Stanford Surprises Oregon, Gonzaga Looks for Lucky No. 7 and Arizona Will Attempt to Snap StreakBy Debbie B.
As college hoops enters its last full month of conference play, teams from the West will keep putting together their runs for the Big Dance. At #7, Gonzaga is the highest-ranked West team in this week’s AP Top 25 poll, followed by #8 Arizona, #10 Oregon, #20 New Mexico and #22 San Diego State.
On Wednesday, Stanford (13-8, 4-4) upset #10 Oregon (18-3, 7-1) 76-52, snapping the Ducks nine-game win streak.
On Thursday, Arizona (17-2, 5-2) will play Washington (12-8, 4-3) and will try to break their slump vs. this conference foe.
Also on Thursday, #7 Gonzaga (19-2, 6-0) will play Loyola Marymount (8-12, 1-6), looking for conference win No. 7.
Stanford defeats #10 Oregon, 76-52
After handing the Ducks its only loss in last season’s football schedule, the Cardinals showed they can also play basketball and on Wednesday they acted as the spoiler again.
For Stanford, it’s undergone a dry spell beating ranked opponents with the last one on Jan. 13, 2011, when it defeated No. 17 Washington 58-56 on the home court. Prior to that, it was Feb. 2, 2008 that Stanford had beat a Top 10 team when they defeated No. 9 Washington State 67-65 in OT.
On Wednesday, Stanford dominated the game in the second half with a 25-point lead at the start of it. From the floor, Stanford outshot Oregon 52 to 35 percent. They also hit 8 of 14 3-pointers; this compared to the Ducks converting 4 of 16 from the arc.
Chasson Randle led Stanford in scoring with 17 points while Josh Huestis added 14 points with 13 rebounds.
For betting fans, they shouldn’t have been too surprised by the Stanford win. The Ducks were a 2.5-point underdog and this could have partially been attributed to playing without starting point guard Dominic Artis. He’s now missed two games due to a left foot injury and is out indefinitely.
#7 Gonzaga vs. Loyola Marymount
In this matchup, Gonzaga will try to keep its perfect conference record while Loyola Marymount is trying to prevent a five-game skid. Should the Bulldogs win, it will be the first time they’ve gone 7-0 in the WCC since 2009 when they went undefeated in conference play.
After losing to No. 9 Butler on Jan. 19, 64-63, Gonzaga defeated BYU and San Francisco by 34 combined points. Their 66-52 win last Saturday against the Dons included 58.0 percent shooting by the Bulldogs to get a 22-point halftime lead but the second half was a different story: the team went 8 of 27 (29.6 percent) and had been outscored 31-23.
The Bulldogs Elias Harris scored 19 against San Francisco and saw his second consecutive double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds against this team. Teammate Kelly Olynyk only had 13 points but has previously been averaging 25.0 points over the last five games.
Loyola desperately needs a win but Gonzaga will hit lucky No. 7 on Thursday (-16).
#8 Arizona vs. Washington
The Huskies will enter the game on a three-game losing streak–something not new for them as it’s their third straight season to do this but hitting a four-game skid is uncommon; the last one came in the 2008 season.
In the teams’ last meeting in Feb. 2012, Washington won 79-70 and continued sharing the top Pac-12 spot.
C.J. Wilcox is Washington’s leading scorer with 20 or more points in his last 9 of 11 home games (averaging a team-high 21.2 ppg at home). Earlier in the month, he had been named Pac-12 Player of the Week (Jan. 7-13) after he averaged 23.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.5 blocks.
As for the Wildcats, they do have the conference’s best road record for the last three years at 16-14 but they know the Huskies own them. For the Wildcat’s senior players, they are 0-3 on Washington’s home court and under coach Sean Miller, he’s 5-6 against this team.
Against USC, Nick Johnson had 14 points for Arizona and is the team’s steal leader per game at 2.2 with a 13.3 points per game average. He comes in behind the team’s leading scorer, Solomon Hill, with his 14.0 points per game average and six-rebound average.
For the Wildcats’ seniors, their dry spell will end on Thursday (-5).