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Arizona - Colorado Preview: Getting Back on Track

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Arizona looks to extend their home winning streak to 31 games as they continue conference play against the Buffaloes. Unlike the Oregon State game, sources are reporting that the Wildcats plan to actually play some offense in this match-up.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

At this point in my Arizona Basketball fandom I have pretty much trained myself to dislike every other school in the Pac-12 but for some reason I can't seem to muster up any real animosity towards Colorado. Even though we have lost some heart-breakers to the Buffaloes in recent years, including a Pac-12 Tournament Championship loss that knocked us out of March Madness, I just never think of them as a hated rival.

Their recent addition to the conference obviously plays a large part but I also find it hard to hate a school that runs a live buffalo onto the field before football games. And you just know that a school with a student body that proudly displays as many pictures as possible of Folsom Field on 4-20 has a really hard time bringing passionate intensity or focus to sporting events. All the people I've ever known that went to Boulder have been far too laid back and likable to even get into a heated argument with about sports but with all that said..... I'd really, really like to see Arizona absolutely annihilate Colorado on ESPN Thursday.

After a truly horrendous and painful performance on Sunday night against Oregon State, the Cats need a bounce-back win in a big way. After shooting just under 38% and allowing the Beavers to shoot over 51%, the Cats absolutely deserved to lose and it's almost surprising they were even in the game at the end.  And the less said about the final possession the better. The Cats shot 4-17 from three and 18-27 from the line so this was all in all a pitiful shooting performance.

A lot of things stood out on Sunday night that we all collectively have to hope don't happen again like Brandon Ashley and Stanley Johnson missing the game (wait, they did play? I swear neither of them showed up on Sunday) and our supposed zone-breaking lineup simply proving to the world that throwing a zone at this particular Arizona team is probably a good idea. Let's not forget that 7-foot Kaleb Tarczewski finished the game with ZERO rebounds. Let's put this another way to really drive that point home further:

Parker Jackson-Cartwright out-rebounded Kaleb Tarczewski 1-0 on Sunday night.

Now let's all agree to leave that travesty of a game in the rear-view mirror and set our sights on the future. The Buffaloes enter McKale at 2-1 in conference play thus far as they opened the season by sweeping the LA schools at home and then getting shellacked by Utah last week on the road. The Buffaloes come to Tucson needing a huge game from their Senior leader and highest scorer Askia Booker as they have been bit hard by the injury bug lately. The Buffaloes may be without two of their three leading scorers as Josh Scott and Xavier Johnson might not suit up for this match-up due to injury. If those two sit, and the home crowd helps Arizona like it should, you would think this sets up nicely as a tune-up game for the big showdown for Pac-12 supremacy with Utah this weekend. Of course, anytime you assume anything about this Arizona team, they either make you sit through a heart-attack inducing, way too close for comfort win or a throw your remote through the TV loss like the Oregon State game. Therefore I will refrain from making any predictions.

Most importantly, Arizona needs to step up their game offensively and hopefully in this game we will see a little more creativity and aggressiveness out of Sean Miller's game plan. We have simply stagnated offensively like never before and our rebounding dominance which seemed to be assured this year has been nowhere to be found. The total lack of offensive firepower from a team as talented as ours has been confounding this year. As an optimist I am still choosing to believe that the past few games have been an aberration, and that the next few will set the stage for a successful second half to the season.

Time

7 PM MST

Where To Watch

ESPN. This one is national so let's hope we put on a show for the country.

Is Bill Walton Announcing?

Yes. I'm sorry.

Is Jay Bilas Also Announcing?

Yes. Bilas with Walton and Pasch? This will certainly be interesting.