College Basketball Betting: Arizona, Colorado Meet in Pac-12 OpenerBy: Bob Harvey
No. 3 Arizona looks to continue its best start in 25 years when it entertains Colorado on January 3 in the Pac-12 season opener for both teams. Tip-off is set for 9:00 PM ET at Mckale Center in Tucson. AU will be in revenge mode after losing to the Buffalos 53-51 in last season’s league championship game.
The Wildcats, who are considered the class of the conference, are coming off a 68-67 win over San Diego State in the championship game of the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu. Nick Johnson swatted away a layup in the final seconds to preserve the victory, while Solomon Hill led Arizona with a season-high 21 points. Kevin Parrom added a season-best 17 points off the bench.
In its last outing, Colorado outclassed Hartford 80-52. Freshman point guard Josh Scott led CU with 21 points and 10 rebounds while fellow guard Askia Booker added 19 points. Andre Roberson had 14 points and 14 rebounds for his 31st career double-double – the sixth this season. The Buffaloes 10-2 start is their best since the 2005-2006 campaign.
No Brag, Just Fact
The Wildcats (12-0 SU, 7-3 ATS) have the best bench in the Pac-12 and arguably one of the deepest teams in the nation. Coach Sean Miller uses 10 players per night and has a legitimate backup at every position but rarely for Hill, the unquestioned leader of the team off the court. Arizona has possibly the best point guard in the league in Mark Lyons. He left Xavier with a year left of eligibility and chose to play for Arizona over Kentucky and Kansas. Lyons is among the new generation of PGs who would rather shoot first and pass second (think Russell Westbrook). Not surprisingly he leads the team in scoring (13.4 ppg) but is also tops in turnovers with 35, a number that Miller says is much too high.
With victories over then No. 5 Florida and 17th ranked San Diego State this season, Arizona has proven it can play with the big boys. Now the real test comes in the form of conference play.
Buffed Up Buffaloes
Colorado (10-2 SU, 7-3 ATS) is another Pac-12 team that should make the NCAA tournament. Andre Roberson, the Buffs’ main man, is averaging a double-double with 12.1 points and rebounds per game. His game does not stop there either. He leads the team in field goal percentage, three-point shooting, steals and blocks and is doing it all at just 6-foot-7, 210 pounds. Roberson has been a beast on the boards and has exuded an Anthony Davis type presence on defense.
The Wildcats have all of the ability to make a serious run not only in the Pac-12 but also in the NCAA tournament. They will get a few tough tests along the way starting with the battle against the Buffaloes. My wagering strategy is to play this game under the total. Arizona is 0-6-1 to the low side this year including 0-2 at home.