Utah (15-17) vs. Oregon (24-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, March 15, 11:38 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: MGM Grand Garden Arena (16,800) -- Las Vegas, Nevada. Television: ESPN. Home Record: Utah 11-7, Oregon 17-2. Away Record: Utah 2-10, Oregon 6-5. Neutral Record: Utah 2-0, Oregon 1-1. Conference Record: Utah 5-13, Oregon 12-6. Series Record: Oregon leads, 10-9.
GAMES NOTES: Coming off a stunning upset over second-seed California, the 10th-seed Utah Utes will try to pull off another one when they face third-seed Oregon in the semifinals of the Pac-12 Tournament at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The winner of this game will take on either top-seed UCLA or fourth-seed Arizona in the title game Saturday night.
Jarred DuBois hit a huge 3-pointer late in regulation and the Utes dominated in overtime to get past California on Thursday night. The win was the fourth straight for the Utes, with one of those coming in the regular-season finale against this same Oregon team. Utah is now 15-17 overall and these past two wins are their first in tournament play since joining the Pac-12 last season.
The Ducks nearly got upset themselves but survived a scare from sixth-seed Washington with an 80-77 victory in overtime. The win ended a two-game slide, which included a 72-62 loss to Utah, that closed the regular season for Oregon. With a win Oregon would reach the title game for the first time since 2007 when it earned its second conference crown.
The Utes' 72-62 win last Saturday split the season series between these teams with Oregon having a 73-64 win at home earlier in the season. Oregon holds a slim 10-9 edge in the all-time series.
On Thursday Utah got the ball with just 17 seconds left and the score reading 59-56 in favor of California. That's when DuBois hit a difficult shot from beyond the arc to send the game to overtime. The Utes dropped in 20 points in the extra session to post the 79-69 win.
When Utah has been successful this season it has come when it has been able to slow teams down. The Utes are the worst scoring team in the Pac-12 (64.3 ppg) but they shoot a decent 44.3 percent from the field by playing at a methodical tempo. That plays into their hands as the Utes are a staunch defensive squad, allowing 63 points per game on less than 40 percent shooting. DuBois (12.6 ppg) has really turned it on over the last few weeks averaging 19 points per game over the last five games after dropping in 21 against California. Jordan Loveridge (12.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg) also came up big against the Golden Bears, scoring 20 points to go with eight rebounds.
After Washington's C.J. Wilcox hit a jump shot with 50 seconds left in regulation, the Ducks found themselves trailing, 64-62. On the ensuing possession Johnathan Loyd missed a 3-pointer but got the ball back after an offensive rebound and was fouled by Abdul Gaddy with 16 seconds remaining. Loyd went to the free-throw line and sank both attempts to force overtime. A 10-2 run to open the extra session pulled the Ducks far enough away for the victory.
Of the four players in double figures for the Ducks it was Tony Woods (9.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg) who had the team-high with 19 points to go along with eight rebounds. Woods' showing illustrates how balanced the Ducks are on offense as they have six different players averaging at least nine points per game. E.J. Singler (11.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg) stands as the leading scorer and he managed to put in 16 points in the win over the Huskies. Carlos Emory (10.8 ppg) and Damyean Dotson (10.7 ppg) are also double-figure scorers, while Arsalan Kazemi (9.5 ppg, 9.6 rpg) is one of the best rebounders in the conference. As a team the Ducks are the leading team on the glass in the Pac-12 (37.5 pg) while scoring a healthy 71.5 points per game.
Utah already posted a win against Oregon this week and has a ton of momentum riding into this contest. Still the Utes were an inconsistent team at best during the regular season and the other shoe is bound to drop at some point. That time might be now against a balanced Oregon squad.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oregon 71, Utah 63
03/15 11:27:08 ET