Colorado has one of the best home court advantages in the Pac-12 for men's basketball.

Playing at 5,345 feet of altitude and with an average of 9,489 fans packing the Coors Events Center, the Buffs are nearly unbeatable in Boulder. They are 10-0 this season at home and 55-7 since coach Tad Boyle took over the program four years ago.

The one problem with the nearly 10,000 people who show up to watch the Buffaloes is that the Buffs can't take them on the road.

On Wednesday night, No. 15 CU (13-2, 2-0 Pac-12) will embark on its first conference road trip of the season. The Buffs will face Washington State (7-7, 0-2) in Spokane on Wednesday, and then visit Washington (9-6, 1-1) on Sunday in Seattle.

"Last year as a team we struggled on the road," sophomore center Josh Scott said. "We all kind of view it as the next challenge. We've beat good teams, we've beat the teams we were supposed to beat. Now it's time to win on the road. Our team just sees it as another challenge that we're going to accomplish and we'll figure out."

A year ago, the Buffs started 1-4 in conference road games. They are 7-11 in conference road games since joining the Pac-12.

CU did win three of its last four conference road games last year, and guard Spencer Dinwiddie said the key to getting those wins is to stay composed, especially when close calls don't go CU's way.


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"And, if you're not hitting on shots and they go on a run and their fans get a little into it, it's about looking to the guy to the left and the right of you and just banding together in that little huddle," Dinwiddie said. "You don't have those 11,000 fans boosting you up."

For the Buffs, though, learning to win consistently on the road is one of the next steps for the program. Elite teams do that, and at No. 15 in the country, the Buffs are arguably an elite team.

Colorado coach Tad Boyle talks to Jaron Hopkins during the Buffs’ victory over Kansas on Dec. 7 in Boulder.
Colorado coach Tad Boyle talks to Jaron Hopkins during the Buffs' victory over Kansas on Dec. 7 in Boulder. (Cliff Grassmick/Daily Camera)

"We're going to Washington to try to win two games and try to put our stamp as a top-15 program now," Dinwiddie said. "We're trying to go on the road and prove that we're a strong team away from Coors because you can't be that caliber of program, one of those held in high esteem, if you only win at home."

Although CU is 0-2 outside of the state this year -- losing on neutral courts to No. 7 Baylor and No. 11 Oklahoma State -- it did win a big game at Colorado State on Dec. 3. That may be one of the most hostile environments the Buffs experience all year.

Of course, being ranked No. 15 in the country will make the task a little more difficult.

"It does put a target on you to some extent," Boyle said. "That's something that we've talked about with our players. People are going to get maybe a little extra hyped to play us and it gives them a little extra incentive to beat a ranked team. That comes with the territory and we have to be able to handle that."

It's a challenge the Buffs are excited about, because they know that in order to achieve their goals, they've got to win away from Boulder.

"Our goal is to go 18-0 (in conference play)," Dinwiddie said. "Is it probable? Probably not, but we're going in there and treat every game the same."

Harsh words

Junior guard Askia Booker said one of the challenges on the road is the personal attacks shouted by fans. Of course, some of them can be funny, too.

"(On Sunday in Boulder), somebody said, 'Your mother has a mustache' to one of the Oregon players and I started laughing because it's pretty funny," Booker said. "At the same time, it's so disrespectful, but that's what the fans are for; they can get under your skin and that's what makes your home court special."

Lacy out

Washington State star DaVonte Lacy, who is averaging 17.7 points per game, had an appendectomy last week and missed the Cougars' conference opener at Arizona. He was back on the court Sunday at Arizona State, but left the game with 6:23 to play in the first half and didn't return.

According to the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Lacy was holding his side when he left and he was taken to the hospital.

On Tuesday, Cougars coach Ken Bone said that Lacy is likely out at least another week, meaning he'll miss Wednesday's game against Colorado

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.

CU men's hoops preview

TODAY: The No. 15 Colorado Buffaloes (13-2, 2-0 Pac-12) visit the Washington State Cougars (7-7, 0-2) in a 7 p.m. game at Spokane Arena in Spokane, Wash.

BROADCAST: Radio -- KOA (850 AM), with Mark Johnson on play-by-play and Scott Wilke providing color commentary. TV -- Pac-12 Network with J.B. Long and Lamar Hurd on the call.

STORYLINES: CU is looking for a 3-0 start to Pac-12 play. ... Since 1970, CU has had just two 3-0 starts in conference play, during the 1996-97 and 2011-12 seasons. ... The Buffs opened conference play last week with home wins against Oregon State (64-58) and No. 10 Oregon (100-91). ... Washington State opened conference play with losses at No. 1 Arizona (60-25) and Arizona State (66-47). ... CU comes into the game ranking second in the Pac-12 in offensive rebounds (12.6 per game) and third in rebounding margin (plus-9.3). ... Washington State's DaVonte Lacy ranks seventh in the Pac-12 in scoring (17.7 ppg), but is not expected to play. CU has three players in the top 21: Spencer Dinwiddie (12th, 15.8 ppg), Askia Booker (19th, 13.6 ppg) and Josh Scott (21st, 13.2 ppg). ... Scott ranks second in the Pac-12 with 9.5 rebounds per game. ... Scott has eight double-doubles this season, just two off the national lead as of Monday. Scott has had five double-doubles in a row, something that no Buff has done in a while. ... Washington State ranks last in the Pac-12 in scoring (65.7 points per game), field goal percentage (42.2), 3-point field goal percentage (30.8) and free throw percentage (61.2). ... CU is seeking its first 14-2 start since the 1968-69 team, led by Cliff Meely, also started 14-2.

KEY STAT: CU has limited opponents to 42.2 percent shooting this season, and the Buffs are 8-0 when holding teams below that number. Washington State's offense is last in the Pac-12 with a field-goal percentage of 42.2.

COACHES: Tad Boyle is 82-40 in his fourth season at CU and 138-106 for his career. Ken Bone is 77-72 in his fifth season at Washington State and 412-237 for his career.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Colorado -- G Spencer Dinwiddie, 6-6, Jr. (15.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 4.1 apg); G Askia Booker, 6-2, Jr. (13.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.1 apg); F Wesley Gordon, 6-9, Fr. (6.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.3 bpg); F Xavier Johnson, 6-7, So. (10.0 ppg, 6.2 rpg); F Josh Scott, 6-10, So. (13.2 ppg, 9.5 rpg). Washington State -- G Royce Woolridge, 6-3, Jr. (10.4 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 2.5 apg); G Que Johnson, 6-5, Fr. (8.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg); G Dexter Kernich-Drew, 6-7, Jr. (6.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg); F D.J. Shelton, 6-10, Sr. (7.6 ppg, 7.8 rpg); C Jordan Railey, 7-0, Jr. (4.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg).

SERIES: CU leads 3-1 and is 2-0 against the Cougars since joining the Pac-12.

UP NEXT: CU will visit Washington on Sunday in Seattle.