Oregon vs. Washington preview: Ducks look to seal at-large bid

USA TODAY Sports

Oregon and Washington will do battle on the boards, with the Ducks looking to ensure a bid to the NCAA Tournament while the Huskies try to knock off their second rival in as many games.

Oregon looks to cement their place in the NCAA Tournament with a win over Washington in a second-round Pac-12 Tournament matchup on Thursday.

For the second straight game, Washington (18-4, 9-9 Pac-12) takes on a rival. They were up 15 against Washington State in the 6-11 matchup, but blew the lead after going eight minutes without a field goal. The Huskies won, 64-62, but now they face a much better squad in Oregon.

This game could be won and lost on the boards. Oregon (23-8, 12-6 boasts one of the best rebounders in the conference — if not the country — in Arsalan Kazemi, who pulls down 9.6 boards a game. He specializes on the defensive glass, with the No. 3 defensive rebound rate in the nation, grabbing 28.4 percent of his opponents' misses while he's on the floor. Meanwhile, Washington is the No. 20 offensive rebounding team in the country, with Aziz N'Diaye averaging 9.3 boards per game, 3.4 on the offensive glass.

The Ducks took both games in the regular season matchup, with E.J. Singler putting up 18 in a 81-76 win and freshman Johnathan Loyd scoring a then-career high 11 points — all in the second half — in a 65-52 win.

The winner faces the winner of Cal-Utah in the quarterfinals.

More in College Basketball:

Bracketology: Selection Sunday week is here

The life and death of Earl Badu

Dagger! Watch Illinois win at the buzzer

Full coverage of the Big East tournament

Full coverage of the Big Ten tournament

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