Back Colorado State Against Disappointing Ducks

Rainman M.

Friday, December 8, 2017 3:11 PM UTC

Friday, Dec. 8, 2017 3:11 PM UTC

Pac-12 school Oregon (5-3) hosts the Mountain West Conference's Colorado State (4-5) tonight at 10 ET. The Ducks are favored by 14.5 as they look to end a two-game losing streak.

Free NCAAB Picks: Colorado State +14.5Best Line Offered: Heritage

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Colorado State Rams at Oregon Ducks

Mountain West Player of the Year Gian Clavell and forward Emmanuel Omogbo are Colorado State's most significant departures from last year's team. Clavell averaged 20 points per game, Omogbo 13 points and 10 rebounds. Returning guards Prentiss Nixon and J.D. Paige again form the backcourt. Nixon is the Rams' top three-point shooter at 39%. He also excels at driving to the rim and is hitting 88% of his free throws. Nixon leads the Rams with 17 points per game. Paige is 3rd with 10 PPG, despite struggling from three.

Power forward Che Bob is the Rams' second-leading scorer and second-leading rebounder with 11 points and 8 boards per game. Bob's greatest asset is on defense. He ranks 64th in block percentage and leads the Rams with 1.9 blocks per game. Center Nico Carvacho, like Paige, is struggling to rediscover his scoring efficiency from last year. But he ranks in the top 100 in offensive and defensive rebounding percentage and leads the team with 9 rebounds per game. Like Bob and Nixon, Carvacho is a force inside who draws many fouls.

The list of Oregon departures includes three current NBA players, each of whom averaged more than 10 points per game. Among these three is Jordan Bell, who averaged over 2 blocks per game. Also gone is top playmaker Dillon Brooks, who led the team with 16 PPG and could take over any game. The Ducks are missing their top 5 scorers and 4 out of their top 5 rebounders from last year.

Point guard Payton Pritchard is the Ducks' only returning starter. He shoots 41% from three, but is the only significant shot-taker who shoots better than 30% from three. He also distributes effectively, ranking 164th in assist rate. The team is building around its developing sophomore, who easily leads it in minutes per game.

The versatile and experienced transfer from Butler and then New Mexico, Elijah Brown, has the inside ability of a power forward and the ball-handling and shooting skills of a guard. But he is still struggling to shoot threes and draw fouls. Brown is not nearly the scorer as previously, but still distributes the ball well. Five-star recruit freshman Troy Brown is a complete player, averaging 11 points and, despite his lack of size, 7 rebounds per game. Center Paul White is a solidly efficient scorer from inside and even behind the arc, but doesn't shoot often.

The Verdict

The Rams have two important advantages over Oregon. Nixon, Carvacho and Bob should be strong inside. They excel in drawing fouls, while Oregon ranks towards the bottom in opposing free throw attempts. The Rams rank 136th in scoring 51% of their points from two. Also, the Rams defend the perimeter poorly, but can afford to do so against an Oregon team that ranks 60th in three-point attempts but lacks three-point shooters and will struggle for second-chance opportunities against a CSU squad that ranks 26th in defensive rebounding percentage. The Rams will cover due to their advantage inside the arc and the Ducks' inability to score enough from outside the arc.

The Ducks are consistently overrated by NCAAB oddsmakers. They have failed to cover 4 in a row and have lost 3 games as favorite, including for the first time at home in 46 tries. The Ducks have either regressed or, like last year, need time to find their groove.

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