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Buffaloes Set For Pac-12 Tournament

Mar 9, 2022

PAC-12 POSTSEASON FACTS: Colorado enters its 11th Pac-12 Tournament, holding an overall record of 15-9 in the championship. The Buffaloes are the No. 4 seed, earning their second-straight first round bye. Colorado was a program-best No. 3 seed in 2021. The Buffaloes were never higher than No. 5 their first nine seasons in the conference.

Colorado has two Pac-12 Tournament championship game appearances, winning the inaugural Pac-12 Tournament title in 2012, as the No. 6 seed, winning four games in four days in Los Angeles. The Buffaloes were the runner up last season. Colorado has four Pac-12 semifinal round appearances, including two of the last three.

Colorado is 8-2 in the championship as the higher seeded team, 7-7 as the lower seed. Five of Colorado's nine Pac-12 Tournament losses have come to the top two seeds.

The Buffaloes were the last Pac-12 program to walk away from the annual event without a win. Colorado had won eight-straight first round games before falling to Washington State in 2020, just hours before the rest of the Pac-12 Tournament, and NCAA Tournament, was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Colorado is 28-44 all-time in conference postseason tournaments. The Buffaloes were 4-20 in the Big Eight Tournament between 1977-96 and 9-15 in the Big 12 Championship between 1997-2011.

Head coach Tad Boyle owns more than half of Colorado's all-time conference tournament wins. He is 17-10 in conference tournament action, including a 2-1 mark in Colorado's final year of the Big 12.

ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 20-10 overall and finished in sole possession of fourth place in the Pac-12 Conference regular season standings at 12-8. The Buffaloes clinched that honor by defeating Utah, 84-71, on Mar. 5. Colorado ended the regular season winning its last two and seven of eight down the stretch.

20 WINS: Colorado has 13 20-win seasons in program history, nine of which have come under head coach Tad Boyle. The Buffaloes have won at least 20 games the last four seasons, a feat equaled by only teams of 2010-14 - Boyle's first four seasons.

The Buffaloes have won 20 games by the close of the regular season eight times and three in a row (1968-69, '96-97, 2012-13, '13-14, '15-16, '19-20, '20-21 & '21-22).  Boyle coached teams own the top five and six of the top seven single-season win totals in team history.

Most Wins In One Season:

1.   24 - 2011-12                    22 - 1996-97

     24 - 2010-11               8.  21 - 2019-20

3.  23 - 2020-21                    21 - 2012-13         

     23 - 2018-19                    21 - 1968-69

     23 - 2013-14               11. 20 - 2021-22

6.   22 - 2015-16                    20 - 2005-06         

                                            20 - 2002-23

The Buffaloes will finish above .500 for the 11th time in Boyle's 12 seasons. Colorado finished with a .500 or better conference record for the fourth-straight year and ninth time in his 12 seasons (eight Pac-12, one Big 12).

Against Utah, Boyle picked up win No. 253 at Colorado, leaving him eight from Sox Walseth's program record of 261. Boyle has 110 Pac-12 regular season wins, tying California's Ben Braun (1997-08) for 19th in conference history.

Overall, Colorado has won 43 of 62 (43-19) dating back to the beginning of the 2020-21 season.

Colorado is averaging 70.8 points per game while shooting 44.6 percent from the field. The Buffaloes lead the Pac-12 in 3-point accuracy (.365) and rank second in free throw percentage (.755). Colorado's numbers rose in both categories during conference play, leading the Pac-12 at 38.9 percent from 3-point range and 76.9 percent from the free throw line.

Defensively, the Buffaloes have allowed 66.6 points per game. The Buffaloes are the second-best rebounding defense team (31.8 rpg) in the Pac-12 and rank fourth in rebound margin (+5.2).

The Buffaloes have fared well in tight contests. Fourteen of Colorado's  games have been within six points - or two possessions - with four minutes or less remaining in the game. The Buffaloes are 10-4 in those contests.

Colorado is 8-0 this year in one of the program's "gold standards" of holding opponents to 40 percent of less from the field and least a plus-8 rebound advantage. Colorado improved to 80-5 in those games after holding California to 37.7 percent shooting and winning the battle of the boards by 15 (43-28).

Sophomore forward Jabari Walker leads the Buffaloes at 14.7 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. He had 22 points and 12 rebounds in at Utah, capturing his Pac-12 best 16th double-double of the season.

Walker leads the Pac-12 in overall rebounding, defensive boards (7.4 drpg) and double-doubles while ranking fifth in scoring,  11th in free throw shooting (.788) and offensive boards (2.0 orpg) and 15th in field goal percentage (.469). Walker averaged a double-double during the conference season at 15.7 points and a league-best 10.4 rebounds an outing.

The defensive end is where Walker's rebounding numbers really stick out. During Pac-12 play, Walker's 8.5 defensive rebounds per game led the conference by 2.5 per game. USC's Isaiah Mobley was second at 6.0 drpg. Walker has recorded double figures in defensive rebounds alone eight times, logging a career-best 14 at California.

On the national leaderboard, Walker is ninth in double-doubles, 14th in defensive rebounds and 26th in overall rebounding.

Walker capped off a run of five-straight double-doubles with 19 points and a career-high tying 15 rebounds at California. His five-straight double-doubles are the most since Tyler Bey had five in a row late in the 2018-19 season. His 15 double-doubles rank 12th on Colorado's single-season list.

Walker needs 19 rebounds to achieve Colorado's 13th 300-rebound season and would be the eighth different player to reach that figure, joining Cliff Meely (three times), Andre Roberson (twice), Jim Davis (twice), Shaun Vandiver (twice), Tyler Bey, Stephane Pelle and Burdette Haldorson.

Colorado Single Season Rebounds:

Rk.       Player                             Season                     Rebounds

12.       Cliff Meely                      1970-71                    302

13.       Stephane Pelle                2002-03                    298

14.       Andre Roberson              2010-11                    297

15.       Josh Scott                       2013-14                    295

            Shaun Vandiver               1988-89                    295

17.       Josh Scott                       2015-16                    282

18.       Jabari Walker                  2021-22                    281

Senior forward Evan Battey is averaging 12.2 points and 4.5 rebounds while shooting a team-best 50.8 percent from the field. Battey had a career-best and team season-high 27 points to lead the Buffaloes over Utah. He hit 10 of 17 from the field including 6 of 9 from 3-point range, all career-highs.

Battey is averaging 16.8 points over the last five games, hitting 54 percent from the field (30 of 56) and 65 percent from 3-point range (15 of 23).

Battey leads the Pac-12 in 3-point accuracy overall (.521) and in conference play (.541). He is eighth in overall field goal percentage and 17th in scoring.

Sophomore guard Keeshawn Barthelemy leads Colorado in total assists (74) and free throw shooting (.824) while ranking second in 3-point field goals (36) and third in scoring at 11.0 points per game.

Barthelemy was second in the Pac-12 in free throw shooting during conference games at 85.7 percent. He had a season-best string of 16 consecutive made end at Arizona State and followed that up with 15 in a row which ended at Washington. During second run, he had a career-best 9 for 9 performance at Oregon, which at the time was the best mark in the Pac-12 this season and currently is tied for second.

Sophomore Tristan da Silva is averaging 9.3 points and 3.5 rebounds while shooting 48 percent. He is third on the team in assists with 53. Da Silva scored a game-high 19 points against Arizona, scoring in double figures for the 14th time this season. He is shooting 65 percent from the field over the last three games (15 of 23).

Da Silva is third in the Pac-12 in 3-point percentage during conference games (.477) and sixth in free throw percentage (.822).

Nique Clifford is averaging 6.7 points, leads the Buffaloes in blocked shots (22) and is second in rebounding at 4.7 per game. Clifford, who has started the last 14 contests, had 11 points, four rebounds and a pair of assists at Utah.

Clifford ranks 13th in the Pac-12 in blocked shots during conference games (0.9 bpg).

K.J. Simpson is averaging 7.3 points and 2.4 rebounds per game while leading the Buffaloes in assists per game (2.5 apg). Simpson had 13 points, two assists and two steals off the bench against Arizona.

Simpson is 11th in the Pac-12 in free throw shooting during conference play at 78.8 percent. Overall on the season he is 13th in the Pac-12 at 76.9 percent.

Luke O'Brien tied a career-best with four assists at Stanford while pulling down five rebounds. He had 14 points at Oregon State hitting 5 of 6 from the field and 3 of 4 from 3-point range. O'Brien logged career highs in points, overall field goals and 3-point field goals. It was his first double-figure scoring game and his first game with multiple 3-pointers.

Julian Hammond III made his first career start in the win over Arizona, finishing with four points, a steal, assist and his first career blocked shot.

ABOUT THE DUCKS: Oregon is 18-13 overall and finished in a three-way tie for fifth place in the Pac-12 at 11-9. The Ducks enter the Pac-12 Tournament having lost three straight and six of their last eight. Oregon averages 72.1 points while shooting 45.2 percent, the third-best mark in the Pac-12. Senior guard Will Richardson leads Oregon at 14.1 points and 3.6 assists per game.

SERIES RECORDS: This would be the 26th meeting between Colorado and Oregon with the Buffaloes holding a 14-11 series lead. The teams split the regular season series, with the road team winning both games. Prior to this season, the home team in this series had won 13 in a row. The teams have split their two meetings in the Pac-12 Tournament. No. 6 Colorado defeated No. 3 Oregon, 63-62, in the 2012 Quarterfinals. No. 2 Oregon defeated No. 10 Colorado, 73-60, in the 2015 Quarterfinals.

ABOUT THE BEAVERS: Oregon State is 3-27 overall, finishing last in the Pac-12 at 1-19. The Beavers have lost their last 17 although two of the last five have gone to overtime. Jarod Lucas leads Oregon State at 13.2 points per game and has a team-best 70 3-point field goals. 

SERIES RECORDS: This would be the 31st meeting between Colorado and Oregon State with the Buffaloes holding a 20-10 advantage. Colorado swept the regular season series and has won five of the last six meetings. Colorado is 3-1 against the Beavers in the Pac-12 Tournament. Oregon State's one win is the big one, defeating the Buffaloes 70-68 for the 2021 championship.