Free NCAA Basketball Picks for Arizona vs. Colorado

Willie Bee

Saturday, February 22, 2014 1:33 PM UTC

Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014 1:33 PM UTC

Things looked pretty bleak for Tad Boyle and the Colorado Buffaloes a month ago when leading scorer Spencer Dinwiddie was lost for the season to a knee injury. The Buffaloes had started the season 14-2 -- and 3-0 in Pac-12 play -- before the loss to Washington in which Dinwiddie went down, and CU proceeded to drop four of its next five contests. The odds are out; which side are we on?

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Saturday's NCAA Basketball Picks of the Day

That was then and this is now, however, and the tide appears to be turning for the Buffs who have won five of their last six. Colorado can keep the turnaround going in a big way on Saturday when the Arizona Wildcats, another team trying to get used to life minus a key player, comes to Boulder.

The 9 PM (ET) tip will be televised by ESPN, and 'Zona is 4 point chalk after opening a half-point higher. SBR's live college basketball odds is showing 130.5 for the total.

Arizona's once seemingly insurmountable lead in the Pac-12 has been cut to a game over the UCLA Bruins, and the charging Buffs are just 2.5 back thanks to their recent surge. The Wildcats have five games left on their regular season slate, including this contest, while Colorado has four remaining.

Saturday's clash is the second of the season between the schools, the first coming Jan. 23 in Tucson where the Wildcats administered a 69-57 decision over the Buffaloes. Arizona was ranked No. 1 in the country and favored by 14.5 in that matchup, but have since dropped a couple of contests to fall to No. 4 in both polls.

That collision was the 20th in the series, and seventh since CU joined the Pac-12. Colorado has a slight 11-9 advantage following the January loss, and five of the seven meetings as conference foes have finished short of the total.

'Cats End 3-Game Road Trip In Boulder

It has been a long road trip for Arizona (24-2 straight up, 15-10 against the spread) who last played in front of the home fans nearly two weeks ago. Sean Miller's lads have not only been away from home since a Feb. 9 win vs. Oregon State, they have also needed overtime to get through the last two games at Arizona State and Utah.

In fact, the Wildcats needed two overtime periods last Friday vs. the Sun Devils, and the end result was a second loss in four games following a 21-0 start to the campaign. They did get right back into the win column a few days ago, but it wasn't easy against a pesky bunch of Utes who rallied from an 11-point deficit in the first half to force OT.

Arizona has struggled to put points on the board ever since Brandon Ashley was lost for the year in the Feb. 1 setback at Cal. The Wildcats averaged 74.5 PPG in jumping out to the 21-0 record, but have seen that number drop to 66.0 since Ashley went down vs. the Golden Bears.

Buffs Begin 3-Game Road Trip After Visit From Wildcats

Colorado (20-7 SU, 15-11 ATS), meanwhile, is beginning to find points without Dinwiddie on the floor. Including the loss to Washington when the junior guard was injured, the Buffaloes only crossed the 60-point plateau once in the first five games he was out. But they have since averaged 76 PPG in winning five of their last six, the 'over' also cashing five times in that span.

The Buffaloes did catch a bit of a break in their most recent victory, a 61-52 win over Arizona State. The Sun Devils were still experiencing a bit of a hangover after their upset of Arizona, and Colorado used a huge advantage on the glass plus a 20-11 scoring edge at the free-throw line to overcome a poor night from the field.

This will be the final home game of the year for the Buffaloes who finish the regular season schedule off with three on the road.  Taking the points intrigues me, but I'm more inclined to think the high side of the total is the way to go with my free college basketball pick.

College Basketball Pick: Arizona-Colorado Over 130.5

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