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
- 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.
#16 Colorado @ #17 Oregon - 9:00 PM ET, ESPN on Thursday, February 13th
76-71, Ducks over Buffaloes
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
- 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.
Utah @ #17 Oregon - 9:00 PM ET, FS1 on Sunday, February 16th
81-74, Ducks over Utes
*Arden Cravalho is a Gonzaga University graduate from the Bay Area... Follow him on Twitter @a_cravalho