Colorado Buffaloes (10-10)
- Latest BTD Pac-12 Power Rankings: 10th Overall (0-7)
- Head Coach: Tad Boyle (6th Season)
- Top Performer: Derrick White (16.5 PPG, 4.3 APG)
- Points For: 75.8 PPG (130th)
- Points Against: 72.8 (199th)
- Last Game/Streak: 91-89 OT Loss at Washington State (7L)
A battle of two 0-7 teams in the Pac-12, Thursday night’s clash between Oregon State and Colorado will feature two of the conference’s most under-performing rosters, who both will be hungry to break their conference play losing streak.
For the Beavers, it’s been a wild ride of untimely injuries, depth chart alterations and unlucky breaks, that have plagued what was expected to be a huge growing year for a program coming off an NCAA Tournament birth. For the Buffs, it’s simply been the inability to navigate around some of the upper-echelon Pac-12 teams, while dealing with a myriad of close losses to the rest of the pack. Simply put, something will have to give in this one.
The Buffs are by no means an untalented team, as Colorado boasts three double-digit scorers in the trio of guard Derrick White (16.5 PPG), forward Xavier Johnson (15.5 PPG) and swingman George King (11.3 PPG). However, it’s the depth that comes after that gifted group that seems to be where the problems have arose for head coach Tad Boyle and company.
Senior forward Wesley Gordon (7.8 PPG) is a reliable veteran presence but at times, he’s been asked to do too much for a struggling Buffs roster. Senior guard Josh Fortune (7.0 PPG) was expected to have a breakthrough type of senior season but he’s seemed to actually regressed in his final season, while juniors like forward Tory Miller (5.6 PPG) and guard Dominique Collier (5.5 PPG) have made minimal impacts at times. In similar fashion to Oregon State, there’s no one quick fix to turn this season back in the right direction again. It’s gonna be a long two months for Colorado.
The chances may be few and far between for the Beavers this season, so in order to capitalize on the task at hand, Oregon State must focus on ball security and bringing the necessary defensive intensity to slow a top-heavy Colorado roster down. If the Beavers can find ways to take at least one of the Buffs’ big three off their game, Oregon State has the potential to snag their win conference win of the 2016-2017 season.
Players To Watch
Derrick White (Senior - Guard)
A transfer from Division II school Colorado-Colorado Springs (UCCS), White left UCCS as the school’s all-time leading scorer (1,912 points) and assister (343 assists) and in his first season at the Division I level, hasn’t showed any signs of slowing down. Colorado’s leading scorer on the season, White is one of the toughest guards in the league to contain when he gets going. The Beavers must have a plan for White all night long.
Xavier Johnson (Senior - Forward)
Where talent meets toughness, there’s a reason that Xavier Johnson is not one of those well-liked guys around the Pac-12 but any night matched-up against the 6’ 7”, 230 pound forward is going to be a rough one. Johnson may not be a traditional finesse or power type of player but his mix of the two skill sets makes him a match-up problem on the court at all times.
George King (Junior - Guard)
Usually a hit-or-miss type of scorer, it looks like junior guard George King has hit his stride over the past five games, where he’s found double-digits in the scoring column every time, while also snagging a double-double against Arizona (and being one rebound away from two more double-doubles against USC and Washington State). Like White, when King gets going, he can be a ruthless type of talent to attempt to slow down.