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BOULDER — Tad Boyle hasn't forgotten what the Oregon Ducks did to his Colorado Buffaloes last spring.
CU coach hopes his players haven't, either.
In the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament 10 months ago, CU's slim halftime lead turned into a reasonably comfortable victory for Oregon, in large part because of the Ducks' relentless pressure defense that shackled the Buffaloes' attack.
It is a lesson Boyle has repeatedly reminded his club about as the Buffs (13-4, 2-2 league) get set to face the defensively strong Ducks (14-3, 3-1) for the first time this season Sunday at Coors Events Center (5 p.m., Pac-12 Network).
"They try to keep you off-balance," Boyle said. "They press. We're going to have to take care of the ball against their press. In the conference tournament last year, we were winning and had the game under control. Then their press got to us, and we turned it over and they got back in the game and got going. They just keep you off-balance. They keep you guessing in terms of what kind of defense they're in."
Limiting turnovers against that Oregon press will be critical for a CU team that has struggled in that department all season. The Buffs have committed 234 turnovers overall, trailing only Washington by one for the most in the Pac-12, and have averaged 13.8 per game. CU has recorded a season-most 18 turnovers in five separate contests, including twice in the past three games.
"They're a very good team, and it's important for us to assert our will," senior center Josh Scott said. "They're fast, and they're smart players. You can't be nonchalant with the basketball with this team. You know they're going to turn defense into offense, and that's what gets them going. We have to be safe with the ball."