SEATTLE ---- Spencer Dinwiddie has never been one to shy away from a challenge.

Colorado's junior point guard will have quite a few of them during Pac-12 Conference play, and one of his toughest will come on Sunday.

The 15th-ranked Buffaloes (14-2, 3-0 Pac-12) visit Washington (10-6, 2-1) and their stellar set of guards. Leading that crew is senior C.J. Wilcox, the Pac-12's second-leading scorer, at 19.8 points per game.

"He's another one of those guys that you have to be locked in all night because he's going to be setting screens and coming off screens," said Dinwiddie, who is likely to spend most of his night guarding Wilcox. "That's going to be a tough task for me, but I look forward to it. You want to be challenged as a player."

Wilcox will be the primary focus for CU, but he's not alone. As a team, Washington has stepped up its game since conference play began and the Huskies are gaining confidence.

"I see focus, I see an intensity," Boyle said of the Huskies. "I see their attention to detail has really moved up."

Washington was shaky during non-conference play, losing at home to UC Irvine and barely beating Montana and Long Beach State. Overall, the Huskies went 8-5 during non-conference play.

Since conference games began, however, the Huskies have won at Arizona State, played a close game at No. 1 Arizona and knocked off Utah at home on Wednesday night.


"They have a lot of talent," Dinwiddie said. "It seems like they don't have the same type of depth that a classic Washington team would have, but they have a lot of talent."

Aside from Wilcox, who Boyle considers an "NBA talent," the Huskies feature sophomore Andrew Andrews (13.1 points per game) and freshman Nigel Williams-Goss (12.4 points per game, 4.1 assists per game) in the backcourt.

"Their three-guard lineup is going to be a challenge for us," Boyle said. "They're a lot like Oregon (on the perimeter)."

Washington actually starts four guards, and with five guards among their top six scorers, the Huskies will rely heavily on their backcourt Sunday. That's going to put some pressure on Dinwiddie and his teammates.

"That seems to be the most potent aspect of their team, so you've got to guard what people do best," Dinwiddie said. "That's what they do best."

When the Buffs are at their best, they defend, rebound and spread the ball around. They struggled with those things in a 71-70 overtime win against Washington State on Wednesday, but have spent the past few days working to correct them.

"Any time you have a bad taste in your mouth you want to get it out of your mouth," Dinwiddie said of the lackluster performance against the Cougars. "We're looking at Washington as a great opportunity to do that, try to come out there with energy and get a really quality win."

CU took Washington State's best shot on Wednesday and expect to get Washington's best shot, too.

"We're the hunted now," sophomore Xavier Johnson said. "We have to be able to come out and fight that off and control that and get the win. "

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at or

CU men's hoops preview

SUNDAY: The No. 15 Colorado Buffaloes (14-2, 3-0 Pac-12) visit the Washington Huskies (10-6, 2-1) 1 p.m. MDT game at Alaska Airlines Arena in Seattle.

BROADCAST: Radio -- KKZN (760 AM), with Mark Johnson on play-by-play and Scott Wilke providing color commentary. TV -- Fox Sports 1, with Aaron Goldsmith and Marques Johnson on the call.

STORYLINES: CU is seeking its first 4-0 start in conference play since starting 6-0 to open Big 12 play in 1996-97. ... The Buffs are off to their best 16-game start since also starting 14-2 in 1968-69. ... A win today would give CU its best 17-game start since the 1941-42 team started 16-1 (that team finished the season 16-2). ... CU has won four games in a row overall. ... Guard Askia Booker leads the Pac-12 in assist-to-turnover ratio (4.50) during conference play. He's had nine assists and just two turnovers. ... Booker has averaged 19.2 points during the last five games, and his 19.3 scoring average during Pac-12 play is fifth in the conference. ... CU is 11-1 when out-rebounding its opponents this season, and 65-11 under coach Tad Boyle when winning the rebound battle. ... CU averages 31.2 free throw attempts per game -- 13.3 more per game than its opponents. ... CU's Tre'Shaun Fletcher played his high school ball at Lincoln High in nearby Tacoma. He's the first CU player from Washington since Sam Sanders in the 1999-2000 season. ... Washington is 16-11 at home against ranked opponents under coach Lorenzo Romar. ... Washington has allowed just 64.3 points per game during conference play; the Huskies allowed 79.2 points per game in non-conference play.

KEY STAT: Should the game come down to the wire, free throws will be key. Washington is second in the Pac-12 and ranks 11th nationally in free throw percentage, at 76.4 percent. CU is sixth in the Pac-12, at 72.7 percent.

COACHES: Tad Boyle is 83-40 in his fourth season at CU and 139-106 for his career. Lorenzo Romar is 247-134 in his 12th season at Washington and 340-222 during his career.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Colorado -- G Spencer Dinwiddie, 6-6, Jr. (15.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.9 apg); G Askia Booker, 6-2, Jr. (13.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.2 apg); F Wesley Gordon, 6-9, Fr. (6.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.3 bpg); F Xavier Johnson, 6-7, So. (10.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg); F Josh Scott, 6-10, So. (13.6 ppg, 9.4 rpg). Washington -- G Nigel Williams-Goss, 6-3, Fr. (12.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 4.1 apg); G Andrew Andrews, 6-2, So. (13.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg); G C.J. Wilcox, 6-5, Sr. (19.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg); G Mike Anderson, 6-4, Jr. (7.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg); F Perris Blackwell, 6-9, Sr. (11.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg).

SERIES: Washington leads 8-7, including 6-1 in Seattle. The Buffs have lost six in a row in Seattle, with their lone win coming on Dec. 21, 1956.

UP NEXT: CU will host UCLA on Thursday at 6 p.m.