(CBS4) – The Colorado Buffalos (22-8) are back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2016. They are seeded fifth in the tournament and will play Saturday at 10:15 a.m. on CBS4 against the No. 1 seed. 12 Georgetown Hoyas (13-12). But how do the Buffs fit into the picture with the Hoyas?

The Buffs are led by point guard McKinley Wright IV, who is averaging 15.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 5.6 assists. CBS college basketball pundit Jerry Palm thinks Wright’s needs are crucial to the Buffs’ chances of making the NCAA Tournament.

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He’s one of the best guards in the country and he needs to play at this level because this team isn’t going to go beyond McKinley Wright, Palm told Justin Adams of CBS Denver.

Colorado Buffaloes guard McKinley Wright IV drives to the basket against USC Trojans forward Evan Mobley during the Pac-12 tournament between the Colorado Buffaloes and USC Trojans on the 12th. in March at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. (Credit: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

He scores, he assists, the offense runs through him, and he has to play smart on both sides of the ball and make productive plays on both sides of the ball. Really, he just needs to be himself, and he’s an elite point guard in college basketball.

One of CU’s main objectives will have to be to limit production in Georgetown’s Kudus Wahab centre. The 6-11 sophomore leads the Hoyas with eight rebounds and is the second-leading scorer with 12.4 points per game.

He’s not their best scorer, but he’s a fantastic rebounder. Your attack will penetrate him from the inside. He tends to get into foul trouble, and maybe the best way to stop him is to defend late in the game, draw fouls and take him out of the game, Palm said.

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Palm also points out that the Buffs need to slow down the Hoyas’ guards, Javon Blair and Dante Harris. Blair is Georgetown’s top scorer (15.8 points) and Harris was an outlier in the Big East tournament.

If they can protect the perimeter and keep these guys under control, they can’t escape, because if they do, they open up the inside to Wahab. So sometimes you can protect yourself on the inside by protecting the outside. If you can take care of those three guys, Colorado has a good chance to win this game, Palm said.

With that in mind, Palm prefers Georgetown to beat Colorado after losses against California, Washington and Oregon State. But if the Buffs can beat the Hoyas, he thinks Colorado can pull it off.

You drew it well. Florida State is a very difficult team to play because of their length and athletic ability in the 2nd round. But your number one in Michigan sucks. So you get past Georgetown, win a tough battle against Florida State, maybe catch a weakened Michigan team, and you’re in the Round of 8 where you’ll likely face a very talented Alabama or Texas team. The outlook for Colorado varies widely, he said.

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Colorado faces Georgetown in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday at 12:15 p.m. on CBS.

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