Oregon is conveniently flying under-the-radar despite winning five consecutive games, including an impressive double-overtime victory at UCLA last week. Now, Oregon finishes the 2013-2014 regular season with back-to-back home games against Arizona State and Arizona, and the Ducks need to win both to solidify their position/seeding for the upcoming NCAA Tournament. The sense of urgency is not lost on Oregon. “It’s two tough games we’ve really got to get,” Oregon senior Mike Moser said. “We’re just trying to play with a sense of desperation.” “It’s a clean slate right now,” Oregon junior Joseph Young said. “This would be two big wins, and we’re taking it one game at a time. We need them; we want them, too. That’s our mindset, and that’s what we’re playing for.”
Oregon possesses one of the most prolific offenses in the nation as the Ducks are averaging 82.8 points per game on 46.7% shooting from the field and 38.4% from beyond the arc against teams that would combine to allow just 70.1 points per game. The better news for Oregon investors is the fact that the Ducks are 13-3 at home where they are averaging 85.6 points per game on 49.3% shooing from the field and 42.5% from three-point territory. Overall, Oregon is 12.7 points per game better than average offensively this season, which is certainly good enough to exploit a mediocre Arizona State defense that is 4.3 points per game better than average (67.7 points per game to teams that would combine to average 72.0 points per game).
The greater concern for head coach Herb Sendek’s squad is the fact that the Sun Devils are an entirely different team on the road where they are allowing 73.4 points per game, which is 5.7 points above their season average. Moreover, Arizona State has lost four of its last five road games, including recent blowouts at Utah (86-63) and Colorado (61-52). Overall, Oregon possesses a significant 8.4 points per game advantage on the offensive end of the floor tonight. Let’s also note that Oregon’s bench continues to be exceptionally productive this season as the Ducks are averaging 29.3 points per game from the reserves. By comparison, opponents are getting just 16.9 points per game off the bench.
While Oregon is 1.1 points per game worse than average defensively (74.2 points per game to teams that would combine to average 73.1 points per game), Oregon is second in the Pac-12 in turnover margin at +2.1 and has forced opponents into double-digit turnovers in 25 of 28 games this season. The Ducks also rank 21st in the nation with 8.1 steals per game, which is second-best in the league. I also like the fact that Oregon is limiting opponents to a mere 70.6 points over its last five games, including 28.4% shooting from beyond the arc.
Meanwhile, Arizona State arrives in town averaging 75.5 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 68.6 points per game, thereby making the Sun Devils 6.9 points per game better than average offensively. However, Arizona State’s offense is non-existent away from home this season where the Sun Devils are averaging just 71.2 points per game on 41.7% shooting from the field. It’s also important to note that Arizona State is averaging 67.6 points over its last five games so I expect the Ducks to have success on the defensive end of the floor tonight.
From a technical standpoint, Oregon is 11-1 ATS after covering four of its last five games and 19-9 ATS following a double-digit win, including 12-4 ATS off a win by fifteen or more points. The Ducks also stand at a profitable 12-3 ATS after covering the spread, including 9-2 ATS off two or more consecutive ATS wins. Oregon also possesses an advantage on the sidelines as head coach Dana Altman is 503-288 (.636) at the Division I level, including going 93-45 (.674) at Oregon. Finally, in what could be a competitive game, Oregon leads the Pac-12 and is third nationally in free throw shooting at 77.5%. In contrast, Arizona is shooting just 69.0% from the charity stripe, including 67.6% on the road and 67.0% over its last five games. Lay the points with Oregon and invest with confidence.