College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for BYU vs. Oregon: Are the Ducks the Play?
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- No. 12 Oregon faces off against BYU in the Phil Knight Invitational in Portland.
- The Ducks have already beaten SMU, while the Cougars have knocked off strong mid-major Cleveland State and San Diego State.
- Shane McNichol previews the game and offers up his top betting option.
BYU vs. Oregon Odds
The chatter around the Big 12’s acquisition of BYU, Cincinnati, UCF and Houston has centered around football, but the basketball world has to be eyeing the conference’s new look with some intrigue.
BYU, in particular, has built a very strong program. The Cougars have finished in the top 100 of KenPom’s rankings 16 years running and have been a top-20 team in each of head coach Mark Pope’s seasons at the helm.
In order to continue their rise as a program and fill the role of a power-conference club, the Cougars will need to win the big games on their schedule.
Well, Cougar fans, say hello to the Oregon Ducks.
The two teams will tip the Phil Knight Invitational in Portland, Oregon with their eyes on a crucial resume-building win. Two efficient offenses will clash and decide this pivotal non-conference matchup.
Few teams at the mid-major level returned a one-two punch as talented as BYU’s top two players.
Alex Barcello is a fifth-year senior and a former Arizona transfer. Last season, Barcello was First Team All-WCC and there’s no reason to believe he won’t repeat that feat this year. The shifty scoring guard would be a contender for WCC Player of the Year if Drew Timme wasn’t dazzling opponents up in Spokane.
Joining Barcello is Caleb Lohner, who was a do-everything freshman for the Cougars last season.
Lohner is a springy athlete, giving BYU a different element around the rim. He led the WCC in effective field goal percentage and was third in the conference in rebounding last season. His ability to pair with Barcello as a pick-and-roll partner makes the Cougars’ offense dangerous on every single possession.
Pope, now in his third year in Provo, is proving himself to be one of the nation’s best schemers.
The Cougars have ranked in the top 25 in offensive efficiency in both of his seasons at BYU. Early this season, that trend looks like it will continue. BYU survived a 4-of-18 shooting night from long range, but still managed to topple a very strong San Diego State team in the season’s first week.
The day last season ended, some Ducks fans likely thought 2021-22 would be a step backward. Superstar Chris Duarte was off to the NBA. Fellow double-digit scorers Eugene Omoruyi and LJ Figueroa were also headed out the door.
Head coach Dana Altman responded, hammering the transfer portal and bringing in three players who were major factors for other power conference teams.
De’Vion Harmon averaged 18 points per game and left the Sooners after Lon Kruger’s retirement. Quincy Guerrier had eight double-doubles for Syracuse last season. Jacob Young, now 24 years old and on his third school, comes to Eugene, where his brother Joe Young was Pac-12 Player of the Year in 2015.
Perhaps more important than any of the incoming talent, Will Richardson returns for the Ducks. After a sophomore season in which Richardson averaged 11 points per game and shot 47 percent from outside the arc, expectations were high.
An injury sidelined Richardson for the Ducks’ first 12 games, though. Once he came back and settled into the lineup, Richardson boosted Oregon’s ceiling. The Ducks went 13-3 in the games he played, advancing to the Sweet 16.
This year, Richardson has a real chance to make a leap. He’s already hot, making 8-of-13 attempts from long range in two games and averaging 19 points in those contests.
If he stays hot and the transfers can mesh by March, Oregon will challenge UCLA for the Pac-12 crown.
BYU vs. Oregon Betting Pick
This game will have massive NCAA Tournament implications for the winning side. Oregon can confirm its spot among the top teams in the nation with a convincing win. That will be worth its weight in gold when comparing quality wins and fighting for top seeds.
BYU, meanwhile, can put itself right on track for an at-large bid in March. Beating the Ducks won’t be easily, though. Altman is one of the nation’s sharpest basketball minds and will have his defense ready for Barcello.
The game may not be in Eugene, but don’t doubt that the Oregon faithful will be on hand and loudly supporting the Ducks in Portland. The better team, in a home-like atmosphere, is the pick.
If Richardson remains red-hot from outside the arc, the Ducks could win this game by double figures.
Pick: Oregon -4 (Bet to -6.5)