One week ago, Arizona survived a thrilling game against Colorado, when controversy kicked in at the end of regulation. Two days later, they survived at home again, this time defeating Utah by one possession.
Close calls and nail-biters aside, the Wildcats have taken care of business and, for the time being, remain on the nation’s final three undefeated squads.
On Thursday night however, a true test looms for the ‘Cats. A road trip to an intriguing 12-2 Oregon squad should provide even more excitement out west. This coming on the heels of an evening in which the Mountain West Conference stole the show late with quite a few fantastic finishes. From Boise State‘s buzzer beating victory to Jamaal Franklin’s off the glass alley-oop, west coast hoops provided quite the amount of late night thrills.
A triple overtime loss to UTEP and a late November defeat at the hands of Cincinnati are the only blemishes on the resume for the Ducks so far, but as the Pac-12 Conference looks to prove its worth aside from Arizona and a surging UCLA squad, the Ducks must look at Thursday’s contest as pivotal must-win situation.
It very well could be the only time this season that a top five opponent comes to Eugene, and although Arizona may have the advantage heading into the contest, this is college basketball and upsets are more than just a common thread.
The key to victory for the Ducks may very well lie in the hands of their big men. Tony Woods is second on the team, averaging 10.8 points per game, while Arsalan Kazemi is pulling down 9.8 rebounds per contest. An established low post game should certainly be amongst Oregon’s top priority out of the gate on Thursday night.
On Wednesday, college basketball fans saw Wyoming fall from the ranks of the undefeated, will Arizona be the next to fall? Or, will the Wildcats continue to prove their worth as a legit national contender and move to 3-0 in conference play?
Paul Seaver is the College Basketball Network Manager at Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS