No. 23 Oregon Ducks (17-4, 6-2) at Arizona State Sun Devils (12-9, 2-6)
5:35 PM PT - Wells Fargo Arena - Tempe, Ariz.
On Thursday night, the Oregon Ducks marched into the McKale Center and became the first team in almost three years to defeat Arizona at home. The Wildcats had won 49 straight home games entering Thursday's matchup with Oregon, the longest streak in the country.
Tonight, the Ducks will look to continue their winning ways as they face the Arizona State Sun Devils. It's been a shaky start to 2016 for the Sun Devils, who currently have a 2-6 record in the conference. However, Arizona State is coming off of an 86-68 win over Oregon State on Thursday, which snapped a three-game losing streak for the Sun Devils.
Dillon Brooks continues to shine for the Ducks this season. On Thursday night, Brooks was the MVP of the night, leading the way with 24 points. Brooks wasn't afraid of Arizona's size in the paint and drove the ball to the rim all night, playing with an aggressive style that Bill Walton was loving. Brooks has now scored in double figures in 15 of his last 16 games, and has scored 20 or more points in four of his last five games.
The Ducks have quietly been making some noise as a postseason contender, but Thursday's win over Arizona put the whole country on alert about Oregon. The Ducks lead the nation with nine wins against teams in the ESPN RPI Top 50. Virginia is second in the nation with seven wins.
With the win over Arizona, the Ducks ensured they would finish the year with a winning record for the sixth straight season. The last time that occurred was between 1973-1978. Dana Altman also locked up his 19th straight winning season. Altman is one of just six active coaches who have such winning streaks.
Last year against Arizona State, the Ducks came out on top both times. On January 10, the Ducks beat the Sun Devils 59-56 in Eugene, Then, almost one year ago to the day, Oregon defeated Arizona State on the road in thrilling fashion, winning 68-67 in overtime.
ARIZONA STATE NOTES
Probable Starters N/A
Arizona State is looking to win two consecutive games for the first time since beating Stephen F. Austin and Cal State Bakersfield last month. The Sun Devils are just 2-6 so far in Pac-12 play, but if they can turn it around in the second half, they can make some ground on improving their seed before the conference tournament.
Since 2001, Arizona State is 10-5 against Oregon while playing at home. Their last win against Oregon came on February 8, 2014 when they defeated the Ducks 74-72. Don't be fooled by their record. Tempe is a tough place to play, with Arizona State going 56-11 at home over the past four seasons.
Arizona State and Oregon always seem to play games that go down to the wire. The last five matchups have been decided by an average of just 3.2 points. The most "lopsided" of those results was when Oregon won 85-78 in 2014.
Oregon will need to focus tonight on shutting down sophomore guard Tra Holder. In his past 12 games, Holder is averaging 17.8 points per game with a .433 shooting percentage from beyond the arc. He's been a huge reason the Sun Devils are averaging 76.2 points per game, their highest mark since the 2002-03 season when they averaged 77.0 points per game.