Arizona enters 13-4 and 3-1 in the Pac-12, while Oregon is 12-5 and 2-2, respectively.
The Ducks just beat Arizona State in Tempe, and Arizona is still trying to hit its stride, so it should make for an exciting game.
Before that, let’s take a look at who the Ducks are:
71-63 loss to the UConn Huskies in the PK80
90-80 loss to the Oklahoma Sooners in the PK80
76-64 loss to the Oregon State Beavers on the road
76-72 win over the Arizona State Sun Devils on the road
The ASU win was Oregon’s first big win of the year, but it’s certainly an impressive one.
Oregon was a powerhouse team that made the Final Four last year, and while this team lost nearly every major contributor from that squad, there’s still plenty of talent on the roster.
UO may not have an elite offense, but it certainly could be worse. The Ducks rank 60th in offensive efficiency, and are especially great at shooting the ball, with shooting percentages above average from 2 (54.5%), 3 (35.8%), and the free throw line (77.4%).
About 42% of Oregon’s field goal attempts come from the 3-point line, so Arizona will have to be sharp on its closeouts and rotations.
If UO has an offensive weakness, it’s their inability to get to the charity stripe. Oregon takes only .303 free throws per field goal, much lower than the .338 national average.
Nevertheless, this is a talented team with a great coach and great shooting, so it should be a fun game.
Oregon may not be as solid on the defensive end, but they still perform pretty well compared to most other teams.
UO ranks 79th in defensive efficiency out of 351 teams, which is not a bad number at all. They do most things well and a few things poorly.
Oregon’s biggest defensive strength is shot blocking where they rank 17th in the country. The Ducks are also great at defensing inside, allowing a field goal percentage of 44% from inside the arc, the 32nd-best mark in the country.
These numbers can be attributed to freshman big man Kenny Wooten who is No. 4 in college basketball in block rate. At 6-foot-9, he is not the biggest player, but he’s long and athletic allowing him to play above the rim.
Oregon’s biggest defensive weakness is letting their opponents get to the line. UO gives up .384 free throws per field goal, a very high number. On top of that, their opponents have shot 74% from the line, something they have little control over but nevertheless hurts them greatly.
UO is a good, not great, defensive team, and they could give the Wildcats, who have struggled offensively lately, some issues.
Especially since Oregon plays matchup zone and we know how that can stymie Arizona.
Oregon players to watch
Payton Pritchard, guard, sophomore
Last year’s Ducks squad featured stars like Dillon Brooks, Jordan Bell, and Tyler Dorsey. While those players are gone, this team still has talent, and Pritchard might be the best example of that.
Pritchard was mostly a role player as a freshman, but this year he’s emerged as the leader of Oregon basketball. He leads the team in points (15.2) and assists (4.2) per game.
Pritchard is also one of Oregon’s many deep threats, shooting an impressive 42% from outside the arc. If he can’t get a good shot from outside, he’s enough of a creator to still get Oregon on the board.
Pritchard will have to do a little bit of everything for Oregon to win, but lucky for Oregon he’s done everything for them so far.
Troy Brown, forward, freshman
Brown has not played well in Oregon’s last two contests, but he’s still very dangerous for opponents.
Brown may be just a freshman, but he’s integrated fast, scoring 11.7 points per game and leading the team with 7.5 rebounds per game.
With that statline, you’d assume Brown plays down low. However, he’s actually a wing, playing the three position. He’s shooting 33% from beyond the arc to go along with his impressive rebounding numbers.
Brown’s versatility against Rawle Alkins will be a great matchup to watch, as Alkins may be one of the few players in America that could effectively challenge Brown.
Elijah Brown, guard, junior
Arizona actually faced Brown last year, but at New Mexico where he played before transferring to Eugene this past offseason.
The 6-foot-4 swingman was a big-time scorer at UNM, but his numbers have dipped a bit with the Ducks.
Still, Brown is averaging 13.2 points per game with a shooting line of .416/.351/.950. Brown is a ridiculous 38-40 from the free throw line this year.
He scored 18 points at ASU on Thursday and 17 points against Arizona last year, so the Wildcats will have to be wary of him again Saturday.