Arizona Basketball

Colorado, Arizona Wildcats very much familiar foes in Pac-12 tournament


LAS VEGAS — Arizona sure has seen Colorado a lot in the postseason since the Buffaloes joined the Pac-12 in 2011-12.

Colorado will have faced Arizona five out of its six years in the Pac-12 tournament when they play the Wildcats in Thursday’s quarterfinal game at 7 p.m. at the T-Mobile Arena.

“It’s a great challenge,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle said after Colorado defeated Washington State 73-63 in a first round game Wednesday night. “I think it’s five out of our six years in this tournament we’re facing Arizona. So I talked about that with Sean (Miller) a couple weeks ago, and here we are again.

“Hey, let’s go play.”

Colorado’s Thomas Akyazili drives around Arizona’s Parker Jackson-Cartwright during the men’s Pac-12 Basketball Tournament game between the Colorado Buffaloes and the Arizona Wildcats at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

If the Wildcats beat Colorado and UCLA advances past the winner of Washington-USC, they would also play the Bruins in the tournament in five out of the last six years.

Arizona is 3-1 against Colorado in this span and 2-2 against UCLA.

Colorado’s George King said the fact the Buffaloes are playing Arizona once again in the postseason has no impact on his team’s motivation to beat the Wildcats.

That’s a departure from when Colorado’s players in the past talked as though a rivalry was forming between the programs. Whether King was being honest about his team’s emotions might be up for debate.

“We don’t care if we’re playing some YMCA team,” King said. “It’s another opportunity to play in front of our fans and we’re going to be excited for that. We don’t care if it’s going to be Arizona or some YMCA team.

“We’re going to be just as excited.”

Miller is 10-4 against Colorado since his hire at Arizona in 2009-10, including wins in eight of the last nine matchups.

ARIZONA IN PAC-12 TOURNEY SINCE COLORADO JOINED THE CONFERENCE

2012 – NO. 4 SEED
Los Angeles, Calif.
Quarterfinals: (5) UCLA W, 66-58
Semifinals: (9) Oregon State W, 72-61
Championship: (6) Colorado L, 51-53

2013 – NO. 4 SEED
Las Vegas
Quarterfinals: (5) Colorado W, 79-69
Semifinals: (1) UCLA L, 64-66

2014 – NO. 1 SEED
Las Vegas
Quarterfinals: (8) Utah W, 71-39
Semifinals: (5) Colorado W, 63-43
Championship: (2) UCLA L, 71-75

2015 – NO. 1 SEED
Las Vegas
Quarterfinals: (8) California W, 73-51
Semifinals: (4) UCLA W, 70-64
Championship: (2) Oregon W, 80-52

2016 – NO. 4 SEED
Las Vegas
Quarterfinals: (5) Colorado W, 82-78
Semifinals: (1) Oregon L, 89-95 (OT)

2017 – NO. 2 SEED
Las Vegas
Quarterfinals: (7) Colorado, Thursday, 7 p.m., Tucson time


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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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