Colorado at Oregon - Preview, Selection, Odds

Game: Colorado @ Oregon (-4.5)

Sharp: Dave Miller

Selection: Colorado (+4.5)

No. 16 Colorado (19-5, 8-3 Pac-12) will battle No. 17 Oregon (18-6, 7-4) at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene on Thursday night in what is the Pac-12's game of the week. The Ducks will be looking to split the season series after dropping a 74-65 decision to the Buffaloes in Boulder on January 2.

The first-place Buffaloes lead the league for the first time since 2012 and have their highest ranking since 2014. Meanwhile, the Ducks slipped to No. 25 in the NET rankings following their loss to Oregon State, and Thursday's nationally televised game has major implications when it comes to the Pac-12 regular-season title, the conference tournament and NCAA Tournament seeding. Oregon has been ranked 15 straight weeks in the AP Top 25 poll, but it has dropped back to back games.

All eyes will be on the point guard matchup between Colorado's McKinley Wright IV and Oregon's Payton Pritchard, who are both on the Bob Cousy Award watch list. In the team's meeting just after the New Year, Wright IV scored a team-high 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting, adding eight assists and five rebounds. He is averaging a team-best 13.8 points per game, along with 5.2 rebounds and 5.2 assists per contest.

His counterpart, Pritchard, is averaging 19.5 points, 6.0 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game. He made his 133rd consecutive start in the loss to the Beavers, breaking the school record he shared with E.J. Singler. The Ducks will still be without N'Faly Dante, the 6-foot-11 freshman who twisted his knee in the team's overtime win at Washington in mid-January. But they will have energetic sophomore center Francis Okoro, who went home to Nigeria last week for his father's funeral.

We'll see if the Buffaloes emerge as the clear front-runner in the conference or if the race gets even more cramped after this matchup. Neither team was great from beyond the arc in the first meeting, but the Buffs did make seven treys compared to the Ducks' three. Whichever team has better success from long range could come out on top once again.

Colorado has the most efficient offense in conference play, but Oregon is the league's best at forcing turnovers. The Ducks have also won their last 12 home games, outscoring opponents on average 83.4-65.1, and they have defeated the Buffs at home four straight times.

Ducks head coach Dana Altman has 663 career victories, which puts him just one behind UCLA's John Wooden. Expect the senior Pritchard to bounce back from his 7-of-21 shooting effort against the Beavers and keep his team unbeaten at home this season. But the Buffs at +4.5 offer good value.

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