For the Oregon Ducks, their assignment in moving ahead in the NCAA Tournament just got a little bit tougher, because they are missing the man who gave them a lot of strength on the inside. But they have to plow ahead anyway, and they might have an accommodating opponent in the first round, depending on how you look at it. The Iona Gaels come out of the New York area with guns blazing, and an offense that can hurt you whether it’s on the inside or the outside. But they haven’t been in with too many teams of Oregon’s caliber. Let’s correct that – they have been in with NO ONE like Oregon before, and that should have an impact on this game, which begins at 2 PM ET at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. TBS is carrying the game live, and VietBet customers will have the opportunity to place wagers even after the game tips off, through the facilities of Live Betting Ultra.
Oregon has been a highly-ranked team all season long, and with their 29-5 straight-up record, they are ninth in both major polls. They are the third seed in the Midwest region, but there is no question that it was quite a downer that they were not able to win the conference championship, as they lost the Pac 12 final to Arizona. They played that game without center Chris Boucher, one of the nation’s best shot-blockers, who was lost for the duration with a knee injury.
Iona has prevailed five straight seasons as the Metro Atlantic champion, and this year they had some drama, having to beat Siena in the final seconds of overtime to get here. Last year they lost to Iowa State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, and over the last three appearances they’ve had in the Big Dance, they have lost by an average of 14.7 points.
That kind of puts them near the number that has been established at VietBet for this game:
NCAA Tournament Picks – Iona Gaels vs. Oregon Ducks Betting Line:
As far as the NCAA Tournament betting odds at VietBet are concerned, Oregon is a heavy favorite in Round 1:
Oregon Ducks -15
Iona Gaels +15
Over 152 points -110
Under 152 points -110
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Iona has not won a game in this tournament since 1980, when they were coached by a guy named Jim Valvano. That year they reached 19th in the nation, with a victory over defending national champion Louisville. But to be perfectly honest, they were not very high expectations of this year’s squad, and even as they came into the conference tournament, they were not a high seed. Nonetheless, they have won 20 or more games for seven straight seasons, and they also have a victory over tournament-bound Nevada on their resume. It should be mentioned that they also lost by 21 points when moving up in class against Florida State. That might be a pretty decent barometer as to what they are going to do in this one.
VietBet patrons might be wondering what Oregon is going to do, now that they have lost a lot of their inside presence. But the truth of the matter is, they have plenty of talent to put out there on the floor. Let’s remember that Dillon Brooks, the 6-7 forward, is one of the better players in the country, averaging 16 points and 2.9 assists per game, he also takes one third of this team’s shots. If you can stop him, you’ve got one of the keys to victory. But Iona doesn’t have a guy who can match up with him. Plus, there are some pretty sharp shooters the Ducks have playing around Brooks – Tyler Dorsey, Dylan Ennis and Jordan Bell are all averaging in double figures, and all of them hit at least 38% of their three-pointers. Then there is rapidly-developing point guard Payton Prichard, who came up with some big moments toward the end of the season. He was highly recruited and has impressed everybody as a freshman. While it is true that Jordan Washington, Iona’s top player, is a force to be reckoned with inside, averaging 17.9 points on 55% shooting, the Ducks might just let him get his share of chances while shutting down the outside game. Remember the Oregon allows just 31.1% from beyond the arc, so they have the ability to stop what Iona wants to do with its other four starters.
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