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Colorado (23-10) vs. (4) Arizona (29-3)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Friday, March 14, 9 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: MGM Grand Garden Arena (16,800) -- Las Vegas, Nevada. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: Colorado 16-2, Arizona 18-0. Away Record: Colorado 5-6, Arizona 8-3. Neutral Record: Colorado 2-2, Arizona 3-0. Conference Record: Colorado 10-8, Arizona 15-3. Series Record: Colorado leads, 11-10.

GAME NOTES: With a spot in the Pac-12 Conference Tournament title game on the line, the top-seeded Arizona Wildcats take on the fifth-seeded Colorado Buffaloes in the semifinals at MGM Grand Garden Arena on Friday night.

After receiving a bye in the first round, Arizona made quick work of Utah in the quarterfinals on Thursday, winning 71-39. The Wildcats, who are hoping to add the tournament crown to their regular-season title, have won six of their last seven games and are 29-3 overall, with the three losses coming by a combined 12 points.

Colorado pushed its way to the semifinals with back-to-back 59-56 victories over USC and fourth-seeded California. The Buffaloes have won three of their last four games, with the only loss in that span being a 66-65 setback in overtime to the same Golden Bears team they beat yesterday.

As they did to many teams in the conference this season, the Wildcats swept the series with Colorado. However, the Buffaloes actually lead the all-time series. The winner this time will face either UCLA or Stanford in the final.

Colorado found a way to win in another grizzly contest on Thursday, holding on for the win over California. Askia Booker continued his strong play of late, netting 17 points on 7-of-15 shooting, while Xavier Johnson cleared eight boards to help the Buffs to a 38-29 edge on the glass.

The task of carrying the load since leading scorer Spencer Dinwiddie (14.7 ppg) went down with an injury has fallen to Josh Scott (14.5 ppg, 8.8 rpg) and Booker (13.9 ppg), who have assumed expanded roles. Scott is a strong player on the inside. He had 11 points and six rebounds against California on Thursday. Booker has been a an erratic shooter in his career, netting just 39.3 percent from the floor this season, but he is averaging 19 ppg on 16- of-32 from the floor in the first two rounds. Xavier Johnson (12.1 ppg, 5 9 rpg) has also picked up the pace in terms of scoring recently, netting 24 points in the season finale, while scoring in double figures in 14 of the last 15 contests overall.

Arizona has relied on its defense all season and it did so yet again in the quarterfinals. The Wildcats limited the Utes to only 12 field goals on 25.5 percent shooting, and also outscored their opponent 13-4 off turnovers, and 12-2 out on the break.

Sean Miller, who was named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year, is mentoring one of the best defensive teams in the country this season. Arizona ranks in the top-10 in scoring defense (58.1 ppg), assists against (9.1 apg), and opponent field goal percentage (.382). With such dominant play at that end of the court, the Wildcats have not had to be as potent offensively, as they net just 73.4 ppg. Nick Johnson (16.1 ppg) and Aaron Gordon (12.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg) joined their coach in earning postseason hardware, with Johnson named the Pac-12 Player of the Year, and Gordon laying claim to the award for the top freshman. T.J. McConnell (8.3 ppg, 5.5 apg) has run the point well after transferring in from Duquesne. The team is still trying to find a consistent replacement for Brandon Ashley (11.5 ppg), but Kaleb Tarczewski (10.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg) has made strides in attempting to do so.

Thanks to Booker, Colorado has been able to find ways to win despite playing inconsistently in the first two rounds. The Buffaloes won't be so lucky against an Arizona team at the top of its game.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arizona 76, Colorado 68

03/14 10:34:11 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
2nd Intermission
CHI 4
CAR 0
 
2nd
SAV 40
NCCU 54
 
Final
MIA 7
FIU 2
 
Final
DET 12
FLASO 2
 
Final
PHI 103
TOR 114
Final
BRK 110
GSW 108
4th
MIA 96
PHO 85
 
4th
MIN 93
LAC 100
 
3rd
DAL 71
NOP 60
 
Final
TEX 61
BAY 59
 
Final
SYR 47
UVA 59
Final
SHSU 76
CARK 49
 
Final
NWST 92
SELA 79
 
Final
NCAT 67
COOK 50
 
3rd
HOW 55
NORST 55
 
Final
DELST 85
HAMP 75
 
Final
STEPH 83
INCWORD 62
 
Final
MCNST 70
LAM 69
 
1st OT
NO 76
NICST 83
 
2nd
SAV 40
NCCU 54
 
2nd
ALAAM 47
TXSOU 49
 
2nd
VT 30
BC 48
 
2nd
MVSU 33
GRAM 29
 
2nd
ISU 22
OKLA 39
 
2nd
ALAST 34
PVU 33
 
1st
ARKPB 29
JST 29
 
Final
NYR 4
NAS 1
2nd Intermission
CHI 4
CAR 0
 
1st
SJS 0
MON 0