Pac 12 College Basketball Handicapping Selections: #3 Arizona Wildcats at Oregon Ducks

#3 Arizona Wildcats at Oregon Ducks
Matthew Knight Arena – Eugene, Oregon

Saturday, March 8, 2014, 4:00 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Opening Line: Arizona -2 1/2
Current Line: Arizona -3 1/2
Opening Total: 139 1/2
Current Total: 140
Opening Money Line: Arizona -160 / Oregon +135
Current Money Line: Arizona -170 / Oregon +145

Arizona closes out the regular season at Oregon Saturday. The Wildcats are 3.5 point favorites.
Arizona closes out the regular season at Oregon Saturday. The Wildcats are 3.5 point favorites.

The 28-2 Arizona Wildcats have already clinched the Pac 12 regular season title at 15-2 and the #1 seed in the Pac 12 tournament next week in Las Vegas. However, the Wildcats have bigger goals in mind, as they should be one of the four #1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament. Some even predict Arizona might be the #1 overall seed. Arizona has won 5 straight games.

The Wildcats close out the regular season at the 21-8 Oregon ducks Saturday. The Ducks are part of a four way tie for fifth in the conference, at 9-8 behind 10-7 Arizona State and Colorado. The top four teams will get byes in the Pac 12 tournament. A win against Arizona would almost guarantee an NCAA tournament berth for the Ducks. Oregon started off the season 13-0, then went 2-8 in the next 10 games. Oregon has won 6 straight games since then though.

Arizona leads the series against Oregon 46-25, including 19-8 in Eugene. Arizona won in Tucson 67-65 February 6 to snap a two game losing streak to Oregon.

Arizona is coached by Sean Miller. Arizona has losses at California and Arizona State. Both losses were by a combined 5 points. 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 twice, Utah twice , Cal, Stanford twice, Oregon and Oregon State twice (including 74-69 Wednesday in Corvallis). Arizona is 18-11 ATS and the total is 9-17-2 this season.

Arizona is outscoring teams 74-58 this season. The Wildcats are #5 nationally in points allowed. Arizona is shooting 46.9% from the field and 35.6% from 3 point range. The Wildcats are #54 nationally in field goal percentage.  Arizona makes 66.2% of their free throws and are #292 nationally out of 351 teams in that category. Wildcat opponents are shooting 38.3% from the field and 30.1% from 3 point range. Arizona is #8 in field goal defense and #24 in 3 point defense. The Wildcats average 39.3 rebounds per game and opponents average 26.4. Arizona is #17 in rebounding and #6 nationally in rebounds allowed. The Wildcats average 15.2 assists, 10.6 turnovers, 5.7 steals and 4.4 blocks per game. Opponents average 9.2 assists, 12.5 turnovers, 4.6 steals and 3.2 blocks per game.

Guard Nick Johnson averages 16 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Forward Aaron Gordon averages 12.2 points, 8 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game. Both Johnson and Gordon are on the Wooden and Naismith Awards semifinal 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 10.1 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1 block per game. Forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson averages 8.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. Guard T.J. McConnell averages 8.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.9 steals per game. Guard Gabe York averages 6.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists.

Oregon is coached by Dana Altman. The Ducks have losses at Colorado, and at home to California, Stanford, at Oregon State, at Washington, UCLA, at Arizona and at Arizona State. Oregon has key home wins over San Francisco, Pacific, Cal Poly, Illinois (in Portland), UC-Irvine, BYU, USC twice, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, and Arizona State 85-78 Tuesday, over Georgetown in South Korea, plus road wins at Ole Miss, Utah, Washington State, and UCLA.  The Ducks are 15-10-3 ATS and the total is 15-12 this season.

Oregon is outscoring teams 83-74 this season. The Ducks are #8 nationally in scoring, but #286 out of 351 teams in points allowed. Oregon is shooting 46.7% from the field and 38.4% from 3 point range. The Ducks are #40 in three point shooting. Oregon is #3 in free throw shooting nationally at 77.5% from the line. Duck opponents are shooting 43.5% from the field and 31.8% from 3 point range. Oregon averages 34.8 rebounds per game and opponents average 30. The Ducks average 14.9 assists, 11.8 turnovers, 8.2 steals and 3.3 blocks per game. Opponents average 12.5 assists, 14 turnovers, 5.3 steals and 4 blocks per game.

Ducks’ guard Joseph Young averages 18.6 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. Forward Mike Moser averages 13.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.1 steals and 1 block per game. Guard Jason Calliste averages 12.3 points, 2 rebounds and 1.7 assists.  Guard Damyean Dotson averages 10.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists. Guard Johnathan Loyd averages 7.2 points, 1.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 1.1 steals per game.Forward Richard Amardi averages 7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1 steal a game. Forward Elgin Cook averages 6.5 points and 3.6 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 out indefinitely.

Arizona is 4-1 ATS against teams with winning records, overall and in Pac 12 games, and 19-9 after a straight up win. The road team is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 games in this series. The under is 6-1 overall in this series recently and 5-2 in the last 7 in Eugene between the Ducks and Wildcats.

Oregon is 3-0-1 ATS overall and in Pac 12 games, 4-1-1 against teams with winning records, 9-3 against teams with winning road records, 16-6-4 after a straight up win, 5-2-1 in Saturday games, and 2-7-1 at home. The Ducks have covered the last 4 games against Arizona and were the underdogs in each of those contests.

While Arizona would like to win a tough road game before the Pac 12 tournament, they are almost assured of a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament whether they win or lose this game. It is more important to make a good showing in the Pac 12 tournament. Oregon, on the other hand needs a victory badly to secure a spot in the Big Dance. Arizona has played a lot of close games, and I think Oregon wins at home in a mild upset.

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