Which team will budge in the championship game of the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas on Saturday night? It’s an open question. Check inside this betting preview for our NCAAB pick.
The Oregon Ducks Can Win Because…
They have the 2015 Pac-12 Player of the Year, and he is the man responsible for bringing Oregon to this point. Joseph Young won the Pac-12 POY award, and on Friday night in the Pac-12 semifinals against Utah, it was Young who made a 30-footer with under two seconds left in the game to break a tie and lift the Ducks to a 67-64 victory. Young was able to help Oregon overcome a rally by the Utes, a team Oregon managed to sweep this season, two wins to none. Young was 8 of 16 shooting from the field and 6 of 6 from the free throw line, scoring 25 points on the night. He got just enough help from Dillon Brooks (6 of 10 shooting, 14 points) to get the job done. Oregon hit 47 percent of its shots against Utah, which offset the fact that the Ducks attempted only 12 free throws and made only 10. One thing the Ducks did really well against Utah, in addition to shooting at a high level, was that they didn’t make a lot of bad mistakes. Oregon committed only nine turnovers, and that kept the Ducks ahead of the curve against a Utah team which was in second place for most of the Pac-12 regular season.
The other point to make for Oregon: The Ducks lost by 34 to Arizona on Jan. 28 after also falling to the Wildcats by 18 a few weeks earlier, on Jan. 8. After being drubbed twice, the Ducks should have a much better idea of how to play the Wildcats. This should help them a lot in this game.
The Arizona Wildcats Can Win Because…
They are a much better team than Oregon. Yes, the Ducks will be motivated to play them, but Arizona won twice this season against Oregon by an average of 26 points. Arizona is a very powerful and physical team, whereas Oregon is a finesse team. The Wildcats can pound the ball in the paint to Kaleb Tarczewski. Arizona can play volleyball on the offensive glass against Oregon’s post players, which are not the strength of the team. The Ducks have great guards, but they’re not where they need to be in terms of low-post interior defense.
Arizona is the team that can defend the paint and win a bruising, physically difficult game. The Wildcats don’t shoot all that well. They hit only 40 percent of their shots and only 7 of 21 threes against UCLA in the Pac-12 semifinals, but their defense shut out UCLA for a critical period of time when Arizona went on a 15-0 run midway through the second half. The Wildcats didn’t allow a point in over five and a half minutes. Arizona’s defense wins games, and that was once again clear versus UCLA. If Arizona plays anywhere close to its standard on defense against Oregon, the Wildcats should be able to win and win comfortably.
This is just a terrible matchup for Oregon. Arizona is going to be able to play this game at a slower pace and get the matchups it wants in the paint and in the frontcourt at large. Take the Wildcats with your college basketball picks.
Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Arizona -11 at The Greek