The Utah Utes and Oregon Ducks meet at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene on Saturday night. It’s a classic Pac-12 battle against one team going nowhere, and the other gearing up for what is hopefully a deep tournament run. At this point, Utah is going to have to win the Pac-12 to get into the NCAA Tournament. They are a .500 team at 9-9 and need to do well down the stretch to find a way in.
Utah only has three regular season games to figure it all out, and it’s not an easy slate to finish out the season either. Their final three games are against Oregon, UCLA, and USC. If Utah can beat three of the better teams of the Pac-12 in back-to-back-to-back fashion, then just send them to the tournament. However, that’s not happening, and the Utes are not winning the Pac-12.
I will eat my words and hide for the rest of the year if Utah somehow wins the conference tournament. It’s highly unlikely that the Utes are going to get it done. As wide open as the Pac-12 is this season, Utah doesn’t appear to have the firepower to prove me wrong. Oregon is one of the many teams in the conference that can win.
There are six teams that have a reasonable enough chance of winning the Pac-12. I’d say that even 14-8 Arizona has an opportunity if they can get hot. Other contenders include the leader USC, along with UCLA, Oregon, Colorado, and Stanford. The Ducks are coming off a 60-56 win over a talented Colorado team on Thursday.
Colorado and Oregon were neck-and-neck throughout that game before Oregon edged away at the wire. The Buffaloes had possession late and missed a couple of threes to put the game on ice. Oregon advanced to 13-4 on the season with the win, and it’s also their fourth straight win. They suffered a bad loss at home on February 4 against Washington State.
The Ducks have been able to stabilize since then, though. They are in good form, but can’t overlook the Utes on Saturday night. Utah is coming off a 74-56 loss in a lifeless performance versus the Oregon State Beavers on February 18. Head below for our free Utah vs. Oregon pick on February 20, 2021.
Utah Utes vs. Oregon Ducks NCAA Betting Odds:
Utah vs. Oregon Prediction:
Utah has been just far too inconsistent to take seriously this season. They show up in spots, like a 77-74 win over Colorado, and impressive 73-58 victory over Arizona, but then there’s a bad side to Utah that has reared its ugly head too often. After winning three in a row, the Utes are right back to their bad poor practices.
Timmy Allen and Brandon Carlson were left to do it by themselves against Oregon State, as they were the only players on the roster to score more than 6 points. There was zero secondary help for the Utes. Depth is a problem for Utah with sophomore guard Rylan Jones and forward Mikael Jantunen out. Jantunen’s absence especially hurts, as that’s a big and talented forward off the floor.
Jantunen is shooting 64.6% from the field with 8.5 points per game. He and Jones are not superstars, but both play at least 20 minutes a night. Jantunen is listed as OUT indefinitely for personal reasons, while Jones is questionable with an arm injury to play against Oregon. Jantunen and Jones may not be superstars, but both play a pivotal role in the rotation for Utah.
It was apparent in their recent losses against Stanford and Oregon State that they were missed on the floor. I don’t like how that sounds tonight for a Utah offense that is 226th in the NCAA, scoring an average of 69.8 points per game. Without a healthy team, you can put Utah likely around 65 points per game.
The Ducks are 71st in the NCAA with 66.4 points per game. At home they’ve been even more effective with 62.7 points conceded. The last time they two met in Oregon, the Ducks handled Utah easily with a 80-62 win on February 16, 2020. Expect this one to be a bit closer, but Oregon should be able to pull away in the second-half. A 75-63 win for the Ducks looks achievable.