Ahead of tonight's men's basketball game between Oregon and Colorado, we chat with Cameron Goeldner of Ralphie Report, SB Nation's Colorado Buffaloes blog, about Colorado's recent performance, Josh Scott and the Buffs' dominating rebounding performances.
Be sure to check out The Ralphie Report for more coverage leading up to tonight's game.
Colorado handed Oregon their last Pac-12 loss back on January 17. What will the Buffs have to do to repeat that performance?
If the Buffs want to beat Oregon again, a few things need to happen. First, you need a double-double performance from Josh Scott down low, Colorado is most effective when they can run their offense through Scott. If a defense is focused on him, it opens up opportunities for the rest of the team, especially the players on the wings.
We know Josh Scott will be the guy Oregon needs to shut down. If Scott has an off-night, who does Colorado turn to in order to stay in the game?
If Josh Scott gets shut down, it usually leads to Buffs loss. However, if the team can get a big performance from their wings, they can make any game a fight. Josh Fortune and George King are both guys with the potential to score 25 on any given night, though more often than not they don't provide such a big contribution. Last time around they combined for 20 as King was in foul trouble for much of the night. Tory Miller and Wesley Gordon are the two other big men who see sizable minutes (Gordon starts alongside Scott, Miller is one of the first off the bench) and if Scott is off, the direct burden of making up for his production falls on those two.
Colorado has won five of their last six games. What has been going right for the Buffs lately?
Ever since a last second 56-54 loss to Utah on January 8, the Buffs seem to be firing on all cylinders. Senior point guard Xavier Talton seems to have found his stride, not always playing a lot of minutes but coming up with some key plays, including a steal that sealed the game against Cal last Sunday. The aforementioned Scott has been playing well, the team is forcing more turnovers, including 15 against Cal, which would be a season high except for a game against Portland in November. Dom Collier is another guy that has really hit stride and said after the Cal game he's as confident as he has been at this level.
As I look over the stats, the biggest thing I notice is Colorado grabbing 42.6 rebounds a game, 5th in the nation. Do you think this game will be won or lost on the boards, and if so, who is going to lead that charge?
Colorado has out rebounded 19 of their 22 opponents so far this year, and the three games they've lost the battle they've also lost the game, so I think it's fair to say that will probably decide the game. Josh Scott is the guy to look for on the glass, he leads the team, averaging 9.5 rebounds per game. Another name to watch on the boards is Wesley Gordon, who averages 6.9 rebounds per game.