College Basketball Odds, Pick & Preview for Colorado vs. Arizona (Thursday, Jan. 13)
Rebecca Noble/Getty Images. Pictured: Christian Koloko and Bennedict Mathurin
- Colorado and Arizona meet on Thursday in a matchup of contrasts between two teams that play at vastly different paces.
- The Wildcats have been really impressive all season long and will look to run the slow-paced Buffaloes off the floor.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of the matchup, including a betting pick.
Colorado vs. Arizona Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The Arizona Wildcats have had a stellar start to the season and come in at 12-1 and ranked No. 6 in the AP Poll. However, it has had a hard time getting on the court in recent weeks. In the last three weeks, Arizona has played just one game, a 95-79 win over Washington. It has had games against UCLA, USC and Arizona State postponed. The Wildcats are set to welcome the Colorado Buffaloes to the McKale Center.
Colorado’s most recent game was also against Washington, a 78-64 win on Sunday. The Buffaloes extended their winning streak to five and improved to 11-3 overall and 3-1 in conference play.
Colorado and Arizona split the season last year with each team winning on its home floor. However, Arizona has dominated this series overall, winning 15 of the last 20 meetings in the series.
Colorado is led by forward Jabari Walker, who leads the team with 13.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. The sophomore has seven double-doubles this season and has put himself on the radar as a possible first round pick.
Walker is joined up front by senior forward Evan Battey, who is the heart and soul of the team. Battey is averaging 12.6 points and 4.5 rebounds while shooting 52.6% from deep.
Sophomore Keeshawn Barthelemy is an attacking guard and he averages 11.4 points and shoots 34.7% from three. Freshman guard K.J. Simpson is averaging just 5.9 points off the bench, however he may have a little added motivation for this one. Simpson signed with Arizona out of high school but he was released from his national letter of intent when Tommy Lloyd took for Sean Miller.
When Simpson was unavailable last week, fellow freshman Julian Hammond stepped up and averaged eight points, 2.5 rebounds, and two assists on 55% shooting. For his efforts, he was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week.
The Buffaloes excel at drawing contact and getting to the foul line. Colorado is drawing the third-most fouls per game in the country and ranks 21st in free throws. Drawing fouls and stopping the clock may help the Buffaloes slow the game down against Arizona. Colorado wants the game to be slower anyway, as it ranks 256th in adjusted tempo.
Defensively, Colorado will struggle to get stops against Arizona. It ranks 82nd in adjusted defensive efficiency and 126th in defensive rating.
While Colorado is about making possessions as long as possible, Arizona is the complete opposite. Arizona likes to get out and run and has the shortest average possession in the country and ranks fourth in adjusted tempo.
Despite its rapid pace, Arizona has been highly efficient on both ends on the floor. The Wildcats are seventh in offensive rating and 12th in adjusted offensive efficiency while ranking eighth in defensive rating and 15th in adjusted defensive efficiency.
Arizona has four players averaging in double-figures, led by possible lottery pick Bennedict Mathurin. The sophomore wing is averaging 18.9 points and 6.5 rebounds while hitting 38.6% from deep. Guard Kerr Kriisa is averaging 12.5 points and five assists. He is shooting 37.3% from three on nearly eight attempts per game.
Down low, Arizona has a formidable twin towers in Azuolas Tubelis and Christian Koloko. Tubelis is averaging 14.8 points and 6.1 rebounds while Koloko is averaging 13.5 points and 7.2 rebounds. He also ranks sixth nationally with 3.4 blocks per game.
As a team, Arizona ranks third nationally in blocks (6.6 per game) and it is also the best rebounding team at 43.9 rebounds per game.
Colorado vs. Arizona Betting Pick
Arizona is the top-scoring team in the country at 89.9 points per game and it typically likes to start fast. The Wildcats have averaged 42.7 points in the first half of games. If you can get a line on the first half over and Arizona’s first half team total, I would consider those, but those lines are not available as of this writing. However, the full game total sits at 150.5.
Arizona should have a field day offensively. Colorado is undersized on the perimeter and will have a difficult time matching up with Mathurin. The same goes on the interior. Walker and Battey are good players but they are both 6-foot-8 while Tubelis and Koloko are 6-foot-11 and 7-foot-0, respectively.
If Arizona simply gets to its average, you are 60% of the way toward the over. The total has reached 151 points in eight of Arizona’s 13 games this season. While Colorado does play slower and is less efficient, it does average 72.7 points per game and is coming off 83- and 78-point performances in its last two games.
I think Colorado will be forced to keep up with Arizona’s pace or risk getting blown out and that favors the game going over.
Pick: Over 150.5 (Play to 153)
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