Oregon Preview

Maybe the most impactful game on the Pac-12 slate this weekend, the Arizona State Sun Devils (17-6, 6-4) will play host to the Oregon Ducks (15-7, 3-7) on Saturday afternoon that could launch ASU into third place in the Pac-12 all by themselves while ultimately popping

Oregon's bubble if the Ducks lose another game. After a 13-0 start the season and a brief visit into the top-10 rankings, Oregon's season has fallen flat since Pac-12 play opened up with seven losses in their last nine games with their only three Pac-12 wins coming against their fellow cellar dwellers. All this coming on the heels of an undefeated non-conference slate that included wins over Georgetown, Illinois and BYU. In their most recent loss, the Ducks fell at Arizona, losing 67-65, in a solid back-and-forth battle that saw Oregon squander their late with late turnovers and missed free throws. Joseph Young and Jason Calliste put up 14 each while Damyean Dotson poured in 12 of his own.

Why hold on to your sizable second half lead and win in regulation when you can stress yourself out and let the opponent back in the game and then pull away for good in overtime? Like they did just a week before against Cal, ASU had many chances to finish the job in the second half but Roberto Nelson led the Beavers back to force overtime before Jon Gilling and Jermaine Marshall knocked down huge buckets in the extra period to nail down the 86-82 victory. Marshall finished with 25 points and Jahii Carson had 23 points and six assists but the star of the night was Jordan Bachynski, who finished with 17 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocks, the last of which put him on top of the Pac-12 blocks list.

There is currently a four-way tie for third place in the Pac-12 and every win is vital at this point of the season. Oregon is in desperation mode and cannot fall to 3-8 in Pac-12 play with seven more games on top of that while Arizona State doesn't want to halt their momentum right before Arizona comes to town in the biggest game of the season. Something will have to give.

Head Coach:

Dana Altman: 4th season at Oregon – 85-40; 496-284 career

Herb Sendek: 8th season at ASU – 136-113; 390-271 career

Projected Starters:

G – Dominic Artis (5.6 PPG, 2.5 APG) vs. Jahii Carson (19.3 PPG, 4.7 APG)

G – Joseph Young (17.9 PPG, 39% 3PT) vs. Jermaine Marshall (15.8 PPG, 46% 3PT)

F – Damyean Dotson (10.5 PPG, 32% 3PT) vs. Shaq McKissic (8.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG)

F – Mike Moser (12.5 PPG, 7.4 RPG) vs. Eric Jacobsen (2.6 PPG, 2.3 RPG)

F – Ben Carter (2.8 PPG, 3.2 RPG) vs. Jordan Bachynski (11.6 PPG, 4.3 BPG)

Why Oregon Can Win:

Yes, the Ducks have seven Pac-12 losses already but six of those seven losses have been by less than 10 points including three two-point losses and another four-point loss. Their seven losses have been by a combined 40 points whereas ASU's six losses have been by a combined 97 points. Point is, this a better team their record indicates. The nation's seventh highest scoring team and eight guys averaging at least 17 minutes per game and all eight of those players are putting up six points or more per game. Very deep squad and everyone is capable of producing. Oregon is due for one of those nights where everything finally comes together at once and they aren't far off. If ASU starts slowly out of the gates or cannot keep up with the Ducks transition offense, Oregon can get a huge win.

Why ASU Can Win:

Oregon has lost seven of their last nine because their defense has been less than stellar. With ASU playing well and Jahii Carson starting to get back to his high-scoring ways, the Sun Devil offense is potent enough to win in a shootout and the interior defense is stout enough to give ASU a balanced attack and pull away. Another thing that would ASU come out victorious – Cold Jon Gilling has replaced Hot Jon Gilling in recent weeks and that has been a welcome change – Sendek and Co. are hopeful that the Danish junior's big three in overtime will propel him back to Hot Jon Gilling status.

Key Stat: 279 Blocks! After missing his senior year of high school due to injury and stunting his development by two years because of his Mission, Jordan Bachynski was a seldom-used center for his first couple years in Tempe but his growth in the last two seasons has been simply astounding. The Pac-12's new all-time leader in blocks has a real shot at an NBA career and his improvement is a testament to his relentless work ethic.

X-Factor: 13 points; if the ASU students stay quiet until the team scores their 13th point, the Devils will need to get off to a hotter start than they have in the two games since this bizarre tradition began. ASU didn't get to 13 until just after 11 minutes of play and that will not cut it against the high-scoring Ducks.

Final Score: ASU 78 Oregon 73

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