Arizona is just one win away from lifting its fifth Pac-12 tournament title after surviving a stubborn UCLA side in the semifinals Friday night. The Wildcats’ path to the championship won’t get any easier, however, as standing in their way in the finals are the Oregon Ducks who are fresh off a nail-biting victory over the Utah Utes.
Read on below for an in-depth preview of this Pac-12 championship game and while you’re at it, you can check out our breakdown of the ACC title showdown between North Carolina and Notre Dame here.[sc:MarchMadness ]
Oregon Ducks vs. Arizona Wildcats Betting Preview
Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas
When: Saturday, March 14, 11:00 PM ET
Line: Oregon Ducks vs. Arizona Wildcats – view all NCAA Basketball lines
Betting on the Oregon Ducks
The Oregon Ducks are sure glad they have the reigning Pac-12 Player of the Year on their side.
[sc:NCAAB240banner ]Joseph Young drained the biggest shot of his career Friday as his long three-pointer with 1.1 seconds remaining helped seal a thrilling 67-64 win over the Utah Utes in the semifinals of the Pac-12 tournament. Young led all scorers with 25 points, going 8-of-16 from the field. He also had four rebounds and three assists in a sterling all-around performance.
Young has been simply phenomenal for the Ducks this season, averaging 20.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Oregon will need Young to display that same aggressiveness on the offensive end for the Ducks to stand a chance against the surging Arizona Wildcats.
Young has found it difficult, however, to solve Arizona’s varying defensive schemes. In two games against the Wildcats this season, Young has averaged just 12 points, going a combined 8 of 24 from the field. As a result, the Ducks’ offense clearly suffered, as they averaged just 59 points in those two encounters. That’s way below their season average of 76.6 PPG, 23rd in the entire nation.
To make matters worse for the Ducks, their defense failed to shut down Arizona’s high-powered offense. The Wildcats exploded for an average of 85 points in those two games. The Ducks can’t afford such a woeful defensive performance in the championship game once again.
With that being said, Oregon can take heart in the way it played defense against Utah last night. The Ducks held the Utes to just 22 of 50 shooting from the field and forced them to commit 12 turnovers. They will need more of the same against Arizona to disrupt its offense that is averaging 76.5 PPG this season, 24th in the entire NCAA.
Oregon is 9-1 SU and ATS in its last 10 games.
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Betting on the Arizona Wildcats
The Arizona Wildcats barged into the finals of the Pac-12 tournament with a nerve-wracking 70-64 win over bitter rivals UCLA Friday night. It was the Wildcats’ 10th consecutive win as they earned a return trip to the championship game.
The Wildcats fell short in their title bid last year, suffering a gut-wrenching 75-71 defeat to the Bruins in the finals. There would be no repeat of that heartbreak, though, this time around as the Wildcats displayed tremendous poise down the stretch to hack out the much-needed win.
Buoyed by a partisan crowd in the MGM Grand, the Wildcats unleashed a telling 15-0 run in the second half that tilted the game in Arizona’s favor. Brandon Ashley provided the offensive spark for the Wildcats, scoring a career-high 24 points on a sizzling 9-of-11 shooting from the field. Ashley has been a vital cog to the Wildcats’ success this season, averaging 11.7 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.
Stanley Johnson and T.J. McConnell joined in the scoring parade as well, pouring in 15 and 10 points respectively against the Bruins. Johnson leads the Wildcats in scoring this season, averaging 14.1 PPG. He’s also Arizona’s leading rebounder, grabbing 6.6 boards per outing.
The Wildcats will fancy their chances in the finals against the Ducks as they have fared extremely well against Oregon in their two meetings thus far this season. The Wildcats have beaten the Ducks by an average of 26 points in those two games.
Arizona wreaked havoc in its last game against Oregon, handing out a 90-56 beat down on January 28. A total of six players scored in double-figures for the Wildcats in that game, including all five of their starters. Gabe York provided quality minutes off the bench, netting 16 points to lead all scorers.
The Wildcats are 7-3 SU in their last 10 games with the Ducks.
Arizona wins, 82-67.[sc:NCAAB490Banner ]
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