GAMES NOTES: The sixth-seeded Colorado Buffaloes will try to take another step toward a Pac-12 Tournament title in their first season in the conference, while the third-seeded Oregon Ducks will try to extend their season, as the two meet up at the Staples Center in the final quarterfinal matchup of the day.
The two squads split the season series this year with the home team coming out on the winning end in each instance. Most recently Oregon downed Colorado 90-81, but still trails Colorado all-time, 4-3.
Colorado played against Utah, a fellow newcomer to the Pac-12 this season, in its first round bout and despite struggling offensively, put together a strong defensive effort to claim a 53-41 win.
Oregon closed the season in a flourish dominating Utah 94-48 in the regular season finale to cap off a four-game winning streak. However, the team still finished below Washington and California in the standings with a 13-5 mark in league play to go with a solid 22-8 record overall.
With both teams shooting right around 35.0 percent, Colorado's ability to get the free throw line turned out to be the difference, as the Buffaloes outscored the Utes 22-9 from the charity stripe while also forcing 18 turnovers and committing only nine.
Andre Roberson has been the premier performer for the Buffaloes this season and has carried that role into the postseason after he put in 20 points and brought down 11 rebounds in the first round victory. The sophomore forward (11.2 ppg, 11.2 rpg) may not have ended the season as the squad's lead scorer, but with his ability to get points in the paint and a league leading rebounding average, Roberson was certainly vital. Carlon Brown (12.2 ppg) was the team's top scorer during the regular season, while Austin Dufault (11.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and Spencer Dinwiddie (10.3 ppg) added scoring depth. Colorado won't blow many teams away, but still puts in a respectable 68.1 points per game, while allowing 63.0.
The 94-point effort against Utah on the last day of the regular season was a season-high for Oregon and also the first time this year the Ducks scored 90 or more points in consecutive games. Oregon went up 52-14 at the half and finished out the game shooting 56.5 percent from the floor while pouring in 15 three pointers.
Oregon's scoring in that game was not in line with the team's average this season which at 72.5 points per game, ranked third in the Pac-12. Oregon gets the majority of its scoring from the trio of Devoe Joseph, E.J. Singler and Garrett Sim. All three score at a high rate and can shoot the ball from distance as well. Joseph (16.8 ppg) is the team's top offensive threat. After missing the first six games of the season, he scored in double figures in all but one of the 24 games he played in. Singler (13.2 pg, 5.5 rpg) plays at the forward position but can spread the floor with a decent 35.4 shooting percentage from beyond the arc. Sim (12.3 ppg) is the team's leading threat from three-point range, and has had at least three three-pointers on 12 occasions this year.
The knock on Oregon is that it lives and dies by the three pointer. So far this season it has been a strength and with Joseph and Singler also finding ways to score closer to the basket, the Ducks should coast into the next round.