Records: Oregon State (18-12, 10-6 Pac-12), Colorado (10-8, 20-11 Pac-12)
The fourth-seeded Beavers earned a coveted first-round bye in the Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament. Oregon State will face No. 5 seed Colorado, who beat No. 12 seed California 56-54 in the first round on Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals.
Why watch? The winner of the Pac-12 Tournament gets the conference’s automatic bid to the to NCAA Tournament. Since any team can get hot in the tournament… Will it be OSU who takes the crown and heads to the big dance?
The Beavers are having a record season and have some of the Pac-12's veteran playmakers, including redshirt junior Tres Tinkle, who was named to the All-Pac-12 First Team earlier this week. Oregon State finished with its best conference record since the 1989-90 season, earning the highest seed in the tournament since that season.
On the line: Most projections have OSU on the outside of the NIT Tournament. A win over Colorado would boost Oregon State’s resume and likely send them back into the NIT field, so the season doesn’t end in Las Vegas.
In regular season: Oregon State played Colorado one time this season and won 76-74 on Jan. 31 on the road in Boulder, CO.
Fun Fact: Colorado coach Tad Boyle is the only Pac-12 coach to win four straight tournament games and claim a tournament title, accomplishing the feat in 2012.
Tres Tinkle is on fire, scoring 20-plus points in four consecutive games and posting four double-doubles in the last six games. He’s been particularily dangerous from beyond the arc in the last four games, shooting 50.0 percent (12-for-24) from three-point range. The redshirt junior finished second in the Pac-12 in scoring (21.4) in conference games.
Colorado will have its hands full with junior forward Kylor Kelley, who leads the Pac-12 and is second in the nation in blocked shots per game (3.4).
When senior Stephen Thompson Jr. goes, the Beavers go. OSU is 17-7 when he scores in double figures and 1-5 when he scores less than 10 points.
Buffs to keep an eye on
The win over Cal extends Colorado's winning streak to four games, which much thanks to sophomores Tyler Bey and McKinley Wright IV, both of whom earned first-team all-conference honors earlier this week.
Bey was also named the conference's Most Improved Player. He leads Colorado at 13.4 points and 9.6 rebounds per game while shooting 56 percent from the field. He is the co-leader in the Pac-12 in double-doubles with 14.
Wright is averaging 13.0 points and 4.8 rebounds per game while leading the Buffaloes in assists (142) and steals (33).
How and where to watch
Time: Thursday, March 14, 2:30 p.m
Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
TV: Pac-12 Networks