Arizona Basketball Preview: No. 23 Ducks fly South to McKale


Arizona basketball looks to bounce back at McKale Center against No. 23 Oregon Ducks. Do the Ducks have enough to break the longest home winning streak in NCAA history?  

The Wildcats (16-4) fell short to the Golden Bears of California  (14-6) in Berkeley and look to bounce back at home. The Cats will host the Pac-12 Conference leading No. 23 Oregon Ducks (16-4) on Thursday, January 28th at 6:00 P.M. PST (7:00 P.M. MST).

Oregon swept both USC (89-81) and UCLA (86-72) in impressive wins in Eugene to take over first place in the Pac-12 before flying down to Tucson to test ZonaZoo and McKale Center.

After the Wildcats 4th loss of the season to Cal, they come home to protect their home game winning streak (49) which is on the line once again. The Cats need this win for many reasons, maintaining the winning streak is one of the biggest, mostly because it could shake the team’s confidence moving forward.

According to Bruce Pascoe of the Arizona Daily Star, there is more to the streak than you may realize, ‘During their 49-game run to the nation’s longest home-court winning streak, Arizona has won by an average of 22 points and by double digits in all but five games. Even in Pac-12 home games, UA has still won by an average of 19.7 points during its home-court streak.’ Arizona is favored by 7.5 points.

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Coach Sean Miller has to find a way to slow down Oregon’s offensive attack for the streak to continue. Ducks sophomore forward Dillon Brooks leads the offense with 16.2 ppg, 6.5 rebounds, and 3.1 assists. His teammate forward Chris Boucher has averaged 17.0 points and shot 68.4 percent in his last two games alone.

Four Ducks are averaging double-digit points scored, but so are three of the active Wildcats who will still be down Allonzo Trier and Elliott Pitts. The teams are about even on paper; the Ducks are shooting just a tad better all around.

Oregon Ducks stats via ESPN: /

Arizona Wildcats stats via ESPN: /

The streak is at stake, the confidence of the team, fans, and the media is at stake, winning the Pac-12 regular season is at stake and dropping in the rankings is also at stake. A lot on the line, how will our Cats respond?

The last time the Wildcats faced off against the Ducks was in the Pac-12 Championship game at MGM Grand, where Arizona dominated 80-52. But back when Oregon faced the Wildcats in McKale, Arizona was only able to scrape by with a two-point victory. Let’s hope the game does not have to come down to two points, don’t think Wildcats or their fans can survive another game where it comes down to the wire.

Coach Sean Miller and A Players Program has been tweeting all week to make sure the McKale is full! Miller feels this is the key to getting the energy back on his team, so show up Wildcats Fans! Mark Tollefsen making more than one basket could help as well.

And don’t forget if you go, pay attention to your seat, it is a ‘stripe out’ where the color of your shirt must be either red or white depending on your section.

Prediction: Will likely be Arizona’s toughest game yet, they have the talent, and they have a ton more energy at home. It will be a win, and it will be close- Arizona 86 Oregon 83.

Here’s more information on where you can catch the game on Saturday:

Date: Thursday, January 28th

Time: 7:00 p.m. MST, 6:00 p.m. PST

Location: Tucson, McKale Center (14,545)

LineArizona -7.5

Television: ESPN

Radio: Arizona IMG Sports Network Arizona Wildcats (Try TuneIn Radio), KTKT, KCUB 1290 AM The Source, K-Hit 107.9, Fox Sports 910 Phoenix, KHYT 107.5 FM

Team Records:

  • Arizona 16-4: Split the games in Northern California, beat Stanford and lost to Cal by one point; Lost fourth game to No. 8 Providence, UCLA, USC, and CAL.
  • Oregon 16-4: Beat UCLA and USC to take first in the Conference of Champions

Last Meeting: Saturday, March 14th, 2015, in Las Vegas,  Arizona 80 Oregon 52

Tickets: Here

Arizona Possible Starting Lineup (best guess):

PG Kadeem Allen

SG Gabe York

SF Ryan Anderson 

PF Mark Tollefsen

C  Kaleb Tarczewski

BearDown Arizona!