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Arizona vs. Colorado score predictions

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Who will win the rubber match and advance to the Pac-12 Tournament semis?

NCAA Basketball: Colorado at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats and Colorado Buffaloes are set to square off for a third time this season, as they will face each other in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament on Thursday at 1 p.m. MST in Las Vegas.

The eighth-seeded Buffaloes beat ASU 97-85 in the first round to get here. The No. 1-seeded Wildcats had a bye.

These two teams split the regular season series with the home team winning each time. KenPom gives Arizona a 77 percent chance of winning the rubber match, with a projected score of 76-68.

Here is what we think will happen in Las Vegas. Make sure to leave your predictions in the comment section below.

Ryan Kelapire — Arizona wins 78-73

Basically every conference game Arizona has played this season has gone down to the wire, so I don’t expect a game against Colorado on a neutral floor to be any different.

The Wildcats struggled against the Buffaloes’ zone in the first matchup, but then obliterated it in the second matchup, and I think we’re likely to see the latter this time.

One concerning thing is Colorado’s offense was super efficient in both regular season matchups, and it just hit 13 of 21 3s against ASU in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament, so I could see Arizona’s defense struggling to get enough stops to win.

Scott Moran — Arizona wins 75-68

I think the Wildcats should be very happy the Buffaloes took care of Arizona State, as, despite the Sun Devils struggle, I think ASU would’ve won that matchup. Colorado is a better team than they get credit for, but I see Arizona winning this game.

There’s a clear talent advantage in favor of Arizona, as there has been against every team they’ve faced except for maybe Purdue. Arizona should be propelled by the emotional fuel the recent controversies have produced. So I see Arizona fighting for a victory and a place in the semifinals.

Christopher Boan — Arizona wins 77-74

This is going to be a helluva ballgame, with Allonzo Trier, Rawle Alkins and Deandre Ayton guiding the Wildcats forward against McKinley Wright IV, George King and the Buffs.

I’m interested in seeing whether Tad Boyle actually hurt himself in running like a constipated duck to break up a late-game fight, or if he just runs like a middle-aged dad with bad ankles.

I’m also excited to see whether Arizona can throw it in the ocean from behind the three-point line, a facet of the game that buried them in their loss to CU in Boulder.

I think this team is dead-set on kicking everyone’s ass that gets between them and a second-consecutive conference crown, so I’ll take the home team in this one.

Make sure to watch though, if for no other reason than to hear Bill Walton’s dulcet tones describing the microclimates of Nevada and how the Manhattan Project was the worst chapter in American history.

Alec Sills-Trausch — Arizona wins 69-56

In the eyes of Buffs fans, this is the devil vs. the angel. But for everyone else, it’s just another Pac-12 tournament game at an elevation similar to Tucson versus the mile high climate of Boulder — making it much less likely CU pulls of the upset (or that’s the logic I’m going with). The Wildcats should be well rested and ready to roll in Vegas. Plus, they’re just better but that’s boring to write.

Matt Sheeley — Arizona wins 81-69

Colorado has shot the ball really well against the Wildcats this season and are coming off a game where they were red-hot from beyond the arc to put away Arizona State. If their shots are still falling, things could get dicey for Arizona in Las Vegas in a hurry.

But that’s not normally Colorado’s way and I think they regress to the mean a bit on Thursday. Plus, I expect an angry, motivated group of Wildcats hellbent on defending their Pac-12 crown and a big day from Allonzo Trier after his disappointing finale in McKale Center last Saturday. Give me Arizona by double-digits.