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Oregon Ducks Game Preview & How to Watch

Washington returns home after a disappointing Mountain road trip looking for their first Pac-12 win

Oregon v Washington Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

How to Watch (and bet)

Date: Thursday, 1/4/23

Tip-Off Time: 6:00 pm PT

TV: Pac-12 Networks

Streaming: Pac-12.com/live

Radio: Huskies Gameday App, Sports Radio KJR

Location: Seattle, Washington

Betting Line: Washington Huskies -4

Oregon Ducks 2023-24 Statistics:

Record: 10-3 (2-0)

Points For per Game: 78.1 ppg (66th)

Points Against per Game: 70.2 ppg (126th)

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 111.9 (56th)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 98.3 (62nd)

Strength of Schedule: 112th

Oregon Key Players:

G- Jackson Shelstad, Fr. 6’0, 170: 14.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 2.9 apg, 49.0% FG, 41.5% 3pt, 81.3% FT

If you are some kind of sicko that misses getting to play against Payton Pritchard then you’re in luck because model 2.0 is here. Shelstad missed the first few games of the season with an injury but has come in as a high 4-star freshman and is now leading Oregon in points and assists per game. He’s not an elite passer but averaged 20.5 points on 60% 3-pt shooting in Oregon’s sweep of the L.A schools last week.

G- Brennan Rigsby, Jr. 6’3, 180: 8.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.2 apg, 47.5% FG, 41.5% 3pt, 68.8% FT

If you look at Rigsby and think he must not be very athletic then you’re carrying some biases with you because he can go up and score at the basket with flash. He prefers to shoot it from outside and is vastly improved in that regard in his 2nd year with Oregon. He doesn’t add a ton else but takes care of the ball and can score efficiently which is definitely worth a lot.

G- Jadrian Tracey, Jr. 6’5, 190: 7.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.5 apg, 39.5% FG, 38.9% 3pt, 78.3% FT

Dana Altman has added about one JUCO player per year in recent seasons and the latest add is Tracey who put up 14 pts and 6 reb per game on 43% 3-pt shooting there last year after starting his career at St. Joseph’s. The long range shooting has carried over and Tracey has been a menace on defense with 4 multi-steal games already.

G- Jermaine Cousinard, Sr. 6’4, 210: 13.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.6 apg, 44.3% FG, 32.1% 3pt, 66.1% FT

After coming in from South Carolina last year Cousinard was second on the team in points and is in that same spot this year. He’s pretty much a known quantity but has maxed out as a solid piece: Gets a lot of steals, shoots just well enough from outside to keep defenses honest, isn’t a point guard but protects the ball, and gets to the line at a decent rate. Add it all up and he’s a good but not great player who is playing a little out of position as a psuedo-power forward given Oregon’s big man injuries.

F- Kwame Evans, Fr. 6’9, 200: 9.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.4 bpg, 46.4% FG, 27.2% 3pt, 82.5% FT

Evans has come in and played more than expected as a highly rated true freshman. His biggest impact has been on the defensive end where he’s putting up Tari Eason levels of blocks and steals. The offense is a little more of a work in progress where he’s still inconsistent as a shooter and had 6 turnovers against UCLA but he looks to be a really nice piece for the Ducks.

The Outlook

Oregon under Dana Altman has been ravaged by injuries in recent years and that has continued again this season. N’Faly Dante when healthy is the best center in the conference but got hurt in the season opener (in which he put up 16 pts and 21 reb) and hasn’t returned yet. His backup Nate Bittle was averaging 13 pts and 6 reb per game before getting hurt himself. Meanwhile, 5-star freshman Mookie Cook has yet to appear this season due to injury.

It sounds like Cook will make his college debut tonight against the Huskies but Oregon should be without Dante/Bittle still which helps Washington’s chances. Of course UW is dealing with injuries of their own as star freshman Wesley Yates is still yet to play and starting center (and former teammate with Dante/Bittle) is out for an unknown amount of time.

This is certainly a different looking team without Dante and Bittle. Oregon hoped to have a twin towers set up similar to Utah with Lawson Lovering and Branden Carlson. Instead they are one of the smallest teams in the country largely playing a 4-guard lineup. The Ducks currently only have two players taller than 6’7 as a part of the rotation in freshman Kwame Evans and Stetson transfer Mahamadou Diawara. It’s not a surprise that the highly rated freshman Evans has taken control and is an absolute defensive dynamo in line for Pac-12 DPoY consideration. Diawara is a good rebounder but there’s a big step back in rim protection and floor spacing when he plays.

The overall effect has been a solid but not spectacular offense. The Ducks rank about 100th nationally in shooting from both 2-pt and 3-pt range and are bad at the free throw line with a lot of 60-65% shooters. There isn’t much that they do super well or super poorly other than taking care of the ball. But having no glaring negatives is worth something when paired with good but not great efficiency.

The same is largely true on the defensive end. The defense is great at picking up steals and turning that into transition offense but opponents have been able to score against the Ducks at a decent clip whenever they get a shot up.

A road win over the Huskies would probably be Oregon’s best victory of the season if it were to happen. They have home wins over Michigan (in OT), USC, and UCLA who are all big names but all rank much worse than you’d expect by the advanced metrics. Maybe the addition of Cook will prove to take them to another level but this is a game that Washington should still have a good shot to win with a home crowd behind them even without Kepnang.

Washington has been better with Wilhelm Breidenbach playing over Braxton Meah and the lack of a pair of 7-footers for Oregon should mean that the Huskies feel more comfortable playing a little smaller to improve their offensive spacing. The only player on Oregon who looks to have any chance at defending Keion Brooks Jr. one-on-one is Cook playing in his first career college game. I’ll pick the Dawgs to get right in a big game from Brooks that still will come down to the wire where UW wins the game at the free throw line.

Prediction

My record this year: 11-2 Straight Up, 3-9-1 Against the Spread

Washington Huskies- 76, Oregon Ducks- 74