Buffs and Bears mix it up in season opener

Dallas, TX ( - Former Big 12 Conference rivals tip off the 2013-14 season against each other on Friday night, as the Colorado Buffaloes tangle with the 25th-ranked Baylor Bears at American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas.

Big things are expected of both clubs this season, as Colorado went 21-12 in 2012-13, winning 10 of its 18 Pac-12 Conference bouts along the way.

Baylor went 23-14 overall, 9-9 in the Big 12, and won the first NIT title in its history with a 20-point victory over Iowa in the championship game.

Colorado leads the all-time series with Baylor, 16-10, which includes a 5-2 mark in neutral-site affairs, the most recent of which took place last season in the Charleston Classic -- a 60-58 CU victory. Overall however, the Bears have won five of the last eight meetings.

Colorado has quickly become one of the top teams in the Pac-12 after earning back-to-back invites to the NCAA Tournament. The Buffaloes should be in the thick of the league race this season, as talented point guard Spencer Dinwiddie leads the team after averaging 15.3 points and 3.0 assists per game as a sophomore in 2012-13. Coach Tad Boyle also has guys like Aski Booker (12.4 ppg), Xavier Johnson (8.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg) and Josh Scott (10.3 ppg 5.7 rpg) on which to rely, although none have showed the potential star power the 6-foot-6 Dinwiddie has. Redshirt freshman Wesley Gordon, a 6-9 forward, could also see significant minutes, as Boyle, who has led the Buffs to three straight 20-win seasons, looks for someone, anyone in fact, to make up for the loss of Andre Roberson, who was a highly productive two-way player last season when he averaged 10.9 points and 11.2 rebounds per contest.

Fresh off its NIT title, Baylor's prospects for 2013-14 are looking up as the team returns arguably the best frontcourt in the Big 12, and one of the best in the country. Cory Jefferson and Isaiah Austin are the top returning scorers from last season's club, and the duo also combined for nearly 600 rebounds. Jefferson was a beast in the postseason, averaging 21.6 ppg while shooting an eye-popping 72 percent from the field (41-of-57). The loss of star guard Pierre Jackson (19.8 ppg, 7.1 apg) will certainly be felt, but coach Scott Drew hopes he has a suitable replacement in either Gary Franklin or Kenny Cherry, although neither have the explosiveness Jackson displayed. Patience will be the order of the day with regard to the BU backcourt, so it's a good thing Jefferson and Austin are there to handle matters.