On Thursday night, the Virginia Cavaliers will face off against the Oregon Ducks in a Sweet 16 matchup. Virginia is a 1 seed and finished the season with a 31-3 record. Oregon is the only Sweet 16 team with a seed higher than 5. They are a 12 seed and finished the season with a 25-12 record and have now won 10 straight games.
Both Teams Coming Off Strong Performances
Oregon is coming off a 73-54 win over UC Irvine in their last game. The Ducks were up 12 at halftime, but UC Irvine scored the first 14 points of the 2nd half to take the lead. However, Oregon came back strong and ended up pulling away late for the easy win. Peyton Pritchard led the way with 18 points on 7 of 18 shooting to go with 4 rebounds and a team-high 7 assists. Louis King tallied 16 points on 5 of 10 shooting to go with 4 rebounds and an assist. Ehab Amin went 4 for 4 from 3-point range off the bench en route to a 12-point performance. Kenny Wooten led the team in rebounds with 8 to go with 11 points and 7 blocks.
Virginia is coming off a 63-51 win over Oklahoma in their 2nd round matchup. The Cavaliers had a comfortable lead for most of this game, and the result was never in doubt. Mamadi Diakite led the way with 14 points on 7 of 9 shooting to go with 9 rebounds. Ty Jerome scored 12 points on 5 of 10 shooting to go with 2 rebounds and 3 assists. Deandre Hunter tallied 10 points on 4 of 9 to go with 3 rebounds. Braxton Key tied Diakite for the team lead in rebounds with 9 to go with 9 points. Kyle Guy tied Jerome for the team lead in assists with 3 to go with just 4 points and 5 boards.
Pritchard Leads Oregon
Oregon is led by Peyton Pritchard, who is averaging 13 points a game to go with 3.8 rebounds and a team-high 4.6 assists. He is followed by freshman Louis King, who is averaging 12.9 points per game and is leading the team in rebounds with 5.4 per game. Paul White chips in 10.6 a game and is the only other Duck averaging double figures. Oregon took a huge blow early in the season when freshman star Bol Bol went down with an injury but have finally found their stride. They have been doing it with defense as Kenny Wooten is averaging 2.2 blocks a game and Ehab Amin brings a ton of energy off the bench. The Ducks are averaging just 70.5 points a game on 45% shooting.
Virginia is led by Deandre Hunter, who averages 15.2 points per game to go with 5 rebounds and 2 assists. He is followed by Kyle Guy, who scores 15.1 a game, and Ty Jerome, who adds 13 a game. Guy is shooting 43.9%, Hunter is shooting 44.6%, and Jerome shoots 40% from beyond the arc. Jerome is also the leading assister with 5.3 a game. Braxton Key leads the Cavaliers in rebounding with 5.5 a game and chips in 6.1 points per contest. Virginia has once again been one of the best defensive teams in the county, and the offense has been solid as well. Virginia is scoring 71.8 a game while shooting 47.8% from the floor.
Virginia comes in at -8.5. Although Oregon is hot, they have not faced a team anywhere near the caliber of Virginia on their streak. Virginia is a whole new animal, and they are out for blood after losing to a 16-seed last year. This will be a defensive slugfest as both teams are centered around defense. Virginia will be the better defensive team as they have been one of the best over the past few years. The Cavaliers are also the better team offensively. I see this one being a 15+ point victory as the Ducks will not be able to score themselves or stop Virginia on defense. Take Virginia -8.5.
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