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Husky Men's Basketball

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February 15, 2006 at 10:36 PM

Gameday meanderings

I’m getting in the car Thursday morning and driving to Oregon for the games against the Ducks and Beavers — which is actually one of my favorite activities of the year — so this is going to suffice for the usual gameday preview we’ve tried to do here on the blog all season.
Here, then, a few things to look for Thursday night.
• I’m very curious to see the mood at Mac Court with all of the rumors swirling about Oregon coach Ernie Kent. Here’s a link to a recent column in the Eugene Register-Guard that is a good wrap-up of all that is going on regarding Kent.
Oregon appears to be reeling, but the Ducks won Saturday at Arizona State in a game that looked like one they might easily lose, given the heartbreaking loss at Arizona on Thursday, so there does appear to still be some life left there. And having UW in town usually creates an electric atmosphere at Mac Court.
• I wrote a little bit about Kent’s situation for the preview story in Thursday’s paper and on-line. Interesting that Kent’s biggest season was 2002, when the Ducks advanced to the Elite Eight. Also in the Elite Eight that year was Missouri with Quin Snyder — who recently resigned or was fired, depending on who you believe — and advancing all the way to the title game that season was Indiana and Mike Davis, who also figures to be out at the end of this season.
• As for the UW-Oregon game, it could be high scoring if history is any judge. The winning team has averaged 90 points in the last four games between the two at Mac Court. UW won 95-88 there last year in overtime. That game also featured a combined 67 fouls, including a school-record 36 on UW.
• Oregon looks a little different now than it did last month in Seattle. Shooting guard Bryce Taylor is out with a hyperextended knee and in his place is Chamberlain Oguchi. Oguchi played just 11 minutes against UW here, with just five points, but has been hot lately, hitting 12 3-pointers in the games at Arizona and Arizona State last weekend. He has scored 20 or more points in three of Oregon’s last five games.
• The Ducks have been terrible in close games this year, going 2-5 in games decided by five points or less, and 4-10 in games decided by 10 or less.
• The two players who really scare UW are Aaron Brooks — who everyone on the team and coaching staff knows well from his Seattle days — and Malik Hairston. Romar said Hairston is a player “who on any given night can go out and dominate a game.”
Hairston is Oregon’s leading scorer at 14.6 per game and scores 62 percent of his points in the second half.
• Kent says Oregon’s biggest problem is shooting. Here are some number comparisons of UW and Oregon
that bear that out:
Field goal percentage — UW 47 percent, Oregon 45 percent.
3-point percentage — UW 34 percent, Oregon 33 percent.
Free throw percentage — UW 73 percent, Oregon 66 percent.
Then throw in defensive field goal percentage: UW 42 percent, Oregon 44 percent.
And 3-point field goal percentage defense: UW 30.5, Oregon 35.8.
I’m not Bill James, but I’m sure all of that easily adds up to 5-6-7 points per game, which may be the difference between being 7-5 in Pac-10 play as UW is and 5-8 in Pac-10 play as Oregon is.
• UW will have the same lineup that started the last two games. But don’t be surprised if Jamaal Williams has a big game — he had one of his best games against the Ducks in Seattle last month with 20 points.

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