ARIZONA WILDCATS (28-4)
vs. OREGON DUCKS (28-4)
T-Mobile Arena – Las Vegas, NV
Tip-off: Saturday, 11:00 pm ET
Line: Oregon -2.0, Total: 138.0
#7 Arizona and #5 Oregon will battle it out for the Pac-12 Tournament title on Saturday.
Arizona surprised a lot of people with its 86-75 victory over UCLA on Friday night. The Wildcats got it done on the defensive end in that one, as they allowed the Bruins to shoot only 40.7% from the floor and 16.0% from three in that game. UCLA was a miserable 4-for-25 from the outside, and Arizona must find a way to limit Oregon from deep as well. The Ducks, meanwhile, just scored 73 points against a California team that normally plays lower scoring games. Oregon won that game by eight points, and the Ducks have now won eight straight games heading into this one. When these teams met in early February, Oregon defeated Arizona 85-58 in Eugene. Another performance like that is not expected, as this one should be extremely close. These teams have split victories both SU and ATS over the past three seasons, so they both know what it takes to beat the other. One trend that stands out in Arizona’s favor is the fact that the Wildcats are 21-9 ATS over the past three seasons after having won four of their past five games. Oregon, meanwhile, is an even more impressive 15-3 ATS versus conference opponents this season.
The Wildcats earned a convincing victory over the Bruins on Friday night, and F Lauri Markkanen (15.8 PPG, 7.3 RPG) played one of his best games of the season in that one. The freshman dropped 29 points in that game, and he also pulled down six rebounds. If Markkanen can get it going like that on Saturday then Arizona just might find a way to win this conference title. He will, however, need to keep hitting his outside shots. Markkanen is 8-for-17 from three over the past two contests, but he did go a miserable 0-for-8 from deep in the previous two games. Arizona will also need both Gs Allonzo Trier (16.9 PPG, 4.8 RPG) and Kadeem Allen (9.6 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.6 SPG) to play well in this one. Both guys are playing some of their best basketball entering this contest, as Trier is averaging 22.2 PPG over the past five games and Allen has scored at least 12 in each of the past three. If the Wildcats’ backcourt can outplay the Ducks’ then Arizona would be in great shape.
The last time the Ducks faced the Wildcats both G Tyler Dorsey (13.0 PPG, 3.4 RPG) and F Dillon Brooks (16.0 PPG, 1.1 SPG) could not miss. Dorsey was absurd in that one, scoring 23 points on 7-for-9 shooting from the floor and a perfect 6-for-6 shooting from the outside. Brooks was not much worse, scoring 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the field and 4-of-7 shooting from distance. If the two of them can find their strokes on Saturday then there might not be anything that the Wildcats can do to stop them. Brooks did, however, go just 3-for-12 from the floor against Cal on Friday and will need to regain his confidence in this one. On the inside, both Fs Jordan Bell (10.5 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 2.2 BPG, 1.4 SPG) and Chris Boucher (11.8 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 2.5 BPG) will need to play well on both ends of the floor. Boucher is capable of giving Markkanen a lot of trouble with his length on defense. He could also pull Markkanen away from the basket on offense if he is hitting his outside shots.