This evening at 6:00 PM PT, the Oregon Ducks will travel to the Coors Events Center in Boulder, Colorado to take on the Colorado Buffaloes in some Pac-12 men’s basketball action. The Buffs are one of the tougher defensive teams in the country and allow just .94 points per play, and both of these two teams are 7-3 in conference play. The Ducks easily beat the worst team in the conference in their last game, but they need to beat Tad Boyle and the Buffaloes in order to get rid of the sour taste in their mouths after their Civil War loss.
Colorado has two players with PERs over 20, and they are Andre Roberson (24.5) and Austin Dufault (20.2). Dufault is the more efficient shooter with a 59.6 TS%, but Roberson is a monster on the boards who has a TRB% of 22.4. He is by far the best rebounder heading into this game and averages 11.2 rebounds per contest. He is the only player in the conference who is averaging double-digit rebounds, and Roberson also leads the conference in total rebounding percentage. This is a huge disadvantage for the Oregon Ducks, because they have the 203rd most total rebounds as a team in the country.
Roberson is also among the top five Pac-12 players in PER, and he has been worth about four wins this season. That puts him in a tie at the top of the conference standings with Josh Owens, and his 2.7 defensive win shares are easily the highest total in the Pac-12. Roberson allows a stifling .84 points per possession as an individual, and he has a 6.2 block percentage. He is the best defensive player in the conference, and he will control the inside game.
Dufault, on the other hand, is the guy who makes 47.4% of his three-point attempts and can hit almost any shot. He has been worth one win on defense this season and 2.7 wins overall. While Dufault isn’t nearly as dominant as Roberson, he is more than capable player.
Carlon Brown is another Buff to watch for, and he has an assist percentage of 18.6% to go with a 19.5 PER. He has a 57.7 TS% and has been worth 2.6 wins this season. Spencer DinWiddie has an extremely peculiar name, but he also produces and has been worth 2.2 wins this season (18.6 PER). Askia Booker is the fourth player on the team with a usage rate above 20% and is a decent player who owns a 16.6 PER this season.
The Oregon Ducks will be looking for more from star point guard Devoe Joseph, who had 20 points with five rebounds, four assists, and two steals in their last game. Joseph leads the team with a 20.8 PER and has a 59.7 TS%. The former Minnesota Gopher is, however, a poor defensive player.
Carlos Emory had been an afterthought for much of this season, but he is starting to peak at the right time. He dropped 14 last time out and is looking to improve on his steadily rising 13.9 PER. Emory is still an inefficient player who turns the ball over frequently, but he is shedding his “liability” tag and is starting to play some quality minutes for the Ducks.
This game has huge ramifications, and a win here means that the Colorado Buffaloes are for real and that I have been underrating them for far too long. A Buffs win will also make the Ducks look like a fluky team whose luck is running out on them. The Ducks need to win this game and cement themselves at the second place position in the conference. A lot is riding on this game, and it is the most important game of the year for this team up to this point.
A troubling fact for Oregon is that Colorado has been undefeated (6-0) at home in conference play. They shut down their opponents in Boulder, but the Ducks are also 4-1 on the road against Pac-12 foes. However, Andre Roberson is a new beast the Ducks will face, and their frontcourt won’t be able to cope with him. The Buffaloes are the deeper team, and they will win out in the end in a 68-64 game.
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