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Talkin’ Tall Firs: First PAC-12 Homestand for the Ducks

#24 Arizona and Arizona State are coming into town

NCAA Basketball: Oregon at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The first conference homestand for #9 Oregon (12-3, 1-1) will consist of both schools from the desert coming to Eugene. The Ducks look to bounce back after a tough loss in Boulder. Both Arizona and Arizona State haven’t lived quite up to their preseason expectations so they’re hungry for a quality victory against a ranked opponent in Oregon.

#24 Arizona Wildcats (11-3, 1-0)

This is quite possibly one of the biggest games in PAC-12 play. The Wildcats started off the season on a 9 game-winning streak but have dropped 3 of their last 5 games. I got to see Arizona in action at the Al Attles Classic in San Francisco at the Chase Center where the Wildcats lost to Saint John’s, 70-67. I noticed that Arizona is lacking in depth within the backcourt. Nico Mannion and Josh Green can’t do everything by themselves. Max Hazzard needs to step up and start contributing to this team. The Wildcats have the personnel to make a run in March but someone from the bench has to make a major impact.

Wins - Northern Arizona, Illinois, San Jose State, New Mexico State, South Dakota State, Long Beach State, Pepperdine, Penn, Wake Forest, Omaha, Arizona State

Losses - @ #18 Baylor, #6 Gonzaga, Saint John’s

KenPom Ranking - #12

Key Numbers:

  • 83.1 points per game (9th in the nation)
  • 38.1 rebounds per game
  • 17.1 assists per game (18th in the nation)
  • 4.3 blocks per game
  • 7.1 steals per game
  • 64.0 points allowed per game
  • 49.1 field goal percentage

Player to Watch For:

Nico Mannion, Freshman - 14.3 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 6.3 APG, 1.1 SPG

The future NBA first round pick is a special ball-handler and can be an elite passer at the next level. He’s crafty on the offensive end, scoring in many different ways (off the dribble, from long range, step-back). You name the move, he can probably do it while scoring on you. Nico has gladly taken over the role as Sean Miller’s guy on this Wildcat team.

Game Time:

#24 Arizona @ #9 Oregon - 9:00 PM ET, ESPN on Thursday, January 9th

Score Prediction:

78-75, Ducks over Wildcats

Arizona State Sun Devils (9-5, 0-1)

Bobby Hurley’s squad has had many opportunities to get a signature win so far this season but have come up short in each one (expect for possibly Georgia depending on how they finish in the SEC). The Sun Devil’s main problem is they’re having a tough time spreading the ball around and finding different opportunities to score. Arizona State is one of the worst passing teams in the nation (ranked 396th in the NCAA in assists per game). They’re very predictable on offense.

Wins - Central Connecticut, Rider, Saint John’s, @ Princeton, @ San Francisco, Louisiana, Prairie Valley, Georgia, Texas Southern

Losses - Colorado, #7 Virginia, Saint Mary’s, Creighton, @ #25 Arizona

KenPom Ranking - #95

Key Numbers:

  • 72.9 points per game
  • 36.7 rebounds per game
  • 10.8 assists per game
  • 3.1 blocks per game
  • 8.6 steals per game
  • 68.1 points allowed per game
  • 42.5 field goal percentage

Player to Watch For:

Remy Martin, Sophomore - 18.1 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 3.9 APG, 2.1 SPG

Remy has been a consistent player that Hurley can rely on to be the leader on the floor each and every night. He leads the team in both points and assists. Martin isn’t afraid to drive to the rim even if he’s only a 6’0” guard. He can also stretch the floor with his perimeter shooting which makes him an offensive threat at all times.

Game Time:

Arizona State @ #9 Oregon - 10:30 PM ET, PAC-12 Network on Saturday, January 11th

Score Prediction:

81-74, Ducks over Sun Devils

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