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Oregon vs. Oklahoma State, Colorado State vs. Missouri Game Previews

5 Oklahoma State vs. 12 Oregon, 4:40 PM ET

Marcus Smart
The disrespected Oregon Ducks (26-8, 12-6 Pac 12) take on an Oklahoma State team with a fantastic freshman in Marcus Smart. Smart has proved he can score anytime he touches the ball and also is a great passer. That should be key against an Oregon team that plays aggressive defense. Not only do the Cowboys possess Smart who does everything on the floor, they have a load of other scoring threats including deadeye shooter Phil Forte, Michael Cobbins and improving sophomore Le'Bryan Nash. Oregon, meanwhile looks to turn their season with point guard Dominic Artis, who has struggled with injuries this year. Artis is the key to the Ducks' offensive success as his speed is important in transition, his smarts are key late in games and his shooting is very big. The Ducks advantage, though, lies in the paint. Oregon has strong Tony Woods to snatch rebounds and score and Arsalan Kazemi has shown he can make big contributions to the team. With very little low post presences to speak of it could end up being Oklahoma State's downfall. This one should be a end to end game as both teams appear pretty evenly matched. The key will be how Smart and the rest of an inexperienced Cowboys' squad performs on the big stage of the NCAA tournament. If the Big 12 Player of the Year plays the way he has all season the Cowboys walk away with the win.
Oklahoma State, 70 Oregon, 63

8 Colorado State vs. 9 Missouri, 9:20 PM ET
Phil Pressey
Colorado State returns to the NCAA tournament after being upset by Murray State in last year's second round. The Rams have relied heavily on center Colton Iverson, who is averaging 14.7 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. This year, Frank Haith's team finally has the size to deal with the dangerous Iverson after last year's stunning loss to Norfolk State in which Kyle O'Quinn carved them up down low. UConn transfer Alex Oriakhi needs to play the way he did when the Huskies went on their tournament run two years ago. He needs to play big and smart to lead these Tigers. Another key player for Mizzou is point guard Phil Pressey who has proven he can run the offense smoothly. He has also proven at the end of games he'll take crazy shots and commit too many turnovers. Haith needs Pressey to play under control and the rest of these Tigers to play good defense against a Colorado State squad with a lot of scoring threats in the backcourt including Wes Eikmeier who averages nearly 13 points a game. If the Rams out rebound the Tigers like they have against nearly every other opponent in could be a long game for Missouri no matter how many points Pressey, Oriakhi and Laurence Bowers (14.4 points per game) score against CSU's tough defense.
Colorado State, 66 Missouri, 58

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