"We need to go out there with a business mindset. We haven't really talked about having fun (in Las Vegas). This is another big chance to prove ourselves, so we're just going in there and focus on Colorado," OSU's Markel Brown said following the Cowboys' 75-43 victory over Delaware State on Tuesday night.
Colorado has won 10 consecutive games after opening the season with a 72-60 loss to Baylor in Dallas on Nov. 8. The Buffaloes defeated then No. 6 Kansas 75-72 earlier this month on Askia Booker's improbable 3-pointer at the buzzer. It was Colorado's first win over KU in the last 20 games between the two schools, dating back to 2003.
"We've got a huge game coming up against Colorado, and you saw what they did to Kansas. We've got to take them real serious," Le'Bryan Nash said. "This is a big game. This is a chance to show that we are one of the top teams in the nation, a top-five team in the nation, so we're coming into this game with a chip on our shoulder. My teammates feel the same way that I do, we need to show that we're a top team."
Browns adds, "Any team that beats Kansas gets our attention. Kansas is a great team, picked first in this league. Colorado is a great team. We've played this team in the (Big 12) conference before, we know the type of players they bring in, and the style of play they want to play. It's going to be a physical ball club, and a top-25 matchup, so we've got to bring our hardhat."
The Buffaloes have won 10 in a row – the program's longest streak since winning 12 consecutive in 1961-62 – thanks in part to trio of point guard Spencer Dinwiddie, 6-10 post player Josh Scott and Booker.
Dinwiddie is a 6-6 point guard who plays a lot like the Cowboys' Marcus Smart. He leads the Buffs in scoring (15.5 points) and assists (4.0), and will be given the assignment of guarding Smart to begin the game.
Scott averages 12.4 points and a team-best 8.6 rebounds, while Booker averages 11.5 points. Xavier Johnson is a 6-7 forward who also averages 10 points, while 6-9, 225-pound forward Wesley Gordon (7.6 points and 6.3 rebounds) is expected to play after missing the last two games with an injury.
The Buffaloes are 11th in the nation in rebounding margin, pulling down an average of 10.3 boards more than their opponents.
"We're going to have to rebound the basketball against a big, physical team, a great rebounding team. From what I've seen they're the best rebounding team in America right now, if you look at their defensive rebounding percentages. We've got to rebound the ball. They're very talented inside. They have what is considered one of the best point guards in America in (Spencer) Dinwiddie," OSU head coach Travis Ford said.
"This is a great game for us to play, it's against a top-20 team on national television. It's an opportunity to see where we're at so we can continue to evaluate our basketball team to see the things we need to do to be better when conference play comes and hopefully in March. These two teams should have an opportunity to do something in March," Ford added.