SPOKANE, Wash.— Take note of the ball screens. At each end of the floor.
That essentially was the highlight of the scouting report relayed by Colorado head coach Tad Boyle ahead of the Buffaloes’ Sunday night date at Washington State (8 p.m. MT, FS1). CU will attempt to make it two out of three on its week-long Pacific Northwest road trip while picking up another road that might dull some of the sting of an ugly loss at Washington on Thursday night.
WSU shot .459 in its loss in Boulder on Jan. 6, though the Cougars were just 7-for-26 on 3-pointers. WSU has been outrebounded just four times in 18 games, with the Buffs producing a plus-five advantage in that home win. That remains the largest rebounding deficit recorded by WSU this season.
“I think when you’re playing Washington State, a lot of it comes down to ball screens,” Boyle said. “They’re a very good ball-screen defensive team. That’s why their numbers are so good. So we’ve got to make good decisions offensively. And our ball-screen defense has to be on-point because they run a lot of pick-and-roll. They’ve got good guards. They’ve got good bigs that roll well and finish well. You look at their roster, there’s not a lot of weaknesses. They’ve got good guard play, good bigs, good size, good athleticism. They’re a rock-solid team.
“If we played well. We guarded them well and shot the ball well at our place. We’re going to have to do the same thing in Pullman.”
CU is 4-4 all-time on the road against WSU, including an overtime win in Spokane in 2014…Buffs senior Evan Battey is set to play in his 121st game, which will tie former teammate Dom Collier for 16th all-time at CU. Battey has averaged 16.7 points while shooting .630 (17-for-27) in his past three games against the Cougars…Two CU bench players who have logged limited minutes — Luke O’Brien and Julian Hammond III — both are shooting .500 from 3-point range. O’Brien is 6-for-12 and Hammond is 9-for-18…Since missing the Jan. 9 home win against Washington due to a concussion, CU freshman KJ Simpson has gone 7-for-13 on 3-pointers…In his first four career games in the starting lineup, sophomore wing Nique Clifford has shot just 7-for-17 from the field, though that includes a 3-for-5 mark on 3-pointers…In Pac-12 games, WSU ranks 10th in the league with a 3-point percentage of .307…CU enters the game at No. 83 in the NET rankings and No. 81 at KenPom.com. WSU is No. 52 in the NET and No. 45 at KenPom.