Oregon Ducks vs. Michigan Wolverines Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 2nd 2023

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Michigan and Oregon will be part of the same conference next season, but the two programs are getting a head start on their Big Ten partnership.

The Wolverines will battle the Ducks on Saturday in Eugene, Ore., in a contest that was initially scheduled to take place in November 2020.

The coronavirus pandemic led to the cancellation of the contest. The two teams did meet in the first part of the scheduling arrangement with then-No. 10 Oregon posting a 71-70 overtime victory over then-No. 5 Michigan on Dec. 14, 2019, in Ann Arbor, Mich.

At one point, Wolverines coach Juwan Howard said his program wouldn’t reschedule the game and Ducks coach Dana Altman sharply criticized him publicly. Eventually the hard feelings were patched up and Michigan agreed to play the Ducks this season.

Howard underwent a heart procedure in mid-September and recently returned to the team bench. Phil Martelli is still serving as the Wolverines’ interim coach while Howard “will transition back to an assistant coach,” the school said Thursday night.

Howard was even ejected from Michigan’s latest contest, a 73-57 loss to Texas Tech in the fifth-place game of the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas that dropped the Wolverines to 4-3.

“Obviously there was a lot of frustration on our side because we were not playing well,” Martelli said. “Not because the game wasn’t being refereed well, but frustration that we weren’t playing well.”

Dug McDaniel and Olivier Nkamhoua are performing well for Michigan. McDaniel has team-best averages of 18.4 points and 5.6 assists, while Nkamhoua is averaging 17.6 points and a team-high 7.3 rebounds.

Oregon (4-2) lost back-to-back games to Santa Clara (88-82) and then-No. 17 Alabama (99-91) in the Emerald Coast Classic at Niceville, Fla., last week.

Now they start a stretch in which six of their next seven games are at home, beginning with once-elusive Michigan.

“We played them in December of ’19,” Altman said. “It has been a while. Glad we’re playing them. We’ll be a little bit short-handed, but we’ll have to fight it.”

Oregon remains without standout center N’Faly Dante, who dominated in the season opener with 16 points and a career-best 21 rebounds against Georgia but didn’t play again before undergoing knee surgery. Another big man, Nate Bittle (wrist surgery), is also sidelined.

Among healthy players, Jermaine Couisnard leads the Ducks with an average of 12.5 points.

Overall, Michigan has won four of its six meetings with Oregon.

–Field Level Media

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