Artis is an interesting case because he runs the team fine, but struggles when he tries to score too much. He shoots 10 shots a game and is only hitting at a 37 percent clip along while being a 28 percent shooter from behind the arc. Like any freshman, Artis can get carried away and turn the ball over too much, so Lyons will likely look to take advantage of that. Being at home should help Oregon's freshman point guard, but Lyons has done well on the road this year and his experience should play a factor.
SG: Nick Johnson (6-3, 200, So.) vs. Damyean Dotson (6-5, 202, Fr.)
Dotson has been one of the biggest surprises in the country when it comes to freshmen. He is shooting 50 percent from the field for 12 points per game and is one of the biggest reasons why Oregon will likely compete for a Pac-12 title. As far as Johnson goes, his shooting has become a legitimate concern. His defense is just fine and is easily the strength of his game right now, but it is difficult to give him an advantage when his shooting leaves a lot to be desired. In reality, we would be surprised if either player here had a big advantage on Thursday with how they are used.
SF: Solomon Hill (6-7, 220, Sr.) vs. E.J. Singler (6-6, 215, Sr.)
This is probably Singler's best season at Oregon, but he is still struggling to shoot the ball well. It is hard to imagine Arizona winning if Singler players well and Hill does not, but that scenario seems unlikely.
Hill needs to be aggressive to the basket because Singler is going to have difficulty guarding him. He is a better player in nearly every facet of the game, but it is now a matter of playing like it.
PF: Brandon Ashley (6-8, 235, Fr.) vs. Arsalan Kazemi (6-7, 226, Sr.)
Figuring Ashley gets the start, he is going to have to defend or Miller likely will not have a lot of patience at this position. Kazemi was injured against Nevada and struggled a bit against Oregon State because of that, but he may be Oregon's best player, averaging eight points and ten rebounds per game while shooting 58 percent from the field.
In reality, this has been Arizona's toughest position to defend this season. It would not be a surprise to see Hill wind up at the four because he is probably the best answer here defensively due to his size and strength. Ideally though, Arizona would like to see Ashley or Grant Jerrett play well enough defensively so Arizona does not have to.
C: Kaleb Tarczewski (7-0, 255, Fr.) vs. Tony Woods (6-11, 243, Sr.)
The numbers may seem similar and Woods should be a better rebounder, but there is something to say for the home court advantage. Woods has scored in double digits in five of his last six games and has only shot less than 50 percent once in his last nine games. The main issue with Woods is his endurance, but he should still see around 25 minutes or so and his experience and scoring ability gives him the advantage here. It would not surprise us to see Tarczewski come close to matching him, but it makes sense to go with Woods.
Bench: All of a sudden, Arizona does not seem like a deep team. Sure, it has players like Jordin Mayes, Angelo Chol, and Grant Jerrett, but there is a difference between being able to play eight guys and having eight guys that can actually contribute at a high level. Jerrett deserves credit for what he has been able to do this season, but there is still the inconsistency with being a freshman.
The difference here is that Jerrett is the best post option off the bench for either team and Kevin Parrom is likely better than Carlos Emory. However, Emory does have the ability to get going offensively and will definitely be a player Arizona needs to keep close track of. We are going to give Arizona the advantage here, but it definitely is not by much.
Coaching: Sean Miller vs. Dana Altman
We understand that Altman has had success against Miller, but you also need to keep in mind what happens when the regular season ends. Altman has never been to a Sweet 16 and college basketball is all about how far you can go in the tournament. While we don't think this game will come down to coaching, it makes sense to give Miller the advantage here due to his postseason accomplishments.
Prediction: This is not an easy game to pick for numerous reasons. Arizona has beaten better teams than Oregon this season and the Ducks have lost to worse teams than Arizona. The Wildcats' offense has been struggling and it will not be able to do that on the road against an Oregon squad that averages 77 points per game and is strong on the glass as well. With Arizona's backcourt in a shooting funk, Arizona's biggest advantage against most teams is not going to be much of an advantage against the Ducks. We have been of the belief that Arizona has to lose some time and at Oregon seems like that first loss.
Oregon 82, Arizona 77