The Ducks will see if they can take their show on the road as they travel to play the Colorado Buffaloes and the Utah Utes. The Civil War series proved to be a dramatic one, so either of these two seemingly inferior programs could potentially set the trap for the high flying Ducks. Let's take a look at what they've accomplished so far in the Conference of Champions:
Colorado Buffaloes (11-8, 2-6)
9th in PAC-12
The Buffaloes Pac -12 record of 2-6 is actually worse than it appears. Their only two conference wins are against the Washington Huskies (7-12, 1-7) and the Arizona Wildcats (5-14, 1-7) - literally the bottom of the PAC. After their 73-59 loss to the Sun Devils, the Buffs return home to the Coors Event Center where they hold a 7-4 record for the season. The Ducks could blow the Buffs out of the water early if they perform to their typically terrific standard of play, as the Buffs' dead-last scoring defense against PAC-12 teams (75.8) will most likely struggle against the Ducks' conference-leading offense (76.6). Also,the Ducks should get plenty of shooting opportunities as the Buffs hold the worse turnover ratio in the PAC-12 (101 Ast - 135 T/O).
Junior Guards Kennedy Leonard (14.3 PPG) and Alexis Robinson (11.4 PPG) have lead the team in scoring while Freshman Forward Annika Jank has been a big presence on the boards (7.5 RPG).
Utah Utes (14-5, 5-3)
4th in PAC-12
The Utah Utes appear to be the better team out of the two Mountain Schools, coming off impressive wins over No. 25 Arizona State (14-6, 5-3) and Arizona, even their conference losses are more impressive than their rivals (No. 13 UCLA, No.25 ASU and USC.) The Utes have dominated the boards- leading the conference in rebounding margin, rebounding offense, and defensive rebounds.
They have also scored an impressive 73 points per conference game (3rd in PAC-12) while limiting their opponents' field goal percentage to 38% (2nd in PAC-12), though it is unlikely that Oregon's Ruthy Hebard and Sabrina Ionescu will be held to such a low percentage as they have proven to be one of the best duos in the country. The Utes have a very solid player in 6'3 Forward Megan Huff, who leads her team in rebounds (8.3) and points per game (13.7).
A loss to either team would be much appreciated by UCLA and Stanford who are a mere one game away from catching up to the Ducks. Both games will be shown on the dreaded PAC-12 Network, first against the Buffs on Friday (1/26) at 7pm then against the Utes on Sunday (1/28) at 11AM.