LAS VEGAS — A spot at the top of an NCAA regional bracket is widely assumed to be set aside for Arizona. The Wildcats need only answer when the phone rings Sunday.
Yet, they are going out of their way to remove any conceivable doubt.
A 63-43 burial of Colorado in the Pac-12 tournament semifinals Friday was another clear message to the selection committee. The MGM Grand Garden Arena was filled to the rafters with people taking a few days off from Tucson, and they were not disappointed.
The Buffaloes put up a better fight than Utah, which Arizona routed by 32 on Thursday. But in the end, it was another dominating performance by the nation's fourth-ranked team.
The Wildcats (30-3), as is their habit, put the Buffaloes through a TSA-like screening process. Colorado players were smothered and shot 29.4%
Offensively, Arizona methodically wore Colorado into submission. The Wildcats led, 31-28, with 17 minutes left. A 24-6 run over the next 10 minutes removed any doubt about who would play in Saturday's title game.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored all 12 of his points during that stretch.
Nick Johnson had 16 points to lead the Wildcats, who had a 41-25 rebounding edge.
The loss left Colorado (23-11) dangling. The Buffaloes were ranked as high as 15th before leading scorer Spencer Dinwiddie suffered a knee injury. They have a 9-8 record since he was lost for the season.
A victory over Arizona probably would have locked up an NCAA at-large spot for the Buffaloes. Instead, they will wait.
The Wildcats also had a key injury. They lost forward Brandon Ashley, their third-leading scorer, last month.
But Arizona has given the selection committee scant cause to use the injury in its deliberations. The Wildcats have won eight of 11 games since Ashley was hurt.
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