MBB Preview: Oregon looks to bounce back against Colorado at home after frustrating loss to Stanford

By: Ian Sutliff

Eugene, OR— On Thursday, the Ducks (11-9, 5-4) will face off against Colorado (12-9, 4-6) with both squads needing wins with their tournament hopes hanging by a thread. After two impressive wins from Dana Altman’s team, a road loss has brought the thought of a tournament appearance to a screeching halt. For Colorado, it finds itself in the same boat, desperately needing to win after losing three of the last four. 


The Ducks are led by big man N’Faly Dante and senior guard Will Richardson who are combining to average 27 points per game. For Oregon, the story has been the same all season in regards to the success of the team. Shoot the three ball well and win or continue to shoot it often at a poor clip en route to a loss. Oregon shoots the three ball about 23 times per game (122nd in the nation), but per NCAA, it is just the 318th best team in the country from beyond the arc. That’s a big problem considering there’s only 352 teams in division 1. As far as effective field goal percentage, the Ducks rank smack dab in the middle at 176th with a 51% mark. That is in large part because of Dante and other forwards such as Nate Bittle and Kel’el Ware carrying some of the scoring load down low. With Colorado ranked as the 72nd best team in the nation on the defensive glass, Oregon will need to have a good shooting night and take high percentage shots if it is to pull out the win tonight. Quincy Guerrier (9.6 PPG) and Jermaine Couisnard (13.7 PPG) will be a couple of big players to watch on the offensive end for Oregon. 


After a win against Washington State at home on Sunday, Colorado can carry that confidence into a matchup with Oregon that it has already won once this season. Last time around, the Buffs won in blowout fashion but faced a Ducks team that struggled and shot just 27% from the field. It also hit on only one of its 14 three point attempts which is bound to be different on Thursday night. Something that will also be different is the fact that leading scorer KJ Simpson will be available for the second matchup with the Ducks. If Tristan da Silva has his way with Oregon down low again and Colorado’s strong backcourt can make shots, it’s very possible that the outcome could be the same once again. At 31.5%, Colorado isn’t much better at shooting the three than the Ducks, but their guards love to slash and get to the rim much more effectively than Oregon. If Simpson struggles, look for three point specialists, Javon Ruffin (37.1%) and Julian Hammond III (34%) to make an impact.


You never know what you’re going to get with these clubs as they are easily two of the most inconsistent teams in the nation, but one will have to pull it out this Thursday. Last time around, Colorado dominated with a 68-41 win in Boulder, but the Ducks played about as poor as possibly imaginable. With Simpson now a factor in this one, it’s going to be tough for an experienced Oregon roster to stop the myriad of options that Colorado has. It’ll be a close one throughout, but the better three point shooting from the Buffs will help them pull away late. I expect Couisnard to have another big performance, but it likely won’t be enough.

Colorado 70 – Oregon 64