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Pac-12 Tournament Final: #6 Oregon vs. #1 Washington Open Thread

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It all comes down to this...

NCAA Basketball: Pac-12 Conference Tournament-Arizona State vs Oregon Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The Essentials

Date: Saturday, 3/16/19

Tip-Off Time: 7:30 pm PT

TV: ESPN

Streaming: Espn.com/watch

Radio: KOMO 1000 AM/97.7 FM and TuneIn

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Betting Line: Washington +1.5

Oregon 2018-19 Statistics

Record: 22-12 (10-8)

Points For per Game: 70.6 (215th)

Points Against per Game: 63.4 (15th)

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 107.3 (117th)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 93.1 (18th)

Strength of Schedule: +3.94 (74th)

Oregon Key Players

F- Kenny Wooten, So. 6’9, 235: 6.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.9 bpg, 58.3% FG, 68.3% FT

Wooten has been good this year but his stats are down almost across the board except for his free throw shooting which is way up. His shot blocking is still absolutely elite but his offensive game is almost entirely wide open dunks and putbacks. Wooten had just a combined 8 points and 2 blocks against Washington this year but he still clearly deters the Dawgs from attempting shots at the rim and alters others.

F- Paul White, Sr. 6’9, 230: 10.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.4 apg, 44.4% FG, 37.7% 3pt, 73.3% FT

White’s a player that has the ability to give Washington some serious matchup problems with his outside shooting at 6’9. He’s making almost 42% of 3-pt attempts in conference play while also contributing on the offensive glass. He was hobbled with an injury during the first meeting and only managed 5 points and 1 rebound but killed UW last weekend making a 10-footer.

F- Louis King, Fr. 6’9, 205: 12.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.4 apg, 42.5% FG, 34.8% 3pt, 75% FT

King was a 5-star player entering this season but missed the first 7 games due to injury and then struggled to integrate. He picked things up in a major way in conference play though averaging 15 points and 6 rebounds on 48% shooting from the field. He is shooting 42% on 3’s from the right side of the court or straight away and just 26% from the left side of the court so the Huskies have to track him when he’s on the right wing or corner.

G- Victor Bailey, So. 6’4, 190: 7.9 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.0 apg, 41.3% FG, 40% 3pt, 91.1% FT

Bailey is one of the best shooters in the conference and is on a particular hot streak shooting a very nice 11 of 16 (69%) from deep over the past 4 games. He’s not a great passer or finisher at the rim but the Huskies will have to mark his every move on the perimeter.

G- Payton Pritchard, Jr. 6’2, 195: 12.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 4.4 apg, 41.4% FG, 32.8% 3pt, 83.7% FT

The injury to Bol Bol obviously took the wind out of Oregon’s sails but Pritchard’s play this season has to be #2 on Duck fans’ list of biggest disappointments. Last season in conference play he had a 27/12.5 Assist rate to Turnover rate and shot 39.4% from 3-pt range. This year it’s 22.5/15.7 and shooting just 31.6% from beyond the arc. Oregon is 2-6 in games when he has an offensive rating below 100 and 11-3 when it’s above 110. If he has an inefficient game it makes it much harder for the Ducks to win.

Oregon Shot Chart

The Ducks don’t take a ton of midrange shots but they’ve been very efficient when they do. With multiple 6’9 shooters on the roster the Ducks are very well equipped to give the Huskies problem in the high post against the zone.

Synergy Sports

Oregon Shot Chart vs. Washington Huskies in 2019

If Oregon gets the ball all the way to the rim there hasn’t been much the Huskies have been able to do in order to stop the Ducks’ athletic bigs. When Oregon settles for wing 3’s over Matisse Thybulle or Naz Carter then the Dawgs have kept them inefficient.

Synergy Sports

The Outlook

Well this is familiar. Just one week ago the Huskies were playing in a game against Oregon that started in the 7 o’clock hour on ESPN. And here we are again.

The circumstances of this one are markedly different. Last week was senior night for the Huskies and it became evident that they didn’t handle the emotion of the evening well. This time they’ll be playing in Las Vegas for a crowd that will likely be tilted towards Oregon but will be much closer to 50/50 than any they’ve played in this season.

None of the basketball reasons which make this a terrible matchup for Washington have changed since Saturday. If you had to pick one glaring weakness for this UW team it would be their lack of reliable ball handling and decision making. The Huskies have shown no indication that they’re capable of reliably besting Oregon’s full court press. Every single time it feels like an adventure and when they do get past it they haven’t been in a position to punish the formation with a quick basket. Twice in the first game the Huskies hit an over the top pass leading to a dunk. If they could somehow regain that ability in this one it would go a long way to making Oregon hesitant to commit so fully. And Coach Hopkins absolutely has to take Hameir Wright off press break duty.

Everything ultimately comes down to how well the Washington offense is able to function against Oregon’s defense. A made basket means Washington’s defense sets in the half court and the Ducks have had just as much trouble scoring against a set UW defense as UW has against Oregon. An Oregon miss means no press and no press means likely no quick turnover for an uncontested layup. It’s all cyclical and if the Huskies can find consistent offensive success then it sets them up well. That’s easier said than done though.

Last Saturday Oregon rolled out a starting lineup with 4 players at 6’9 in a zone that towered over Washington and prevented any kind of penetration. The Huskies settled for 3-point jumpers and didn’t make nearly enough to keep themselves in the game (obviously when they scored just 8 points in the first 15 minutes). The pressure is on Jaylen Nowell and David Crisp to both successfully break the press and penetrate in the half court without getting their pockets picked. Washington will also need better performances from Noah Dickerson and at the free throw line than they’ve seen the last 2 days. Noah is 3/11 from the field in Vegas and the team is a combined 24 of 42 from the free throw line (57%). Those numbers won’t cut it tonight.

The basketball circumstances favor Oregon. The area where Washington likely has the edge is in their conditioning. This will be Oregon’s 4th game in 4 days and last night’s contest ended 3 hours later and went into overtime. That’s an extra 45 minutes of game play over the last 80 hours. Maybe that results in tired legs and missed Oregon jumpers in the 2nd half and maybe it doesn’t. Both teams are a little banged up. Kenny Wooten and Louis King both appeared to suffer injuries in last night’s game but kept playing while David Crisp was seen icing his knee on the sideline for Washington. If Oregon’s tired legs lead to them going 3 of 19 from 3-point range it gives UW a much better chance.

But the stakes are clear in this one as well. Oregon is playing for a berth in the NCAA tournament. A loss drops them to the NIT for the 2nd straight year. You can be sure that the Ducks will be plenty motivated. Washington certainly has motivation of their own both to avenge a home loss on senior night in which they got punked for the first 15 minutes as well as to improve their seeding in the NCAA tournament. A win possibly pushes them out of the dreaded 8/9 game and up to a 7 seed.

This game likely comes down to intangibles. But since I don’t know which way those are going to tilt I’m going to make my pick solely on basketball reasons. And those don’t appear to go in UW’s favor. I very much hope I’m wrong.

Prediction

Washington Huskies- 56, Oregon Ducks- 62

EDIT 7:18pm- Oregon’s Louis King is a game-time decision after rolling his ankle against ASU last night. If he isn’t 100% it would be a big boost for Washington.

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