Date: Saturday, 2/6/21
Tip-Off Time: 1:00 pm PT
Radio: KJR 950 AM/KVI 570
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Betting line: Washington +14
Oregon Ducks 2020-21 Statistics:
Record: 9-4 (4-3)
Points For per Game: 75.6 ppg (66th)
Points Against per Game: 67.2 ppg (82nd)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 111.1 (40th)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 94.2 (46th)
Strength of Schedule: 93rd
Oregon Key Players:
G- Chris Duarte, Sr. 6’6, 190: 17.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.2 apg, 55.4% FG, 45.1% 3pt, 84.4% FT
It looked in the preseason like Duarte would be a contender for Pac-12 Player of the Year and he’s lived up to that billing. There’s really nothing he can’t do on the basketball court as he’s a plus defensive player and one of the most efficient offensive players in the country. He finished the first game against UW with a stat-stuffer box score line of 14 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block (although with 4 turnovers).
F- Eric Williams, Jr. 6’6, 200: 12.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.8 apg, 40.3% FG, 34.0% 3pt, 70.2% FT
Williams plays a little like an undersized power forward but almost half of his shots on the season have come behind the 3-pt line so he likes to shoot the ball. Still, he’s an above average offensive rebounder and could definitely give the Huskies problem operating in the middle of the zone. In the last game against UW he had 13 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals.
F- Eugene Omoruyi, Sr. 6’6, 235: 17.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.2 apg, 46.3% FG, 33.3% 3pt, 71.9% FT
The transfer from Rutgers has cooled off a little since a blistering start to the season but is still one of the top scorers in the conference. He plays like a wrecking ball and will give the Husky bigs serious problems with his propensity for drawing fouls and his elite offensive rebounding. He fouled out last time against UW which held him to just 22 minutes but still finished with 14 points on 8/8 FT shooting.
G- LJ Figueroa, Sr. 6’6, 200: 10.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.3 apg, 42.9% FG, 25.0% 3pt, 68.4% FT
Oh hey look, another 6’6 wing who’s a really good rebounder! Oregon has a type this year that’s for sure. Right now though has been much better on the defensive end than as a scorer although he at least rarely turns the ball over. Last game against UW he finished with 9 points and 5 rebounds.
G- Amauri Hardy, Jr. 6’2, 190: 5.9 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 3.8 apg, 42.5% FG, 27.3% 3pt, 75.0% FT
Hardy came in as a grad transfer from UNLV hoping to lock down the point guard job but he has had some serious struggles. He’s really pretty much just a distributor at this point as he rarely takes shots and they don’t go in at a very high rate when he does cut loose. He finished with 4 points and 3 assists against UW so almost exactly in line with his season totals.
G- Will Richardson, Jr. 6’5, 180: 10.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 5.0 apg
Richardson was supposed to be the co-star this season for the Ducks alongside Duarte but suffered a thumb injury just before the season started that was supposed to keep him out for 6 weeks. He just returned to action though on Thursday so it was more severe than initially anticipated. Last year he was one of the best shooters in the conference and even though his shot was rusty in his return against Wazzu he still put up a solid stat line. If he only needed one game to rediscover his shot then look out against the Husky zone.
Oregon 2020-21 Shot Chart
If you’re looking for reasons for optimism for this game there are two. When these teams squared off in December the Huskies got within one point in the final minute and had a real shot to win the game. Oregon’s N’Faly Dante 12 points and 10 rebounds in just 20 minutes but shortly after tore his ACL and so won’t be around to dominate the Huskies inside.
Instead, the Ducks get back Will Richardson who was one of their best players last year. He shot just 2/9 from the field in his first game back though on Thursday against Washington State when Oregon lost at home to the Cougs. That game was just their 2nd in 4 weeks because of multiple COVID-19 issues in the program and Oregon’s lost both of them at home to OSU and WSU. That’s reason #2.
Unfortunately if we just focus on the Husky side there’s not a lot that’s encouraging. Washington has also lost their past 2 games to those same 2 teams but both have been by double digits. On Thursday night the Beavers were able to roast Washington whether they went man or zone and get wide open corner 3-pointers. Oregon doesn’t play with nearly the same ball movement that the Beavers do which is generally a good thing for Washington.
Without Dante this Oregon team doesn’t have much in the way of elite size. Freshman Franck Kepnang only joined the team for winter quarter and is their only player taller than 6’8. Still, the Ducks have a plethora of guys between 6’6-6’8 who are capable rebounders against the Husky zone. Oregon got an offensive rebound on 45% of their misses last time against Washington and the Dawgs absolutely have to do a better job ending possessions.
All of those experienced wings means that the Ducks will frequently go with their full-court press that seemingly always gives the Huskies fits. If Washington can beat it early without making mistakes we’ll see Oregon get out of it and allow for a cleaner half-court offense. With at least 2 of Green, Tsohonis, Stevenson, Pryor, and Bey on the court at all times it should help. The Washington bigs absolutely have to take an extra second to make sure the coast is clear after securing a defensive rebound or else Oregon will be waiting to pick it off and get an easy basket.
Washington’s 3-pt shooting collapsed in the 2nd half against Oregon State which ended about a 4-game stretch of solid performances in that regard. If the Huskies don’t shoot at least 40% from deep to open up driving lanes then it’s tough to imagine them having any shot to keep pace with Oregon.
Nothing would make me happier than getting a road win on CBS with a national audience against the Ducks. But I don’t always get what I want.
Washington Huskies- 68, Oregon Ducks- 82
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