A Moderately Uncalled for Colorado vs. Arizona Basketball Preview
Bryant Conger | January, 6 2018
When Tad Boyle, Colorado’s head basketball coach, was asked about the looming FBI investigations that have rocked programs like Arizona he responded, “I’ll sleep well at night.” Clearly. We know there are no shenanagans in Boulder because this Colorado team is not good. That’s what we call getting what you allegedly pay for.
KenPom lists Colorado as the 126th best team in the nation. They field the 179th best offense in the country and are 9-6 on the year with losses to San Diego, Oregon State, and Colorado State.
With that said, Colorado boasts one of the most experienced guards in the country in Xavier Johnson who returns for his 7th season in Boulder. Johnson’s mature, senior leadership makes him the anchor of this team. Just kidding, Xavier Johnson finally graduated. He’s 45 years young, and will still cross you up while telling you to get off his lawn.
Tad Boyle’s team is all about guard play. And he will play a lot of them. Eight guards average more than 12 minutes per game on this Colorado team. “Yes.” You ask. “But are they good?” The answer is relative. They are certainly better at basketball than you are, and if defeating a random team comprised of general internet readership were the goal, they would have a solid 60% chance. But it will be next to impossible for the Buffs to matchup with Arizona’s talented roster.
McKinley Wright can ball. Colorado’s 6’0 freshman guard is averaging 16 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists per game. And he can play some (some, let’s calm down) defense. Look for Wright to take the initiative against Arizona. He’ll need to have a strong game for the Buffs to stay competitive.
6’6 senior guard George King has developed into a solid player. He is one of the better Colorado shooters and he’s snatching 8 rebounds a game. If you’re an Arizona fan look forward to tearing your hair out when King to steals at least three rebounds from Dusan Ristic.
Missouri transfer, Namon Wright is the only other Colorado player that averages more than 10 points per game (12 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist) he plays average defense and his stats mirror “Joseph Q. Generic,” a 3-star, computer generated player on Playstation’s NCAA 2009 (RIP).
The Big Guys
Arizona is going to win this game by 15+ points. Why? There is nobody on this Colorado team that can guard DeAndre Ayton or Dusan Ristic. 6’10 sophomore Lucas Stewart is Tad Boyle’s best shot to slow down Arizona’s skilled, offensive-minded bigs. Stewart is an above average defender but he’s only putting up 4.6 points in limited minutes. If Boyle steps on the gas and keeps Stewart on the court for prolonged periods of time it will be to the detriment of his offense, which will be one dimensional. The same goes for 7’0 foot freshman Dallas Walton who is averaging 4.2 points per game. Outside of these two guys, that’s it for Colorado. This could get ugly.
This is a classic letdown-game for a team for Colorado. The Buffs got hot and beat a good ASU team that isn’t used to, you know, being good. This Arizona team is better, more balanced, and their major weakness doesn’t match up with Colorado’s strengths in a way that would indicate a likely upset. Arizona struggles to defend the 3-point shot, Colorado only has one player that averages more than 1.5 shots from downtown (George King) and he only averages 35% from deep. Arizona will field better talent at every position. The Cats are favored by -9.5 points in this game. The line should be higher.
Also, Sabatino Chen's shot was no good.