Arizona trounced Oregon in last year's Pac-12 title game to complete a three-game sweep in the season series by 80 points. But what the Ducks did last month in Tucson was about as memorable.
Barring a matchup in the NCAA Tournament, they'll only meet twice this year, and the eighth-ranked Ducks will gladly take the two-game sweep of No. 15 Arizona on Friday night in Las Vegas by any margin to earn a trip back to the championship game.
Regular-season champion Oregon (26-6) reached the semifinals with Thursday's 83-77 victory over eighth-seeded Washington, marking its third six-game winning streak of the season, though the latest has all come against unranked opponents. The Ducks' last test against the Top 25 came 12 games ago, and saying it worked out OK is an understatement.
Oregon's 83-75 win over then-No. 18 Arizona on Jan. 28 ended the Wildcats' 49-game home winning streak. Now a 6 1/2-hour drive from Tucson with Arizona conveniently going on spring break after Friday classes, the Ducks expect a similar environment.
"It will be a difficult task," said coach Dana Altman, whose team is 3-0 against the Top 25. "They're very well coached. They're very talented. But our guys, we did a good job when we went down there. I did tell them ... we'll only have 12,000 fans this time instead of 15, 16. So it's going to be a tough one."
In that game, the Ducks set a season low with six turnovers, but that was an issue early against the Huskies. They finished with 14 for the game and have averaged 13.8 in the last four after averaging 11.5 in their first 28.
Oregon, though, outrebounded Washington 46-33 with a 17-8 advantage on the offensive glass.
"We had bad turnovers today. We didn't make very good decisions. We'll have to clean that up," Altman said. "But our effort on the boards, I think, was the difference in the game. We were able to make just enough plays to get by."
Chris Boucher had 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Elgin Cook matched his fellow forward's scoring effort. On the winning streak, Cook has averaged 19.3 points.
Against Arizona, it was Dillon Brooks leading the way with 24 points, but Oregon's top scorer has been limited to 11.0 points on 34.3 percent shooting with 11 turnovers in the last three games.
Arizona (25-7) has reached the conference title game the last two seasons but hasn't won consecutive tournaments since taking four straight from 1988-90 and 2002 with the conference going away from a postseason format between the last two.
The fourth-seeded Wildcats saw that home winning streak come to an end despite shooting 61.0 percent against Oregon and winning the rebounding battle 29-21. It was 19 turnovers that did them in. Ryan Anderson had 22 points on 8-of-9 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Arizona reached the semis with Thursday's 82-78 win over Colorado for its third straight victory following a two-game skid, but coach Sean Miller wasn't impressed after the Wildcats were outscored 58-45 in the second half.
"I guess if you're the coach, you can look at it this way: Hey, everything's fine. We're in the semifinals against Oregon. Awesome job. We advanced. A lot of teams would have loved to," Miller said. "Or you can really say our effort level is as bad as I've ever seen in the last 20 minutes. I choose to focus on the second one."
Allonzo Trier overcame a two-game shooting slump to scored 23, hitting 3 of 4 from 3-point range to help pace Arizona's 47.5 percent mark from deep on the winning streak. He missed the loss to Oregon, which Miller noted.
"Allonzo did not play against them last time and he's available this time," Miller said. "But Oregon, they spread you out offensively and they have a very high skill level. They put their players in a position to be successful driving, shooting, seem to always be able to pick on the mismatch."
Backcourt mate Gabe York has also been a big part of the recent success from outside, hitting 13 of 25 and averaging 22.0 points.