No. 24 Arizona at No. 9 Oregon highlights Pac-12 week
A look at things to watch this week in Pac-12 Conference basketball:
GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 24 Arizona at No. 9 Oregon. Two of the West’s best teams meet Thursday night in Eugene. The Ducks dropped five spots in this week’s AP Top 25 after losing a road game to Colorado, but bounced back with a victory at Utah. The Wildcats opened their Pac-12 season with a lopsided victory over rival Arizona State after losing three or their final four nonconference games. High-level athletes will be all over the floor, but keep an eye on the match-up between two of the Pac-12’s best point guards, Oregon’s Payton Pritchard and Arizona’s Nico Mannion.
LOOKING AHEAD: Stanford was one of the Pac-12’s most surprising teams during the nonconference schedule, winning a conference-best 11 games. The Cardinal beat rival California by 16 in their Pac-12 opener, but face a tough challenge against Washington at home on Thursday. The Huskies were ranked earlier this season and have two of the conference’s best freshmen in Isaiah Stewart and Jaden McDaniels, their leading scorers. Washington lost to UCLA and beat Southern California last week to open conference play.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Oregon State’s Tres Tinkle needs 68 combined points in games against Arizona and Arizona State this week to become the 16th player in Pac-12 history to reach 2,000 career points. … The Pac-12 joins the Big Ten and Big East in leading the nation with nine teams with double digit wins. … Oregon’s Pritchard is 24 assists and 18 rebounds shy of becoming the first player in Pac-12 history with 1,500 points, 600 assists and 500 rebounds in a career.
PLAYER TO WATCH: McKinley Wright, Colorado. The Buffaloes‘ junior had a quite a first week of 2020, averaging 17.5 points while making 12 of 22 shots, 9.0 assists and 6.0 rebounds. He also became second player in Colorado history to reach 1,000 points, 400 assists and 400 rebounds in a career.
ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE: This week’s schedule is highlighted by the Oregon schools making a tough trip to the desert. No. 2 Oregon plays at No. 18 Arizona on Friday and Arizona State on Sunday. No. 3 Oregon State plays the Sun Devils on Friday and the Wildcats on Sunday. … Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer enters this week’s home-and-home series with rival Cal needing one win to reach 500 regular-season conference wins. … Washington State’s Borislava Hristova needs 14 points to become the first player in program history and 23rd in Pac-12 history to reach 2,000 points.
Compiled by AP Basketball Writer John Marshall in Phoenix.
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