Oregon vs. Arizona State
Tip off: 10:30 PM EST
Oregon finished 21-18 last season with a 7-11 Pac-10 record and they beat Creighton by 3 in the CBI Finals to win the CBI Tournament. It was a huge exclamation mark to a season that would have otherwise been quite forgettable. The 2010 CBI Champs were VCU, so it might be a fortelling sign fo the Ducks if they can keep things rolling. So far they are 11-5, though as usual, their schedule has been soft. They lost to their only ranked opponent in the season opener when they fell by 14 to then #7 Vanderbilt.
Still, the Ducks have won 5 of their last 6 games and just finished up a 11 point victory voer Stanford on the 5th. Devoe Joseph put up 30 of the Ducks’ 78 points as he hit five 3s and went 8 of 15 overaell from the floor. Only one other Duck (E.J. Singler) scored in double figures, with 13.
Joseph, now a senior, has increased his scoring average every season as a Duck. As a freshman, he averaged 5 a game, increased it to 9.4 as a sophomore, 11.3 as a junior, and is now averaging a team high 15.1 per game in this, his senior season. He’s dialing up 41.8% of his threes and has scored in double figures in every game except the new year’s even loss to Washington. He did not play the first six games of the season.
Singler, a 6’6″ junior forward, is second on the team with 12.8 points per game. He is Duke standout Kyle’s younger brother and he posted an offensive efficiency rating of 115.8 last season, which ranked 6th in the Pac-10. He shot nearly 40% from the arc last year and holds his own against bigger forwards. While he may or may not ever be selected in the NBA draft like his brother, who defected for Europe with the lockout looming, Singler is a key piece for the Ducks if they are going to make waves in the Big Dance this March rather than return to the CBI.
Arizona State finished 12-19 last season, but won just 4 of their 18 conference games and they were bounced in the first round of the Pac-10 tournament, as they lost to tonight’s opponent by 10 points. The Sun Devils rank near the bottom of most major statistical categories and they have dropped 5 of their last 6, with a lone victory over USC preventing it from being a 6 game losing streak. They dropped last game by 17 to UCLA, and are going to find it tough to sustain themselves this year in conference play — once again.
The Sun Devils are led by the trio of Keala King, Trent Lockett, and Carrick Felix. The three combine for 35.1 points per game, which is 54% of the team’s offensive output. Lockett, a 6’4″ junior guard has been consistent from this season to last, but has shown little improvement, which is why the team is in its state of stasis…none of the players have significantly improved. Moreover, the Sun Devils lack any premier talents on their team to put them over the edge.
Because of Arizona State’s lack of talent and inability to play defense (they gave up 1.08 points per possession in conference play last season), I like the Ducks in this pick ’em.
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