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Arizona vs. Oregon score predictions

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NCAA Basketball: Arizona at Oregon Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 24 Arizona Wildcats (11-3, 1-0 Pac-12) will endure their first Pac-12 road test of the season Thursday against the No. 9 Oregon Ducks at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene.

The Ducks have won three straight in this series, and enter as four-point favorites. KenPom gives Oregon a 60 percent chance of winning.

Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. MST on ESPN. Head to our basketball section for tons of coverage.

Here are our score predictions.

Ronnie Stoffle — Oregon wins 77-73

The Wildcats looked really good following their extended layoff when they opened conference play. A lot of things seemed to be working for them from rebounding to transition buckets to defense. The only problem is it was against a mediocre (at best) ASU team.

Arizona did not look good from behind the arc once again and they shot an abysmal 50 percent from the free-throw line. Yes, the majority of their game was working but these key areas were not. They will need to be firing on all cylinders to beat Oregon in Eugene.

This team has shown the ability to clawback if they find themselves in a hole which is why I expect it to be close. Their three losses were by a combined 12 points when really they should have lost each of those games by at least 12.

They have the horses to beat Oregon but until they show me they can pull it all together against a quality opponent, I can’t predict it’ll happen. Therefore, I expect Oregon to win this game.

What a great win it would be, though...

Brian J. Pedersen — Oregon wins 68-64

Arizona’s chances of being able to win in Eugene for the first time in five years lie in the opening 10 minutes of the game. If the Wildcats can avoid falling behind early in a hostile environment then they’ve shown their ability to fight late and can be victorious, but that is easier said than done. The key is avoiding that slow start, which means being methodical on offense (except when running is there) and diligent on defense. Oregon takes its time and that can be frustrating for a team that likes to go fast, and ultimately this will probably come down to a few youthful mistakes on Arizona’s end.

Christian Mortensen — Oregon wins 70-65

I’m taking Oregon in this one, simply because this young Wildcats’ squad has yet to play in the type of hostile environment that they will be walking into Thursday night in Eugene.

Yes, the Wildcats played and lost at Baylor, but that game was played at the same time as the Bears’ Big-12 Championship football game — you do the math on that — and Arizona’s other two losses came at home to Gonzaga and at a neutral site against St. John’s.

Playing on the road in the Pac-12 is never a simple equation and I think this game (even if it’s a loss) will be a good lesson for Arizona moving forward.

Ultimately I think the Cats’ talent will keep it close, but I see them taking an L in their first true road game of the year.

Matthew Rein — Arizona wins 72-71

I’ve got Arizona in a nail biter over Oregon. In their two road games last week against Colorado and Utah, Oregon looked very vulnerable. Against Colorado, the Ducks only managed to shoot a paltry 16.7 percent from three. In Salt Lake, Oregon barely hung on against a scrappy Utah squad. Meanwhile, Arizona played their most complete game of the year against ASU and completely dominated both sides of the ball.

This game is in Eugene, and that won’t make it easy for the Cats, but there are a few things Arizona can do if it wants to win the game. First, Miller and Arizona must find a way to limit Payton Pritchard, especially in late game situations. Pritchard is clearly UO’s go to option on offense, so shutting him down is paramount. He’s normally good for 18 to 19 points a game, and if Arizona can limit his opportunities, they’ll be in a much better position to win. Second, get out to another quick start. In Arizona’s three losses, it has started sluggish on both sides of the ball. Getting off to a fast, efficient start will be key on Thursday. Lastly, Nico Mannion has to be on his A-game.

Ultimately, I think Arizona does just enough to sneak out of Eugene with a win.

Adam Green — Oregon wins 78-70

For the first time since Arizona played Gonzaga, and before that when they faced Baylor, the Wildcats have a chance to win a big game. Are they ready for it?

A week ago you would have been hard pressed to find anyone who thought Arizona could go to Eugene and earn a win, not with them losing three of four games. A dominant win over Arizona State was cathartic, yes, and in a lot of ways reassuring.

Arizona is still very talented and is still capable of playing like one of the best teams in the country.

Unfortunately, Oregon is also very talented and unlike Arizona, has proven it can knock off other talented teams. That’s why while I like the Wildcats to keep this one close, I expect the home team to emerge with the victory.

Ryan Kelapire — Oregon wins 75-68

The thing I’ll add here is this game should be a much better measuring stick of how much the Wildcats have improved their defensive rebounding. They did a good job against ASU, but that was ASU.

The Ducks are a pretty solid 48th in the country in offensive rebounding percentage, and that number has mostly come about without the services of five-star recruit N’Faly Dante, a 7-footer who was ineligible for the first 10 games.

Point being: Oregon’s offense, the No. 6 unit in the country, is just way too good for Arizona to allow second shots and expect to survive.

I’ll be watching to see how much Christian Koloko plays. His size could be a difference-maker against an Oregon team that increasingly plays two bigs at a time this season.