PORTLAND — While the results haven’t always been there, the Colorado men’s basketball team has displayed plenty of grit and competitiveness.
Now the Buffaloes will be tasked with bringing that in-game fight into the big picture as they try to shake off last week’s missed opportunities against nationally-ranked USC and UCLA during a demanding road trip.
It won’t be easy for the Buffs to get back on track, as CU begins a run of three road games in six days beginning Tuesday night at Oregon (8 p.m. MT, Pac-12 Network). CU head coach Tad Boyle said he was encouraged with what he saw out of his club at Monday’s practice.
“If (Monday’s) practice is any indication, we’ll be fine,” Boyle said. “Our guys practiced with great energy, great spirit. They really did a good job. Obviously we’ve got to take better care of the basketball. This is a perfect test for us after coming off two really high turnover games, because Oregon is a team that really feeds off of turnovers. They pressure and they try to create offense with their defense.
“We’re going to see the press. We’re going to see the three-quarters court press. We’re going to see the full-court press. So we’ve got to be able to handle that and attack it. A heck of a test. We go from Arizona, then Arizona State who is struggling a little bit, then USC, UCLA and Oregon. It’s a hell of a stretch.”
CU’s road trip continues on Thursday at Washington and Sunday at Washington State.
While Boyle confirmed he expects senior guard Elijah Parquet to return to the rotation following a two-game absence, he did not commit to returning Parquet to his usual spot in the starting lineup. Parquet missed last week’s losses against USC and UCLA due to a lower right leg injury.
“He’ll play. How much, I don’t know,” Boyle said. “We’ll see how he feels at shoot-around. You just miss his experience. I’ve always been a coach who looks at the big picture, and getting KJ (Simpson) some really meaningful minutes and Julian (Hammond) some really meaningful minutes in those two games is just going to benefit them as the season unfolds.”
Oregon began Tuesday at No. 52 in the NET rankings and No. 46 at KenPom.com. CU is No. 85 in the NET and No. 82 at KenPom…The Buffs led by five at halftime of last year’s game at Oregon but ultimately dropped a 60-56 decision…CU’s Evan Battey needs five points to surpass Burdette Haldorson for 27th-place on the Buffs’ all-time scoring list. Battey needs four rebounds to become the 24th CU player to reach 600 rebounds in his career. Battey has gone 16-for-17 at the free throw line in five career games against Oregon, though his field goal percentage of .370 in those games is significantly under his career average of .508…The team of Rich Burk and PJ Carlesimo will be on the call for the Pac-12 Network.