The Week That Was:
Colorado is now No. 20 in the AP Poll and moved up one spot after a week that featured an 84-70 victory over Georgia. The Buffaloes' defense was nowhere to be found against the Bulldogs as Georgia shot 47 percent on twos and 62 percent on threes. The offense, however, more than made up for the defensive struggles as they went 8-of-20 from beyond the arc and also attempted 26 free throws and made all 26 of them. Going forward, the defense will need to be more consistent, but that shouldn't be a problem given the fact that they have the 26th most efficient defense according to KenPom.
The Week Ahead:
The Buffaloes enter Pac-12 play this year with an 11-2 record, which is the best mark Tad Boyle has had heading into conference play since he's arrived in Boulder. They'll take on Oregon St. on Thursday and follow that up with a matchup against No. 10 Oregon on Sunday.
The last time these two teams met in conference play Oregon St. came into the Coors Event Center and won 64-58 and gave the Buffs their most disappointing loss of the season. The Buffaloes will want to start conference play on the right note and they have had a much tougher non-conference slate than Oregon St. thus far playing Baylor, Harvard, Kansas and Oklahoma St. The Beavers' strongest opponents have been Portland, Maryland, DePaul and Hawaii with losses coming against the latter two teams. Colorado will be the best team Oregon St. has faced this year.
The Beavers simply don't have the talent or depth to match the Buffs. Roberto Nelson and Devon Collier are Oregon State's two best players combining for almost 40 points per game, but there's not much else on Craig Robinson's team. Expect Josh Scott to have a big game against Oregon St. because of their lack of rebounding. Scott, who has had 10 offensive rebounds in the past two games, should be able to exploit the Beavers' problems with second chances. On the season, they're allowing 35.4 percent of rebounds on defense to the opposing team. Additionally, if Colorado can shoot well from beyond the arc for the second consecutive game, the game shouldn't be close. The Beavers allow teams to shoot 37 percent from three against them.
The Ducks will provide a much greater test for the Buffaloes. Dana Altman has his team at 12-0 and undefeated heading into Pac-12 play. Their best wins came over Georgetown, Mississippi, Illinois and BYU and they have the ninth most efficient offense, third best effective field goal percentage and ninth best three-point percentage in the country according to KenPom. Oregon has plenty of depth and offensive firepower, most notably with transfers Mike Moser, Jason Calliste and Joseph Young. They also have guards Johnathan Loyd, Damyean Dotson and Dominic Artis. Artis has only played three games because of a suspension earlier in the year.
The trio of transfers have been the Ducks' best players this year. Young has the fifth best offensive rating in the country and averages 20.2 points per game. Moser has responded well after an off year at UNLV and is averaging 13.9 points, 7.4 rebounds per game and shooting at a 37 percent clip from three while Calliste has the third best true shooting percentage in the country and averages 12.3 points per game.
As a team, Oregon has only been held to under 80 points this year twice. And in order for Colorado to win, they just might need to do that. Their defense was nowhere near perfect against Georgia, but the effort should be more consistent against the Ducks. The Buffs give up the least amount of offensive rebounds in the nation which will help limit Oregon's second chances and they'll also need to limit Oregon from three. Fortunately, the game will be played at the Coors Event Center and although it might not be at full capacity, the Ducks have only played one game on the road this year. If the Buffs can limit Oregon from three and keep up their rebounding success, they'll have a good chance of taking down another top 10 team.
132.4, 23.5- Those numbers are Josh Scott's offensive rating and defensive rebound percentage respectively. Obviously, Spencer Dinwiddie is the key to this team, but Josh Scott is not far behind. Scott's offensive rating of 132.4 puts him in the top 40 in the nation and also only a marginal amount behind Dinwiddie's team best rating of 133.9. Scott has continued to improve and he produces so consistently that sometimes his performances don't stand out as much as they should. More importantly, is how he has more than doubled his defensive rebounding percentage of 11.5 last year to 23.5 this year. Scott struggled rebounding last year and only picked up 5.7 rebounds per game, yet so far this year he is averaging 9.2 per game. He will be going against much better opponents as Pac-12 play starts, but it's good to see that one of the only flaws he had in his game last year has been corrected in his sophomore season.
48.9- Askia Booker's percentage on two-pointers this year. Booker's shot selection is always going to be questioned because he excels at one of the most inefficient shots in basketball. However, his 48.9 percentage on two-pointers is much higher than his 39.5 percent last year and 41.4 percent his freshman year. If he can continue to shoot well, this team will become dangerous in Pac-12 play. It's a double-edged sword with Booker, but there's no question that when he shoots well, this team rarely loses.