College Basketball NIT Odds & Picks for Oregon vs. Utah State: No Richardson & Elevation Play Factor

College Basketball NIT Odds & Picks for Oregon vs. Utah State: No Richardson & Elevation Play Factor article feature image

Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

  • Utah State hosts Oregon in an NIT first-round battle.
  • Dana Altman's squad is without Will Richardson and N'Faly Dante, as both players didn't travel with the team.
  • Our staff breaks down this matchup and offers up a best bet.

Oregon vs. Utah State Odds

Tuesday, March 15
9 p.m. ET
Oregon Odds
-110o / -110u
Utah State Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

By Collin Wilson

At the beginning of February, Oregon and Utah State were well on their way to making the NCAA Tournament.

The Ducks would lose seven of their final 10 games, while the Aggies fell in five of their final seven in regular-season play.

Both teams managed a win in their respective conference tournaments, but it was not enough for two rosters that were high on experience entering the season.

Now, both squads have a healthy number of seniors who must rise to win an NIT title after missing out on the Big Dance.

Utah State received a 4-seed and will play host at Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, where KenPom gives a 4.1-point home-court advantage. Logan, Utah sits at one of the highest elevations of all college football and basketball cities at just over 4,500 feet.

Oregon will not only look to cover, but win the game outright to extend the season. This Ducks team completed just a 12-21 against-the-spread mark this season, covering just one of its last six road games.

Although Dana Altman is one of the best coaches in college basketball, this may take one of his best jobs to get out of Logan with a victory.

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Oregon Ducks

By Charlie DiSturco

**Author's Note: Oregon announced that star guard Will Richardson and center N'Faly Dante will both not travel for the team's NIT bout against Utah State. While Richardson was expected to miss the postseason matchup, Dante's news comes as a surprise.

The 6-foot-11 big man has been one of the best rim protectors in the Pac-12 and is top five in rebounding rate during conference play. His loss should not be understated, as the Ducks are now left without their primary scorer and best enforcer in the interior.**

A roller-coaster season for Altman’s Ducks has resulted in an NIT berth. This was a team with high expectations entering the year, littered with talented transfers and star senior Will Richardson.

But things took a turn for the worse in mid-February, with Oregon losing seven of its last 10. Richardson missed the Pac-12 Tournament with a non-COVID related illness, and the Ducks were bounced in the second round by Colorado.

In Richardson’s three-game absence to end the season, all playmaking duties fell on Rutgers grad transfer Jacob Young. And to his credit, he played better than one could ask for, averaging 20.6 points, 7.3 assists and two steals per game.

The Ducks are an athletic bunch and are best when out in transition. If they’re slowed down, however, their offense struggles. Oregon ranks 217th in half-court offense, per ShotQuality, and is an isolation-reliant team.

Defensively, the Ducks struggle to defend in transition and in the mid-range. They also struggle with second-chance opportunities, especially when rim protector and big man N’Faly Dante isn’t on the floor.

Dante, the 6-foot-11 center out of Mali, ranks second in the conference in defensive rebounding rate and eighth in block percentage. He’s extremely efficient when on the floor — putting up 8.0 points and 6.1 rebounds per game — but only plays for an average of 19.9 minutes.

Oregon has a Jekyll-and-Hyde makeup. You never know if you’ll get the Ducks team that beat UCLA and USC in back-to-back games, or the Ducks team that lost to Pac-12 bottom-feeders like California and Washington.

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Utah State Aggies

By Keg

Utah State finished the season just 18-15, but it’s not a team that should be overlooked. The Aggies finished seventh in the Mountain West, a conference that was incredibly stacked this year and sent more teams to the NCAA Tournament than the Pac-12 and AAC.

Utah State had convincing wins against three different teams that made the NCAA Tournament — Richmond, San Diego State and New Mexico State. The Aggies also beat Oklahoma earlier this year, a team that is a No. 1 seed in the NIT.

The Aggies faced two opponents that Oregon squared off with (Saint Mary’s and BYU), as well. And while both the Aggies and the Ducks lost those games, Utah State performed considerably better.

Despite finishing seventh in the standings, the Aggies were the best team in the Mountain West in effective field goal percentage and 2-point shooting percentage against conference opponents. They also ranked eighth in all of college basketball on 2-point shots (56.6%), and were the third-highest scoring offense in the Mountain West.

On the defensive end, Utah State didn’t struggle, but it was not among the top ranks in the Mountain West, which includes some of the best defensive teams in the nation.

The Aggies limited opposing teams to just 66.5 points per contest and have been particularly great when it comes to securing defensive rebounds.

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Oregon vs. Utah State Betting Pick

By Collin Wilson

The Ducks have dealt with injuries all season and now head to Utah State with Richardson’s status unknown. Richardson was not a part of Oregon’s last three games, leaving Altman to backfill with a squad that ranks 278th in bench minutes.

The results have been subpar on the offensive side of the ball, with the Ducks shooting just 34% in their latest loss to Colorado. Those numbers should continue to sink in the high elevation of Logan.

Utah State has been one of the better shooting teams in the Mountain West, finishing 24th nationally in effective field goal percentage. The Aggies' offense is based on cuts on the interior and finishing at the rim, both areas the Ducks have excelled in on the defensive end of the floor.

Altman runs a multiple defensive scheme that can switch depending on the offensive style of the opponent.

While the level of interest from both squads is an impossible task to handicap, most games in Logan go under the total. Only five games from Dee Glen Smith went over the closing total.

The absence of Richardson and the elevation is built into the opener of 144, but expect that number to move south closer to tip.

Pick: Under 144 (Play to 143)

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