Entering the PAC-12 tournament with a 4-seed, Arizona earned a bye in the first round.
Colorado and Oregon State battled it out on Wednesday for a shot to take on Arizona. Colorado came away with a 74-68 victory, but it wasn't easy, as the Buffaloes played poorly for a majority of the night, but were able to pull away towards the end.
"Sometimes in tournament basketball you've got to win ugly and today, offensively, we didn't have our best game," Colorado Head Coach Tad Boyle said. "I'm not sure I can remember the last time we shot better from beyond the arc than inside the arc."
The story leading up to the game was Andre Roberson's health. News had circulated last week that he could miss the PAC-12 tournament with mono. Those rumors were put to rest as Roberson started the game and played 25 minutes for the Buffs. The junior had twelve points on 4-7 shooting and also added seven rebounds in the game.
"Andre brings a lot to our team," Boyle said. "He was a little rusty today, but in terms of his defense and clogging up the lane, Andre was terrific."
The leading scorer for Colorado was Spencer Dinwiddie. He had a game-high twenty points, but earned nine of them at the free throw stripe. Dinwiddie also had a game-high three treys, but grabbed just a single rebound.
He will be joined in the backcourt by Askia Booker. The guard had a bad day on the court hitting just one of his nine shots. Booker did dish out four assists, but also had two turnovers. It would be surprising if he put together another bad game, but the rims in Las Vegas have already been unkind to him.
Freshman forward Xavier Johnson will get the start against Arizona as well. He was the most efficient Buffalo on the court against Oregon State, shooting 60-percent from the field on his way to sixteen points. Johnson added eight rebounds, though his defense left much to be desired.
The final member of the starting lineup for Colorado will be another freshman, as Josh Scott was a key role player in the Buffs' win. The big man had eight rebounds in the first half, allowing his team to hold on to a six-point halftime lead. Scott finished its seven points and ten rebounds.
First off the bench for the Buffaloes should be Jeremy Adams. The guard played eighteen minutes in the opener and should be called upon to play more against Arizona. Adams had eight points on 3-6 shooting with two rebounds, an assist, and a steal against the Beavers.
Shane Harris-Tunks is another Buff that will come off the bench. In sixteen minutes, the junior scored just two points. However, his value was felt on the glass as he came down with four rebounds, three of which were offensive.
The final face off the bench should be a familiar one for the Wildcats. Sabatino Chen played just twelve minutes in the game against Oregon State. The senior made just two free throws, but tied Booker with a game-high four assists.
Arizona finished ahead of the Buffaloes in the conference standings, giving them the bye. They split the season series and will be both looking for the win in the tiebreaker.
At least one Buff thinks that the teams are evenly matched.
"Talent-wise, I think we match up pretty well with them," Xavier Johnson said. "They have Solomon Hill, great player, but we have Andre Roberson who is just as good. So, I don't see any problem handling them."
Both teams should be prepared for a hard fought game on Thursday. One thing is for sure, with the large contingent of fans and students traveling to Las Vegas for both teams, it could be the loudest game of the week at the MGM Grand.