Oregon-Colorado: Who has the Spread Edge?

By Nick T.
Ivan Pierre Aguirre-US PRESSWIRE

The No. 19 Oregon Ducks have slipped in this week’s AP poll due to two-straight losses following a nine-game winning streak, but look to get back on track against a pedestrian Colorado team in Eugene on Thursday night in this Pac-12 matchup.

Oregon (18-4) may be shorthanded with starting point guard Dominic Artis listed as uncertain with a foot injury. It could serve as a big blow to a team that has struggled in its last two games to find a consistent scorer. In fact, the Ducks only had one player who posted double figures in Wednesday night’s 76-52 loss at Stanford and just two in their 58-54 defeat to California on Saturday. It comes as a surprise considering the team usually averages five scorers in double figures per game.

“Every season, there’s a series of ups and downs,” coach Dana Altman said, per ESPN.com. “You’re judged by how you bounce back from the downs. Every team has to vounce back at some point in time, and we’ve got to bounce back here — and our guys will do that. … We just need to play better.”

Artis has been the team’s consistent perimeter scorer, averaging 10.2 points per game and adding 3.8 assists. Since his absence, Oregon has not only had a hard time finding its outside range, but keeping the ball in its possession has been a major issue. In the last three contests, the team is averaging 21.7 turnovers per matchup, up from 16.1.

The Ducks will put their 20-game home winning streak on the line against Colorado (14-7), which has a tough time on the road as is. Currently, the Buffaloes are a mere 2-6 away from home.

The team’s leading scorer is Spencer Dinwiddle, who is averaging 14.7 points per game, while Askia Booker notches 14.1. Though, Booker has had his fair share of struggles this season, the last of which came against Utah in the team’s 58-55 loss on Saturday. The sophomore guard netted just 3-of-14 shots, his worst shooting performance of the season.

What’s even a bigger concern for the road-weary Buffaloes is the fact that they are a combined 1-36 against Top 25 teams, their most recent matchup came in a losing effort, 92-83, to then-No. 3 Arizona on Jan. 3.

But fortunately, the team may only need to stop one less player with Artis sitting. If that’s the case, Colorado has the edge on the spread.