Oregon Ducks (18-10, 10-6 Pac-12) Visit The Utah Utes (17-9, 8-6 Pac-12)
When: 2/26/22 12:00 pm
Where: Jon M. Huntsman Center, Salt Lake City
Watch : Pac-12 Network (Oregon)
Utah hosts the Ducks today in a game that the Ducks must win in order to secure a first round bye in the Pac-12 tournament later this week.
Oregon really needs this win - they have been playing a lot more basketball than normal to close this season and will need the rest that a first round bye will offer. If they have to play from the first round on, it appears that their chance of making the final is dubious, at best. Even with the bye, it looks to be a long shot to be in the finals against Stanford (we all know Stanford will be there).
But this is the Ducks, and anything can and does happen come tournament time.
Before we go putting the cart in front of the horse, Oregon has business to take care of today. They last met Utah on January 26th, in a close home game. As has been their pattern, the Ducks played an uninspired 2nd quarter to give Utah a one-point lead going into the half. They came out smoking in the 3rd and held on in the fourth to take that game, 70-66.
Oregon can’t afford the slow start that cost them the game on Wednesday against Colorado. They will have to play with purpose today and play solid defense all game. In Eugene, the Utes showed that they can put down the three ball, scoring 35% to Oregon’s 21%. That likely won’t translate to a win today, so the Ducks must effectively disrupt those shots beyond the arc. Oregon scored better in the paint and off turnovers in that game, and the Ducks will need to break free of the turnover bug this game.
Utah will be lead by Kennady McQueen and Gianna Kneepkens. Oregon needs to keep the pressure on them and not allow them to take over this game.
Regardless, look for a closely contested game today. The Ducks are looking to end their season on a positive note, and to do that they’ll have to play today like they need the win.