Andy Behrens, Pete Thamel, and Preston Johnson break down the upcoming Sweet 16 matchup between the USC Trojans and the Oregon Ducks.
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ANDY BEHRENS: OK so the west undercard here is, is USC and Oregon. This guarantees that we're going to see at least one Pac 12 team move on to the Elite Eight. Again, the ducks could not miss against Iowa. A little bit of that was Iowa, a lot of it was just the ducks. It was a virtuoso stuff. Diwarte, again, was phenomenal. USC has mauled its two opponents so far. The Mobley's are completely rolling. What should we look for here, Pete?
PETE THAMEL: Well, again, if you want to use history is an indicator, these two teams played once in the regular season. And USC beat up Oregon pretty good. They, they dumped them 72 to 58 at the Galen center in Los Angeles. And it was an interesting game, because Will Richardson, who's the point guard who's kind of turned around Oregon' season by letting all the guys, sort of, settle into more natural positions, had maybe his worst game of the year.
He was two of eight from the field. He had one assist in 32 minutes. Now if you, Andy, as a scorned Iowa fan could see a singular Duck, never mind their dominant ball handler only having one assist. I think they had 25 or 26 assists in that game. It was an unbelievable number. They passed the ball beautifully and brilliantly.
Now, look. USC presents its own problems. Right? They have the Mobley brothers in the post. They have, I think, the highest black percentage by 10 palm of anyone in college basketball, or maybe it's best two point percentage. There are problems here. I am, I am still on team Duck, even though recent empirical evidence would probably try to scare me off otherwise. And I think that's why USC is a two and 1/2 point favorite. There's, there's a good aura of mystery going into this match-up, even though we've seen them play.
ANDY BEHRENS: But the records show that I still have an Iowa team that is moving on to the Sweet 16. Caitlin Clark is leading the, the women's squad up against a plucky UConn team. That's probably an easy win for us. Anyway, Preston, I feel like one of the most interesting things about this match up, from a betting perspective is-- you can correct me if I'm wrong-- I believe that both of these head coaches have unreeled against the spread records in the tournament.
PRESTON JOHNSON: I think if you go back to Dana Oltmanns, just, against the spread of record in the Pac 12 tournament, or in the Big Ten, since he took over at Oregon, I think they're now 82 and 40. Like, they just massively over perform. And it's against a market that, generally, is really efficient. You'll go on stretches for 20 games where you, you know, win 70% of them. But 122 games now? I mean, it's nuts.
Part of it this season for me, and why I thought that they had more upside than people were giving them credit for entering the tournament against Iowa, it was the fact that Will Richardson-- you mentioned him-- he didn't even play a single game till February 4th. Right? He comes in, he's a 40% three point shooter. He's dynamic. He, along with Duarte who shoots 43% from three, is going to be a future first round pick, I believe, in the NBA draft, which is a stacked NBA draft, by the way.
They're just so dynamic. Their ceiling increase so heavily just since February, when, generally, you're looking at a team, you know, in the culmination of all the data and all the games they've played over the course of the season. I get it. The entirety of the body of work, all that stuff. Look, you kind of had to throw it out for Oregon, just because they're so much better these last-- what is it-- six to seven weeks now.
And so with Dan Altman and the scheming defensively and everything, I'll say this. This was one this morning, and we're-- now this is Tuesday morning. And there was a sharp group that bet USC that I know that moved this to two and 1/2. And they influence the market pretty heavily. I disagree with it. I thought one was the perfect spread.
Just when I thought I'd be able to sit back and just root on Oregon and root for the Ducks to make a run, I think now you should be invested at plus two and 1/2, or maybe that's even seeds plus three. I think that's too high. I like what the Ducks can do. And potentially, I think they're one of the worst matchups for Gonzaga in this entire tournament, really, outside of Baylor. So there's a ton of potential here. I'm going to stick with the Ducks, and I think plus two and 1/2 now is getting a little bit out of hand.
ANDY BEHRENS: I really wish somebody would have informed me that the Ducks just never missed shots. That would have been good information for me to have.
PRESTON JOHNSON: Yes. That helps.
ANDY BEHRENS: It does help Preston. You came the closest. I wish I'd known that going in.