Oregon St.-Colorado Preview
The 20th-ranked Buffaloes look to improve to 10-0 at home Thursday night as they try to avenge last season's loss in Boulder to the Beavers.
These teams played three tight games in 2012-13. They split two in the regular season before Colorado (11-2) ended Oregon State's season with a 74-68 victory in the Pac-12 tournament March 13.
That came four days after the Beavers won for the first time in seven attempts in Boulder, 64-58 for their only victory over their final seven games.
"If we can't get up for Oregon State, I don't know for who we can," Colorado coach Tad Boyle said. "They beat us here on senior night when we honored Sabatino (Chen) and Shane (Harris-Tunks) and the guys last year and really left a little sour taste in our mouths."
Beavers star Roberto Nelson averaged 18.7 points against the Buffaloes a season ago and seems to be a much better player in 2013-14, leading the conference with 21.4 points per game.
"He's been terrific for us," coach Craig Robinson said. "And it's been harder and harder because he's really a marked man out there."
Nelson also leads the Pac-12 in free-throw attempts per game with 8.4. This contest features two more players who are difficult to guard, with Colorado's Spencer Dinwiddie second in that category at 7.5 and the Beavers' Devon Collier third at 7.2.
Dinwiddie averaged 20.7 points against Oregon State last season.
Colorado leads the Pac-12 with 30.2 free-throw attempts per game, and Boyle believes that helps make up for the fact that his club is last in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.00.
"We weren't good at it last year either and there have been games where we've been better but one of the things we do well is get to the foul line and attack the rim off the dribble as good as any team in the league," Boyle said.
The Buffaloes set a school record by making all 26 attempts from the line in an 84-70 home win over Georgia on Saturday. Askia Booker scored a team-high 19 points.
One change in this matchup for Oregon State (8-4) this season is that Angus Brandt is back after missing almost the entire 2012-13 season. He returned from a two-game absence due to a hyperextended knee with a team-high 21 points in Sunday's 76-68 win over Quinnipiac.
"I always feel I have to come out and contribute being a fifth-year senior but once again it was great, my teammates were dishing the ball and getting me open in great positions to score," Brandt said.
An edge for the Buffaloes is that the Beavers remain without Eric Moreland, who had two double-doubles last season against Colorado but is serving the final two games of a 14-game team suspension.
The Buffaloes remain wary of who they will see on the court.
"We know they've got two of the best scorers in the league," Boyle said. "Roberto Nelson is leading the league in scoring, Devon Collier is a really good low-post player and Angus Brandt, they got him back off injury from last year."