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Behind Enemy Lines: Colorado heads to Tucson

The scoop on this year’s strange Wildcats team.

NCAA Basketball: UCLA at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday night the Colorado Buffaloes begin conference play with a trip to Tucson to take on the Arizona Wildcats. The Buffs are coming off of a disappointing showing in the Diamond Head Classic but the Pac-12 Conference is so down this year that they can certainly make some noise.

To find out more about the Wildcats we spoke to Scott from AZ Desert Swarm.

1. Arizona lost almost every contributor from last year. Who are the faces to know this year?

The turnover Arizona faced this season was almost unprecedented. Still, there are talented players on the roster. The biggest names to know are the two Brandons, Williams and Randolph, who jack up a lot of threes and are dangerous ball-handlers. Third on the list of names to know is probably Duke transfer Chase Jeter, who’s done as well as possible in replacing Arizona legend DeAndre Ayton. Expect Justin Coleman, Emmanuel Akot, and Dylan Smith to see plenty of action as well, but Williams, Randolph, and Jeter are without a doubt the most important players on the court for the Wildcats.

2. The Brandon Williams saga was fun to watch from the outside. How has he acclimated to Arizona and what’s the general fan feeling for Williams?

I’m sure it was very fun to watch from Boulder and elsewhere, but it was incredibly stressful in Tucson. Looking back, having him decommit with everyone else on the darkest day in Arizona history was horrible, but his recommitment completely fixed everything in the mind of UA fans. Overall, he’s seeming to do well in Tucson. He’s one of the best players on the team, is developing well, and looks like he isn’t regretting his decision. Fans at the university aren’t as connected to the last few teams because of the roster turnover, but both Brandons are probably the fan favorites, including Williams. I and many others are glad he picked Arizona again, and he’s been a huge asset to a rebuilding squad.

3. Sean Miller escaped the FBI axe, but when does his seat heat up for his performance on court?

Arizona has been good enough for long enough that fans feel as though blue blood level performances are to be expected. They’re not entirely wrong, and it’s clear that UA is no national contender in 2019. Still, the fact that Arizona administration (and the entire community, really) stuck up for Miller after the infamous ESPN report shows that Miller has as much of a leash as can be expected at a powerhouse. Sure, there’s no Final Fours despite near-misses, and last season was way too inconsistent for anyone’s taste. I think in general, most fans are happy with Miller, and the vocal minority has only been really vocal this year because of the rebuild. It’s looking more and more like the FBI isn’t coming for Arizona like Schlabach and Vitale thought they were, and with the number 1 recruiting class for 2019, there’s no reason to think Miller is in immediate danger.