Oregon Will Cloud Sun Devils' Trip to Eugene

Doug Upstone

Thursday, February 22, 2018 3:10 PM UTC

Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 3:10 PM UTC

Arizona State looks to be in good shape to reach the NCAA Tournament, but not earning at least a weekend split in the state of Oregon could raise a few question marks for the Sun Devils.

Arizona State Sun Devils (19-7, 13-10-3 ATS) at Oregon Ducks (17-10, 13-13 ATS)Free Basketball Pick: OregonBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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Their first task in the state or Oregon is likely the toughest for Arizona State, taking on the Oregon Ducks on Thursday night. The opening NCAA basketball odds had the Sun Devils as three-point underdogs, and they are 3-1 (3-0-1 ATS) in that role this season. Arizona State will also be after payback, having lost in Tempe 76-72 as 7.5-point favorites almost six weeks ago.

By all appearances, Oregon's only path to return to The Dance is either win the Pac-12 tourney or win its four remaining regular season games and at least making the conference title game. As good as I've done picking winners on Hump Day Dogs article here at sBR, that is how bad I have been making NCAA basketball picks on individual games of late. Time to reverse that today!

Smallish Devils Must Clean the Defensive Glass

In the previous matchup, Arizona State lost the battle of the boards with a -7 differential. In particular, the Sun Devils were whipped 13-6 on the offense glass, which gave Oregon ample chances to score more points. Coach Bobby Hurley's team is middle-of-the-road in rebounding and cannot have that happen again and expect to win.

On offense, the Devils have to play their game and score up into the 80s like they usually do, led by Tra Holder (19.3 PPG) and Shannon Evans II (16.8). This time around, Hurley has to devise ways for his team to get more buckets in the paint or near the basket ... unlike the last meeting.

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Oregon Has To Utilize Assets

The Ducks are not the same team that went to the Final Four a year ago, not being as explosive on offense and as dastardly on defense. Yet, they do have one edge over Arizona State they can exploit, and that is their defensive length. As per usual, coach Dana Altman is able to recruit superior athletes to Eugene, compared to his days in the Missouri Valley.

Especially in a matchup like this where Oregon has height advantages at different positions, the Ducks can take away passing lanes, tip balls or force ASU to start their half-court offense higher than they prefer. Offensively, Payton Pritchard (14.9) is the Ducks' leading scorer, but they great balance with Elijah Brown (12.8), Tony Brown (11.9) and MiKyle McIntosh (10.6). Oregon is 13-3 (8-7 ATS) on its home court.

Pac-12 Thursday Night Spread Winner

Because of the nature of the Pac-12's regional setup, the away team goes to a region and plays two games over the course of two or possibly three days. Arizona State has done this three times this season, and on each occasion it the first contest and rallied and won the second. For this 11:30 ET start on FS1, look for more of the same as the Sun Devils are 3-13 ATS in road games revenging a loss.

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