ALBUQUERQUE, NM - MARCH 15: Carlon Brown #30 of the Colorado Buffaloes goes up for a dunk against the UNLV Rebels in the second half during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at The Pit on March 15, 2012 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
After Cal embarrassed the Pac-12 with a performance not worth discussing, it was up to the Colorado Buffaloes to prove they were more than this week's flavor of the month. The Buffs were more than happy to oblige with another incredible performance in stifling everyone's sleeper to win the West Regional, the UNLV Rebels.
It was the same thing Oregon, Cal and Arizona all saw on Colorado's magical run to the Pac-12 tournament championship: Pack the paint with their length, cut off the drives and guard the two pointers with vigilance, then force their opponent to take many, many threes. Colorado's defense continues to do a good job in recovering, but the UNLV Runnin' Rebels did have their chance to rock the killing blow.
And UNLV clanged. Over and over again. 9 for 36 to be precise. UNLV is a solid three point shooting team, but they shouldn't be taking over half their shots from behind the arc. Despite the Rebels taking 23 more shots, they only hit two more threes (nine to seven) and also couldn't get to the free throw line, much less hit the free throws when they got there (9-17 for UNLV compared to 17-27 for Colorado). Colorado had four people grab five rebounds or more, led again by the surging Andre Roberson, aka Thomas Robinson lite (12 points, 16 boards).
Just like against Arizona, the offense eventually bogged down (23 turnovers to eight), and Colorado somehow won despite barely scoring at all in the final 25% of the game. But the Buffs continue to just dare someone to beat them by rocking the three pointer. So far in postseason play, no team has done it yet.
Baylor seems like the logical candidate to finally dispatch Colorado. They have the athleticism and the offensive explosion to match up with and put the Buffs down. They can apply pressure to Colorado's guards to try and take the ball out of their hands and try and get Colorado into a hole they can't recover from. Baylor is the most complete team Colorado has had to face, and they'll give the Buffs too much to handle.
Of course, that's what we said about everyone else has to face. The Pac-12 has to be happy they brought in Colorado now; otherwise the conference might have fallen even further than the current depths its sunk down to.