The Arizona Wildcats (12-3, 2-0) will be facing another road battle in the Pac-12 Saturday when they face the Colorado Buffaloes (9-6, 1-2). The game takes place at the Coors Event Center in Boulder and will air on Pac-12 Network at noon MST.
Arizona beat Colorado twice last season, once by nine points in the regular season and another by 14 in the Pac-12 Tournament.
While Colorado may not be the biggest threat to Arizona, it’s still important to know the competition.
So here’s what to know about Colorado.
69-96 loss to the Xavier Musketeers, on the road
73-80 loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes, neutral court (Sioux Falls, SD)
62-77 loss to the Oregon Ducks, on the road
90-81 OT win against the Arizona State Sun Devils, at home
Beating Arizona State is a huge deal for the Buffaloes, and the momentum could seriously help them in this game.
The Buffaloes do not have a great offense, especially for a team from the Pac-12. Colorado ranks 180th (of 351) in college basketball in offensive efficiency, barely averaging one point per possession.
A majority of Colorado’s offensive output comes from within the arc, like Arizona. They get 51 percent of their points from 2-pointers, and they only shoot 33 percent from 3.
Colorado’s best at getting offensive rebounds, ranking 137th in offensive rebound percentage.
One weakness they have is they turn the ball over a lot, ranking 253rd in turnover percentage.
Colorado’s defense is better than its offense. However, it’s still not an elite squad.
The Buffaloes allow 100.9 points per 100 possessions, which is a respectable number. They’re also great at defending inside, holding opponents to a 47.7 field-goal percentage on 2-pointers.
Colorado is strong defensive rebounding team, tracking down nearly 75 percent of opponents’ misses, ranking 28th in the country in that category.
Colorado’s one glaring defensive weakness is its failure to create turnovers. The Buffs only manage a steal on six percent of defensive possessions, ranking 331st out of 351. Ouch.
Overall, though minus the turnover numbers, Colorado has the defense to at least compete with Arizona. It’s nothing special, but it is much better than their offensive numbers.
Colorado players to watch
McKinley Wright IV, freshman, G
Wright may be new to the team, but he’s made a major impact immediately, helping the Buffs get some key wins, including their recent victory over No. 4 ASU, where he scored 19 points, including three clutch 3-pointers.
Wright has averaged 33 minutes per game despite his inexperience, and has made the most of it, averaging roughly 16 points and just under five rebounds and assists each game.
Despite his somewhat small frame (6’0”, 185 pounds), Wright has emerged as one of the leaders on a team looking for one after last year’s star Derrick White graduated.
Whenever Wright is on the floor, Parker Jackson-Cartwright and others will have to deal with the Buffs’ swiss army knife-type player, hoping to limit both his outside game and his ability to create.
George King, senior, G
The 6-foot-6 fifth-year senior has been a consistent contributor for the Buffaloes for years now, and this season has been no exception.
King is averaging 13.5 points and a career-high 7.9 rebounds per game. He doesn’t distribute much and isn’t a great defender, but he can be a dangerous 3-point shooter, connecting on 36 percent of his attempts this season.
King has scored in double-figures in his last four games against Arizona, too, so he has given the Wildcats some fits in the past.