The Arizona Wildcats land in a favorable spot, opening up their 2012-13 Pac-12 Conference schedule against the Colorado Buffaloes at the McKale Center Thursday night.


Streaking again

NCAA odds

Colorado has won three games in a row since suffering a humiliating 90-54 setback to the Kansas Jayhawks on Dec. 8, which includes an 80-52 victory over Hartford Saturday.The Buffaloes have compiled a 10-2 straight-up record, while going 7-3 against the spread (ATS) heading into conference action.

Back from the Pacific 

Arizona hasn’t played since capturing the Diamond Head Classic title with an exciting 68-67 win over San Diego State as 4.5-point favorites Christmas Day, while the UNDER went 2-0-1 in its three games during the tournament.  Forward Solomon Hill is one of three starters to average in double figures for the squad, as he was named tournament MVP after scoring 21 points in the championship game.   

On the road again 

Sports bettors may find the Buffaloes as an attractive option as a double-digit underdog on the college basketball odds page, but they haven’t won a conference road opener since the 1968-69 season, which translates to 21-straight losses in that situation.  Colorado has dropped two of its three games when getting points this season, with the OVER cashing in two of those affairs.

Opening conference play at home

Normally, I’d be a little concerned about laying this amount of points with a host that returns from a trip to Hawaii, but Wildcats head coach Sean Miller likely had this game circled on his calendar.  Arizona suffered a 53-51 setback to Colorado as 3.5-point neutral-site favorites in last year’s Pac-12 championship game, which cost the program a trip to the NCAA tournament.  Let’s just say that Miller’s squad has a great chance of pushing its record to 13-0 when opening up conference play in Tucson.

A tall task

Thursday night’s visitor hasn’t defeated a top-10 opponent on the road since 1973, while they’ve gone 8-13 ATS as a road underdog over the last two-plus seasons, with the OVER going 11-7 in that span.  Colorado was handed a 71-57 loss in last year’s trip to Arizona, as it was outshot at the free throw line by a 35-14 margin.

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Wildcats as one of their NCAA basketball picks, as they showcased the ability to play at a high level off a layoff—covering four of their last five games when playing with seven or more days rest.  

College Basketball Picks:  Arizona Wildcats -11 at Pinnacle