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Oregon Ducks Open Thread

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Washington looks to secure its first win in Matthew Knight Arena while extending its 7-game winning streak

NCAA Basketball: Southern California at Oregon Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The Essentials

Date: Thursday, 1/24/19

Tip-Off Time: 6:00 pm PT

TV: ESPN2

Streaming: Espn.com/watch

Radio: KOMO 1000 AM/97.7 FM and TuneIn

Location: Eugene, Oregon

Betting Line: Washington +2.5

Oregon 2018-19 Statistics

Record: 11-7 (2-3)

Points For per Game: 73.6 (189th)

Points Against per Game: 64.9 (28th)

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 108.3 (87th)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 95 (36th)

Strength of Schedule: +5.04 (33rd)

Oregon Key Players

F- Kenny Wooten, So. 6’9, 235: 6.0 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.4 bpg, 55.6% FG, 72.7% FT

After a broken jaw suffered at the end of December Wooten was expected to be out 4-5 weeks but instead only missed 3 weeks and played in both contests at the Arizona schools. His numbers are down across the board from last season when he was 3rd in the country in block percentage and 14th in FG%. But he played most of the season alongside Bol Bol and now is back to being the primary rim protector when in the game since Bol is out for the year.

F- Paul White, Sr. 6’9, 230: 10.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.5 apg, 44.9% FG, 37.9% 3pt, 74.5% FT

White is a solid stretch 4 who is at least average in just about every way but not truly exceptional at any one thing. He took on a bigger role as a scorer without Wooten and Bol and has scored in double figures in 8 of the last 9 games.

F- Louis King, Fr. 6’9, 205: 10.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.2 apg, 37.9% FG, 35.8% 3pt, 75% FT

King was a 5-star player entering this season but missed the first 7 games due to injury and then struggled to integrate. He’s found his stride recently though with averages of 16.8 points and 8.2 rebounds over the past 5 games. But King still has a below average offensive rating because he’s shooting worse than 40% on 2-pointers on crazy high volumes and has had multiple turnovers in 5 of the last 7 games.

G- Victor Bailey, So. 6’4, 190: 9.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.2 apg, 42.9% FG, 38.8% 3pt, 93.3% FT

Bailey is one of the best shooters in the conference but he’s not just a 3-pt specialist since half of his shots have come from inside the arc. UW will need to be aware of where he is though at all times on the perimeter against the zone.

G- Payton Pritchard, Jr. 6’2, 195: 11.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 4.5 apg, 38.7% FG, 33% 3pt, 91.5% FT

Oregon fans hoped that Pritchard would be ready, as an upperclassman, to take a leap and be the best point guard in the conference. That hasn’t happened as he if anything has regressed from last season with his 3-pt percentage down 8% while none of his other numbers are up. If Oregon is going to make a miracle run to the NCAA tournament then he’ll have to improve.

Oregon Shot Chart

Unlike a lot of teams the Huskies have played recently, the Ducks are comfortable shooting that foul line jumper and have been extremely efficient in the midrange. And it isn’t just one player doing that damage as 4 different Oregon players have attempted more than one midrange jumper per game. The good news is that Oregon isn’t extremely efficient anywhere else on the court although they aren’t below average anywhere else either.

Synergy Sports

The Outlook

The stakes are incredibly high for Washington in this one. The last time the Huskies traveled to Eugene and emerged victorious was in March of 2010 when a UW team that would make the Sweet 16 beat a team that didn’t crack .500 and led to Oregon finally moving on from Ernie Kent. The next year, Dana Altman took over in the new Matthew Knight Arena and it has been nothing but misery since.

Coming into the season this was perceived as the most difficult conference game out there. However, Oregon has suffered greatly from injury problems and are not the dark horse Final Four contender they appeared to be in the preseason. 5-star Louis King missed Oregon’s first 7 games, 5-star Bol Bol has played the first 9 but is now out for the season, and stud sophomore Kenny Wooten recently missed 4 games before returning last week. Despite all of that this Oregon team is still very dangerous.

The Ducks are similar to Stanford in that they have waves of 6’9+ bodies to throw at you. Oregon is missing the 7’2 Bol to anchor the paint but they play 4 different guys at 6’9-6’10 and all of them bring something a little different to the table which allows them to mix and match. Wooten and Francis Okoro are both shot blockers/rim runners who generally never leave the paint unless they’re setting a screen. King and White play more like small forwards and are capable of cutting to the rim or knocking down shots from outside.

At point guard Payton Pritchard was expected to take a leap but his shooting has been a letdown and he’s been a below average finisher at the rim. Oregon hasn’t lost a game in which Pritchard shot better than 50% from the floor so while limiting him doesn’t guarantee the Huskies a win it’s a necessary first start. Victor Bailey has taken over as Oregon’s best shooter and he has been by far their most efficient player against zones.

But the Ducks have been at their best on the defensive end where they can really make use of their length and athleticism and it has led to the 28th ranked scoring defense. Oregon plays at a very slow pace which naturally lowers scores but their defensive efficiency ranking is only slightly worse than that mark.

The Ducks have put up those stellar numbers by running a lot of zone mixed in with a press. Oregon’s defense has set up in zone on 54.7% of half court possessions and they’ve put on a full court press 27.7% of the time. That has the potential to throw off the Huskies big time. Washington has actually scored more points per possession against zone than man but the eye test says that they often struggle in that regard and they haven’t played against many zones this year with a shot blocker like Kenny Wooten in the middle protecting the rim.

The Oregon defense, whether in man or zone, has generally been effective limiting shots inside the paint while heavily contesting the 3-pt shot. Oregon gives up the 14th most 3-pointers per field goal attempt in the country and yet is 20th in 3-pt % defense; allowing opponents to shoot worse than 30%. If the Huskies get complacent and simply jack up 3’s against Oregon’s length like they did against Cal on Saturday then they have no chance. Oh yeah, and grad transfer Ehab Amin is 11th in the country in steal percentage and will be roaming the perimeter as Oregon’s version of Matisse Thybulle.

You would hope that Washington would be able to use last year’s defeat at Oregon, a 65-40 loss which was probably the low point of the season, as motivation. I still have mental scars from watching Kenny Wooten eviscerate Washington’s offense with a 7 block performance. He hasn’t quite been that guy this year and has struggled coming off the broken jaw but I can’t get that display out of my mind. If the Huskies win this game it makes me buy in 1000% but right now I still need to see them win a game against a quality opponent away from Hec-Ed to truly believe they’re the unquestioned #1 team in the conference.

Prediction

Washington Huskies- 58, Oregon Ducks- 62

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