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Talkin’ Tall Firs: Another Huge Opportunity to Get Back on Track

Oregon has taken some hits lately but the Ducks have a chance to right the wrongs on Thursday night

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

The Ducks have been lacking lately, dropping two games in a row on the road (@ Stanford, @ Oregon State). Even with the recent disappointing performances, Oregon has a massive opportunity to make it all up with a home matchup against Colorado for a tie of 1st place in the PAC-12. The Ducks are looking for their first victory over the Buffaloes this season as they defeated Payton Pritchard and the rest of the crew back in Boulder in early January, 74-65.

N’Faly Dante will still be out for his fifth straight game after suffering a knee injury against Washington back in January but Francis Okoro will be back in the rotation. Okoro missed the game against rival Oregon State last week as he was attending his father’s funeral. His energy and size will be needed this time around to slow down Colorado’s Tyler Bey.

Dana Altman can’t let this opportunity pass him up. In the past, February has been an important month for the Ducks. Coach Altman wants his team playing their best ball in the later part of the season leading into the PAC-12 Tournament and into March Madness. That time is now.

#16 Colorado Buffaloes (19-5, 8-3)

Wins - Arizona State, San Diego, UC Irvine, Wyoming, Clemson, Sacramento State, Loyola Marymount, @ Colorado State, Prairie Valley, #13 Dayton, Iona, #4 Oregon, Utah, @ Arizona State, Washington State, Washington, @ USC, California, Stanford

Losses - @ #2 Kansas, Northern Iowa, Oregon State, @ Arizona, @ UCLA

KenPom Ranking - #21

Key Numbers:

  • 72.5 points per game
  • 37.2 rebounds per game
  • 13.9 assists per game
  • 3.1 blocks per game
  • 6.3 steals per game
  • 62.6 points allowed per game (27th in the nation)
  • 44.3 field goal percentage

Player to Watch For:

Tyler Bey, Junior - 13.6 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.7 SPG, 1.3 BPG, 52.4 FG%, 50.0 3PT%

The 6’7” forward has the physical tools to be successful at the next level. Last year, the biggest question for him was if he was able to extend his range and he has done just that. Bey is 12-24 on three-point shots so far this season and looks a lot more comfortable on the perimeter. His complete game is hard to not pay attention to.

Game Time:

#16 Colorado @ #17 Oregon - 9:00 PM ET, ESPN on Thursday, February 13th

Score Prediction:

76-71, Ducks over Buffaloes

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Utah Utes (14-9, 5-6)

Wins - Nevada, Mississippi Valley State, Minnesota, Ohio, UC Davis, BYU, Central Arkansas, Weber State, #6 Kentucky, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, Stanford, California

Losses - @ Coastal Carolina, Tulane, #20 San Diego State, #4 Oregon, @ #25 Colorado, @ Arizona, @ USC, @ UCLA

KenPom Ranking - #102

Key Numbers:

  • 72.4 points per game
  • 36.9 rebounds per game
  • 14.3 assists per game
  • 2.9 blocks per game
  • 5.5 steals per game
  • 69.4 points allowed per game
  • 44.9 field goal percentage

Player to Watch For:

Timmy Allen, Sophomore - 18.4 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.3 SPG

The future is bright for Utah as long as Allen is on the floor for the Utes. He has to be the most dangerous offensive weapon that Larry Krystkowiak has on his roster. He ranks as the 5th best in scoring in the PAC-12.

Game Time:

Utah @ #17 Oregon - 9:00 PM ET, FS1 on Sunday, February 16th

Score Prediction:

81-74, Ducks over Utes

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