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We’ve seen scrimmages, exhibitions, and 2K Sports Classic games throughout the past month, but today just FEELS like the start of college basketball. There is a full slate of games across the nation, including seven Pac-12 affairs. Washington and Oregon State will get their regular season started tomorrow, while Utah and Washington State will wait until Monday night. Arizona is already 2-0 on the season and will play again Sunday afternoon.
Oregon @ #7 Vanderbilt – 7:00 PM PST on Fox Sports South (***)
The Pac-12 game of the weekend will take place in Nashville tonight, where the up-and-coming Ducks will take on national power Vanderbilt. Oregon has caught some breaks in the past weeks in their quest for an upset, mainly with starting VU center Festus Ezeli out due to a suspension/injury. That means Vandy will rely on Jeffrey Taylor to do the scoring down low. UO big men Tyrone Nared and Tony Woods will be charged with handling Taylor on defense. In the backcourt, the Commodores are led by junior shooting guard John Jenkins. Jenkins averaged 19.5 PPG last year and will be held down by double-teams from Jabari Brown and Garrett Sim. Those doubles will leave players like Dai-Jon Parker and Brad Tinsley open, so if those two are able to knock down their open shots the Commodores will win easily.
If the aforementioned Duck players (Nared, Woods, Brown, and Sim) all step up, Oregon should keep this one close for the first half and some of the second. But with a hostile crowd right on top of them and all of the size and talent that the Commodores bring in, I can’t see Oregon pulling this upset. Read the rest of this entry »