Colorado Buffaloes (19-6, 8-4)
- Head Coach: Tad Boyle (10th Season)
- Top Performer: McKinley Wright IV (13.6 PPG, 5.2 APG)
- Points For: 72.0 PPG (T-163rd)
- Points Against: 62.8 PPG (32nd)
- Last Game/Streak: 68-60 Loss at Oregon (1L)
With most of the college basketball universe watching, Colorado collapsed in the second half against Oregon on Thursday night, putting the Buffaloes into a complex situation.
Sitting at 8-4 in Pac-12 play, tied for first with Oregon and with a split season series against the Ducks, Colorado now has work to do with just six games left on their regular season slate. If Tad Boyle’s crew still has a Pac-12 regular season title on their minds, they’ll have to get the job done not only from here on out, but with four of those upcoming contests coming on the road.
The first of their four will take place on Saturday night in Corvallis, as the Buffaloes will try to get back into the win column with a match-up against the Beavers.
The first thing to know about Colorado is that the team is incredibly strong defensively, half-thanks to a style of play that is slower-paced and half-attributed to a group that can really dig in on that end of the floor. The team ranks nationally in the top thirty in points allowed per game and hasn’t allowed a single opponent to hit the 80-point plateau this season.
However, Oregon State did come close in their 76-68 victory over the Buffs earlier this year.
For the Beavers to complete the season sweep, their top priorities need to be slowing down the Buffs’ top trio of McKinley Wright IV (13.6 PPG), Tyler Bey (13.2 PPG) and D’Shawn Schwartz (11.2 PPG). All three have the ability to light up the score-sheet at any given time, as indicated by Schwartz’ recent game-high 14 points outing in the loss to Oregon and his 15.0 PPG average over his last four contests.
Inside, Colorado’s biggest (figuratively and literally) known commodity is forward Evan Battey (9.4 PPG) who posted his own double-double against the Ducks and is definitely one of the hardest unique covers in the whole Pac-12. His bruising style could give center Kylor Kelley problems at times on the glass, despite Kelly having the distinct length advantage over the under-the-rim bruiser.
Stretch-four Lucas Siewert (8.3 PPG) is also a key name to know off the bench, as is starting sharpshooter Shane Gatling (6.6 PPG), as both talents can get hot at any time from the field. Siewert has tallied double-figures in scoring nine times this season, while Gatling has come on as of late, averaging 9.0 PPG over his last three outings.
Personnel aside, this is going to be one of those league contests that you may look back on in a month’s time and say really changed the league picture in one way or another. Colorado needs a win desperately with arguably the best team Tad Boyle’s ever had in Boulder and the Beavers are feeling good about themselves after a victory over Utah on Thursday. Something’s got to give on Saturday night at Gill Coliseum.
Player To Watch
Shane Gatling (Guard - Senior)
In the meeting of these two squads earlier this season, senior guard Shane Gatling scored 11 points on a 3-6 day from behind the arc, as one of the Buffs few perimeter threats. A role player like Gatling could make the difference in this one, especially if he gets going from the perimeter. Expect Tad Boyle to use Gatling as a floor-spacer against the Beavers defense.
- Date: Saturday, February 15th
- Time: 7:00 PM PT
- Location: Gill Coliseum (Corvallis, OR)
- Coverage: Fox Sports 1