Preview: Arizona and Arizona State battle No. 8 Oregon this weekend
Following the first ever sweep of the USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins last weekend in Los Angeles, the Ducks return home to Matthew Knight Arena for games against the Arizona Wildcats and No. 18 Arizona State Sun Devils this weekend.
The Ducks enter the weekend games with a 15-2 record and are looking to extend their seven-game win streak. Oregon is ranked No. 8 by the Associated Press this week, which is the highest for the team in school history.
The Ducks play the Wildcats on Friday at 8 p.m. It’s been a struggle this season for the Wildcats, who enter the game with a 4-11 record.
Senior guard JaLea Bennett leads the Wildcats in scoring, averaging 15.9 points per game. Freshman Sam Thomas is averaging 10.2 points and is the team’s leading rebounder, collecting 8.2 per game this season. The starting lineup consists of two seniors, two freshmen and a sophomore.
If how these two teams fared against common opponents, CSUN and Southern Utah, are any indication, the Ducks should have no trouble dismantling the Wildcats. Arizona lost to CSUN by three points and beat Southern Utah by two. By comparison, the Ducks beat both teams by a combined score of 189-81.
The Sun Devils face the Ducks at 5 p.m. on Sunday. They enter the weekend series against the Oregon schools with a 13-3 record, including a six-game winning streak.
Junior forward Kianna Ibis leads the Sun Devils in scoring, averaging 13.5 points per game. Protecting the basket is Charnea Johnson-Chapman who averages 7.9 points and leads the team in rebounds, averaging 7.3 rebounds per game. Jamie Ruden has knocked down 20-of-38 three-point attempts this season to lead the team.
Only one team can claim to have beaten both Arizona State and Oregon this season: the No. 4 Mississippi State Bulldogs. Oregon lost a road game to the Bulldogs 90-79 on Dec. 13. The Sun Devils were defeated 65-57 in a neutral site game. They also lost to then-No. 13 Florida State by 11 on the road. Last weekend, Arizona State picked up its first win over a ranked opponent when they beat the then-No. 24 Stanford Cardinal at home.
The Sun Devils have averaged 74.5 points this season, with an average margin of victory of 18.3 points per game. That could mean a high scoring affair as the Ducks have averaged 86.9 points and have won by 24.9 points per game.
Oregon is undefeated against unranked opponents this season and have a 3-2 record against ranked opponents. Oregon has beaten Texas A&M twice, once on the road and once at a neutral site, and most recently its game against No. 14 UCLA this past Sunday. The Ducks lost to Louisville and Mississippi State on the road when both were ranked No. 5 in the nation.
Follow Zak Laster on Twitter @zlast3445
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