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Scouting report: Oregon
Game info: 4 p.m. Saturday at Matthew Knight Arena (12,369 capacity).
TV: Pac-12 Networks (Rich Cellini and Ernie Kent).
Radio: KJR 950 AM and 102.9 FM (Bob Rondeau and Jason Hamilton).
Coach: Dana Altman is 62-30 in his third season with the Ducks, 472-273 (.633) as a Division I head coach and 595-297 overall. Prior to joining Oregon on April 26, 2010, he spent 16 seasons at Creighton where he became the school’s all-time winningest coach with a record
of 327-176 (.650). He led the Blue Jays to 13 consecutive postseason appearances and 11 straight seasons with 20-plus wins. In four seasons (1990-94) at Kansas State, Altman amassed a 68-54 (.557) record. He also had a 15-13 (.536) record in one season (1989-90) at Marshall.
Prediction: Picked to finish seventh in a preseason poll in the Pac-12 by media who cover the conference.
Series: Washington leads 185-105 in a series that began in 1904. Saturday’s game is the 292nd meeting between the teams, tying it with the UW-Oregon State rivalry as the second oldest series in the Pac-12. The Huskies have won 13 of the last 19 games. UW coach Lorenzo Romar is 15-8 against Oregon, including a 2-7 record in Eugene, Ore. Altman is 2-4 against the Huskies.
Last meeting: Behind a dominating effort from Terrence Ross, who scored a game-high 24 points, Tony Wroten Jr. (22) and C.J. Wilcox (17), Washington beat Oregon 90-86 in the NIT semifinals at Edmundson Pavilion. The win punched the Huskies’ ticket to New York and the NIT semifinals.
Previous game: Beat Washington State 68-61 at Matt Arena on Wednesday.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
— Senior E.J. Singler (right) is the face of the Oregon men’s basketball team. It’s debatable whether he’s the Ducks best most talented player, but he’s the longest tenured, most decorated and its leader. You can also make a strong argument the 6-6 forward is Oregon’s best player considering his many roles.
He’s often given the task to defend the opposing teams best wing player. He held UCLA star freshman Shabazz Muhammad to 10 points and limited Arizona State’s Carrick Felix to 12.
Singler also knows when to take over games. On Wednesday against WSU, he scored 14 of his game-high tying 19 points in the second half when Oregon pulled away with the win.
In three games against Washington last seaosn, Singler scored 20, 13 and 19 points respectively.
Oddly enough, his offensive production has decreased this season. He’s averaging fewer points (10.8 from 13.6) and accuracy on field goals (.398 from .467), three-pointers (.357 from 368) and free throws (.831 from .909) has decreased. His season scoring high is 22 points.
Still Singler’s legacy is measured in wins. He needs four victories to pass Freddy Jones and Joevan Catron (80) and set the school record for most wins in school history.
Singler also has a 114-game streak of consecutive starts. He’s played in every game since his freshman season. His brother Kyle starred at Duke and plays for the Detroit Pistons.
— Damyean Dotson doesn’t get the publicity as the Pac-12’s other prominent freshmen. Heck, he wasn’t even the most touted Oregon recruit in the 2012 class. But the 6-5 freshman guard from Houston has provided stellar play in his first year. He’s averaging a team-high 11.9 points and has led Oregon in scoring seven times, which is the most of anyone on the team. His personal best is 21 points.
— Senior center Tony Woods does a nice job running the court and finishing plays with powerful dunks. The 6-11 transfer from Wake Forest, is one of two returning starters. He’s increased his scoring average (11.1 from 6.8) and minutes (21.7 from 17.9). Surprisingly, Woods has never been much of a rebounder. He averages just 3.6 boards. However, he’s a gifted shot blocker. He has 75 blocks in his two-year UO career, which is tied for third on the school’s all-time list.
— Point guard Dominic Artis, who is considered one of the Pac-12’s promising freshmen, will not play due to a foot injury, according to the Register-Guard. He’ll be replaced by junior Jonathan Loyd. Artis had started every game. He’s averaging 10.2 points and a team-high 3.8 assists. Loyd started 27 games his first two seasons at Oregon. This season he’s averaging 2.8 points and 2.2 rebounds as a backup.
— Washington’s last trip to Matt Arena was a disaster. The team bus was delayed due to a traffic accident and the team arrived later than normal. The delay was the least of the Huskies’ problem. They trailed by 10 points in the opening minutes and never recovered during the embarrassing 82-57 defeat. It was UW’s worst loss of the season.
—The brilliance of Oregon is its depth and balance. Nine players average at least 16 minutes and there’s not a major decline in talent from 1-9. It’s not as if UO’s reserves would start on other teams. More to the point, they backups play with the same energy and skill set as the starters. It gives Altman several options on the bench and wears down opponents.
— The Ducks other major strengths are its versatility. Few teams play as many defenses as Oregon, which uses a full-court press, sideline trap, varying zone schemes and man-to-man defense. Preparing for the Ducks is a grind because you have to practice against multiple looks. It’s even more difficult in games because you have to recognize what’s coming at you, then figure out a way to score against that defense.
— Oregon ranks third in the Pac-12 allowing opponents an average of 62.3 points. The Ducks have held six teams to 50 points or fewer. Only five opponents have scored more than 70 against UO.
— Altman is considered the best Xs and Os coach in the Pac-12, according to poll of ESPN contributors. He finished seventh on a top 10 list.
— Perhaps most amazing about Oregon’s season is most believed the Ducks were due for a breakout next season. They were hit with mass defections last season. Three freshmen left the program. Three of the top four scorers graduated, including a senior backcourt. Only two starters and six letterwinners returned. Oregon brought in six freshmen and three transfers. Somehow Altman quickly molded them into a cohesive unit.
— Senior forward Arslan Kazemi, a 23-year-old from Iran, is the unsung hero. The transfer from Rice leads Oregon in rebounding average (9.5) and steals (2.2). He’s tough and crafty. Kazemi has extensive playing international basketball. He’s been a captain for several Iran national teams since he was 17.
— Senior forward Carlos Emory is the top reserve, who averages 10.2 points and 4.5 rebounds. He’s started five games this season.
— The Ducks have won 19 consecutive games at Matt Arena. They won six straight to end the 2011-12 campaign and have won their first 13 in 2012-13. The 19-game streak ranks third in Oregon history and is the sixth longest active streak in the nation.
— Oregon also has an eight-game winning streak, which is its longest since a nine-game run Feb. 22-March 23, 2007. The Ducks have outscored opponents by an average of 11.5 points during its current win streak, including victories over then-No. 4 Arizona and then-No. 24 UCLA.
— Oregon has used six starting lineups. The group (below) is 6-2.
C – Tony Woods, 6-11, 243, Sr. 11.1 ppg., 3.6 rpg., 1.3 bpg.
F – Arslan Kazemi, 6-7, 226, Sr., 8.8, 9.5, 2.2 spg.
F – E.J. Singler, 6-6, 215, Sr., 10.8, 5.0, 3.2 apg.
G – Damyean Dotson, 6-5, 202, Fr., 11.9, 4.1,1.1
G – Dominic Artis, 6-1, 185, Fr., 10.2, 2.5, 3.8
— There’s several intriguing battles Saturday. Washington 7-foot center Aziz N’Diaye will face a stiff challenge against Woods. Both run the floor well for big men and they’re true low-post guys. Neither has attempted a three-pointer in their college careers.
Keep your eye on Desmond Simmons-Kazemi matchup. Neither are overly athletic and their best attributes are an ability to hustle and work hard. But it could be a long day for the UW sophomore against the savvy veteran.
I’m guessing the Wilcox-Singler pairing will be highly entertaining. Singler is fiery and emotional while Wilcox is cool and calculated. Expect Singler to try and ruffle Wilcox. Washington needs Wilcox’s offensive production more than Oregon needs points from Singler.