Cancellations and postponements are simply a fact of life for college basketball games in 2020-21. The Arizona Wildcats, for example, have already experienced that fact of life, as their game last Saturday against the University of Texas El Paso was postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak at UTEP. On Wednesday, the Wildcats (1-0) host a Colorado team that is dealing with COVID-19 cases on its roster so the game, while likely to be played, could also be cancelled. Arizona beat up on the Buffaloes last year 75-54, but Colorado is off to a 2-0 start this year. Will the Buffaloes get their revenge?
Colorado dealing with COVID
The Colorado Buffaloes are off to a 2-0 start in the Pac-12 this year, picking up where they left off last year when they went 21-11 and 10-8 in the conference, good for 5th place. They are projected to be somewhere in the middle of the pack in the Pac-12, but they have their leading scorer back in McKinley Wright, who averaged 17 points per game last year, and two other starters D'Shawn Schwartz and Evan Battey. They also brought in Jeriah Horne from Tulsa, who averaged 11 points per game last season.
In their first two games, they have looked good in wins over South Dakota and Kansas State. In the 76-58 win over Kansas State last Friday, they got 24 points from Wright and 10 from Maddox Daniels. Horne had 9 points and 6 rebounds. However, three players have come down with COVID-19 and missed the game, including Schwartz, Keeshawn Barthelemy, and Tristan da Silva. There is a chance that this game could be postponed or cancelled, but coach Tad Boyle, according to reports, says the team should be good to go despite the absences.
Arizona has many new faces
The Arizona Wildcats are 1-0 on the young season. They had their game against the University of Texas El Paso last week cancelled as UTEP had COVID-19 cases. So, there one game this year was a 74-55 win over Grambling. It was not a game where you can get a good read on how good this team could be, the Colorado matchup will be a better yardstick. But hopes are high for the Wildcats this season as they are considered to be contenders for the Pac-12 title. But they have a lot of talent to replace as they lost all five starters from a year ago, including leading scorers Zeke Nnaji and Nico Mannion.
But they did restock the shelves with some great transfers, including James Akinjo from Georgetown, Terrell Brown from Seattle, and Jordan Brown from Nevada, all three of whom will start. Returning sophomore Christian Koloko, a 7'0" center will also start, along with freshman swing man Dalen Terry. In the opener against Grambling, Brown and Akinjo led the way with 19 points each while freshman Bennedict Mathurin had 12 off the bench.
Stats & Trends
- Buffaloes are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
- Buffaloes are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 Wednesday games.
- Wildcats are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 Wednesday games.
Take the Wildcats here to cover. This is a great early season matchup, marred somewhat by the fact that Colorado is dealing with COVID and one of its best players, Schwartz, is out. Otherwise, these are two very evenly matched teams. I think both teams have the capacity to do some damage in the Pac-12, which has many good teams, but no clear dominant teams. Arizona, in particular, is one team that we need to see more of because of the fact that there are so many new players and they haven't really been tested yet. I like the Wildcats here to cover at home and because of the COVID cases on Colorado, I give them the edge. But definitely two teams to watch.