LAS VEGAS -- Tad Boyle has already drawn an ace and gets No. 21 back.
Andre Roberson, who missed the final two games of the regular season with a viral illness, was cleared by doctors on Monday and will be in the starting lineup for Colorado on Wednesday against Oregon State in the Pac-12 Tournament opener.
The 6-7 junior forward averages 10.8 points, 11.5 rebounds (first nationally) and 2.3 steals (first in the conference). Roberson was named the Pac-12 defensive player of the year this week.
"Our guys obviously know how important Andre is to us," Boyle said of the emotional boost Roberson's return gave the team during a short practice at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. "And they know how good of a player he is on the floor."
The fifth-seeded Buffs (20-10) will face the No. 12 Beavers (14-17) four days after losing to them at the Coors Events Center.
With Roberson watching helplessly in street clothes, Eric Moreland (17 points, 10 rebounds) and Joe Burton (10 points, 10 rebounds) enjoyed double-double feasts in Boulder.
"I'm really excited that we get to play them again," said freshman forward Josh Scott, who had six points and six rebounds during CU's 64-58 loss to Oregon State. "I think it works out kind of nice."
Oregon State held the Buffs to 35 percent from the field and improved to 9-1 this season when holding an opponent under 40 percent shooting.
Spencer Dinwiddie (18 points) was the only CU player to score in double figures in the last meeting, but the 6-6 point guard was 4-for-12 shooting (2-for-8 behind the arc) against the Beavers' 2-3 zone.
"We don't have to worry about over-confidence, that's the good thing about laying an egg on senior day," Boyle said. "You can bounce back and have their attention a little bit."
Boyle said facing Oregon State back-to-back simplified preparations for both coaching staffs.
After watching the film of his Buffs shooting seven air balls and allowing the Beavers to make 13 layups, it had to be tempting for CU's third-year head coach to burn the tape.
"Consistency is something we've been shooting for and expecting all year long. Unfortunately, it has been a little hit and miss with our team," Boyle said. "You look at our Utah game and you look at our Oregon State game at home, those two come to mind as big disappointments. Great teams don't let that happen."
Now a great player will be on the court to make sure it doesn't happen again.
This season Roberson has been responsible for 40 percent of CU's blocks, 29 percent of the rebounds (31 percent of the offensive rebounds), 29 percent of the steals and 15 percent of the points.
"He looked good, he looked energetic (and had) fresh legs, live legs," Boyle said after Roberson participated in Tuesday's practice. "It's great to have him back."
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CU men's hoops preview
WEDNESDAY: The No. 5 Colorado Buffaloes (20-10, 10-8) open the Pac-12 Tournament against No. 12 Oregon State (14-17, 4-14) at 3:30 p.m. at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
BROADCAST: Television on the Pac-12 Network with Kevin Calabro (play-by-play), Don MacLean (analyst) and Ashley Adamson (court side). Radio on KKZN (AM 760) with Mark Johnson (play-by-play) and Jeb Putzier (color). Follow on Twitter: @RyanThorburn.
CU STORY LINES: Tad Boyle said Andre Roberson will be in the starting lineup after missing the final two games of the regular season with a viral illness. ... The Buffs are the defending conference tournament champions and are looking to avenge last Saturday's 64-58 loss to Oregon State in the regular-season finale at the Coors Events Center. ... CU shot just 35 percent from the field and was out-rebounded 38-32 in the last meeting with the Beavers. ... Since starting Pac-12 play 1-4 the Buffs are 9-4 and the four losses were by an average of 6.5 points. ... CU is 12-6 (.667) in tournament play under Tad Boyle.
OREGON STATE STORY LINES: The Beavers upset top-seeded Washington at last year's Pac-12 Tournament and are looking to put the Buffs on the NCAA Tournament bubble by beating them twice in four days. ... Roberto Nelson, who scored all 15 of his points in the second half at the Coors Events Center, led the Pac-12 in scoring in league games only (19.1 ppg). ... Senior center Joe Burton became the first player in Oregon State history to amass 1,000 points, 700 rebounds and 300 assists in a career. He had 10 points, 10 rebounds and two assists in the win at CU.
KEY STAT: The Buffs are 3-0 this season on a neutral court, having won the Charleston Classic back in November, and are 8-1 since last year's Pac-12 Tournament in Los Angeles and the NCAA Tournament in Albuquerque, N.M.
COACHES: Boyle is 68-36 in his third season at CU. Craig Robinson is 78-88 in his fifth season at Oregon State.
SERIES: CU leads 8-4. This is the first meeting between the programs on a neutral court (Buffs lead 6-1 in Boulder, trail 3-2 in Corvallis).
PROBABLE STARTERS: Colorado -- F Andre Roberson, 6-7, Jr., 10.8 ppg, 11.5 rpg; F Xavier Johnson, 6-6, Fr., 8.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg; F Josh Scott, 6-10, Fr., 10.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg; G Spencer Dinwiddie, 6-6, So., 15.4 ppg, 3.0 apg; G Askia Booker, 6-1, So., 12.6 ppg, 2.2 apg. Oregon State -- F Devon Collier, 6-8, Jr., 12.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg; C Joe Burton, 6-7, Sr., 11.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg; F Eric Moreland, 6-10, So., 9.2 ppg, 10.5 rpg; G Challe Barton, 6-3, So., 2.9 ppg, 1.1 rpg; G Roberto Nelson, 6-3, Jr., 17.7 ppg, 2.4 apg.
UP NEXT: If the Buffs win they will play No. 4 Arizona on Thursday in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas (3:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network).