move past Britt Hartshorn (1998-02) for 16th place on CU's all-time scoring list. She also needs just six rebounds to become the 11th player in team history to reach 700 career rebounds. Jeffery, already 11th on CU's rebounding ledger, needs seven to crack into the top 10.
On CU's career charts Jeffery also ranks sixth in assists (371), eighth in steals (228), 15th in free-throws made (262), 16th in blocks (58) and field-goals made (477) and 17th in 3-point field goals (54).
In other miscellaneous categories Jeffery is also sixth in double-doubles (21), eighth in double-figure rebounding games (22) and 16th in double-figure scoring games (67)
HOME AT THE CECC: Colorado is traditionally tough at home with a 370-126 all-time record at the Coors Events Center (.746). The Buffaloes have won 10 or more games in a season at the CEC in 23 of the previous 34 years. The Buffaloes have enjoyed fi ve undefeated seasons (1980-83, 1992-94) at the CEC.
SUCCESS ON THE ROAD: CU's 9-point halftime lead at UMKC (36-27) was its largest on the road since leading Colorado State 38-22 on Nov. 20, 2011. Colorado's 78 points were its most in a road contest since scoring 80 in an overtime win at Missouri on Feb. 23, 2010. It was the most in regulation since an 87-78 loss at Minnesota on Nov. 22, 2009. The 23-point margin was CU's biggest on the road since an 82-47 win at Colorado State on Dec. 1, 2007.
BUFFS ON TV: Colorado's regular season schedule will feature at least 11 regionally or nationally televised games in 2012-13. Colorado will play nine regular season games on the Pac-12 Networks, and a guaranteed one, and potentially more, during the Pac-12 Tournament, March 7-10, in Seattle.
A program-best six regular season games will be televised nationally while three more will be on one of the regional networks. CU's first Pac-12 Tournament game will also be televised nationally, as would any ensuing round through the championship game, which will air Sunday, March 10, on ESPN2.
CU will make its first television appearance on Dec. 11 at Denver on ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain. The Buffaloes make their Pac-12 Network debut on Friday, Jan. 4 against defending league champion Stanford; their fi rst of four straight televised games on the network. Colorado will have fi ve straight road games televised beginning with Utah on Jan. 13, through a Super Bowl Sunday matchup at USC on Feb. 3. CU's fi nal regular season televised game will be Feb. 8 at home against Oregon State.
Entering the 2012-13 season, CU has appeared on 99 regional or national telecasts over the previous 11 seasons.