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Revenge rematch: Arizona prepares to get hot Colorado’s best shot

Grant Jerrett Kevin Parrom

Grant Jerrett (left) and Kevin Parrom celebrate after winning in overtime against Colorado on Jan. 3. Photo by Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

The Shot That Did Not Count.

That one is going to remembered long beyond this season. As it is, it’s only been six weeks. Six weeks since Sabatino Chen either made a 3-point shot with about 0.00000001 seconds left in a game at Arizona … or he was late by that much.

The shot was good. Then it wasn’t.

Then it was overtime. Then the Wildcats won.

The rematch is at hand, Thursday night in Boulder. The Buffs’ fire burns.

“They (Arizona) will be a little fired up, and we are going to be fired up, and I know our fans are going to be fired up,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle said after his team won at Oregon State on Sunday.

“It’s going to be Valentine’s Day, but there won’t be a whole lot of love in that building.”

The Buffs can, perhaps rightly, direct their anger at the game officials, who deliberated for a few minutes over the replay before making their call … but they should have some fingers left over pointing at themselves. CU did, after all, blow a 16-point second-half lead before losing 92-83 in overtime in the conference opener for both teams.

The Buffaloes proceeded to lose three of the next four. A hangover? Possibly. Doesn’t matter much right now.

Colorado has won five of its past six games to improve to 16-7 overall and 6-5 in the Pac-12.

While revenge is the theme for the Buffs, Arizona coach Sean Miller is just trying to focus on playing a dangerous team on the road.

“Colorado is a very good team,” Miller said.

“They’re playing very well. Any time in our conference this year when you’re able to go and have a road sweep like that have just done at the Oregon schools, I think that says a lot about the quality of their team and how well they’re playing right now.

Colorado has an RPI of 19 — second-best in the Pac-12 behind Arizona, which is seventh nationally this week — and are on the right side of the at-large bubble in the various NCAA Tournament projects from the national websites.

A win over a top 10 team would go a long way toward the Buffs solidifying that NCAA spot. Once again, Arizona is wearing the target once again.

“I’m sure they are a very confident team,” Miller said.

“Colorado has an identity about them. They really thrive in transition. They play excellent man-to-man defense. They play their bench, and guys improve over the long course of the season. Their players remain fresh because they don’t play heavy minutes the entire year.”

The Buffaloes have four players averaging double-figure points, led by sophomore guard Spencer Dinwiddie at 14.8. Dinwiddie is coming off a 24-point game at Oregon State in which he didn’t miss a shot — 6 of 6 from the field (including four from behind the 3-point arc) and 8 of 8 from the free throw line.

Colorado beat Arizona in Boulder last season, 64-63, when Kevin Parrom missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer for Arizona.

“I thought it was one of the best environments we played in,” Miller said of the Coors Events Center.

“I’m sure it will be every bit that this year. Most importantly, we’re playing against an excellent team.”

One hoping to feast on a side dish of delicious payback.

“I know they’re coming off a loss to Cal, so they’ll be looking for a win,” Dinwiddie said about the Wildcats at CUBuffs.com. “But we’re looking for some revenge. Yeah, it’s going to be a good game.”

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