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MBB Game 29 Preview and Open Thread: Colorado Buffaloes at Oregon Ducks

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Colorado Buffaloes (19-9, 11-5) at Oregon Ducks (20-8, 11-5)

7:30 PT :: Matthew Knight Arena

TV :: FSN (National)

Pomeroy Rankings :: CU (83) :: UO (72)

Pomeroy Prediction :: UO 71-66

Oregon returns to Matthew Knight Arena for the final series of the regular season. Oregon enters the final week on the wrong end of the bubble, and with bubble teams like Colorado State, USF, Cincinnati, and Texas all getting quality wins Wednesday night, Oregon's chances of playing their way into the dance without winning the conference tournament just went from slim to slimmer. That said, the Ducks have a very real chance of winning a wide open conference tournament and, for all intents and purposes, that chance starts tonight. The winner of this game will earn a #3 seed in the conference tournament, the loser would get the #5 seed. The difference, of course, is that the top four seeds get a first round bye, and winning three games in three nights is easier than winning four games in four nights. A win here is basically a first round tournament win for the Ducks.

In addition to being a very big game, its also a very emotional game for the Ducks, who lost to Colorado in Boulder on February 4 in very controversial fashion at the buzzer. Colorado has their big guns: Carlon Brown at 12 ppg, Austin DuFault at 11 ppg, and Andre Roberson with a double double averaging 11 points and boards. But it wasn't those guys who hurt Oregon the first go around. Instead, Askia Booker came off the bench for 17, and Spencer Dinwiddie nailed three 3-pointers en route to 16 points, and those were the guys that killed Oregon offensively. Colorado collectively shot almost 48%, and it was a defensive letdown that lost Oregon a game in which Joseph, Ashaolu, and Singler combined for 48 points.

This game is a bit of a contrast of styles. Both teams shoot the ball extremely well, but have completely different ways of going about it. Oregon is a top-50 offense (109.8 points per 100 possessions, 43rd) that wants to push the pace and look to attack quickly. Colorado is nearly a top 50 defense (94.0 points per 100 possessions, 51st) that wants to slow the game down, play tough defense, and get good open shots out of their half court offense rather than attack. Oregon won the battle of pace in the first game, but gave up too many open shots to CU and lost the game on the defensive end. Colorado hasn't been the same team on the road, so Oregon should have the home court edge, but they will again need to control the pace--and keep CU's shooting percentage in the low 40s--to come out victorious.