College Basketball Pick
Oregon is still fighting with Arizona for the Pac-12 regular season title, while Colorado is surprisingly still in the hunt for an NCAA Tournament bid. Of course, the Buffaloes will need to win this one to move the needle. These teams played a few weeks ago and it was the start of the Colorado turnaround. The Buffs stayed close the entire Game and then fully pulled away with about five minutes to go for a 74-65 win, ending Oregon’s winning streak.
The Buffs lost their first seven Conference Games, with a few bad losses in there, but were a bit unlucky to do so. They lost by one at Arizona State, and in overtime to Washington and Washington State. since, they’ve picked things up as seen in the rematch with Wazzu, beating the Cougars by 32 points last weekend. But winning in Eugene is another test in itself. Maybe the Ducks barely beat Arizona State, but they’ve been absolutely dominant at home this season, highlighted by the huge wins against Arizona and California. Now throw in the revenge factor for Colorado winning the first meeting, and Oregon won’t take this one easy.
The differences in that first meeting were that Colorado took 10 more free throws and Oregon turned it over 16 times. The Buffs didn’t do anything particularly well, but got 23 points from Derrick White and that was it. The Ducks hit 11 threes, but didn’t get consistent production from anyone outside of Payton Pritchard, who made five of those threes.
But again, playing in Eugene is completely different and if the Ducks play to their ability, their defense can lock down on any opponent. Stopping White will be the first order of business, which isn’t an easy task. The 6-5 point guard leads the Buffs in scoring (17 ppg) and that’s where Oregon had trouble the first time around. With Pritchard, Dylan Ennis, Casey Benson and Tyler Dorsey all on the perimeter, White has a size advantage over all of them. Another big thing for Colorado is its offensive rebounding as they lead the Conference in that category through Wesley Gordon and George King. Oregon isn’t a great rebounding team, although Jordan Bell and Chris Boucher are no slouches on the glass. To have a chance in this Game, Colorado at least has a couple ways to find success.
But the problem for the Buffs will be stopping this Oregon offense. They held the Ducks to 65 points in that first Game and forced turnovers, but this isn’t a team that turns the ball over a ton and it’s hard to see that happening again. Colorado does have the edge down low, which will limit what Bell and Boucher do, but the Ducks have success because of their balance. Dillon Brooks will likely have a better Game this time around and then there’s Dorsey and Ennis, who can get hot at any time.
Colorado is a solid team, despite its record, but winning at Oregon has been close to impossible this season, even for good teams. As long as the Ducks bring their Game, they should ease into this one. But if they don’t come out firing, the Buffs at least have a chance to keep this one close, similar to last meeting.
Our pick – Oregon by 20