Oregon completed their non-conference schedule undefeated at 12-0 with an easy 97-76 victory over an over-matched Morgan State (3-9) squad. 6’8 Richard Amardi made the most of his first start scoring 16 points on 8-of-9 shooting to go along with five rebounds. Oregon’s leading scorer, Joseph Young, scored 17 points in the first half in 14 minutes of play on the way to his game-high 24 points.
Oregon’s non-conference schedule was underwhelming with the major wins on the road at Mississippi, Georgetown and Illinois on neutral sites and BYU at home. While those teams have some hope of getting to the NCAA tournament, none will be elite teams this year. The Ducks, the top scoring team in the nation at 90.3 ppg coming into the game, will be challenged as they head into the tough Pac-12 portion of their schedule. That starts later this week with a difficult trip to Utah and Colorado which is the start of a stretch of five road games in the first seven games of their Pac-12 schedule.
Utah (11-1) is much improved this season with the addition of Delon Wright and the maturation of Jordan Loveridge. Their only loss was at Boise State by two points. However their strength of schedule is almost the worst in Division 1 basketball coming in at #351 and that doesn’t even include two wins over non-D1 opponents. That said, the Utes do have an impressive 17-point win over rival BYU. The 6’5 Wright, a JUCO transfer and NBA prospect, is averaging an impressive 14.9 pg, 7.0 rpg, 5.9 apg and 2.2 spg. More incredibly he’s shooting over 70 percent from the field and 77 percent on two-point field goal attempts.He had a 23-point, 12-assist effort against Fresno State. The 6’6 Loveridge, a sophomore, leads the Utes in scoring and rebounding (17.3 ppg, 9.4 rpg). He has range on his shot and is strong enough to create space and finish inside. 6’9 Brazilian Renan Lenz (8.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg) and 7’0 Canadian Dallin Bachynski (6.2 pg, 5.3 rpg) provide some interior presence while 5’10 Brandon Taylor is their best long range shooter (11.0 ppg, 39 percent 3PT). Utah hasn’t lost at home yet and will be a test for Oregon if they can slow the game down to a half-court pace.
Colorado (11-2) figures to be one of the top four teams in the Pac-12. Their losses were to #25 Baylor by 12 points in their opening game and to #7 Oklahoma State by five points. They sport a win over #6 Kansas and are coming off a nice win over Georgia. The Buffaloes have their excellent backcourt of Askia Booker (12.6 ppg) and Spencer Dinwiddie (15.8 ppg) back while sophomores, 6’10 Josh Scott (13.1 ppg, 9.2 rpg) and 6’6 Xavier Johnson (9.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg) have improved quite a bit from their freshman seasons. 6’9 freshman Wesley Gordon (7.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg) adds pinch inside. Colorado is winning games due to their rebounding proficiency ( +10.4 pg) and their ability to get to the foul line ( +11.5 FTA/game). Colorado will try to slow the Ducks down some and try to use their advantage inside to get second chance points and generate a rebounding advantage to try to steal the win at home.