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Ionescu’s Court: Can the Utes beat the Ducks?

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1st place in the PAC-12 is up for grabs!

High School Basketball: McDonald’s All-American Games Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Today, at 7 PM on the PAC-12 Network, the No. 14 Utah Utes will attempt to dethrone the reigning Queens of PAC-12 Basketball.

Can the Utes take down the Ducks? All rise! Ionescu’s court is in session.

SEASON THUS FAR

RECORD: 18-1, 7-1

BEST WINS: Stanford, California, Arizona

WORST LOSS: Arizona State

COMMON OPPONENTS: Long Beach State, Arizona State, Arizona, Washington State, Washington

LAST 5 GAMES:

  • W (1/11) Washington State, 72-68
  • W (1/13) Washington, 58-43
  • W (1/18) Colorado, 78-59
  • W (1/25) California, 87-74
  • W (1/27) Stanford, 75-68

SUMMARY:

The No. 14 Utah Utes are coming to Eugene for what could be the most important game in the PAC-12 this year. The Utes have a single loss on the season, a 65-63 game against ASU, and are coming off a huge win against then-No. 6 Stanford.

The win over the Cardinal was the Utes’ first top-15 win since 2006 and their 18-1 start is the best in school history. Despite their lone loss to the Sun Devils, a respectable loss as ASU has proven to be highly-competitive against elite opponents, Utah has the opportunity to take the lead in the PAC-12 race by earning a tie-breaking victory over the Ducks.

Oregon and Utah share five common opponents: Washington, Washington State, Arizona, Arizona State, and Long Beach State. Outside of Arizona State, which Oregon beat 77-71, both the Utes and the Ducks have defeated all their common opponents, usually in dominating fashion.

CONFERENCE COMPARISON*

  • UTES score 73.6 PPG
  • DUCKS allow 60.8
  • UTES shoot 49.3% from the floor
  • DUCKS allow 39.2%
  • UTES shoot 41.5% from three
  • DUCKS allow 31.1%
  • UTES average 35.3 rebounds
  • DUCKS allow 30.3 rebounds
  • UTES allow 62.8 PPG
  • DUCKS score 84.0
  • UTES allow 40.2% from the floor
  • DUCKS shoot 49.8%
  • UTES allow 28.3% from three
  • DUCKS shoot 43.1%
  • UTES allow 32.9 rebounds
  • DUCKS average 38.8
  • UTES average 17.4 assists/13.5 turnovers

(*all stats are from conference play)

PLAYERS TO WATCH FOR

Megan Huff

6’3, Forward, Senior

Utah’s best weapon is averaging 19.7 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. Huff transferred from Hawaii and has become the leader of Lynne Robert’s squad. Against Stanford, she scored a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds. If the Utes hope to upset the No. 4 Ducks, they’ll need a big game from their leader.

Dre’Una Edwards

6’2, Wing, Freshman

Another player that could cause some serious trouble for the Ducks is Dre’Una Edwards. Averaging 11.9 points per game, 7.3 rebounds, and .544% from the floor, Edwards has helped this team despite being a true freshman. In all but four games, she’s scored in the double digits and hopes to add to her total blocked shot (25) and steal (33) count at Matt Knight.



IONESCU’S VERDICT

This will be Oregon’s toughest challenge since Mississippi State came to town on December 18th. Utah has unprecedented momentum and are hungry for a program-defining win in Eugene. In many ways, these teams are identical: ranked in the top 25, run about eight deep, have elite talent. But what they don’t have, is a Sabrina Ionescu.

THREAT LEVEL

13 out of 16 triple-doubles

SCORE PREDICTION

Ducks 74 - Utes 68