Pac 12 College Basketball Handicapping Picks: Oregon Ducks at #2 Arizona Wildcats

Oregon Ducks at #2 Arizona Wildcats
McKale Center – Tucson, Arizona

Thursday, February 6, 2014, 9:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Arizona -10
Current line: Arizona -11
Opening Total: 140
Current Total: 137
Opening Money Line: Arizona -700 / Oregon +510
Current Money Line: Arizona -700 / Oregon +510 

Arizona looks to rebound from their first loss of the season as they host Oregon Thursday night.
Arizona looks to rebound from their first loss of the season as they host Oregon Thursday night.

The 21-1 Arizona Wildcats lost their first game of the season last Saturday at California 60-58. The Wildcats are still in first place in the Pac 12 with an 8-1 record ahead of 6-3 UCLA. Arizona looks to rebound as they host the 15-6 Oregon Ducks Thursday night. The Ducks started off the season 13-0, but have gone 2-6 since then. Oregon is 3-6 in the Pac 12. The Ducks are technically in fifth place but 8 teams are ahead of them in the Pac 12 standings.

Arizona leads the series 45-25 against Oregon, including 27-17 in Tucson. Oregon has won two straight games in the series including 70-66 in Eugene in last season’s only meeting. The two schools will close out the regular season in Eugene March 8.

Oregon is coached by Dana Altman. The Ducks have losses at Colorado, and at home to California, Stanford, at Oregon State, at Washington, and UCLA. Oregon has key home wins over San Francisco, Pacific, Cal Poly, Illinois (in Portland), UC-Irvine, BYU and USC 78-66 Saturday  over Georgetown in South Korea, plus road wins at Ole Miss, Utah and Washington State. The Ducks are 9-9-2 ATS and the total is 12-7 this season.

Oregon is outscoring teams 85-75 this season. The Ducks are #6 nationally in scoring, but #299 out of 351 teams in points allowed. Oregon is shooting 47.2% from the field and 38.2% from 3 point range. The Ducks are in the top 50 nationally in both categories. Oregon is #2 in free throw shooting nationally at 78.3% from the line. Duck opponents are shooting 44% from the field and 32.5% from 3 point range. Oregon averages 35.1 rebounds per game and opponents average 30.1. The Ducks average 15.1 assists, 12.3 turnovers, 8.4 steals and 3.2 blocks per game. Opponents average 12.8 assists, 14.5 turnovers, 5.9 steals and 4 blocks per game.

Ducks’ guard Joseph Young averages 18.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. Forward Mike Moser averages 13 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.2 steals and 1 block per game. Guard Jason Calliste averages 12.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists.  Guard Damyean Dotson averages 10.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists. Guard Johnathan Loyd averages 7.9 points, 1.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 1.1 steals per game.Forward Richard Amardi averages 7.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1 steal a game. Forward Elgin Cook averages 6.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.  Dominic Artis and Waverly Austin will also get significant minutes. Guard A.J. Lapray (hip) and forward Brian Crow (ankle) are both questionable Thursday.

Arizona is coached by Sean Miller. The Wildcats have key wins over Cal Poly, Long Beach State, at San Diego State, Rhode Island, Drexel and Duke in the pre-season NIT in New York City, Texas Tech, UNLV, New Mexico State, at Michigan, Washington State, Washington, at UCLA and USC, Arizona State, Colorado, Utah, and at Stanford. Arizona is 13-8 ATS and the total is 5-15 this season.

Arizona is outscoring teams 74-57 this season. The Wildcats are #5 nationally in points allowed. Arizona is shooting 47.2% from the field and 35.9% from 3 point range. The Wildcats are #48 nationally in field goal percentage.  Arizona makes 67.2% of their free throws. Wildcat opponents are shooting 37.6% from the field and 29.8% from 3 point range. Arizona is #5 in field goal defense and #25 in 3 point defense. The Wildcats average 39.2 rebounds per game and opponents average 25.5. Arizona is #23 in rebounds and #2 nationally in rebounds allowed. The Wildcats average 15.1 assists, 10.9 turnovers, 5.7 steals and 4.7 blocks per game. Opponents average 9 assists, 12.6 turnovers, 4.7 steals and 3 blocks per game.

Guard Nick Johnson averages 16.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Forward Aaron Gordon averages 11.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game. Both Johnson and Gordon are on the Wooden Award mid-season watch list. Forward Brandon Ashley averaged 11.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1 assist per game. He broke his foot in the Cal loss and is gone for the season. Center Kaleb Tarczewski averages 9.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. Forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson averages 8 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. Guard T.J. McConnell averages 7.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.9 steals per game. Guard Gabe York averages 7 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists.

Oregon is 1-3-1 ATS in road games and against teams with winning home records, 5-16-1 after failing to cover, 6-20-2 against Pac 12 teams, 1-8-2 in Thursday games, 1-9-1 overall, 0-4-1 after a straight up win, and 0-7-1 against teams with winning records. The road team is 5-2 ATS in this series recently. The Ducks are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 trips to Tucson.

Arizona is 7-1 ATS in Thursday games, 15-6 at home, 12-5 after a straight up loss, 0-4 against teams with winning records, overall, and against Pac 12 teams. Five of the last six games in this series have gone under the total. The under is 5-2 in the last 7 games in Tucson in this series.

The loss of Ashley is certainly going to hurt Arizona’s chances at winning the national title, but they still have a lot of talent with Johnson and Gordon. Oregon looked like a national championship contender early in the season but have been terrible in Pac 12 play. The Ducks lack of defense has really hurt them. I like Arizona to win handily.

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