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Talkin’ Tall Firs: The Battle in Ann Arbor

#10 Oregon takes on #5 Michigan this Saturday, December 14th

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon could’ve had the chance to face off against Michigan in the Battle 4 Atlantis Championship (if the Ducks had beaten the Zags in the semifinals) but it just didn’t work out that way. It will be a tougher battle in a hostile Ann Arbor environment compared to a crowd of vacationing basketball fans in the Bahamas. The major question for the Ducks is if you can slow down the big man for the Wolverines, Jon Teske.

Michigan Wolverines (8-2, overall, 5-0 in home games)

A team that was unranked only two weeks ago has now taken the nation by storm due to their recent success in the Bahamas. The Wolverines did lose their second game of the season earlier this week in Champaign. To be fair, the BIG-10 is by far the most competitive conference in all of college basketball so they were bound to lose a few league games.

Wins - Appalachian State, Creighton, Elon, Holy Baptist, Iowa State*, #6 North Carolina*, #8 Gonzaga*

Losses - @ #1 Louisville, @ Illinois

*Battle 4 Atlantis

KenPom Ranking - #17

Key Numbers:

  • 78.5 points per game
  • 36.3 rebounds per game
  • 16.1 assists per game
  • 5.2 blocks per game
  • 5.4 steals per game
  • 68.2 points allowed per game
  • 49.5 field goal percentage

Player to Watch For:

Jon Teske, Senior - 14.3 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 2.3 BPG, 1.4 SPG, 54.8 FG%

A quick release from his mid-range jumper is what makes this 7-footer stand out from any others around the nation. He is more of a defensive-minded center and protects the rim very well but can step out to shooting range when need be.

Game Time:

#10 Oregon @ #5 Michigan - 12:00 PM ET on Saturday, December 14th

Score Prediction: 77-74, Ducks over Wolverines

These teams are very even in almost every stat category. I’m calling the upset just based on the fact that both of the losses the Ducks have had this season have been extremely close and Oregon is due for a win in the closing possessions of a game.

Similar to how Kofi Cockburn of Illinois did on Wednesday night, Francis Okoro will have a big offensive night and be the solution to stopping Jon Teske on the other end of the floor. Keep any eye on that battle down-low.

*Arden Cravalho is a Gonzaga University graduate from the Bay Area... Follow him on Twitter @a_cravalho