Colorado presents Beavers with another winning opportunity
Published: Friday, February 8, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 8, 2013 01:02
Last year Colorado won the Pac-12 tournament, made it to the third Round of the NCAA Tournament, and finished with a record of 24-12.
This season hasn’t exactly gone exactly as planned for the Buffaloes. Although they did hand Oregon its third straight loss Thursday night in Eugene.
The Beavers’ 82-64 win against Utah on Wednesday was only their second Pac-12 win this season but it was the largest margin of victory since beating Texas Pan-American by 25 on Dec. 31. The team is hoping it can give them some momentum going into their final eight regular season games.
“I think we found what we need to do to have a successful game and get wins,” said senior forward Joe Burton after Wednesday’s game. “We kind of lost it at the start of the season but we are getting it back. We haven’t given up, we haven’t lost speed at practice, we still go at it, we are still physical and doing everything well.”
Colorado’s season has been the epitome of inconsistency. After starting 10-2, the Buffaloes lost a controversial game to Arizona to begin Pac-12 play and still haven’t fully recovered.
Still, head coach Craig Robinson said at his Tuesday press conference that he thinks Colorado is a bubble team for the NCAA Tournament.
“Any team in this conference can beat any other team on the road or at home,” Robinson said. “Every team is a concern until you get on the court and you beat them. Having seen them play, they are a good team that is in the top half of our conference.”
Last season Oregon State lost to the Buffaloes by 22 points in Boulder, Colo., but then beat them by 14 in Gill Coliseum a month later.
“Last year when they came down, it was Kevin McShane’s Senior Night so we played hard because we had something to play for,” Burton said. “We still have something to play for this year, so we will come out with the same intensity. We are just going to play hard.”
Colorado is one of the best rebounding teams in the conference — averaging 38.4 per game with an average rebound margin of +4.7 per game. They also have Andre Roberson — the Pac-12’s leading rebounder with 11.6 per game.
While OSU did struggle grabbing boards at the beginning of conference play, the Beavers have now outrebounded their opponents in five out of their last six games. Robinson credits this to the return of Eric Moreland — second in the league with 10.5 rebounds per game — from his three game suspension.
“We have to look at this as ‘hey, this is a chance for us to go on a little bit of a roll here of our own’ so it’s probably going to be a very tight game,” Robinson said. “They’ve got really good players, good young players and they’ve got a prolific rebounder in [Andre] Roberson.”
Beginning with the Stanford game, Robinson has been going to a three guard lineup more frequently which means a lot more playing time for Challe Barton and a lot less for Jarmal Reid. Reid, a true freshman, was averaging 22.3 minutes per game in the Beavers first 8 Pac-12 games but has only played 7 and 4 minutes in the last two, respectively. Barton, on the other hand, averaged 13 minutes per game in the first eight but has played an average of 21.5 over the last two.
“It wasn’t because of anything Jarmal did, it’s just something we had to try differently but when we put him in and put him on a guy who can score, that guy has a tough time scoring so he’s still one of our better defenders,” Robinson said.
Alex Crawford, sports reporter