Colorado Buffaloes (12-2, 1-0)
- Head Coach: Tad Boyle (10th Season)
- Top Performer: McKinley Wright IV (13.4 PPG, 5.2 RPG)
- Points For: 71.9 PPG (201st)
- Points Against: 60.9 PPG (32nd)
- Last Game/Streak: 74-65 Win vs. Oregon (5W)
Just one game into Pac-12 play, Oregon State is already standing with their backs against the wall.
The Beavers dropped their conference opener at Utah and with a 10-3 overall record, their window for mistakes to still have a shot at the NCAA Tournament is slowly closing. To add insult to injury, Oregon State must now test their luck against Colorado in Boulder, a squad that walloped #4 Oregon on Thursday night.
To say this is time for some soul searching for the Beavers is a massive understatement. Besides an abysmal shooting performance against Utah, Oregon State allowed star Timmy Allen to live at the free-throw line, swingman Both Gach to make his usual impact and guard Rylan Jones to get going from behind the arc. In the world of scouring reports, that would be the first three check-marks of what not to do against Utah.
So how do the Beavers make some changes for their meeting with Colorado?
First of all, Oregon State has to work harder against Buffaloes leading scorer McKinley Wright IV (13.4 PPG) than they did against Timmy Allen. While Utah is a team led by offense, Colorado is more grit and grind that uses team defense to spur chances and making life rough for Wright is crucial. Easier said than done? Of course. But something’s gotta give in you want to win in the Conference of Champions.
A top concern for Oregon State also has to be Tyler Bey (12.6 PPG), who is a versatile, 6’ 8”, double-double type of forward who is not only the prototypical type of guy that the Beavers struggle to handle, but also one that can stunt the efficiency of Tres Tinkle on the offensive end. Unique pieces like Bey, oversized guard D’Shawn Schwartz (11.5 PPG) and bruising forward Evan Battey (9.6 PPG) make up the core for Colorado, which has great ability to work to one another strengths to find success.
It’s not always a masterpiece for the Buffaloes, but at the end of the day, they usually get the job done.
While I could go on and on listing each piece of the Colorado roster that will play some sort of role on Sunday night against Oregon State, that’s not what this is about at all. This game is about the Beavers hunkering down and showing some moxie in a must-win situation. As the great Bill Walton says “there’s no truckstops in the Conference of Champions”, so returning back to Corvallis to face Arizona State and Arizona with an 0-2 mark could spell disaster for this Beavers team.
It’s go time for Oregon State in the Centennial State.
Player To Watch
Tyler Bey (Forward - Junior)
Bey is one of my favorite players in the Pac-12 because of his sometimes peculiar way of playing at angles and in mismatches that are part of the undefinable complexion of the game of basketball. Against Oregon, the junior forward/guard hybrid posted 15 points and 14 rebounds in a vintage display of his talents.
- Date: Sunday, January 5th
- Time: 3:00 PM PT
- Location: CU Events Center (Boulder, CO)
- Coverage: ESPNU