The 8th-ranked Oregon Ducks will visit Seattle for a marquee matchup against Pac-12 North rival Washington on Saturday. Tensions will be high, as the teams meet again for the first time since Oregon’s victorious Pac-12 championship run.
The Ducks are off to a hot start in the 2019-20 season, tallying 14 wins and three losses through their first few months of competition. In addition, Oregon has proven its strength in the face of an extremely difficult schedule, with four of the team’s wins coming against ranked squads.
Despite their strong start, the Ducks have shown vulnerabilities at times, stumbling against an unranked opponent when visiting Colorado earlier this month, when they fell 74-65.
With a road matchup against a solid Pac-12 program approaching, the Ducks’ will certainly need to come prepared. Oregon, coming off quality home victories against then-No. 24 Arizona and Arizona State, will be looking to build on their success from the following week as they take I-5 North to the Emerald City.
Don’t let the Huskies’ 11-6 record fool you. Washington has proven itself competitive against highly ranked squads this season, pulling off a road upset against Baylor in their first game of the year and hanging in tight when visiting Gonzaga, where they eventually fell 83-76.
The Huskies have lost four of their last five games, all against unranked opponents. They’ll be looking for a spark, and a win against the Ducks would be just that. In order to squeeze out a win, they’ll be sure to rely on performances from standout freshmen Isaiah Stewart and Jaden McDaniels to generate an attack against a multi-faceted Oregon defense.
Stewart, a former five-star prospect from Rochester, N.Y., leads the Huskies with 18.5 points per game. He provides an explosive attack to the Washington offense and shoots at about 58 percent from the field, but has hit resistance in his last two games, putting up 13 and 4 points, respectively. Much like his team, Stewart will be looking for a spark against the Ducks. McDaniels, another former five-star prospect, 13.5 points and 6.4 rebounds per game in his first season in Seattle.
If the Huskies are to pull off the upset against the Ducks, Stewart, McDaniels and many more will have to rise to the competition and play a complete game in the face of a very tough and experienced opponent.