Jared Cunningham, this week's Pac-12 Player of the Week, will need to fly high again in mile-high Boulder in order for Oregon St. to beat the Buffs. (Photo by Andy Wooldridge)
Oregon St. (14-7, 4-5) at Colorado (14-7, 6-3) at the Coors Event Center at 7:00 PM MST (6 PM PST) / No TV / KEJO 1240 AM / KPAM 860 AM (Streamed)
Oregon St. makes their first visit to Boulder for a Pac-12 event. The Beavers and the Buffs did meet the last 2 seasons in non-conference games as a part of the Pac-10-Big XII Hardwood Challenge.
The Beavers are rolling, having followed up a sweep of the LA schools with a come from behind 76-71 win at Matt Court over Oregon Sunday afternoon in the season's first Civil War battle. Jared Cunningham earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors after scoring 24 of his game high 27 points in the second half. Ahmad Starks added 15 points for the Beavers, as he and Cunningham combined to hit 7 of 14 3 pointers.
The Buffs, who are a smallish team that uses a 3 guard attack, and start 6'9" senior Austin Dufault and 6'7" soph. Andre Roberson as their front court, ran into the 6'10" Wear twins their last time out, and as a result lost 77-60 to the Bruins. Before that, Colorado had run off 3 straight wins, and are 11-1 at the Coors Event Center.
It's worth remembering that Boulder is a mile above sea level, something Oregon St., like most of the former Pac-10 low-landers, isn't experienced with. Both Joe Burton and Starks, who got sick on last year's trip, noted the noticeable affects they experienced last year during the pre-trip press conference.
"Just walking up the steps from the bus was hard," Burton observed.
Beavers head coach Craig Robinson also acknowledged he would probably substitute more frequently than usual. Oregon St. has 7 players that average over 10 minutes per game, but usually uses 9 players. The distribution of minutes and breaks will be a factor.
Over the years, the Buffs have won all 5 of the 8 games the teams have played that were held in Boulder.
Given that Colorado likes to play with pace, and are used to doing so in thin air, the Beavers' preferred up-tempo type of game won't be the last thing their opponents want to see. Oregon St. will also run into a tough defense, as the Buffs are the only Pac-12 team holding opponents under 40% shooting from the field.
Dufault is the only starter left from the Colorado team that trampled Oregon St. 83-57 back on Civil War Saturday 2010, a game virtually none of Beaver Nation saw or hear, it coming in the aftermath of the visit by ESPN Gameday that had most Oregon St. (and Oregon) fans up by 4 in the morning, if they went to sleep at all, and then the game itself.
Interestingly, 4 Beavers who started that day, Cunningham, Starks, Burton, and Devon Collier, will start again. Cunningham had 16 points in Boulder, and Burton 10, but Starks and Collier were not only hled scoreless, they had no assists or steals, and only 1 rebound, by Starks, in a combined 34 minutes.
The game against Colorado was also the game in which Eric Moreland suffered a season ending left shoulder injury against, forcing him into a red-shirt season before fall term finals had even been taken.
Colorado is tied with Oregon for second place in the Pac-12, a game behind co-leaders California and Washington. Oregon St. enters the game in 8th. place, but only a game behind a 3 way tie for 5th., and just 2 games out of 2nd. place.
There's no TV for this game, unless you buy a subscription to Buffs TV Online, which is a bit of a surprise, given that ROOT Sports has a Rocky Mountain affiliate, and Colorado is playing well, especially at home.
Here's the place to comment while listening to Mike Parker on the radio or the stream from KPAM, something you'll need to get used to, since the Utah game will be out of sight as well. Better write your satellite provider (since the odds are your house is outside the Comcast service area) to remind them how important it will be that they sign a deal to carry the Pac-12 Network.