Breakdown: Arizona vs. Colorado

Arizona will start off the week against Colorado on Thursday night. Read on for a complete positional breakdown of the game, a score prediction, and more.

Colorado at Arizona
Jan. 23 at 7 pm
McKale Center


Overall Record 18-0 (1.000) 15-4 (.789)
Location Record 12-0 (1.000) at home 3-1 (.750) on the road
Scoring/G: PF&PA(Rank) 75.9 (82) 56.7 (5) 75.5 (92) 67.8 (108)
Rebound Margin/G: RM(Rank) 10.6 (5) 8.6 (12)
5.8 (221) 6.6 (135)
Assists/G: A(Rank)
15.9 (24) 12.3 (229)
Field-Goal Percentage: FG%(Rank) 49.1 (12) 44.9 (142)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 3FG%(Rank) 37.9 (79) 31 (253)
Field-Goal Percentage Against: FG%(Rank) 37. (5) 42.2 (125)
Ranking: Coaches' Poll #1 N/A
AP Poll
#1 N/A


2 (.6845) 22 (.6270)
Point Guard

PG: T.J. McConnell (6-1, 195, Jr.) vs. Askia Booker (6-2, 170, Jr.)

In the past, Arizona has put Johnson on Booker, but with Spencer Dinwiddie's injury, Booker is now running the point with Hopkins. That isn't a good thing for the Buffs though, because Booker is not a point guard in any way, shape, or form. The good thing about it from CU's perspective is that he has been under control in the last two games, but Arizona should be able to contain him on Thursday. McConnell is the more capable point guard and considering that Booker hasn't shot better than 40 percent in a season in three years, the Wildcats are probably comfortable with what they can do defensively.

Shooting Guard

SG: Nick Johnson (6-3, 200, Jr.) vs. Jaron Hopkins (6-5, 190, Fr.)

Hopkins has seen his minutes increase since Dinwiddie's injury, but he is not doing much with it. He averages about five points per game and a handful of rebounds. Normally he does not turn it over, but UCLA was able to force him into five of them after quickening the pace a bit. Johnson is obviously going to be able to guard Hopkins and stop him from going off, but Hopkins can't say the same for what he will do on defense against Johnson. This has the potential to be one of the bigger mismatches on Thursday.

Small Forward

SF: Aaron Gordon (6-9, 225, Fr.) vs. Xavier Johnson (6-7, 220, So.)

Johnson is certainly a talented player, but is also battling some consistency issues. He had 15 points against Oregon and looked great doing so, but only scored two against UCLA and got only one rebound against USC. Gordon's biggest strength right now may be his defense and Johnson is going to find it difficult to get open. His best chance of scoring is probably off the glass, though he could have some difficulty keeping Gordon from doing the same. Johnson will likely need a big game if Colorado is going to have a chance of beating Arizona, but it won't be easy.

Power Forward

PF: Brandon Ashley (6-8, 230, So.) vs. Wesley Gordon (6-9, 225, Fr.)

Gordon is not a major scorer though he is effective in other ways. He is strong on the glass and a good defender with the ability to block shots. Ashley is much better offensively, but Gordon's defense is going to make it hard on him. Gordon's role has not changed since the Dinwiddie injury and he is not putting up any more shots from the field, but he should be able to put up his normal numbers, which are six points and six boards per game. Ashley should be able to match that, however, and has a good chance of exceeding it.


C: Kaleb Tarczewski (7-0, 235, So.) vs. Josh Scott (6-10, 245, So.)

Scott is one of those players that should be getting much more attention than he currently is. You would assume that any player averaging 14 points and 9 rebounds per game on 55 percent shooting would get his fair share of attention, but that has not been the case. Tarczewski is quietly becoming a very good low post defender and he will need it against Scott, who will be one of the best centers Arizona faces this season. We don't think either player is going to get a sizable advantage in this matchup, but if a player does, it will go a long way towards winning.


Bench: This goes back to the quality vs. quantity argument. We all know by now that Arizona only uses two players off its bench and maybe three if Jordin Mayes gets some time. On the other hand, CU likes to use almost its full bench. Since Dinwiddie's injury, freshman Dustin Thomas has seen his average minutes nearly triple with his best game of the season coming in a seven-point effort against USC. Eli Stalzer and Xavier Talton are two guards that are going to see decent minutes off the bench as well, but aren't big scorers. CU is probably more suited for foul trouble, but Hollis-Jefferson is better than anything the Buffs bring off the bench.

Coaching: Sean Miller vs. Tad Boyle

We really like Tad Boyle as a coach, but Miller is coaching the best team in the country right now. As strong as Boyle is, there is only so much he can game plan for without Dinwiddie and the odds just aren't in his favor.


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Prediction: We have a feeling that this is going to be an ugly game. Colorado is going to try to grind it out and make it as low-scoring as possible. The issue here is that we think this is going to be one game in which Arizona wears the opposition down. The backcourt went from a Colorado strength to a weakness and one in which the Wildcats can handle. Colorado is good defensively, but Arizona is better and has more talent on offense. Our guess is that Colorado gives it a good fight to start, but the Wildcats are just too much.

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