Oregon Ducks vs. Kansas Jayhawks
Date and Time: Saturday, March 25, 2017, 8:49 p.m. ET
Location: Sprint Center, Kansas City, MO
College Basketball Odds: Kansas -6, 158.5
Oregon vs. Kansas TV Coverage: TBS
Save for the waltz to the finish line against Siena in the first round, the road traveled by Dana Altman’s Ducks has been tough on fans of the Quack Attack with heart conditions. Oregon snatched a win from the jaws of defeat against an extremely game Rhode Island Rams outfit, and then held on at the buzzer to get by the Michigan Wolverines; a team that looked to be the team of destiny this dance. Down three points with a minute and change remaining, Oregon found a way to get the job done and advance to the Elite 8 in hopes of advancing to the Final Four for the second time in program history.
Chris Boucher’s absence is yet to get the best of this team. They’ve still gone on to win the rebounding battle in all three of their NCAA Tournament match-ups, and the late game offensive rebounds on missed free throws are what got them to this point. The matchup once again looks unfavorable however running up against a Kansas team that’s done nothing but bury its shots and win the rebounding battle by an average of 12.3 per game.
Kansas found itself down eight points early on against the Boilermakers. The team looked tight and out of sync. After a TV timeout, Frank Mason and company returned to the hardwood a completely different looking team. It got out in transition off a number of forced turnovers, and before you knew it, the Jayhawks seized control of the game and never looked back. When it was said and done, KU shot 54.8 percent from the field, won the battle of the boards 35-27 against a solid rebounding team, and forced a whopping 16 turnovers. The effort now has them back in the Elite 8 for the second straight season.
All that a game removed from destroying yet another opponent from the Big Ten in the Michigan State Spartans whom they also killed on the glass and shot better than 53 percent from the field against. Back to that early game deficit versus the Boilers. Get this, the team closed the first half on a 22-7 run to take a 47-40 lead at the break and then went on a 73-33 run to close it out. Talk about dominant! Kansas' 32-point win was the 4th-largest in Sweet 16 history dating back to 1975.
Player to Watch
Dillon Brooks – The Ducks leading scorer has had himself a decent NCAA Tournament. Note I said decent, but not great. He has to take his game to the next level in this one for Oregon to be able to match the firepower Kansas brings to the Sprint Center on Saturday night. Oregon has gotten enormous contributions from Tyler Dorsey this month. After going for a team-high 20 points to lead the Ducks past Michigan, he’s now gone for 20+ points in every game played this postseason. Oregon is going to need more in this spot, so if Brooks can’t be the Robin to Dorsey being Batman or vice versa, the Ducks are cooked.
Oregon vs. Kansas Free Picks
Stupid me, I faded my Jayhawks on Friday night thinking Purdue’s size with Swanigan and Haas would give them issues. While that did occur early on in the first half, KU’s athleticism was able to trump anything Purdue tried to do as the game moved along. Those two towers were sucking wind a bulk of the second half. That paired with Purdue not hitting the shots it hit earlier and turning it over at will allowed for Kansas to run away and hide. I foresee an undermanned Oregon team running into the same type of issue. They don’t have the benefit of extended rest for this tilt like they did against the Wolverines.
A similar team as the Jayhawks in Rhode Island had Oregon on the ropes with its ability to hit the 3-ball and force turnovers. Devonte Graham is the first player to hit at least four 3s in four straight NCAA tourney games since Steph Curry did it while with Davidson. Michigan just launched 31 shots from beyond the arc against Oregon. Though they only hit 11 of them, the opportunity to let it fly was clearly there for the taking. They won’t be so lucky this time around versus a Jayhawks side averaging better than 11 made threes per game this tourney. Look for Kansas to advance to the Final Four for the first time since 2012 in a covering fashion.
Oregon vs. Kansas ATS Pick: Bet Kansas at BookMaker.eu
Oregon vs. Kansas Score Prediction: Kansas 83 – Oregon 73