Colorado (7-8, MCLA Quarterfinals)
Key Loss: Mike Geocaris. An imposing pole, Geocaris gave the Buffaloes a confident presence on the backline who could match up with the top attackmen in the association. There are plenty of candidates to fill his role, but his loss, along with shorty Mike Britt, must be the focus of offseason preparations.
Key Returnee: Mike Ryder. It’s kind of odd to name a coach as a key returnee, but in light of last year’s contretemps in Boulder, it’s appropriate. When I spoke with Mike after his loss to Arizona State in the tournament, he seemed like a poised guy who had a detailed vision of where he wanted CU to be in the ’11 campaign. If he can maximize the vast array of talent on the Buffs’ roster, Colorado should have a tasty seed when the field is announced.
Wild Card: Composure. The Buffs are a combustible bunch. It’s just who they are. Sometimes it works for them, but if the team can act with more poise in the face of adversity, the sky’s the limit for this bunch. CU was a deadly 11-seed last spring. If they can keep an even keel this year and earn a better seed, they’ll be even more lethal.
Reality: With high-end players at both ends of the field in goalie Brad Macnee and attackman James Blackburn, along with a host of young talent in between, Colorado has as much potential as any team in the country. Whether they can keep their house in order will determine how this season will play out for the Buffs.