Top-seeded Arizona will take on the fourth seed Colorado in the first semi-final clash of the Pac-12 tournament. The Wildcats were pushed for 40 minutes vs. Stanford, can the Buffalos do that?
Arizona was one of the top offensive teams in the country that jelled under new head coach Tommy Lloyd. The Wildcats have averaged 84.7 points per game and they needed every single one to hold off a red-hot Stanford club that shot 54.2% in the quarterfinals, as Arizona held on to win 84-80 as enormous 15.5-point favorites at the NCAAB odds.
With Arizona, UCLA, USC, and to a lesser degree Oregon, getting all the headlines in the Pac-12, Colorado quietly closed the regular season 7-1 SU (6-2 ATS) to finish in fourth place in the conference. The Buffalos proved not to be a fluke as a one to two-point favorite over Oregon in the quarterfinals and dismantled the Ducks 80-69 to advance.
Colorado Buffaloes vs. Arizona Wildcats
Friday, March 11, 2022 – 09:00 PM EST at T-Mobile Arena
The betting odds at PointsBet has Arizona as a 9.5-point favorite with a total of 148.5. The two teams split the season series each winning and covering the top sportsbooks number at home. The ‘Cats won at Tucson 76-55 as 15-point chalk and lost in Boulder 79-63 as 9.5-point faves.
Arizona Has to Wake Up on Defense
This season, Arizona (29-3, 17-13-1 ATS) was one of the top defensive teams in the country during the regular season in holding opponents to 38.2% shooting at 66.7 PPG despite playing at a faster pace which allowed 65 shot attempts per game.
The Wildcats did not have their A-Game versus Stanford and not only allowed the Cardinal to shoot over 54%, but they did a rotten job in protecting the three-point line, with Stanford 11 for 20 from deep.
Coach Lloyd will no doubt express to his club the need to bend over and get a defensive stance because this Colorado crew will come in fearless, playing exceptional basketball and owning a victory over them already.
That is not the only thing Arizona has to concern itself with as point guard Kerr Kriisa left the court due to a sprained right ankle with 32 seconds left. Kriisa could not put any weight on his right leg as he was helped to the locker room and his status for this matchup and possibly longer is unknown. Lloyd was unsure of his availability for the rest of the tournament.
Buffaloes an Angry Herd
What changed for Colorado (21-10, 13-17 ATS) to turn their season around? Coach Tad Boyle had talked about taking better care of the basketball because his team definitely does not play at a fast pace, generating only 55 shot attempts per contest.
Because the Buffs average just six made threes on the season when they move the ball to find the open shooter, the offense improves dramatically and that is what they have done in this torrid period.
In Colorado’s eight-game stretch they averaged shooting 48.9%, compiling 78.1 PPG, well above their prior season average of 70 PPG. Against Oregon’s solid defense, the Buffalos shot only 40.5%, yet, they tallied 80 points thanks to 17 offensive rebounds and to having 17 assists on 30 baskets
Defensively, Boyle’s bunch has done the job most of the year in holding opposing clubs to 41.7% and they will need to be even better as they did at home when they kept the Wildcats below 40% in the upset before the home folks.
What Is the Best Side to Be On?
For college basketball picks, I’m certain that Arizona will be more alert than they were yesterday. The expected loss of Kriisa to run the point does matter and Colorado has the size and quickness to compete with the Wildcats in the paint.
The Buffs arrive knowing they can beat Arizona and playing extremely well, and the ‘Cats are just 2-9 ATS on neutral floors and make them a favorite at that location and they are 7-18 ATS. Arizona wins and advances, just by 7 points or less.
NCAAB Pick: Colorado +9.5 (-110) at PointsBet