Boulder, Colo. • Spencer Dinwiddie has been defying his coach’s orders and looking at bracketology projections — in the middle of class, even.
The swift Colorado guard just can’t help studying the reports, wondering what seed his team might draw. He thinks the Buffaloes have proven they belong in the NCAA Tournament, especially after a 76-53 win over No. 19 Oregon on Thursday night.
The Buffaloes (20-9, 10-7 Pac-12) improved to 4-2 against Top 25 teams this season. They even dismantled the Ducks while playing without the nation’s leading rebounder, Andre Roberson, who sat out with a viral illness.
Surely, that’s good enough to get the Buffs in, right?
Don’t bank on anything just yet. Colorado coach Tad Boyle certainly won’t.
He remembers all too clearly two years ago when he thought the Buffs were a lock to make the tournament, only to be left out. The sting of that disappointment has him looking only at the task at hand — a game against Oregon State on Saturday to close out the regular season and then the conference tournament.
As for whether his team has done enough to impress the selection committee, Boyle will never think his team has done enough until he sees Colorado in the field.
"Wish I could say yes," Boyle said. "All I know is obviously our body of work is much better this year than it was two years ago. I still feel badly for that team two years ago. I’ve talked about it with the guys ... all those guys were in my living room when that day occurred.
"It’s important we finish strong."
No one realizes that more than the Ducks (23-7, 12-5), who were thwarted in their bid for an outright conference title.
Now, they’ve fallen into a first-place tie with UCLA, but the Ducks hold the tiebreaker after beating the Bruins in their only meeting in January.
Oregon has a chance to wrap up at least a share of its first league crown since 2002 — along with the No. 1 seed for the Pac-12 Tournament — with a win at Utah on Saturday.
"We have to bounce back quickly," Oregon coach Dana Altman said. "We still have half a championship to play for."
No. 10 Michigan State 58, No. 22 Wisconsin 43 • Keith Appling scored 14 of his 19 points in the second half to help the Spartans pull away in East Lansing and stay in the Big Ten title race.
Michigan State (23-7, 12-5) moved into a three-way tie for second with Michigan and Ohio State. The trio trails conference-leading Indiana with one game left in the regular season.
The Hoosiers can claim the Big Ten title outright with a win Sunday in Ann Arbor against the Wolverines. If they lose, Michigan would earn piece of the title and give Michigan State and the Buckeyes a shot to pull into a four-way tie.
The Spartans close the regular season Sunday at home against Northwestern after Ohio State hosts Illinois.
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