On March 1 of last year, the Ducks won 83-54. A week later, they won 77-63. Last month, the gap was down to 71-64 in what was a one-possession game late in the fourth quarter.
But make no mistake, the Ducks are still the Ducks.
Oregon has defeated the USA Basketball women’s national team in an exhibition. They swept Oregon State for the first time in 10 years. They demolished a top-10 Stanford team by 32 points. They went to UConn on Monday and blew out the Huskies in a way few ever have. They are 20-2 despite having already played seven ranked teams. And they have the best player in the game surrounded by some of the other top players in the game.
They also have a huge crowd of rabid fans that create the kind of home-court advantage that the Wildcats have become used to having on their side. They average more fans at home than their 14th-ranked men’s team does.
What does Arizona have? Well, the Wildcats have the Naismith National Player of the Week in Aari McDonald. They are the only Pac-12 team to have two different players win the Pac-12 Player of the Week award multiple times this season with both McDonald and Cate Reese taking it twice each. Only UCLA has had two different players win the award at all, and they each took it just once.
According to coach Adia Barnes, they also have nothing to lose. The team just needs to look to last week for an example of how to play tough on the road.
“USC could have laid down (against Arizona),” she said, “because they played at Arizona State, triple overtime. They could have come in here and tanked and said, ‘Oh, we’re tired.’ But they fought and they could have beat us. So I think for us there is nothing to lose. No one expects us to go to Oregon and win. No one expects us to go to Oregon State and win on their home court.”
Beyond being able to play loose, the Wildcats also know that Oregon is coming off a tough week. The Ducks traveled to three states over five days to play three games last week. They got an early start to the week by facing Colorado and Utah on the road, then continued east to stun UConn on Monday. Four days later, they will face the No. 12 Wildcats before taking on the No. 19 Arizona State Sun Devils.
As for that home court, junior wing Sam Thomas thinks there’s one Wildcat who will relish going into a packed Matthew Knight Arena to face the Oregon fans.
“The noise,” she said. “If they’re against us, Aari loves that. She thrives off of that. So, we’re excited for that and to see her out there.”
Arizona-Oregon game details:
Date: Friday, Feb. 7, 2020
Time: 7 p.m. MST
Location: Matthew Knight Arena, Eugene, Ore.
Rankings and ratings: Oregon is ranked No. 3 in both the AP poll and the USA Today/WBCA poll. Arizona is ranked No. 12 by both the media and the coaches.
Analytics site Her Hoop Stats rates the Ducks No. 1 and the Wildcats No. 13 overall. Oregon is rated the No. 1 offense and the No. 5 defense. The Wildcats are the No. 29 offense and the No. 7 defense.
The official RPI has Oregon at No. 1 and Arizona at No. 25.
Odds: Oregon -13.5
Which channel is Arizona-Oregon on?
The game will be aired on Pac-12 Oregon and the Pac-12 Network national feed. It will not be aired on Pac-12 Arizona.
How can I stream Arizona-Oregon?
The stream will be available on Pac-12.com, but only if you already subscribe to the Pac-12 Network.
How can I listen to the radio call of Arizona-Oregon?
The call by Derrick Palmer is available on the Arizona IMG Sports Network. On the radio, you can tune into KTUC 1400 AM. You can also listen via Tunein.com or the Tunein app on your mobile device.
How can I follow Arizona-Oregon?
You can follow us on Twitter @AZDesertSwarm. You can also follow our editor @RKelapire and our reporter @KimDoss71 for coverage of Arizona women’s basketball on game day and every other day of the week.