EUGENE, Ore. -- No more ducking the issue.
It's time for Colorado basketball to take the next step and silence a raucous crowd outside the Coors Events Center.
The Buffs, 19-9 overall and 11-5 in the Pac-12, are one victory away from posting back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in the program's 111-year history.
CU produced an NIT semifinal run, two NBA players and 24 wins during Tad Boyle's first season on the job a year ago.
This summer a top-25 recruiting class will join a solid nucleus that includes the Pac-12's most dominant rebounder (Andre Roberson) and two fab freshmen (Askia Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie).
Under Boyle, CU is 32-4 in Boulder with memorable triumphs over Missouri, Texas, Kansas State, Washington, Arizona, Oregon and Cal.
But there is still a glaring omission from the overall 2011-12 resume: A quality road win.
CU, which did upset Kansas State in Manhattan last season, will try to accomplish a noteworthy sweep of Oregon on Thursday at Matthew Knight Arena (8:30 p.m., Root Sports).
"I look where our program is right now, and we're a top-100 program in the country," Boyle said when asked about challenging the Buffs to beat one of the conference's best teams in their house. "For us to get into that top 50, top 40, that's the next step we have to take."
CU is 4-5 in true road games this season with wins over Air Force, USC, Arizona State and Utah. Those teams are a combined 34-79 entering Thursday's games.
A victory against the Ducks (20-8, 11-5) might help to at least get the NCAA Tournament selection committee's attention before the field is announced in 10 days.
"It would definitely boost our confidence and give us that mojo that we can play with anybody," Roberson said. "You have to have a tough mentality and the mindset to be ready to go with energy. You don't have the crowd behind you. That's why you play as a team, to pick each other up."
Oregon is the conference's best road team, finishing 6-3 in Pac-12 away games. One of the losses was an agonizing 72-71 defeat at CU on Feb. 4 when Nate Tomlinson hit the game-winning free throw in the final second.
Dana Altman's team has regrouped to win four of its last five games. The winner of this rematch will probably earn the No. 4 seed and a bye at the conference tournament next week in Los Angeles. The loser appears headed for the No. 5 seed and a tune-up opportunity vs. No. 12 USC next Wednesday at the Staples Center.
The No. 4 seed will face the No. 5/No. 12 winner in the quarterfinals next Thursday.
"I think it's going to be a great matchup because their offense is tremendous," CU freshman guard Askia Booker said of Oregon. "The way their coach lets them play is crazy. I love the way they play."
Altman tends to let the Ducks fight through mistakes instead of burning timeouts. Boyle has a similar philosophy.
Both teams are at their best when the ball, and the players without the ball, are in constant motion.
Oregon is fourth in the Pac-12 in field-goal percentage (.457). CU has the conference's best field-goal percentage defense (.399).
"We're going to have to make plays to beat them. They don't beat themselves," Boyle said. "I think they're the most mentally tough team in our league."
The hottest team in the league, Washington (20-8, 13-3), can win the Pac-12 regular-season title with a sweep of USC and UCLA this week. If the Huskies split they will still earn at least a share of the championship.
Second-place Cal (23-7, 13-4), coming off a 70-57 loss at CU, will finish the regular season at rival Stanford on Sunday.
Third-place Arizona (21-9, 12-5) will have to beat Arizona State on the road Sunday and hope Washington and Cal lose out to get a share of the crown.
The Buffs and Ducks are also mathematically alive if they go 2-0 this week and the front-runners stumble.
CU finishes the regular season on Saturday at Oregon State while Oregon wraps things up at home against Utah.
The top-five teams in the Pac-12 are the only ones with a realistic chance of receiving at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament. And most of them have significant work to do.
The latest bracket projection at espn.com had Washington, Cal and Arizona in the field and Oregon and Colorado among the "next four out."
"I think players are always on the Internet. They see all that stuff," Altman said. "What we talk about is the next game. We know if we don't win the next game and the next game after that, it's a shaky proposition."
CU at Oregon preview
THURSDAY: The Colorado Buffaloes (19-9, 11-5) will begin the final week of Pac-12 play against the Oregon Ducks (20-8, 11-5) at 8:30 p.m. at Matthew Knight Arena.
BROADCAST: Television on Root Sports with Barry Tompkins (play-by-play), Marques Johnson (analyst) and Rebecca Haarlow (reporter). Radio on KKZN (AM 760) with Mark Johnson (play-by-play) and Chris Lewis (color). Follow on Twitter @RyanThorburn.
STORYLINES: CU and Oregon are tied for fourth place in the Pac-12. The winner of tonight's game will likely earn the No. 4 seed and a bye at the conference tournament next week, while the loser will likely be the No. 5 seed and will face No. 12 USC in the first round next Wednesday. ... The Buffs rebounded from a blowout loss to Stanford a week ago with an impressive 70-57 victory over Cal on Sunday to end the home schedule 7-1 in Pac-12 games. ... Austin Dufault needs six points and two rebounds to become the 19th player in CU history with 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in a career. ... The Ducks managed to split their Civil War series with a 74-73 victory at Oregon State last week. ... Over half of the Ducks' Pac-12 wins were on the road (6-3). Oregon is 13-3 at home this season, including a 5-2 mark in conference games.
KEY STAT: A win will give the Buffs back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in program history and will give Boyle (99-89) his 100th victory as a college head coach.
COACHES: Tad Boyle is 43-22 in his second season at CU. Dana Altman is 41-26 in his second season at Oregon.
Colorado -- G Nate Tomlinson, 6-3, Sr., 6.0 ppg, 3.3 apg; F Andre Roberson, 6-7, So., 11.0 ppg, 11.4 rpg; F Austin Dufault, 6-9, Sr., 11.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg; G Spencer Dinwiddie, 6-5, Fr., 10.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg; G Carlon Brown, 6-5, Sr., 11.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg.
Oregon -- F Jeremy Jacob, 6-8, Sr., 4.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg; F E.J. Singler, 6-6, Jr., 13.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg; G Garrett Sim, 6-2, Sr., 12.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg; G Devoe Joseph, 6-4, Sr., 16.3 ppg, 2.7 apg; C Tony Woods, 6-11, Jr., 6.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg.
SERIES: CU leads 4-2, including a 72-71 victory over the Ducks on Feb. 4 at the Coors Events Center.
UP NEXT: The Buffs will wrap up the regular season on Saturday in Corvallis against Oregon State (2 p.m., Root Sports).