In a year where top teams have been as upset prone as ever, the Arizona Wildcats return home on Thursday to host an Oregon Ducks team that handed them an upset defeat in January.
Oregon Ducks vs. Arizona Wildcats (-8.5, 150.5)
In the first matchup on Jan. 14, Oregon won 87-68 with its frontcourt winning the battle down low and grabbing 10 more rebounds than Arizona. Since the loss, Arizona has cleaned up this area of the game.
Arizona has won four straight games since the loss, grabbing at least two more rebounds than its opponent in each game behind forwards Azuolas Tubelis and Oumar Ballo. The duo pulls in at least nine rebounds each per game — combining for 35.6 points, 18.7 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game.
Arizona is 10th in the nation in rebound rate while Oregon ranks 33rd, but sees its rebound rate drop from 56.1% at home to 49% on the road with its opponents’ 2-point shooting percentage going from 43.3% at home up to 50% on the road.
Oregon enters Thursday with plenty of road woes across the board, averaging 8.1 points per 100 possessions fewer on offense and allowing 9.1 more points per 100 possessions on defense when on the road.
The Ducks’ backcourt has fewer options than in recent memory, which has led to inefficient play from Will Richardson. Though Richardson is averaging a career-high 5.5 assists per game this season and a team-high 13.6 points per game, he has seen his turnovers per game rise to 3.1 per game and his 3-point shooting percentage fall to 30.9%.
In his first three seasons, Richardson averaged 2.0 turnovers per game and shot 41.4% from 3-point range with 12.3 points per game. The lack of options to help Richardson has led to Oregon ranking 230th in turnovers committed per possession and making just 30.6% of their 3-point shots, good for 320th in the nation.
Despite the Wildcats playing at a very fast tempo, ranking 18th among the 363 Division I teams in possessions per game, they enter Saturday having scored 70 points or fewer in eight of their last nine home games and will look for revenge against the Ducks on Thursday.
The Play: Arizona -8.5
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