Where: Eugene, OR
When: Thursday, January 10 9:00PM EST
TV: ESPN 2
Arizona and Oregon have been considered 2 of the best teams on the West Coast all season long. The teams will clash for the first time this season on Thursday, in what should be a great game. Arizona has been taking every opponents best shot because of the #3 ranking they possess, that will continue up in Eugene on Thursday.
Key Matchup: I would usually say that a key matchup would be 2 players, but in this case the key matchup for this game will be depth. Both teams go deep into their rosters, so the key will be which team can get a start to rise out of the depth. The Oregon Ducks will look to any one of their 5 players that average double figures. Damyean Dotson, Tony Woods, Carlos Emory, EJ Singler, and Dominic Artis are the Ducks that average double figures, and anyone can step up on any given night. For the Wildcats, look for Mark Lyons, Solomon Hill, or Nick Johnson to do the heavy lifting as usual.
X-Factors: I want to key on 2 players that will have better than usual games based on matchups in their favor. I like EJ Singler to have a great game for Oregon, using his ball skills and range from 3 point land to challenge a struggling Wildcat perimeter defense. Brandon Ashley should be able to use this game to break out of his current slump. He has the quickness needed to start putting up double figure games again and with this matchup he will have size on his defendor.
Prediction: Oregon is playing good basketball this season, and they seem to be getting better as the season progresses. Arizona either plays down or up to their opponents, and make close games occur even when they shouldn’t be. This one will not be an exception, look for the game to come down to the wire, and Arizona’s depth to prevail once again. The magic will stop eventually but not this night, as the Wildcats big front court will wear down Oregon on the inside.
Arizona 79 Oregon 75