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Oregon’s cold streaks could be the reason Virginia wins

Long stretches with little scoring have been a problem for the Ducks in recent games

Oklahoma v Virginia Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Every person who has ever played basketball will tell you basketball is a “game of runs.” One team will get a little cold shooting while the other team might make a few in a row and the game either gets out of hand or gets a little tighter.

As Virginia Cavaliers’ fans, we’ve seen it. After jumping out to a 7-0 lead on the Oklahoma Sooners in the round of 32, Virginia missed a few shots while Oklahoma made a few and actually took a 13-9 lead before the Hoos took control and led the rest of the game.

Gardner-Webb obviously could not miss before the Virginia defense took over and put the Runnin’ Bulldogs on their skates and the Cavaliers ran away with the game.

The Oregon Ducks, however, come in as winners of ten straight, and most of those ten have been blowouts. They are a different team than most of the stats you are hearing because those stats include the terrible play they put forth to start 15-12. Accordingly, most pundits are saying it should be closer than Kenpom, et al are predicting. Makes sense.

Looking a little closer at Oregon’s last five games can give UVa fans a reason to breathe. Oregon is a good team, no doubt about it, but they often go long stretches of game without putting up a ton of points. Whether that be streaky shooting or defensive lockdowns by the opponents, Oregon is susceptible.

Below is a breakdown of their longest streaks of scoring only ten points (or tenth point in the made basket) over the last five games:

Oregon cold streaks in recent games

Opponent Start (Pts-Time) End (Pts-Time) Length
Opponent Start (Pts-Time) End (Pts-Time) Length
UC Irvine 35-1:36 (1st) 46 - 9:58 (2nd) 11:38
Wisconsin 18-9:22 (1st) 28-18:18 (2nd) 11:04
Washington 30-19:08 (2nd) 42-11:25 (2nd) 7:43
Arizona St 33-1:55 (1st) 43-12:03 (2nd) 9:52
Utah 14-8:40 (1st) 24-17:29 (2nd) 11:11

As you can see, in four of the five games, it took Oregon nearly ten minutes to score ten points, and in three of the four, more than eleven minutes.

Against UC Irvine, in the last round, that 11:38 drought allowed Irvine to crawl back into the game with a 16-0 run to actually take a 37-35 lead. Oregon would eventually pull away from the Anteaters, but the run was there.

UVa is the best defensive and offensive team Oregon will have seen all season. Yes, UVa is prone to cold streaks, but they don’t typically allow teams to go on massive runs before De’Andre Hunter makes a jumper to grab some momentum.

But on the other hand, if Oregon was prone to these streaks against lesser defenses, Virginia’s defense could magnify these cold streaks even further allowing the Hoos to run away and hide into the Elite Eight.