The Colorado Buffaloes will face a tall task in their Pac-12 season opener when they go on the road to square off against one of the hottest teams in the nation in the No.3 Arizona Wildcats. Thursday night’s matchup from the McKale Center is set to tip off at 8 p.m. (ET), and the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU.
The Buffaloes got off to a solid 10-2 straight up start in the nonconference portion of their schedule, including a quality 60-58 victory over then-No.16 Baylor on Nov.16 as five-point underdogs. Colorado is a profitable 7-3 against the spread this season, with the total going “over” in two of its three games with a posted line.
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There have been a couple of close calls along the way, but Arizona successfully completed its nonconference schedule with 12 SU wins in 12 games to climb from a preseason No.12 to No.3 in the latest AP poll. The Wildcats have also gone a healthy 7-3 ATS and the total has stayed “under” in six of seven games with posted lines.
Colorado vs. Arizona Betting Storylines
The Buffaloes avenged a 17-point loss to Baylor in last season’s third round of the NCAA Tournament to jump-start what they hope will be an even more successful run this season. With four players scoring in double-figures, including Askia Booker’s 14.8 points and Spencer Dinwiddie’s 14.4 points a game, the team is averaging 73.1 points a game while shooting a respectable 47.3 percent from the floor. Andre Roberson has been a force under the boards with 12.1 rebounds and has been able to match that total in points as well.
The main question mark for this team is how much production it can get from a not-so-deep bench. Right now the reserves are averaging just over 10 points a game, which spells quite a bit of playing time for the starters. This could be a factor in Thursday night’s matchup against a much deeper Wildcats’ roster.
Arizona was expected to be the class of the Pac-12 this season, but this fast start that includes a huge one-point win over then-No.5 Florida as a two-point underdog has this team poised to be a legitimate national title contender if it can continue to play at this torrid pace. The Wildcats are averaging 76.6 points a game while shooting 47.6 percent from the field. They have also been effective from beyond the arc; converting on close to 40 percent of their attempts.
Mark Lyons leads the team in scoring with 13.4 points a game, but Solomon Hill and Nick Johnson are a close second, with each putting up an average of 12.7 points as well. Brandon Ashley is the leading rebounder with 6.5 a game, but there are a total of four players averaging five or more boards a game. Arizona’s defense could be its biggest asset as it has given up 70 or more points just twice in its first 12 games.
Colorado vs. Arizona College Basketball Betting Odds and Trends
Arizona has been opened by BetOnline as an 11.5-point home favorite with a total line still OFF the board.
The Buffaloes are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 road games and 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games following a SU win. The total has stayed under in their last four games in the conference.
The Wildcats are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games following a SU win and 5-2 ATS in their last seven games against a team with a winning record. The total has stayed under in 15 of their last 21 home games.
Head-to-head, Colorado got the best of last season’s series in its first year in the Pac-12 by winning two of three games against the Wildcats, including a 53-51 victory in the conference tournament as a 3.5-point underdog.
Colorado vs. Arizona Picks and Betting Predictions
The Buffaloes’ success against Arizona last season should provide some sense of confidence in this matchup, so this could end up being a great test for the No.3 team in the nation right out of the gate in the Pac-12. The Wildcats should have little problem notching the SU win, but the play is definitely on Colorado to keep things close enough to cover with the 11.5 points.
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