Oregon Ducks (20-12) vs. Utah Utes (17-13)
NCAA Basketball: Thursday, March 14th, 2019 at 11:30 pm (T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV)
Line and Odds: Oregon Ducks -5 Over/Under: 137
Free ESPN NCAA Basketball Picks Utah Utes vs. Oregon Ducks
The Oregon Ducks are looking to ride their recent momentum into a Pac-12 Championship. Oregon has a record of 20-12 with a 10-8 conference record. This has been a Ducks team that has been unable to live up to preseason expectations. They were ranked #14 in the Preseason Associated Press Top 25 Poll. Their early season performance was marred by a loss to Texas Southern and a season-ending injury to NBA prospect Bol Bol. By the time mid-December came around, the Ducks were out of the top 25 entirely.
However, Oregon’s Pac-12 season has been moderately successful. The Ducks ended up finishing tied for 4th in the Pac-12 and snagged the #6 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament. Dana Altman’s Ducks have been improving as the season has gone on. Oregon is currently ranked 57th in the NCAA Men’s Basketball NET Rankings, which a great improvement from where it was earlier in the season. The Ducks have been especially strong over the last month of the season. In fact, Oregon has won 5 straight games. They’ve notched wins over Arizona State, Arizona, Washington and Washington State (twice).
The Pac-12 tournament’s opening day closed with an Oregon destruction of Washington State. The Ducks beat the Cougars 84-51. Oregon may have ended the Washington State tenure of former Oregon head coach Ernie Kent in embarrassing fashion. The Ducks’ defense stifled the Washington State offense. Not one Cougar managed to score double digit points against the Ducks. Washington State’s Robert Franks, who led the Pac-12 in scoring, only managed 8 points all game. The Cougars were held to 30.8% shooting from the field and 21.9% shooting from 3 point range. Oregon won the rebounding battle and the turnover battle. It was a sloppy game from Washington State and Oregon took advantage.
Oregon is 85th in Division I in adjusted offensive rating, scoring 108.70 points per 100 possessions. The Ducks shoot an effective field goal percentage of 51.8%, ranking 143rd in the country. Oregon is 28th in Division I in adjusted defensive rating, allowing 90.47 points per 100 possessions. The Ducks’ defense allows teams to shoot an effective field goal percentage of 47.4% against them, which ranks 39th in the nation. They are 16th in the nation in terms of 3-point percentage defense, forcing opponents to shoot just 29.9% from 3-point land.
While Oregon and the lower-seeded Pac-12 teams were playing on Wednesday, the Utah Utes were resting. The Utes secured a bye in the Pac-12 tournament by earning the 3rd seed. Utah finished the regular season with a 17-13 overall and an 11-7 conference record. They were 1 game clear of the 4th, 5th, and 6th seeds. It has been quite an uneven season for the Utes. Much like their opponent in this Pac-12 tournament game, their conference resume has been more impressive than their non-conference resume. An improving team and the Pac-12 having a down year, allowed the Utes to sneak into the tournament with a bye.
If Utah wants to make the NCAA tournament, they will have to win the Pac-12 tournament. This is the case with every Pac-12 team with the possible exceptions of Washington and Arizona State. Utah hasn’t been ranked in the top 25 polls all year. They are ranked 101st in the NCAA Men’s Basketball NET Rankings. The only quality win on their schedule is a road win against Arizona State. It hasn’t been the best team in Larry Krystkowiak’s tenure, but it has scrapped its way to a #3 seed in the Pac-12 standings. A down year for the Utah basketball program has resulted in a team with a clear shot at winning the Pac-12 tournament. The Utes finished the season off winning 3 of their last 4 games. They secured 3rd place in the Pac-12 by beating USC 83-74 and, most recently, beating UCLA 92-81 on Senior Night.
The key to Utah’s win was their 3-point shooting. Utah shot 44.7% from beyond the arc on a whopping 38 3-point attempts. They were a high volume 3-point shooting team, that knocked them down at a high clip. Utah’s offense was also careful with the basketball, turning the ball over just 5 times all game. Utah jumped out to a 51-31 halftime lead and was able to cruise from there. Utes guard Sedrick Barefield led the team with 29 points against UCLA. Forward Timmy Allen contributed and additional 17 in the win.
Utah ranks 27th in adjusted offensive rating, scoring 115.25 points per 100 possessions. Similarly, their offense ranks 25th in effective field goal percentage. Sedrick Barefield is 4th in the Pac-12 in scoring, averaging 17.2 points per game. Utah ranks 224th in adjusted defensive rating, allowing 106.09 points per 100 possessions. The Utes rank 282nd in effective field goal percentage defense and 349th in defensive turnover percentage.
Cover The Spread 365 Betting Trends
Oregon is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Oregon’s last 5 games
Oregon is 8-1-1 ATS in its last 10 games when playing Utah
Utah is 6-3 ATS in its last 9 games
Utah is 1-11 SU in its last 12 games when playing Oregon
The total has gone UNDER in 10 of Utah’s last 12 games when playing Oregon
ESPN NCAA Basketball Scores Oregon Ducks vs. Utah Utes
I’m predicting that the Oregon Ducks will cover the spread in this game. Despite being the #6 seed to Utah’s #3, Oregon is the better team. When Utah has the ball, the matchup is a wash. Utah is 27th in offense, while Oregon is 28th in defense. Both sides will have moments when they will take advantage of each other. However, the Oregon offense is vastly superior to Utah’s defense. The Utes may have one of the weakest defenses in all of the power 5 conferences. Oregon’s offense isn’t great, but they will be able to shoot the lights out against Utah. Oregon has been playing great basketball recently, and I expect it to continue. Take Oregon and give the points.
Oregon Ducks -5