After a long holiday layoff, the red-hot Ducks of Oregon are back at it tonight, hosting the Cal Golden Bears at Matthew Knight Arena. Since their season-opening loss, the Ducks are on a tear, having won their last six games. Meanwhile, Cal is also on a roll, having won their previous three contests, bringing their record to 5-4 thus far. This matchup kicks off the Ducks’ January Gauntlet, and is a matchup they shouldn’t overlook if they want to maintain the excellent form we’ve seen from them thus far.
California Golden Bears
Head Coach: Mark Fox
2019-20 Record: 14-18 (7-11 Pac-12)
Key Players: Matt Bradley, Makale Foreman, Ryan Betley
The Golden Bears got some good news yesterday when Head Coach Mark Fox said he’s expecting leading scorer Matt Bradley to suit up for tonight’s contest with the Ducks after missing the past two games with an ankle injury suffered in Cal’s win over USF on Dec. 13th. Bradley’s return should inject some much-needed juice into the Bear’s lineup, and his return couldn’t have come at a better time. The Ducks are currently ranked 21st in the AP poll and 17th in the Coaches poll and will be one of the stiffest test’s the Bears have faced thus far.
Unfortunately Cal will still be without Grant Anticevich, who continues to recover from an appendectomy on Dec. 17th. The senior is a big loss for the Bears, the Aussie is one of their leading scorers and rebounders and his presence would have helped against the Ducks frontcourt now that N’Faly Dante is out after tearing his ACL against USF.
Oregon is coming off their biggest win of the season, an 80-41 annihilation of Portland, in which they held the Pilots to just 21% shooting from the floor. Despite the loss of Dante and the absence of Will Richardson, the Ducks have continued to play very well. Their size and strength across the roster makes them a difficult matchup for opposing teams, 4 of the 5 starters against Portland were standing at least 6’6. The trio of Chris Duarte, Eugene Omoruyi and LJ Figueroa continue to impress, they combined for 46 of the Ducks 80 points against the Pilots. Oregon has won 9 of their last 10 against Cal, but on the flipside, Cal’s 4-4 record at MKA is the best of any Pac-12 foe, meaning Oregon should be prepared for a tough battle from start to finish. I’m saying Ducks beat the Bears 72-67.