College Basketball Betting Pac 12 Showdown: Colorado Buffaloes at #1 Arizona Wildcats

Colorado Buffaloes at #1 Arizona Wildcats
McKale Center – Tucson, Arizona

Thursday, January 23, 2014, 9:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
Opening Line: Arizona -15 1/2
Current Line: Arizona -14 1/2
Opening Total: 132 1/2
Current Total: 131
Opening Money Line: Arizona -1400 / Colorado +850
Current Money Line: Arizona -1400 / Colorado +850

Arizona-Colorado preview
Undefeated Arizona is a 14.5 point favorite against Colorado Thursday.

The 18-0 Arizona Wildcats are #1 in the country and one of three undefeated teams left in college basketball along with Syracuse and Wichita State. Thanks to USC upsetting California last night, The Wildcats are also the only undefeated team left in the Pac 12 at 5-0. Arizona looks to remain unbeaten as they host the 15-4 Colorado Buffaloes Thursday night. Colorado is third in the conference at 4-2.

Colorado leads the all-time series against Arizona 11-8 but Arizona is 4-2 against Colorado in Tucson. The Buffaloes have not won in Tucson since 1960. The Wildcats won 2 of the 3 meetings last year, winning 92-83 in overtime in Tucson, and 79-69 in the Pac 12 tournament in Las Vegas. Colorado won in Boulder 71-58.The two schools will play again in Boulder February 22.

Colorado is coached by Tad Boyle. The team was ranked in the top 15 before their leading scorer guard Spencer Dinwiddie tore his ACL. The Buffaloes have losses to Baylor in Dallas and Oklahoma State in Las Vegas, at Washington and at home against UCLA. The Buffaloes have key wins over Wyoming, Arkansas State, UC-Santa Barbara, Harvard, at Colorado State and Air Force, Kansas, Georgia, Oregon State, Oregon, at Washington State, and USC Saturday 83-62. The USC win stopped a two game losing streak. Colorado is 10-8 ATS and the total is 9-8 this season.

Colorado is outscoring teams 76-68 this season. The Buffaloes are shooting 44.9% from the field and 31% from 3 point range. Colorado is #301 out of 351 teams in three point shooting. The Buffaloes make 72.9% of their free throws. Colorado opponents are shooting 42.1% from the field and 36.8% from 3 point range. The Buffaloes are averaging 39.2 rebounds per game and opponents average 28.4 per game. Colorado is in the top 40 nationally in both categories. The Buffaloes average 12.3 assists, 13 turnovers, 6.6 steals and 3.9 blocks per game. Opponents average 12.1 assists, 13.2 turnovers, 6.3 assists, and 2.7 blocks per game.

Dinwiddie averaged 14.7 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.5 steals per game before the injury. Forward Josh Scott averages 14.3 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. Guard Askia Booker averages 13.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Forward Xavier Johnson averages 9.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. Forward Wesley Gordon averages 6.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.6 blocks per game. Guard Jaron Hopkins averages 5.4 points and 2.4 rebounds per game. Dustin Thomas and Xavier Talton will also get significant minutes. Guard/forward Tre’Shaun Fletcher is out indefinitely with a knee injury, but could return for the NCAA tournament if the Buffaloes make it.

Arizona is coached by Sean Miller. The Wildcats have key wins over Cal Poly, Long Beach State, at San Diego State, Rhode Island, Drexel and Duke in the pre-season NIT in New York City, Texas Tech, UNLV, New Mexico State, at Michigan, Washington State, Washington, at UCLA and USC, and last Thursday against Arizona State 91-68. Arizona is 13-4 ATS and the total is 5-11 this season.

Arizona is outscoring teams 76-57 this season. The Wildcats are #4 nationally in points allowed. nationally. Arizona is shooting 49% from the field and 37.9% from 3 point range. The Wildcats are #16 nationally in field goal percentage.  Arizona makes 67% of their free throws. Wildcat opponents are shooting 37% from the field and 29.1% from 3 point range. Arizona is #3 in field goal defense and #20 in 3 point defense. The Wildcats average 39.6 rebounds per game and opponents average 24.8. Arizona is #26 in rebounds and lead the nation in rebounds allowed. The Wildcats average 15.9 assists, 11.3 turnovers, 5.8 steals and 4.8 blocks per game. Opponents average 9.1 assists, 12.8 turnovers, 5 steals and 2.9 blocks per game.

Guard Nick Johnson averages 16.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Forward Aaron Gordon averages 12.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game. Both Johnson and Gordon are on the Wooden Award mid-season watch list. Forward Brandon Ashley averages 12.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. Center Caleb Tarczewski averages 9.9 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. Forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson averages 7.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. Guard T.J. McConnell averages 7.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.9 steals per game. Guard Gabe York averages 7.3 points, 2 rebounds and 1.3 assists.

Colorado is 5-2 ATS after a cover, 7-3 after a straight up win, 2-5 overall, 2-6-1 in road games and against Pac 12 teams, 1-5-1 against teams with winning home records, and 0-4 in Thursday games.

Arizona is 7-1 ATS after scoring more than 90 points, 17-4 against teams with winning records, 4-1 at home, after a cover, and against Pac 12 teams,  16-5 in Thursday games, 20-7 overall, 19-7 after a straight up win, and 18-8 after a win by 20 points or more.

Colortado is one of the best rebounding teams in the country, but Arizona is even better. If Dinwiddie was available I would give Colorado a better shot at pulling off the upset. However, Colorado struggled to score against Washington and UCLA without Dinwiddie and Arizona is much better on defense than either of those two teams. Arizona should win handily.

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