Oregon Ducks vs. Arizona Wildcats Pick & Prediction JANUARY 27th 2024

No. 9 Arizona has never lost back-to-back games under coach Tommy Lloyd. That streak will be tested when the Wildcats play Oregon on Saturday in Eugene, Ore.

The Wildcats (14-5, 5-3 Pac-12) are coming off Thursday night’s stunning 83-80 loss at Oregon State, the last-place team in the conference entering the game. Arizona has lost three consecutive road games, including at Stanford and Washington State.

Oregon (14-5, 6-2) is alone at the top of the Pac-12 after its 80-61 victory over Arizona State on Thursday. The Ducks are getting healthier – including the return of big man Nate Bittle on Thursday – and have won six consecutive home games against Arizona.

The Wildcats are a mere 6-5 after an 8-0 start that included a win at Duke. Perimeter defense has been a major culprit. In Arizona’s five losses, opponents have made 50 of 106 3-point shots. Oregon State nailed 12 of 20, including a game-winning step-back from Jordan Pope at the buzzer.

“I take responsibility for everything, (and) our defense just hasn’t been very good,” said Lloyd, who is 75-16 in his third season with the Wildcats.

“I have a lot of belief in these guys. We’ve had some highs and obviously we’re feeling some lows right now. So we’ve just got to keep battling and come out of it. I mean, we’re built for tough times.”

Bittle returned to the starting lineup for Oregon, after being out since suffering a wrist injury on Nov. 17. He scored seven points in 12 minutes, and now the Ducks have an incredibly big front line.

N’Faly Dante, who also missed more than two months due to injury, returned four games ago. He played a season-high 31 minutes against ASU and has scored 39 points with 16 rebounds in the past two games.

Jermaine Couisnard, the only Oregon player to start every game, leads five Ducks in double-figures with 14.6 points per game. He scored 19 as the Ducks roared in the second half Thursday night.

Oregon shot 69.2 percent in the second half to pull away from the Sun Devils, outscoring them 52-28 in the second half after being down by five points at halftime. The Ducks went more than seven minutes in the first half without scoring.

“We took some questionable shots there – and that’s being nice – that got us out of rhythm,” said Oregon coach Dana Altman. “And defensively, we had eight deflections the whole first half; we had 27 the second half. That gives you an idea of the difference in the intensity.”

Arizona has started the same lineup in every game, although if there is a change coming, it likely will be at point guard.

Kylan Boswell has gone scoreless in two of the past four games, including on Thursday night. He is 9 of 44 from the field in Arizona’s five losses. The alternative is Jaden Bradley, who has been on the floor to start the second half in some recent games.

Caleb Love continues to lead the Wildcats in scoring, averaging 18.4 points per game. Pelle Larsson is next at 13.1 points.

–Field Level Media

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