NCAA Men's Basketball

No. 2 Arizona visits Colorado with Pac-12 title in sight

The Arizona Wildcats have an opportunity to accomplish something the program hasn't done in four years -- win the Pac-12 Conference regular-season title.

No. 2 Arizona (25-2, 15-1 Pac-12) sits atop the standings with four games left in the regular season and can clinch at least a share of the crown when it visits the Colorado Buffaloes (18-10, 10-8) on Saturday night at Boulder, Colo. A loss by Southern California at Oregon on Saturday would clinch the outright title.

The Wildcats extended their winning streak to nine with a 97-77 rout at Utah on Thursday night and have a chance to sweep their Rocky Mountain road trip against Colorado. Arizona has won six of the last eight meetings between the two teams but has lost the last four games at Boulder.

Chances are if Kerr Kriisa has another game like he did against the Utes, the Wildcats will win for the first time at Colorado since Feb. 26, 2015, exactly seven years to the day of Saturday's game. Kriisa posted a triple-double of 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists at Utah.

It was the 10th triple-double in Arizona history and first since Andre Iguodala did it three times during the 2003-04 season.

Kriisa had made just 7 of 21 shots from 3-point range in the previous three games but equaled his total of makes in just 10 attempts against the Utes, with all of them coming in the first half.

"I just got my rhythm going and it's pretty hard to describe the feeling," Kriisa said. "But when the shot goes in, you usually feel good. I feel like I really needed it for my confidence, too. It was really good confidence boost for upcoming games."

The Buffaloes are coming off a disappointing 82-65 loss to Arizona State on Thursday night. Colorado had won five straight -- three of those on the road -- and had a chance to stay in the hunt for a top-four seed in the conference tournament next month, and with it a first-round bye.

The Buffaloes fell flat against the Sun Devils, a team they beat by 18 points in Tempe, Ariz., on Jan. 15. They can salvage the weekend with an upset of the Wildcats, who won the first meeting, 76-55, on Jan. 13, but it will be a tough task.

To get that bye, however, it is necessary to win Saturday night.

"That's going to be difficult," Colorado coach Tad Boyle said of finishing in the top four of the conference. "We're going to have to suck it up and we have to beat Arizona and beat Utah to make that happen.

"After games like this, you're wondering, 'Will we win another game?'" The way we played (Thursday), the answer's no."

Saturday will be the last home game for three Colorado seniors, one of them a walk-on. Eli Parquet is out for the season with a foot injury but Evan Battey, the other rotation player, has a chance to add to the 85 wins he has played in with the Buffaloes.

--Field Level Media

Updated February 25, 2022