Oregon Ducks (26-4)
- Latest BTD Pac-12 Power Rankings: 3rd Overall (15-2)
- Head Coach: Dana Altman (7th Season)
- Top Performer: Dillon Brooks (15.6 PPG, 2.9 APG)
- Points For: 79.2 PPG (T-53rd)
- Points Against: 64.9 PPG (34th)
- Last Game/Streak: 75-73 Win at Stanford (5W)
With a win over Oregon State on Saturday afternoon, not only will Oregon sweep the Civil War away from the Beavers, but head coach Dana Altman and company will also secure their spot as the Pac-12 Regular Season Champions (regardless of Arizona’s outcome). If the stakes weren't high enough for the 348th all-time meeting between these two programs, the possibility of Oregon celebrating a Pac-12 Championship in Gill Coliseum just added some fuel to the already raging fire. This is one game that the Beavers must bring their best effort for.
Oregon lambasted Oregon State in their first meeting of the season back on January 14th, when the Ducks held the Beavers to just 43 points in a forty-two point rout, marking the largest margin of defeat ever for a Beavers team at the hands of Oregon. That alone, should serve as the prime motivational tool for an Oregon State group that is heading towards the end of the regular season with just one conference victory to their name.
The key to defeating Oregon during last year’s Elite Eight run was simply slowing down potential Pac-12 Player of the Year, Dillon Brooks (15.6 PPG), but with the 2016-2017 version of the Ducks, depth and balance have been the keys to their growing success. Brooks is now flanked by four additional scorers who average double-figures on a nightly basis, including Tyler Dorsey (12.8 PPG), Chris Boucher (12.1 PPG), Dylan Ennis (11.1 PPG) and Jordan Bell (10.8 PPG). Additionally, pieces like freshman spark-plug Payton Pritchard (8.0 PPG) and junior guard Casey Benson (4.8 PPG) have also contributed their fair share of stand-out moments.
Playing against an offense with explosive capabilities and a defense that frequently makes offensive execution nearly impossible, Oregon State will have to not allow the overwhelming effect of some of the Ducks’ talent and cohesiveness to take the winds out of their sails at any point during this contest. Instead, the Beavers will have to feed off the energy of their home environment to keep the game close heading into the mid-way point and use a second-half surge (which they’ve been able to do) to knock off the Ducks. However, if head coach Wayne Tinkle and his guys are unable to alter Oregon’s aggressive offensive game-plan, it could be a long night for the Beavers who have already withstood a long and trying season.
Players To Watch
Dillon Brooks (Junior - Guard)
There’s not much to say about Dillon Brooks that hasn’t already been said. He’s the Ducks’ biggest enigma, Beavers fans’ most despised enemy and a potential Pac-12 (and if not, National) Player of the Year candidate. Safe to say, this game is going to revolve around the match-up between Oregon’s biggest talent and Oregon State’s stars as well.
Chris Boucher (Senior - Forward)
A candidate for Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Boucher is a “heart-and-soul” type of contributor for this Oregon group, who leads the Ducks with his passion and effort. In these types of games, where the environments is energetic, Boucher almost always seems to come to play. When Boucher and Brooks are on the floor together, Oregon has a dangerous combination on the hardwood, who can spark a Ducks run at any moment.
Jordan Bell (Junior - Forward)
A developing talent on this Oregon team, Bell is a player who to start the season had a bit of an undefined role and is now closing the season as the Ducks’ biggest “X-factor” heading into the NCAA Tournament. His improvement all-season long has simply been something to behold. Now the team’s leading rebounder, averaging 7.8 RPG, Bell is also becoming a capable scorer as well, as he’s scored 12+ points in three of his last five outings.