Scouting report: No. 23 Oregon
Game info: 8:30 p.m. Thursday at MGM Grand Garden Arena (13,151 capacity).
TV: ESPNU (Ted Robinson and Bill Walton).
Radio: KJR 950 AM and 102.9 FM (Bob Rondeau and Jason Hamilton).
Coach: Dana Altman is 64-33 in his third season with the Ducks, 474-276 (.632) as a Division I head coach and 597-300 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 187-107 in a series that began in 1904. Tonight’s game will be the 294th meeting between the teams, the second longest rivalry in the Pac-12. The Huskies have won 13 of the last 20 games. UW coach Lorenzo Romar is 15-9 against Oregon, including 10-1 at Edmundson Pavilion. Altman is 3-4 against the Huskies.
Last meeting: Both teams met 19 days ago and Oregon won 81-76 on Jan. 29 at Matthew Knight Arena. The game was close until midway in the second half when the Ducks capitalized on Washington turnovers to spark a 7-0 run that gave them a 50-40 lead with less than 15 minutes left. The Huskies made a run at the end and closed to within four points thanks to 23 Oregon turnovers. UW had 21 TOs, which ruined an otherwise brilliant offensive display. The Huskies shot 51.9 percent from the field and made 8 of 12 (.667) three-pointers. Backup point guard Andrew Andrews scored a team-high 15 points to lead five Huskies in double-digit scoring.
Previous game: Snapped a three-game losing streak with a 73-64 comeback win over Utah at Matthew Knight Arena.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
— Senior forward Arslan Kazemi (far right), a 23-year-old from Iran who played three years at Rice, has been a problem for Washington in the past two games. He’s tough, smart and nasty.
Kazemi is a get-it-done type of a player. There’s not a lot of flash to his game. The 6-7, 226-pound forward is a tough inside and leads Oregon with a 9.6 rebounding average. He’s not dynamic or overly athletic. But he’s crafty on the defensive end where he averages 2.1 steals and savvy on the offensive side where he averages 9.3 points and 1.3 assists. And he’s gritty while often providing the hustle plays that don’t show up in the statistics.
In their last meeting, Kazami finished with 11 points and seven rebounds. He made 3 of 4 field goals and was 5 of 8 on free throws. In the first game, Kazemi had 11 points on 4-for-4 shooting. He was 3 of 4 at the free throw line. He had 11 rebounds – two on the offensive glass – an assist and a steal in 36 minutes.
Kazemi has extensive playing international basketball. He’s been a captain for several Iran national teams since he was 17.
Romar on Kazemi: “Wow. What a welcomed addition he is. He is an unsung hero on that team I guarantee you. He just rebounds. Plays within his role. He makes big plays. Smart. You can watch him play and be really impressed with what he does out there.”
— Senior E.J. Singler leads Oregon with an 11.5 point scoring average. He exploded for 18 points in the first game against Washington, but had nine points, five rebounds and three assists in the most recent meeting.
The 6-6 senior forward was a first-team all-Pac-12 pick.
He scored 21 points in the regular season finale against Utah. Singler has 1,471 career points and is within 17 points of moving into 12th place on Oregon’s all-time scoring list.
Singler is the Ducks all-time leader with 82 victories. He’s played in every game since his freshman season. His brother Kyle starred at Duke and plays for the Detroit Pistons.
— Point guard Dominic Artis, who is considered one of the Pac-12’s promising freshmen, missed nine games with a foot injury. Without him, Oregon was 5-4. Before he was injured, the Ducks were 17-2. Since he’s returned, they’re 1-2 and still haven’t regained their rhythm. Artis is averaging 9.5 points and 3.5 assists. He’s been coming off the bench since his return.
— Junior Johnathan Loyd has stepped in to replace Artis with mixed results. At times he’s been turnover prone.He wasn’t very good in the first game against Washington while finishing with nine points, five assists and five turnovers. In the second game, he was a little better and had 11 points, one assist and two turnovers.
— Damyean Dotson was voted to the Pac-12 all -freshman team, but still doesn’t get as much publicity as the conference’s other prominent freshmen. The 6-5 freshman guard from Houston has provided stellar play in his first year. He’s averaging 10.5 points and 3.8 rebounds.
— Senior center Tony Woods is a serviceable big man who comes up short in rebounding while averaging 3.6 boards. He’s a capable scorer who averages 9.5 points. His forte is blocking shots. The Wake Forest transfer has 86 in is Oregon career, which ranks third on the school’s all-time list.
— Backup forward Carlos Emory does a nice job running the court and finishing plays with powerful dunks. He had two spectacular slams against Washington in their first encounter. He also had 11 points off the bench in 23 minutes. He’s the top reserve who has started five games this season.
—The brilliance of Oregon is its depth and balance. Nine players average at least 11 minutes and there’s not a major decline in talent in the rotation. However, losing Artis has changed everything. His absence has forced Loyd and freshman guard Willie Moore to take more minutes, which isn’t necessarily a good thing.
— Oregon’s best weapon is its defensive versatility. Few teams play as many defenses as the Ducks, which uses a full-court press, sideline trap, varying zone schemes and man-to-man defense. Preparing for them 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.
— 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.
— Oregon ranks third in Pac-12 games allowing opponents an average of 65.5 points. The Ducks have held eight teams to 50 points or fewer.
— Oregon has used seven starting lineups. Singler has started every game while Dotson and Woods have each made 23 starts. The group (below) is 6-6.
C – Tony Woods, 6-11, 243, Sr. 10.2 ppg., 3.6 rpg., 1.1 bpg.
F – Arslan Kazemi, 6-7, 226, Sr., 8.8, 9.6, 2.1 spg.
F – E.J. Singler, 6-6, 215, Sr., 11.3, 4.9, 3.0 apg.
G – Damyean Dotson, 6-5, 202, Fr., 11.3, 4.0,1.0
G – Johnathan Loyd, 5-8, 155, Jr., 3.3, 1.3, 2.4