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Another break? Arizona gets Colorado in Pac-12 title game

Jesse Perry

Jesse Perry has 32 points and 23 rebounds in two Pac-12 tournament games. Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Arizona Wildcats coach Sean Miller must be living right.

His team, needing to win the Pac-12 tournament to earn a place in the NCAA Tournament, didn’t have to play top-seeded Washington in the semifinals and won’t have to see the second or third seed, either.

In Saturday’s championship game, Arizona will face Colorado, which will be playing its fourth game in four days.

The fourth-seeded Wildcats can’t argue about their path to the title.

The Buffaloes defeated second-seeded Cal 70-59 on Friday night, showing the kind of excellent defensive effort that made them the Pac-12′s leader in field goal percentage defense in the regular season (40.7 percent).

Arizona was second at 40.8 percent.

The teams split two regular-season meetings. Colorado won 64-63 in Boulder when Kevin Parrom’s 3-point attempt at the buzzer was off the mark. Arizona handled the Buffs 71-57 in the rematch in Tucson, powered by double-doubles from Solomon Hill and Jesse Perry.

Colorado’s tough man-to-man defense limited Arizona to 6-of-36 shooting (16.7 percent) from 3-point range in the two meetings. And the Buffs can turn that kind of defense into offense.

“If you’re not ready for them in transition, they will run you out of the gym,” UA assistant coach Book Richardson said on the KCUB (1290-AM) postgame show.

We’ll see how much running Colorado has left when playing its fourth game in four days. For as well as the Buffs are playing, that’s a tough road they are traveling. Oregon State coach Craig Robinson said he thought his team ran out of the gas in the second half against Arizona when playing its third game in three days.

Miller said the Cats — basically using a seven-man rotation — will be fine with their third game in three days.

“These guys are in great physical shape,” he said in his postgame press conference.

“Not that we’re any better than anybody else. But we have an incredible strength and conditioning program. These guys have lifted weights religiously since October. We’ve not missed. They take care of themselves.”

CREDIT: Arizona Athletics
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