The first matchup between these two went just about the way we thought it would. Dinwiddie struggled taking care of the ball and had difficulty guarding Lyons. Lyons struggled to shoot over the bigger Dinwiddie, but was able to use his speed to get in the lane and draw fouls. There really is not a lot that we think is going to change on Thursday. It will be interesting to see how Lyons handles the hostile environment, because he has been known to thrive in them in the past. Dinwiddie is capable of having a strong game, but Arizona has done well on him defensively in the past.
SG: Nick Johnson (6-3, 200, So.) vs. Askia Booker (6-1, 170, So.)
Booker is the type of player that has never met a shot he does not like and a player like that actually plays into Johnson's hands defensively. Johnson tends to struggle with guys that are able to quickly get in the lane, but often times Booker settles for jumpers and that is a big reason why he struggled against Arizona. Booker is probably going to get his, but Johnson is the more efficient player. Sure, he has struggled in his past three games, but this seems like a good one for him to bounce back nicely.
SF: Solomon Hill (6-7, 220, Sr.) vs. Andre Roberson (6-7, 210, Jr.)
This is another matchup of two players that are going to have difficulty guarding each other. Hill should be able to take Roberson into the lane and Roberson should be able to get his points close to the basket. We would be surprised if either player has a big advantage, but if that happens, the team with the advantage likes wins the game. Arizona is going to have difficulty winning if Hill struggles and vice versa for Colorado. The key for Hill is to be aggressive to the basket and let that open up his jumpers. In addition, Arizona needs to make sure that it is able to keep Roberson off the glass as much as possible.
PF: Brandon Ashley (6-8, 235, Fr.) vs. Xavier Johnson (6-6, 220, Fr.)
Ashley struggled tremendously in the first meeting and the surprise start for Johnson paid off with 13 points and 8 rebounds. The guess here is that Arizona is going to have a better game plan for Johnson and if Ashley struggles again, the Wildcats will go small with Parrom guarding him. There is really no reason why Ashley should not be able to score on Johnson, but he needs to be smart with his aggression. Neither player is really that much better than the other and we expect a more even matchup this time around.
C: Kaleb Tarczewski (7-0, 255, Fr.) vs. Josh Scott (6-10, 215, Fr.)
Tarczewski has not played more than 20 minutes in the past three games and much of it has to do with him struggling against teams that are aggressive on the perimeter. If that is the case, Tarczewski is not going to see more minutes on Saturday. He did score ten points in the first meeting, but struggled with Scott defensively, as he went 6-8 from the field. Scott is a bit inconsistent, but his ceiling this season has been higher than Tarczewski's. With the way he has been playing, we just can't see any way that Scott does not have the advantage here, although the matchups Arizona uses could stop him from matching the first meeting of the season.
Bench: Grant Jerrett had one of his best games of the season against Colorado, as he scored ten points and added six rebounds. In addition, Kevin Parrom had 16 points and eight rebounds when the Wildcats decided to go small and give him 34 minutes. Figuring Sabatino Chen does not go off for 15 points, Arizona has the better bench. Jordin Mayes had four points in the first meeting and outscored every CU bench player except for Chen, so that basically sums up what Arizona will be seeing here.
Coaching: Sean Miller vs. Tad Boyle
Like we have said before, Boyle is one of the best coaches in the conference. You can make the argument, however, that Miller outcoached Boyle at the end of the first meeting in that Arizona was able to come back from a huge deficit due in large part to numerous lineup changes. We're going to make this one even not necessarily because we think they are on the same level, but rather because we think this game goes beyond coaching.
Prediction: This might be the toughest game to predict all season. On one hand, you have a Colorado team that you just know has been looking forward to this one. On the other, you have an Arizona team that is sick of hearing about how the first game was handed to it. Arizona is going to have to match Colorado's intensity or else the game probably will not be close. The reality is that nobody really knows how each team is going to react to the atmosphere, but the guess here is that Sabatino Chen is not going to go off and last time, that was easily the only reason why CU was in the game at the end. The Cal loss could be the wakeup call Arizona needs, but this game is still going to be close.
Arizona 75, Colorado 74