As quickly as Championship Week came, it went; and today, champions will be crowned in all major conferences -with Selection Sunday now just a day away.
For the purposes of this article, I will focus on the PAC 12 Championship game – which features two teams who have all but punched their tickets to the big dance – Washington and Oregon. With Washington looking at a seven seed, and Oregon a ten, perhaps a championship could shake this seeding up a bit.
And one more time, for the big game bettor who likes to make the action just a little more interesting – this year’s final edition of the Primetime Previewer.
6 Oregon (22-12, 10-8) vs. 1 Washington (26-7, 15-3)
10:30 pm ET ESPN
Open: Oregon Pk
Spread: Oregon – 1.5
Consensus: Oregon 69%
Washington is the one-seed, but Oregon is the story; with the Ducks closing out the season on a four-game run and proceeding to make it to the PAC 12 Championship Game as a six-seed.
The competition en route to the Championship hasn’t been overly fierce from a national perspective, but they did get by the two teams behind Washington in the standings: with wins over Washington State (210th), Utah (111th , 3rd PAC-12), and Arizona State (61st,, 2nd PAC-12), and now the Ducks will get another crack at Washington – a team they beat just a week ago, in Seattle.
The Huskies won the PAC-12 regular season by a substantial margin (Arizona State 2nd, 12-6); losing only three times in-conference: @ Arizona State (75-63), @ Cal (244th, 76-73), and the final game vs. Oregon (55-47).
Both games were close ones for Washington on their path to the Championship game: with a, 78-75, win over USC (88th, 8th PAC 12), and a, 66-61, second half comeback over Colorado (64th, 5th PAC-12). The Huskies will be looking for their first PAC-12 Championship since 2011 in Mike Hopkins’ second season as Head Coach, and in the process, could earn themselves as high as a sixth seed in NCAA Tournament.
Keys to the Matchup:
The two teams split their regular season meetings: with Washington winning the first one, 61-56, in Oregon, and the Ducks winning the second, 55-47, in Washington. Considering that the second meeting took place just seven days ago, analysis of this game, could likely provide the most accurate depiction of what could occur tonight.
Obviously, points were at a premium in this one, as teams struggled mightily from the floor: Washington shot 42% from the floor (15% from three), and Oregon, 43% (18% from three). In terms of what the season long metrics would’ve predicted, taking into account both offensive and defensive metrics, it was Washington that put forth the most statistically variant performance – but only by a little.
The Huskies would’ve been predicted to shoot 49.5% from the floor and 32% from three, while Oregon would’ve been project to go 49.5% from the floor total – 33.5% from three. Therefore, the three-point differential in variance from three is really only a difference in three points of variance from projection. Which means that if things played out similarly -aside from shooting percentage – we could project Oregon to win by five points, in Washington – based off the last meeting.
Other statistics less likely to deviate among subsequent matchups – such as free-throw attempts (17 to 17), and rebounding, which Oregon won by 10, would also point to an advantage for Oregon. It’s also important to note that Oregon only shot 53% from the line in this game, 18% below their 71% season average, while Washington shot 71% – two percent above their average.
Therefore, if we take what happened statistically between these teams to be the best indicator of what could happen tonight, then Oregon winning by an even greater margin than the last meeting, in Washington, is the most likely outcome.
Oregon is 14-8 ATS as a favorite
Oregon is 12-9 ATS in-conference
Washington is 13-7 ATS in-conference
Washington is 5-3 ATS as an underdog
Early action has been all over the Ducks, and the market has responded with a 1.5-point move in favor of the ducks across the board. Bookmaker is the one major off-shore to be juicing the Ducks to -115 at this number, while Pinnacle is the sole book reducing both sides, but Oregon by two cents more (-109/-107)
Lean: Oregon – 1.5 -110
Season long statistics predict a one-point win for the Huskies in actuality, but it’s too difficult to ignore how well Oregon is playing right now, and what they did in Washington just seven days ago.
This is about as even of a matchup as you’ll find: Oregon Offense (117th), Washington Offense (110th), Oregon Defense (18th), Washington Defense (19th); and in a situation such as this, I’m going to look to coaching for the edge, and Oregon certainly has that edge.
Dana Altman has 17 years of experience on Mike Hopkins (2nd year), and the following NCAA Tournament runs on his resume: Final Four (2017), Elite Eight (2016), and Sweet Sixteen (2013). I trust Altman more in this situation, for he’s shown in recent years to have his teams ready to play in big games.