Colorado (15-5) at Arizona State (14-5)
GAME NOTES: The struggling Colorado Buffaloes continue to search for answers, as they take on the Arizona State Sun Devils in a Pac-12 Conference conflict at Wells Fargo Arena.
Colorado just hasn't been the same since leading scorer Spencer Dinwiddie (14.7 ppg) suffered a season-ending knee injury earlier this month. The Buffaloes have lost three of their last four games, falling to 15-5 overall and to a pedestrian 4-3 in conference play. They will begin a three-game homestand against Utah next.
Arizona State had a run-in with the Utes on Thursday, and the Sun Devils were able to escape with a 79-75 victory in that duel, improving to 14-5 overall and 4-3 in league action in the process. Up next is a trip to Berkeley to take on California.
Although Arizona State swept the season series with the Buffaloes last year, the all-time series between the teams is tied at 4-4.
The Buffaloes really could have used Dinwiddie on Thursday, as they tangled with the top-ranked Arizona Wildcats, and fell hard in a 69-57 final. Colorado connected on only 38.5 percent of its shots from the floor and had 16 turnovers compared to a mere six assists.
Colorado isn't an overly impressive offensive team, especially without Dinwiddie. The Buffs are just 10th in the Pac-12 in scoring (74.6 ppg) and 11th in field goal percentage (.446). The hope is that continued defensive strength (67.9 ppg, .425 FG percentage) will allow them to overcome the loss on offense. Josh Scott (14.3 ppg, 9.2 rpg) has become the team's top offensive weapon and he performed well against Arizona, finishing with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Xavier Johnson (10.3 ppg) will also be called upon to put forth efforts like he had on Thursday, when he dropped in a game-high 21 points.
Jahii Carson was at it again, tallying 23 points to pace Arizona State in its recent win over Utah. The Sun Devils trailed 41-37 at halftime, but shot 59.1 percent from the floor over the final 20 minutes to push their way past the Utes.
On the season, the Sun Devils have enjoyed a sizable scoring differential (+10.2) by averaging 76.8 ppg and shooting 46.8 percent from the floor, while limiting foes to 66.6 ppg and 40.4 percent shooting. Carson (18.4 ppg, 4.6 apg) is the leader for the squad in more ways than one, topping the team in scoring and assists, while oftentimes carrying the offense by himself. Jermaine Marshall (15 ppg) joins Carson as another strong scorer in the backcourt. Up front, Jordan Bachynski (12.1 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 4.5 bpg) is the man to watch, as he is nearly averaging a double-double this season and is the nation's leader in blocked shots.
The Buffaloes are clearly missing Dinwiddie's leadership, perhaps more than his scoring ability. Either way, Colorado just doesn't have enough to contend with Carson, Bachynski and company.
GAME NOTES: The struggling Colorado Buffaloes continue to search for answers,
as they take on the Arizona State Sun Devils in a Pac-12 Conference conflict
at Wells Fargo Arena.Fact Stats
FACTS & STATS: Site: Wells Fargo Arena (16,110) -- Tempe, Arizona.
Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: Colorado 12-1, ASU 10-1. Away Record:
Colorado 3-2, ASU 3-2. Neutral Record: Colorado 0-2, ASU 1-2. Conference
Record: Colorado 4-3, ASU 3-3. Series Record: Series is tied, 4-4.Game Date and Time
Saturday, January 25, 7 p.m. (ET)Predicted Outcome
Arizona State 76, Colorado 71