Colorado vs Arizona Preview and Prediction
Colorado vs Arizona Preview
The Colorado Buffaloes will travel south to take on the Arizona Wildcats, their second time playing each other in less than three weeks. The first game saw the Buffaloes jump out to an early lead and never look back, as they beat the Wildcats in Boulder, 80-77.
That win, was extra satisfying to Colorado head coach Tad Boyle….
“I’ve got great respect for Sean Miller and the type of coach he is,” Boyle said back then after beating Arizona when asked if the win brought more satisfaction because of an ongoing FBI investigation into improper recruiting that includes Arizona and USC. “They recruit very, very well. USC has recruited very, very well. The two most talented teams in our league from top to bottom are USC and Arizona.
“So, hell yes there’s extra satisfaction. I’ve got great respect for Sean, helluva coach. I’ve got great respect for Andy Enfield. But to answer your question: Hell. Yes.”
And so, No. 11 Arizona (16-4, 6-1 in the Pac-12) and Colorado (12-8, 4-4) meet in what is an unusually quick turnaround when it comes to a rematch. Each team has yet to face some other teams in the conference before Thursday night’s game in McKale Center.
Miller sidestepped the question when asked about Boyle’s thoughts from Colorado’s win earlier in the month.
The “focus is on my team and that’s the thing that you learn being able to take a team from one game to the next” before veering off into Arizona’s recent sweep in the Bay area.
Miller returned to Colorado briefly, saying: “We have to be a better team this time around, more ready for the game than the last time.”
In Arizona’s loss, it also didn’t help that Arizona shot 38 percent from the floor, including 28 percent (7-for-25) from beyond the 3-point line. Arizona couldn’t solve Colorado’s rarely used 2/3 zone.
Since that game, Arizona has reeled off four consecutive wins and has won 13 of 14, with Colorado is the only loss. In the meantime, Arizona has slowly crept up in the polls.
Miller said he’s pleased how his team came off the weekend sweep of California and Stanford, most specifically the Cardinal because it was “about will” and “we willed our way to the finish line.”
“There are (still) a lot of things we have to learn from and improve from that game,” Miller said. ” … Moving on to Colorado and knowing the last time we played them, they played better than us, they played harder than us. We have to be a better team this time around.”
Do the Buffaloes have a chance?
Arizona is 80-2 at home since the 2012-13 season–and they are 66-9 in Pac-12 games under Miller. Colorado has never beaten Arizona in Tucson under Miller.
“It’s going to be a heck of an environment, it always is,” Boyle said. “They’re going to be obviously loaded for bear because they know what happened (in Colorado). Sean Miller will have his guys ready, there’s no doubt about that.”
Colorado did the unthinkable at home a few weeks ago when they upset this same Arizona team. I expect to see Colorado utilize the 2/3 zone that was so effective for them in their first matchup—but as the stat shows above, the Wildcats just do not lose home game, especially in the Pac-12.
LINE: -14.5 Arizona
Arizona 83 Colorado 70