NCAA Basketball Picks for Washington vs. Oregon

Doug Upstone

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 2:22 PM GMT

While expectations were not off the charts, anyone connected with the Washington or Oregon program will tell this has been a disappointing season. What can sports bettors expect when the two meet tonight?

Both squads are below .500 in Pac-12 play and trying to use either to beat the college basketball odds might be an act of futility. If you are a Left Coaster and like to follow the betting odds of teams west of Colorado, learn more right here before making up your mind.

Updated NCAA Tournament Odds & Predictions

Both Squads Undone by Individual, Not Team Play

If you listen to a lot of college basketball analysts these days, you probably have noticed a change in how they call games. They still breakdown the how’s and why’s about how certain plays succeed or fail, but many more invoke thoughts of team chemistry and its importance in terms of preparation and what it leads to on the floor.

College basketball handicappers and those making sports picks have started to listen more to this information to have clearer understanding why teams with better talent lose and lesser talented squads succeed.

When Oregon started 13-0 this season, the Ducks were flying up and down the floor, looking for the open man and playing adequate defense and at the very least, making an effort to play help defense if they were beaten of the dribble.

But starting with their first loss at Colorado 100-91, Oregon players started playing selfish, making sure they got their shots in the offense and defensively they began to play matador defense and seldom did the nearest player rotate over to help. Beginning with that contest, the Ducks are 3-8 SU and 4-7 ATS and only recently started to play with the same December fervor. 

Expectations were pretty low for Washington coming into the season, being picked to be in the bottom half of the Pac-12. An early season 86-72 loss to UC-Irvine as 9.5-point favorites established the Huskies were not going to be a team to be reckoned with.

What you mostly see is a squad without the talent of the past, with Lorenzo Romar no longer bringing in top shelf recruits and his team’s having chemistry issues. C.J. Wilcox and Nigel Williams-Goss are both nice players; but there is no sense of them making their teammates better around them.

Watching both these teams and body language of the two head coaches during games and timeouts, I think back to Jerry Tarkanian in his UNLV days when I asked why he had a missing team photo for one year from the teams he coached, his response was, “I didn’t like them (referring to his team) and they didn’t like me, no reason to have that around.” 

Postseason Prospects

Oregon has six regular season games remaining including this encounter and to get into the Big Dance, they need to finish 5-1 and probably reach the Pac-12 tournament semis to be certain of making the tourney. This would require not only winning this contest but beating either UCLA on the road or taking down Arizona in Eugene next month.

Washington’s only shot is to win the conference tourney, thus Romar’s job is to prepare his team to being playing its best in the coming weeks.

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What to Look for Tonight 

For Washington to engineer the upset, Wilcox and Williams-Goss both have to put up superior numbers. The Huskies have to attack Oregon’s press and look to finish at the rim when opportunities are presented. Ducks players play defense for about 20 seconds and can be broken down off the dribble or with ball movement to the opposite side of the floor. Washington has to avoid turnovers against the press which leads to easy baskets.

Oregon has play with greater urgency. The Ducks played well in a pair of two-point losses at both Arizona schools and coasted to a win over rival Oregon State last Sunday. What coach Dana Altman wants is a more frenzied approach and shorten the lulls his team has, which tends to last too long.

Read our NCAA Basketball Picks of the Day for more free plays.

Betting Odds and Head to Head Meetings

Oregon has won the last three at Eugene, covering twice and the sportsbooks have made them a 10-point favorite. 

The Winner Is…… 

Though the Ducks generally concern me, I am even less certain where Washington is mentally at this time and will back the home team. 

Free Pick – Oregon covers