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Three key takeaways from Arizona’s 21-point victory over Colorado

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Univeristy of Arizona men's basketball players, Justin Kier (5) and Pelle Larsson (3) celebrate after a defensive stop at McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz on Jan. 13. Arizona held the University of Colorado to 55 points.
  1. Kerr Kriisa and his vision continues to be a difference-maker in this offense 

Before last night's game, Kriisa had led the PAC-12 in assists per game at 5.4 a contest. Kriisa showed no signs of slowing down, getting out in transition all night long, picking up ten dimes. Unlike past Arizona teams, head coach Tommy Lloyd emphasizes the "run and gun" style of play, ultimately benefiting Kriisa, who happens to be a pass-first guard. Arizona ranks second in the nation in scoring offense and first in assists per game, primarily because of Kriisa and how he anchors this attack. There have been no signs of stopping this offense in transition. However, my one concern is how will Kriisa receive more production from his team in the half court as the fast pace of play at some point will run into some road bumps.

2.  Justin Kier is the X-factor 

In his first year with the program, the Georgia transfer shined in limited minutes off the bench. Being able to play on and off the ball, Kier found open looks all night long, shooting three for four from deep. Kier had 15 points while picking up a few boards as well. Having Kier run the point gives Lloyd the flexibility to play Kriisa off the ball, only causing more trouble for the defense. Throughout the season, it is evident that coach Lloyd prefers a short rotation of just eight people. With that being said, if Arizona wants a deep run throughout March, Kier’s consistent play off the bench will be essential to propel this team moving forward.

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3. The inconsistent play of the front court 

Despite the tremendous success of the Wildcats, it is fair to say that the front court is the biggest weakness. Junior Christian Koloko has been having a great season but at times shies away from using his physical tools to his advantage. Many times with his back to the basket, Koloko had established a deep post position on Colorado’s bigs but continued to bring the ball down instead of going straight up as he was only a few feet away from the rim. After struggling in the past few games in getting touches, Azuolas Tubelis was back to his old self, all over the floor scoring 14 points and having eight rebounds. The two, by far are incredibly talented and have enough to take over games, but at times they need to slow the game down and play to their advantage which will ultimately lead this team to bigger and better things. 

The Arizona men's basketball team will take on the University of Utah today at 6 p.m. at McKale Center. 


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