|Ah, memories. From: the BDC|
Regardless of tonight's result, the Buffs and Ducks should see each other again one week from today.
Of course, the hardiest of Buff Nation can easily recall the result of the Texas Tech duel from two years ago. While the Buffs scored that nice win over Tech in Boulder, the rematch in Kansas City was completely different. The Raiders regrouped, and clocked CU by 15. NIT hopes were dashed, and the Red Raiders, who had lost seven straight prior to that game in KC, moved on to face KU. I'm sure the loser tonight hopes that history repeats next week in Los Angeles.
While that Tech game was essentially meaningless, tonight's game does hold plenty of importance. The winner does get that vital first-round bye to rest their late season legs. Additionally, Coach Boyle is going for his 100th career win as a head coach, and the Buffs are still in search of their second-consecutive 20-win season.
There's plenty on the table to play for.
Tip-off from the eye-achingly ugly floor of the MATT is set for 8:30. The action can be seen on ROOT/FSN. If the crazy floor design scares you away, you can listen to Mark Johnson and the radio call on 760AM.
My preview of the first game can be seen here.
Click below for my preview of the rematch...
When last we met -
Back on February 4th, the Buffs and Ducks played through a nerve-wracking affair. Down at half, the Buffs utilized 57% second-half shooting to climb back into the game. The finish was still in doubt as both teams found the line with under 10 seconds left on the clock. Oregon missed their free throws (Ashaolu), while CU made theirs (Tomlinson). Game: Blouses.
Buff Nation was allowed to exhale, and CU walked away with the 72-71 victory. It was the result of two quality teams trading body blows over the course of two hours. The Buffs may not have "looked" the better of the two teams, but a win is, as always, a win.
|They all look the same in the win column, no matter how ugly they looked in person. From: the BDC|
The Ducks were powered by Olu Ashaolu's 17/9. CU really had no answer for him inside, and he was the difference maker for most of the game. Had he not shot 1-6 from the charity stripe, Oregon wins the ballgame.
|Ashaolu really hurt the Buffs inside. Can the Buffs find a counter in the rematch? From: the BDC|
|Calm down, Coach. From: the BDC|
|Here you can see Nate being fouled by E.J. Singler. From: the BDC|
What's changed? -
Oregon has continued to look scary good. Going 4-1 since the loss in Boulder, the Ducks lone defeat in the past few weeks came at Cal, where they still nearly managed to steal the result. Highlighted by a 25-point schellacking of current conference front runner Washington, their last three weeks paint the picture of a team who could easily win their way into the Dance.
Honestly, the Ducks scare me more than any team in the conference, save Stanford. They have three highly efficient players (Singler, Sim, and Joseph), and their interior strength, centered around Ashaolu, makes for one of the best offenses in the conference.
|The talented quartet makes for some serious matchup problems.|
For the Buffs, an unheralded undercurrent of the past few weeks has been the play of Nate Tomlinson. While fellow senior Carlon Brown has faded down the stretch, the Aussie point guard seems to have saved his best play for last.
|Nate has been awesome recently. From: the BDC|
Damn, the Buffs could really use a solid road victory headed into the conference tournament. Unfortunately, I fully expect the Ducks to win tonight. I'd bet it'll even be by more than 10.
Ashaolu is too much for CU to handle inside, and the perimeter trio of Joseph, Sim, and Singler should put more than enough points on the board to keep the Buffs at bay. Add to it a Buffs offense still struggling through the diminishing returns of their leading scorer Carlon Brown, and I expect CU to get rolled tonight.
However, as I alluded to at the top, this isn't the game that matters. Next week, in Los Angeles, the Buffs will get another shot in the rubber match. Hopefully, it'll be a different result in the neutral confines of the tournament. Laugh while you can, Duckies.
Oregon 78 - CU 64
GO BUFFS! PROVE ME WRONG, AND BEAT THE DUCKS!