MBB PREVIEW: The Ducks take on Washington State for second in the Pac-12 standings

By Tayten Torgrimson

EUGENE, Ore. – Coming off an 85-80 win against rival Washington, the Oregon Ducks (16-7, 8-4 Pac-12) look to finish strong against the Washington State Cougars (17-6, 8-4 Pac-12) who beat Oregon State 64-58. Both coaches have put their teams in a good position to make the NCAA Tournament this year. Oregon and Washington State have teetered on and off ESPN’s Bracketology “Last Four In.” Now, Oregon is sitting at “Next Four Out,” and Washington State is at “Last Four In.” This game has massive tournament implications in both the Pac-12 and the NCAA. If Oregon goes undefeated against the Washington teams this weekend, the chances of getting in will rise. If Washington State can go undefeated against the Oregon teams, their chances rise even higher. This game tips off Saturday on Pac-12 Network at 2 p.m.

Oregon Ducks:

In Pullman on Jan. 6, Oregon beat Washington State 89-84. In that game, Oregon’s guards shined. Brennan Rigsby, Jackson Shelstad, Jermaine Couisnard and Kario Oquendo all scored over 10 points. Oregon also pressured WSU in the 2nd half, causing seven turnovers. Oregon head coach Dana Altman has leaned heavily on seniors N’Faly Dante and Jermaine Couisnard to produce and lead through the ladder of the season. Keep an eye on Oregon’s backcourt to dominate the Cougars again. When Oregon shoots 40% or higher from three-point land, it has an 88% win percentage. I’d also keep an eye on senior Jermaine Couisnard, who has been playing through some type of leg injury. This injury caused him to go back to the locker room against UCLA, but he did return.

Projected Starters

PG – Jackson Shelstad

SG – Jermaine Couisnard

SF – Jadrian Tracey

PF – Kwame Evans Jr.

C – N’Faly Dante

Washington State Cougars:

Winners of four straight, Washington State aims to come into Matthew Knight Arena and beat the Ducks. Through the past four games, the Cougars have relied heavily on forwards Jaylen Wells and Isaac Jones to do most of the scoring. In the Jan. 6 game against Oregon, Washington State was led by guard Myles Rice, who scored 22, and by forward Jaylen Wells, who scored 15. Keep an eye on forward Isaac Jones, who dominates in the paint. If Washington State can drag Oregon’s big men out of the paint and toward the three-point line, Jones will do damage. Washington State is an all-around team. Five players scored 10 or more in the win over in-state rival Washington. Washington State must cause Oregon’s defense to get out of order and causing mismatches will give the Ducks trouble.

Projected Starters

PG – Myles Rice

SG – Jaylen Wells

SF – Andrej Jakimovski

PF – Isaac Jones

C – Oscar Cluff

Score Prediction
Oregon wins 86 – 81