While Dinwiddie is a better point guard than Lyons, this is actually more of an intriguing matchup than people may realize. Lyons outplayed Dinwiddie in the first meeting and Dinwiddie returned the favor at home. Both players have difficulties guarding each other because of their respective size, so there is a good opportunity for both to have a legitimate impact on the game. We're going to give Dinwiddie the advantage here because we do believe he is the better player, but it would not shock us to see Lyons come up with a solid game and break out of the slight slump he has been in.
SG: Nick Johnson (6-3, 200, So.) vs. Askia Booker (6-1, 170, So.)
Booker was flat out bad against Oregon State, finishing 1-9 from the field. He is a streaky player that Johnson has been able to have success against defensively because Booker tends to settle for shots he really should not be taking. The Johnson we saw against Arizona State is the one that Arizona fans desperately want to see more and Arizona is a much better team when he shows up like that. Even if it is not that exact type of performance, Johnson should be able to play well defensively on Booker. Booker's shooting percentage is down to 36 percent and he has only scored in double digits once in his past six games. This could be a good opportunity for Johnson to take advantage of.
SF: Solomon Hill (6-7, 220, Sr.) vs. Andre Roberson (6-7, 210, Jr.)
Parrom is going to play the three spot in the offense, but there is no chance he guards Roberson in this game. The big question is how Roberson recovers from Wednesday's game because, mono or not, he did not look to be 100 percent. Roberson turned the ball over five times and seemed to be playing in spurts rather than giving the full effort we have grown accustomed to. It is going to be really interesting to see how he recovers and CU uses him. Hill is the better scorer, but Roberson is the better rebounder and defender. Figuring Roberson is healthy, this is a pretty even matchup. Hill needs to be aggressive and make Roberson prove he can guard him. Not only would it likely get Hill going, but it can open up things for his teammates as well.
PF: Kevin Parrom (6-6, 220, Sr.) vs. Xavier Johnson (6-6, 220, Fr.)
Johnson has turned it up as of late, scoring 22 points in 22 minutes against Oregon, 16 against Oregon State, and 14 points against California. However, Parrom has been playing strong ball as well, scoring in double digits in his past four games and not shooting below 50 percent in the process. The key here is that Parrom is going to need to defend Johnson, which is something Arizona has not been great at in the two previous meetings. In fact, Johnson went 7-9 for 19 points and 9 rebounds in Boulder and posed major issues for Arizona. Parrom's offense is what keeps this matchup in reach, but if his defense falters, Arizona will struggle here.
C: Kaleb Tarczewski (7-0, 255, Fr.) vs. Josh Scott (6-10, 215, Fr.)
Scott is a difficult matchup for Tarczewski for numerous reasons. He can step out a bit, is athletic, and has great length as well. Tarczewski has struggled a bit against Colorado this season and probably plays around 20 minutes on Thursday. If he plays more, it is likely a good sign for Arizona because it means he is being effective, which he has not been against CU in the two previous games. Scott and Tarczewski are actually putting up similar numbers as of late and Arizona has gotten its center more involved. We think Scott has slightly more ability to score, so we are giving him the advantage. However, we don't see either player running away with this matchup.
Bench: Unless you think Sabatino Chen is good for 15 points or so again, Arizona has the advantage here. Grant Jerrett has played better as of late and this could be a good matchup for him because he should be able to guard Colorado's post options while having some success on offense. Brandon Ashley has been irrelevant in the first two meetings, so it would be nice for him to step up. If he doesn't, Jerrett and a rejuvenated Jordin Mayes should be able to at least match what CU has to offer.
Coaching: Sean Miller vs. Tad Boyle
It sounds like a broken record by now, but Boyle is one of the best coaches in the conference. He rarely gets out coached and seemingly has his guys ready nearly every game. There are going to be a lot of factors at play in this one, but we don't see coaching really being one of them.
Prediction: If Colorado plays against Arizona like it played in the last two against Oregon State, it is probably going to lose. However, it feels like we have seen this before. A team is not shooting well, faces Arizona, and all of a sudden can't miss. The biggest factor in this one may be what we can't predict and that is how Roberson will react to his second game in as many days. Arizona seems focused and the Arizona State game was a good sign, but this is definitely a difficult matchup. Still, we like the extra day of rest and prep and believe that Arizona will come out on top.
Arizona 73, Colorado 69