The ninth-ranked Arizona Wildcats continue their quest for the Pac-12 regular-season title, as they take on the Colorado Buffaloes in a conference showdown at the Coors Events Center on Thursday.
Sean Miller's Wildcats relinquished sole possession of first place in the league standings with last weekend's 77-69 home loss to California. The setback ended a four-game win streak for Arizona, which is now tied with Oregon atop the conference with an 8-3 record.
Tad Boyle's Buffaloes may be further down the conference ladder at 6-5, but remain a dangerous opponent with a solid 16-7 overall record. Colorado has played well of late with two straight victories and wins in five of their last six games. The team moved over .500 in conference play with last weekend's 72-68 road win at Oregon State. The Buffaloes are 9-1 at home this year and an impressive 41-5 at home under Boyle.
The Buffaloes, who hold a 10-7 series advantage, gave the Wildcats all they could handle in Tucson on Jan. 3, falling to Arizona 92-83 in overtime.
The Wildcats fell victim to California's dynamic duo of Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs, who combined for 52 points to take a key road win in Tucson. Arizona did convert 50 percent from behind the arc (9-of-18) and committed just nine turnovers, but could not contain Cobbs and Crabbe. Mark Lyons led three Wildcats in double figures with 16 points in the loss. Solomon Hill and Brandon Ashley tacked on 13 and 12 points, respectively. Ashley just missed a double-double with a team-high nine rebounds.
The Wildcats have played well at both ends of the floor for the most part this season and still enjoy a +11.9 scoring margin. Lyons has been the team's top offensive threat with 15.4 ppg. Hill (14.0 ppg) and Nick Johnson (12.3 ppg) round out the double-digit scorers on the roster. Kevin Parrom (8.2 ppg) and Ashley (8.0 ppg) provide even more scoring depth.
The Buffaloes are not an offensive juggernaut by any stretch of the imagination, netting a modest 69.4 ppg. However, the team is efficient, shooting a healthy .458 from the floor. Most of that offense comes from the starting five, with four of those players averaging double figures. Spencer Dinwiddie currently leads the way with 14.8 ppg. Fellow guard Askia Booker is a close second at 13.6 ppg. Josh Scott and Andre Roberson provide frontcourt balance with 12.1 and 10.6 ppg, respectively. One of the nation's premier rebounders, the 6-foot-7 Roberson is first in the Pac-12 and second nationally with 11.6 rebounds per game.