Arizona – Oregon Betting Preview 1/9
This should be a good one. It may not be the PAC-12 After Dark of college football notoriety, but this Top-25 clash has all the makings of a hard-fought thriller. Arizona is loaded with five-star recruits and a coach who knows how to win big games in Sean Miller. However, winning big games is exactly what this year’s Wildcats team has failed to do so far. In their first two attempts to knock off a ranked opponent in Baylor and Gonzaga, the Wildcats came up short, albeit with valiant efforts on both occasions. It will likely take an even loftier effort to emerge victorious in front of a tough crowd made up of their fiercest conference rivals.
While Arizona (49.1%) and Oregon (49.00%) have been two of the top shooting teams this year, defense will likely play a huge role in deciding the winner of Thursday night’s key conference affair. Neither team is particularly stout on the boards, but has made up for their lack of size with high-flying offenses.
Wildcats Hunting for Signature Win
Arizona is led by a trio of talented freshmen: forward Zeke Nnaji, guard Nico Mannion and guard Josh Green. Each of the former ESPN 100 recruits is averaging double-digit scoring on the year, the only Wildcats to do so.
Nnaji has been the unlikeliest success story for the Wildcats based purely from a recruiting standpoint, as the breakout freshman ranked 49th on the 2019 ESPN 100 list and 11th amongst the Center position. Despite not arriving to Tucson as heralded as the five-star recruits in Mannion and Green, NNaji has been a beast in the paint with 16.6 points and 8.1 rebounds on a stout 69.1 shooting percentage from the floor. Make no mistake; Mannion is the force that keeps the offense moving with a conference-best 6.3 assists for Arizona, but the 6’11 Nnaji has been the Wildcats toughest matchup nightmare this year. In Arizona’s three losses, the talented trio is putting up only a combined 40.3 points per game, and it will likely take much more than that to get the job done in Eugene.
Another statistic of note is the fact that Sean Miller is just 3-4 in his Arizona career in Eugene, with his most recent victory coming in 2015 backed by a team full of seasoned NBA talent. The Wildcats look primed to drop their third straight at the Matthew Knight Arena where the crowd will surely be raucous from tip-off until the final buzzer.
Ducks Hoping to Stay Unblemished at Home
On the alternate end of the experience scale, Oregon’s top five scorers are sophomores, juniors or seniors, with four of the five being upperclassmen. Fresh off leading the Ducks to the Final Four last year, senior Payton Pritchard is once again spearheading Oregon’s attack with a team-leading 18.7 points 5.9 assists per game. As great as Pritchard has been, the Ducks will almost certainly need another scorer to step up in key matchups such as this. In only four of Oregon’s 15 games has a player other than Pritchard led the team in scoring, making them a bit one-dimensional on that end of the floor.
Fortunately, the Ducks rank 7th in the country from three-point range, firing at a gaudy 39.9% clip which has bailed them out of some poor possessions this season.
Oregon isn’t quite as talented as they were last season, but they’ve got enough balanced scoring to pull out a close game.
Ducks Fly High
Oregon’s experience and home-court advantage will prove too much for a young Arizona team that’s still on the hunt for a signature win. The Wildcats surely have the talent to pull off some upsets this season, but their first shocker of the year won’t be coming in Eugene. Take Oregon -3 at our favorite pay per head bookie https://www.payperhead247.com/.
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