As is typical when it comes to a game between the Arizona Wildcats and Oregon Ducks, Saturday afternoon presents an opportunity to see strength versus strength. Arizona is the superior defensive team. Oregon is the superior offensive team. Whose strength will lead to victory?
The Wildcats go into the game ranked No. 28 on offense by Her Hoop Stats. Their opponent is ranked No. 12. The numbers flip when considering defense with the stats service ranking Arizona eighth and Oregon No. 23.
When controlling for pace, Arizona scores 102.2 points per 100 possessions, placing it 32nd in Division I women’s basketball. Opponents are putting up 75.1 points per 100 possessions, ranking tenth in the country.
Oregon outscores Arizona slightly per 100 possessions with 105.2 points. That’s 14th in DI. The Ducks allow their opponents to score almost 10 more points than the Wildcats do, though, giving up 84.8 points per 100 possessions. That puts them at No. 87 on defense.
The Ducks were selected to finish second in the Pac-12 but haven’t had the early-season success many expected. A large part of that was playing a tough schedule while missing key players, so the computers still love them.
Both the NET and Her Hoop Stats’ rankings have Oregon in the top 20 despite a 7-5 record against Division I foes. (Oregon states its record as 8-5 because it also played NAIA Carroll College, but that game is not considered in official NCAA stats.) That is by far the worst record of any team in the top 20 of either ranking system.
The Ducks are mostly back to full strength. Te-Hina Paopao, Endyia Rogers, and Nyara Sabally have been out for various lengths during the nonconference season, but they were all back for the opening of Pac-12 play against Stanford and California. However, 6-foot-7 forward Sedona Prince was out for those games. Which group of players step on the floor against Arizona is open to question.
The Wildcats will be the Ducks’ only Pac-12 foe this weekend after Arizona State had to postpone its games for a second straight week. That doesn’t mean that Oregon had all week to focus solely on Arizona, though. The Ducks will host No. 10 Connecticut on Monday.
The narrative has been that Arizona is getting everyone’s best shot now that they are a regular fixture in the Top 10. Will that be the case with Oregon, or will the Ducks be looking forward to their big game on national TV in two days?
No. 7 Arizona (12-1, 2-1) vs Oregon (7-5, 1-1)
When and where: The game will tip off at 3:30 p.m. MST on Saturday, Jan. 15 at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore.
TV: The game is scheduled to air on Pac-12 Arizona and Pac-12 Oregon.
In-game stats: Stats are available at Arizona Live Stats.
Oregon is not ranked in either national poll. The Ducks are No. 16 in the NET and No. 13 according to Her Hoops Stats.
Projections: For the first time this season, Her Hoop Stats does not project Arizona to emerge the winner. Oregon has a 58.9 percent win probability because the game is being played in Eugene. The stats service projects that Arizona would win if the game was played in McKale Center (67.6 percent) or on a neutral court (54.6 percent).
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