The Colorado Buffaloes begin their final home stretch of the season tonight when the Stanford Cardinal come to town. The third-place Buffaloes are still in the hunt for a regular season Pac-12 championship, a top four seed and first round bye in the conference tournament and a berth in either the NCAA or NIT tournaments. However, the Buffs have the toughest closing stretches of any of the contenders for the conference crown. Stanford and California come to Boulder this week followed by a tough trip to Oregon to take on both the Ducks and Beavers. With two wins this year, Colorado would finish it's first season in the Pac-12 with a perfect 9-0 home record, a feat many media members thought completely unattainable prior to the start of the year.
First order of business for these Buffaloes is getting revenge on a Cardinal team that worked them over in the second-half of a mid-season game in Palo Alto. After hanging with Stanford for the first half, the Buffs found themselves down by six and firmly in the game. However, they fell apart in the second-half and the Cardinal earned a demoralizing 20-point victory. In that game the Stanford was lead by freshman guard Chasson Randle, who finished with 18 points and sophomore forward Josh Huestis, who tied his career high with 13 points and chipped in 4 blocks. The Buffaloes got double-digit scoring from Austin Dufault, Andre Roberson, Carlon Brown and Spencer Dinwiddie, but were doomed when they lost the rebounding battle 32-23.
Since that win at home, the Cardinal have floundered while the Buffs stayed in the conference race. After the win on January 14th Stanford lost three straight and is 3-6 overall with five of those losses coming by 10 or more points. Colorado on the other hand, has surged, winning seven of nine with three of those wins coming on the road. Freshmen guards Spencer Dinwiddie and Askia Booker have avoided hitting the "freshman wall" and continue to up their play while Andre Roberson has rebounded nicely from his 0-point game against Arizona.
This is my first attempt at adding some video features to the site, so bear with me as I nail down the production (also, that halftime spread was six, not three as I say in the video and I guarantee I mispronounced both Huestis and Randle's names). Soon we will have custom video bumpers and sound and a studio setting for reports like this. On Sunday, Parker and I will be doing a remote feature at the Cal game. Give me some thoughts on what you would like to see. A weekly podcast? A studio type show? More features from practices and games? Help me us shape the future content here on The Ralphie Report.
At the time of this story being published 200-300 tickets remain for tonight's match-up so expect the game to be sold out. Winter weather in Boulder and a later than usual start will certainly be a factor, but I expect the Coors Event Center to be rocking tonight for the second to last home game of the year. The Buffs need to feed off of that energy and start the game fast, wearing down the Cardinal deep into the game. Boyle's squad will need to flip that rebounding differential from the game in Palo Alto, so expect Andre Roberson to have a big game. Colorado would also benefit from a return to form from Carlon Brown, who didn't reach double digits either of the prior two games.
The Buffaloes are currently favored by five points after being eight underdogs on the road in Palo Alto. When compared to the six-point margin they received against Oregon in Boulder it's a somewhat interesting number.
Let's go Buffs.