Pac-12 foes go toe-to-toe on Thursday night as the Colorado Buffaloes look to scare the league's top team, the Arizona Wildcats.
TV Schedule: Thursday, January 4, 9:30 PM ET, ESPN
Location: McKale Center in Tucson, AZ
The Colorado Buffaloes have a better record entering Thursday night's contest with the Arizona Wildcats. But the latter stands as the only ranked squad in the entire Pac-12.
The Wildcats were knocked down a few pegs over the weekend when Tommy Lloyd's team fell victim to a barrage of three-pointers from the Stanford Cardinal, losing 100-82. The score was nearly the exact flip of Arizona's Pac-12 opener two days earlier, a 100-81 victory over the California Golden Bears.
Colorado is one of four teams in the conference to start league play 2-0. While both of Arizona's games were of a blowout nature, both of the Buffaloes' games were close, single-digit victories over both Washington and Washington State.
Colorado guard KJ Simpson has emerged as one of the best players in the conference. He leads the Buffaloes in a variety of categories, including points (21.1), assists (4.5), steals (2.1), and field goal percentage (56.2 percent).
Arizona has a variety of scoring threats, evident from the team's 92.3 points per game, ranking second in the nation entering play on Wednesday. Five players average at least 10.9 points per game, led by transfer guard Caleb Love (17.4).
These programs only faced each other once last season, a 10-point victory for Arizona on its home floor. The Wildcats have won 15 of the 19 games played between the teams at home, putting the Buffaloes at a steep disadvantage; Colorado gets a return date on Feb. 10.
The teams seem to be moving in opposite directions. Arizona has lost three of its last five, while Colorado has won six straight. But this seems like an opportunity for both teams to find their appropriate level.
The advantage swings further toward the Wildcats if Colorado forward Tristan da Silva misses the contest. His status is unclear, but he's missed two games with an ankle injury. Freshman scorer Cody Williams is also out for Colorado with a wrist injury,
Prediction: Arizona 91, Colorado 78