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Husky Men's Basketball

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January 14, 2009 at 9:49 PM

Oregon — Keys to the game

A reader suggested last week I do a little look ahead at each opponent, noting that it can be hard to keep up with even the Pac-10 teams at times.
It’s a good idea, so I’ll try to do it, starting off today with Oregon. UW plays the Ducks tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Mac Court in a game not on TV (search down in the blog for an explanation of that).
Here are five keys to tomorrow’s game (and I may change up how I do this each time but this seemed to fit for this entry):
1, Three-point shooting — Statistically, Oregon doesn’t do much of anything well, befitting a team with the worst record in the Pac-10. But Oregon’s best chance to win this game is from the three-point line. Oregon has taken more three-pointers than any other team in the conference (336). It’s made 119, the second-most, for a percentage of 35.4 that ranks sixth. Outside shooting teams are always streaky and Oregon is no exception — the Ducks were 9-39 in losing two games in Arizona last weekend, but 8-18 in staying close with UCLA the game before that, and beat Kansas State largely on the strength of 9-20 shooting from beyond the arc. Statistically, UW is one of the worst teams in the league defending the three (ninth at 35.2 percent) but the Huskies did a pretty good job on Cal last Saturday.
2, Rebounding — This is a matchup of the best rebounding team in the Pac-10 — UW at plus-11 — and the worst — Oregon at minus-4.1. UW was outrebounded against Cal, however, something the players have likely heard a lot about in practice this week. UW could feast on second-chance points in this game.
3, Tajaun Porter — The junior guard is the streakiest Oregon player there is, scoring 24 against UCLA on Jan. 4, then getting just a combined five in the two games in Arizona, watching the second half of Saturday’s loss to ASU on the bench. But he says he’s gotten everything cleared up and is ready to go against the Huskies. He figures to be highly-motivated to prove himself anew to his home crowd.
4, Free throws — Despite being such a dangerous outside shooting team, Oregon only makes 68.8 percent of its free throws, good for eighth in the Pac-10, with UW ninth at 64.6. Freshman center Michael Dunigan is one of the worst culprits at 34-63, 54 percent. Another freshman big man, Josh Crittle, is 4-16. Porter, however is 52-56, second in the conference at 92.9, so if it’s close at the end, the Ducks may have a slight edge there.
5, Experience — The biggest reason for Oregon’s cellar-dwelling start is its youth, a lineup of two juniors, a sophomore and two true freshmen trying to take over after the graduation of seniors such as Maarty Leunen, Malik Hairston and Bryce Taylor. Oregon has shown flashes, including a blowout of Alabama that UW coach Lorenzo Romar said made the Ducks “look like a Sweet 16 team.” That was part of a 3-1 start that momentarily caused some to think maybe Oregon wouldn’t dip too much. Instead, the Ducks have gone 3-9 since, though it hasn’t helped that the schedule has been a tough one, rated by RealTimeRPI as the fifth-hardest in the nation so far. Here’s a good detailing of Oregon’s struggles with youth so far this season. UW, meanwhile, has a pair of seniors in Jon Brockman and Justin Dentmon who played a key role in winning a game at Mac Court in 2006.
ALSO IN THE NEWS. …
— The Oregonian also has this story today on Brockman and the Huskies.

Comments | Topics: UCLA

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