OREGON DUCKS (15-6)
at ARIZONA WILDCATS (21-1)
McKale Center - Tucson, AZ
Tip-off: Thursday, 9:00 p.m. ET
Line: Arizona -11.5
Coming off its first loss of the season, No. 2 Arizona will look to bounce back Thursday against one of the best offenses in the nation in Oregon.
Arizonaís 60-58 loss to California on Saturday was bigger than just one defeat, as the Wildcats also lost starting SF Brandon Ashley for the season to a right foot injury. Though that was Arizonaís first SU loss of the season, the team has now lost four straight contests ATS, giving them a 4-5 ATS mark in the Pac-12. The Wildcats are 13-8 ATS overall, 8-5 ATS at home and 4-3 ATS coming off an ATS loss. They face an Oregon team that won its first 13 games of the season but has struggled mightily in Pac-12 play, going 3-6 SU and an even worse 1-8 ATS. The Ducks are now 10-10 ATS overall and 2-4 ATS on the road. Both teams have positive betting trends for this matchup, as Oregon is 32-19 ATS (63%) in the underdog role under head coach Dana Altman, and Arizona is 16-3 ATS (84%) at home after giving up five or less offensive rebounds in a game since 1997. After losing six consecutive meetings, Oregon has now beaten Arizona SU in two straight games while covering in three in a row. In last yearís matchup in Eugene, the Ducks won 70-66 as one-point underdogs, and in the most recent matchup in Tucson in 2012, Oregon shocked the 8.5-point favorites with a 59-57 victory.
Can Arizona bounce back from its loss with a sizable victory on Thursday? For the latest college basketball picks, check out The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts selections every week throughout the entire 2013-14 season. The StatFox Experts have been rolling in college basketball Best Bets this season with a 59% ATS (191-135-5) mark, including a stellar 61% ATS (159-101-3) record since Nov. 23. StatFox Brian is at 63% ATS (41-24-2) in Best Bets for the season and 67% ATS (34-17-1) since Nov. 26. StatFox Dave is 61% ATS (40-26-1) for the season and 68% ATS (23-11) since Dec. 18, while StatFox Scott is a hefty 59% ATS (39-27-1) for the season and 62% ATS (29-18-1) since Dec. 2. StatFox Zach is a strong 58% ATS (37-27-2) on Best Bets this season, including 61% ATS (31-20-1) since Nov. 22, while StatFox Gary is 52% ATS (34-31-2) for the season, and 56% ATS (28-22) since Nov. 29.
Oregon boasts one of the nationís highest-octane offenses, scoring 84.7 PPG (6th in Div. I) on 47.2% shooting (47th in nation) with 15.1 APG (43rd in Div. I). But the quick pace of play allows opponents to score a lot too, as the Ducks are giving up 75.4 PPG (299th in nation) on 44.0% shooting. Where the Ducks have often struggled is on the glass, where they average 35.0 RPG (184th in Div. I) and have been outrebounded in six of their past eight games. Junior SG Joseph Young (18.1 PPG, 3.2 RPG) leads the offense this season, making 2.0 threes per game on a strong 39.4% clip, while adding 1.6 SPG. He is coming off a big weekend where he netted 23.0 PPG (11-of-23 FG) and made 19-of-19 free throws. Senior SG Jason Calliste (12.5 PPG) joins him in the backcourt, averaging 19.7 PPG in his past three contests and making an incredible 51.4% of his threes this season. Sophomore SG Damyean Dotson (10.4 PPG, 3.6 RPG) also averages double-digit points, but hasnít scored more than eight points in each of his past five games, averaging 7.2 PPG on 34% FG. Senior PF Mike Moser (13.0 PPG, 7.3 RPG) is the teamís premier post player, but heís also a threat on the perimeter, making 1.6 threes per game on a decent 36% clip. He was held scoreless against UCLA last Thursday, but had a strong game on Saturday versus USC with 13 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Arizona doesnít have the fastest offense in the nation, scoring only 73.5 PPG (135th in Div. I) on 47.3% FG, but the team is pretty efficient with a 47.3% shooting clip (44th in nation), 35.9% threes and 15.1 APG (44th in Div. I). The team is quite good on the boards, averaging 39.0 RPG (26th in nation) and outrebounding their opponents by 9.5 RPG, having been outrebounded only once all season. Defensively, the Wildcats limit opponents to 56.8 PPG on 37.6% shooting, which both rank fifth in Division I, and also have a strong 29.8% three-point defense (25th in nation). While Arizona will miss injured SF Brandon Ashley (11.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG), the team has plenty of depth down low, led by freshman PF Aaron Gordon (11.8 PPG, 8.1 RPG), who paces the teamís rebounding efforts and is second on the team in scoring. But Gordon appears to be hitting that freshman wall, averaging only 7.7 PPG on 9-of-37 FG (24%) in his past three contests. Sophomore C Kaleb Tarczewski (9.7 PPG, 6.4 RPG) and freshman PF Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (8.0 PPG, 5.4 RPG) are also strong post players who should benefit from the increase in minutes stemming from Ashley's absence. The teamís leading scorer is junior SG Nick Johnson (16.1 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 2.5 APG), who went 5-for-9 for 12 points in last yearís loss to Oregon. Johnson struggled mightily in the teamís loss to Cal on Saturday, going a dreadful 1-of-14 from the field for four points with five turnovers. Johnson had scored 15+ points in seven straight games before the visit to Cal. PG T.J. McConnell (7.5 PPG, 5.6 APG, 3.9 RPG) runs the offense efficiently with a 2.9 Ast/TO ratio, though he had zero assists in 35 minutes in the teamís loss to the Golden Bears.