Breakdown: Arizona vs. Colorado

Arizona will open up Pac-12 play against Colorado on Thursday. Read on for a complete positional breakdown, including a score prediction.

PG: Mark Lyons (6-1, 200, Sr.) vs. Spencer Dinwiddie (6-6, 200, So.)

This is a tough game for Lyons because of numerous reasons, one of which is the fact that Dinwiddie is much taller than him and also able to get to the line nearly seven times per game. Dinwiddie is shooting 48 percent from the field and 46 percent from behind the arc. He does turn the ball over almost as many times as he finds an assist, but that does not mean he is not a good passer. Lyons' numbers are relatively close, although Dinwiddie has slightly better shooting numbers. This is probably the toughest matchup to predict because of what each player is able to do when they are at their best, so we're going to make it even.

Advantage: Even

SG: Nick Johnson (6-3, 200, So.) vs. Askia Booker (6-1, 170, So.)

Booker's strength is in his ability to score, but a closer look reveals a player that is not as efficient as he should be. Booker shoots 42 percent from the field, 38 percent from three, 60 percent from the line, and has only one more assist than turnover so far this year. Johnson's defense has been strong in every game except one this season and he seems to be a more efficient player by far. While Booker may get his, we would be surprised if it was a lot more than what Johnson does and if it was at a good shooting percentage as well.

Advantage: Arizona

SF: Solomon Hill (6-7, 220, Sr.) vs. Sabatino Chen (6-4, 190, Sr.)

Chen has not scored more than eight points this season and this is an awful matchup for him. Hill should be able to guard him with ease and although Chen is high energy, he is at a complete size disadvantage here. The guess is that Colorado plays Roberson at the three because this is such a disadvantage. Hill would be smart to take it right at Chen and remain aggressive throughout because he should find success in doing so.

Advantage: Arizona

PF: Brandon Ashley (6-8, 235, Fr.) vs. Andre Roberson (6-7, 210, Jr.)

Even if Roberson struggles shooting, which he has done a few times this year, the forward is not going to struggle on the glass. Ashley has no choices but to play hard or else Arizona will go with Jerrett or even with the smaller lineup. Ashley does not need to score a lot of points, but he needs to defend and at least make Roberson's life more difficult on the glass. Roberson is going to get the advantage here, but Ashley has a big opportunity to make a statement.

Advantage: Colorado

C: Kaleb Tarczewski (7-0, 255, Fr.) vs. Josh Scott (6-10, 215, Fr.)

Scott has had the same inconsistency that any freshman is going to have, but he has also had some very impressive games. He is currently averaging 13 and 6 on 51 percent shooting and does not turn the ball over much. Scott's best game of the season came against a Kansas squad that destroyed Colorado. In addition, his only bad games of the season were against Wyoming and Colorado State. Scott has shot poorly in two of Colorado's three road games, but his consistency throughout the season as a whole is what gives him the advantage here.

Advantage: Colorado

Bench: Colorado has six quality players, which means it does not have a lot of depth. The Buffs could choose to go small and play Roberson at the three with Xavier Johnson as an under-sized four man. Johnson is shooting 51 percent from the field and getting about 20 minutes per game to average six points and three rebounds per contest. The issue Colorado has is that there is not much after that. Sure, there are players like Jeremy Adams and Xavier Talton, but they don't do much. The bench may be Arizona's biggest advantage in this game, as Kevin Parrom and Grant Jerrett are better than anything CU has to offer.

Advantage: Arizona

Coaching: Sean Miller vs. Tad Boyle

We have a lot of respect for what Tad Boyle has been able to do with Colorado and there is little doubt about his coaching and evaluating ability. We give Miller the advantage here because he has done it at a higher level for a bit longer, but the reality is that we would be surprised if this game was won based on coaching.

Advantage: Arizona

Prediction: Colorado has strength with Roberson and Dinwiddie, but I have a few questions beyond that. Johnson should be able to contain Booker and also score on his own, which would negate what is usually an advantage for CU. In addition, Hill is a nightmare advantage for the Buffs unless they choose to go small, which is possible. If they do, that probably weakens the depth even more and Colorado will basically be playing Arizona with five guys. At the end of the day, I think that is a bit too much for Colorado to handle.

Arizona 80, Colorado 71

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