Two talented Pac-12 Conference teams will jockey for league positioning when Arizona pays a visit to Oregon on Thursday evening.
TV schedule: Thursday, January 9, 9:00 pm ET. ESPN.
Arena: Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore.
Arizona is making a trip to Eugene on Thursday night to square off against Oregon in a delightful Pac-12 Conference clash from the Matthew Knight Arena. The No. 24 Wildcats (11-3, 1-0) and the No. 9 Ducks (12-3, 1-1) are just getting going in league play, with a lot of hoops remaining in the 2019-20 campaign, but this duel could certainly prove critical as both squads seek to capture a Pac-12 regular-stanza trophy.
With a current NCAA NET ranking of No. 13, Arizona crushed in-state foe Arizona State in its most-recent battle, although the Wildcats’ resume to date doesn’t boast a ton of impressive conquests. Arizona defeated the likes of Illinois and Wake Forest in the non-conference slate, while the Wildcats’ trio of setbacks is to highly-rated Baylor and Gonzaga, as well as St. John’s.
Oregon, at No. 15 in the NET system, squeaked by Utah on the road its last time on the court. The Ducks have won at Michigan, and versus Houston, Memphis and Seton Hall. Oregon’s losses are to the aforementioned Gonzaga and North Carolina at a neutral site, and to Colorado in Boulder.
Given that the Ducks have bested the better competition at this juncture, bracketologists project them as a No. 3 seed in March Madness, as compared to a No. 6 seed for Arizona, however, a lot can quickly shuffle around in the coming weeks as league opponents tussle.
Each of these groups can put the ball in the bucket. The Wildcats generate a whopping 83.1 points per affair and allow 64.0 points. For Oregon, it’s 78.5 points and 66.4 points, respectively. The bevy of statistical categories is super close among this pair of programs. The Ducks and Arizona shoot proficiently from the field and from beyond the arc. At the charity stripe, the Wildcats have a slight edge.
In my estimation, rebounding is a vital factor. The same goes for points produced via turnovers and the offensive glass. Whichever crew can acquire a few additional baskets from miscues and by securing extra opportunities near the rim will achieve.
Overall in their series together, Arizona is ahead by a decent margin, 51-32, yet Oregon has taken three in a row, including a 73-47 demolition on March 2, 2019, in Eugene. Because the Ducks are suiting up once again on their own turf, ESPN’s Basketball Power Index says they possess a 68.0 percent chance to prevail versus the Wildcats. That’s my forecast, too, as Oregon will inch by Arizona in an entertaining encounter.
Prediction: Oregon 75 – Arizona 71