#5 Arizona Wildcats at #13 Oregon Ducks: Keys for 11-0

The Arizona Wildcats (21-2, 10-0) overcame a two-point halftime deficit, to beat the Oregon State Beavers (4-19, 0-10) 71-54 in Gill Coliseum on Thursday night.

Arizona came out of the gates in Corvallis looking tentative against Oregon State’s zone, which unfortunately has become the norm for the Wildcats.

A few missed shots and a few turnovers at inopportune times led to 27 points for Arizona at halftime.

Here are some things to watch for when Arizona does battle with Oregon in Eugene on Saturday.

No More Lull-abies 

After jumping out to a quick 6-0 lead on a Kobi Simmons layup with 17:48 to go in the first half, Arizona would proceed to score just 15 points in the following 13:41 of play, as Oregon State built a 23-21 lead. During that span, Arizona shot 5-17 (29.4%) and turned the ball over six times.

The Oregon Ducks boast the nation’s second-longest home winning streak, winning 39 consecutive times at Matthew Knight Arena. If Arizona wants any chance at snapping that streak (much like the Ducks did to the Cats in early 2016), they can’t afford this type of lull at any point in the game.

Don’t be afraid to foul…

You never want to be in foul trouble on the road, but some tough-nosed, no-baskets-allowed mentality might not be the worst idea for the Wildcats. Yes, Oregon can shoot the ball well, but they are shooting 71.1% from the line, which ranks them 134 of 351 NCAA teams. Three of Oregon’s key contributors (Chris Boucher, Jordan Bell, Casey Benson) are all under 70% from the stripe: 60.3%, 69.7%, 69.0%, respectively.

…but don’t let those fouls be called on Lauri Markkanen.

If there’s anything seven-foot Finnish monster Lauri Markkanen is becoming known for, it’s his ability to shoot the three prolifically. The second point of notoriety for Markkanen, unfortunately, is his foul trouble. Despite only averaging 2 fouls per game, Markkanen has fouled out twice (vs. Butler, @Missouri), and has had 4 fouls four times (@California, @Stanford, vs. Colorado, vs. Washington).

Oregon likes to insert Dillon Brooks in at the four spot, which is where Markkanen will start to see more minutes with the return of Allonzo Trier to the Wildcats. Though the refs most likely won’t fall for flops like this or this, Markkanen needs to stay out of foul trouble for the Wildcats to win today. Consider this: Markannen leads the team in:

  • Minutes (712)
  • Field Goals Made and Attempted (121/234, 51.7%)
  • Free Throws Made and Attempted (80/94, 85.1%)
  • Three Pointers Made and Attempted (55/110, 50%)
  • Points Scored (377)
  • Rebounds (Offensive 53, Defensive 123: Total, 176)

Reclaim The Throne

Earlier this year, ESPN published an article about UCLA becoming the class of the Pac-12 (“how drastically Ball and Leaf and their teammates have changed the Pac-12’s perceived pecking order.” – Eamonn Brennan, ESPN). Arizona proceeded to beat UCLA at Pauley Pavilion by 11.

Since beating UCLA at home and having Dillon Brooks back again, the Ducks are the new talk of the Pac-12. Some use Brooks’ foot injury as an excuse for Oregon’s loss at Baylor, as well as the Ducks’ loss to Georgetown, which was Brooks’ first game of the season. Guess what other team was missing a star player? (Hint: said star player is this guy.)

I understand that Oregon is good. Winning on the road is hard. Winning on the road in conference play is extremely hard. Going into Matthew Knight Arena and picking up a win is excruciatingly hard. Just ask their last 39 visitors. 39 straight wins, counting a one-point “thriller” against those dudes up the road in maroon and gold. 

January 9, 2015, was the last time the Ducks took a loss at home. Today, 758 days later, on a day when ESPN’s BPI says they only have a 27% chance of doing so, the same team will leave Matt Court winners once again.

Prediction: Arizona 86, Oregon 78

It’s almost Game Time, and that has us stoked. Hopefully, the Wildcats can come out of Eugene victorious! Bear Down, Arizona!

This article originally appeared on