NCAA Basketball Prediction: Stanford Cardinal vs Colorado Buffaloes
Thursday, February 23, 2012
by Mike Stewart
Few would have believed it before the season started, but Colorado Buffaloes could be in a three-way tie on top of the Pac-12 on Sunday night. For it to happen, the Buffaloes must reverse their 84-64 loss at Stanford Cardinal on Jan. 14 before first-place California rolls into Boulder.
Colorado is the only undefeated Pac-12 team in conference games at home (7-0); the Cardinal are 2-5 on the road.
Two of the top freshman guards in the Pac-12 will be featured – Stanford’s Chasson Randle and Colorado’s Spencer Dinwiddie – and one of the nation’s premier rebounders in the Buffaloes’ Andre Roberson.
Colorado Buffaloes (18-8): The Buffaloes, who were picked to finish 10th in the Pac-12 preseason poll, are 1½ games behind California and Washington. Colorado, though, appears in good shape to finish in the top four and earn a first-round bye in the Pac-12 tournament. Roberson is one of four players averaging double figures in scoring (11.3) and is fourth in the country with 11.3 rebounds per game. The Buffaloes have plenty of depth as nine players are averaging between 10.5 and 29.2 minutes. Colorado last reached the NCAA Tournament in 2003.
Stanford Cardinal ((18-9): The Cardinal are also deep: they feature 10 players averaging between 10.8 and 29.7 minutes. Josh Owens leads Stanford with 12.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. Randle averages 10.8 points and leads the team with 29 steals. Point guard Aaron Bright had seven assists in each of his last two games, matching a season-high. The Cardinal reached the NCAAs every year except one (2006) from 1995-2008, but will have to win the Pac-12 tournament to avoid missing the dance for the fourth straight season.
1. Colorado leads the Pac-12 in rebounding margin at plus 5.5. Stanford, which outrebounded the Buffaloes 35-27 in the first meeting, is second at 5.4.
2. Dinwiddie (10.8 points) is second in the Pac-12 in 3-point field goal percentage (.452); Randle is eighth at .417.
3. Colorado averages 67.2 points in Pac-12 games, Stanford 67.1.
NCAA BASKETBALL PREDICTION: Buffaloes 68, Cardinal 60.
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