Rough loss against the Beavers there. But the nice thing about the Thursday games is that there is another game right around the corner. We have a game against the Oregon Ducks today. For all of the amazing things the Oregon football team is doing, the Oregon MBB team has been fairly lackluster these last several years. Long gone are the days of the Lukes and Elite 8 runs.
Now, Dana Altman runs the show. Things are slowly perking up for the Ducks, but given the massive investment by Uncle Phil in their new stadium and the exacting demands placed on all the athletes at Oregon, things are currently very disappointing up north.
However, as we saw on Thursday, on the road, anything can happen. This is especially true given that Oregon defeated a solid Stanford squad. Cal needs to get all the wins it can to help ensure that it makes the tournament. Stupid weak Pac-12 and lack of great OOC victory! So, we chatted up our frenemies, Addicted To Quack, about the game. They are our go to source on all things Quack! Check out their answers to our questions after the jump. Many thanks to Addicted To Quack for their help with this. GO BEARS!
1. How has the Ducks season gone vs. expectations? Where do you expect to be at the end of the season - NCAA/NIT/CBI/Sitting at home?
We were expecting with the transfers that Altman brought in (Olu Ashaolu, Tony Woods, and Devoe Joseph), that Oregon should be in the running for the NCAA Tournament. Unlike most of the conference, Oregon didn't have any bad nonconference losses, but they didn't have any good wins, either. Unless they win 12-13 conference games, or win the conference tourney, I don't think this conference is strong enough to get many teams in. The conference tourney is wide open, but I think the most likely scenario is an NIT berth, as this is a one or two bid league.
2. Jabari Brown - what the heck? Has any more news come out about why?
The consensus seems to be that Altman told him after two games that he wasn't going to be starting, so he quit. Apparently, he has a history of this in high school. Thought he was going to be given the keys to the program, and was upset he had to earn his PT.
3. What's the feeling on campus for Coach Dana Altman - is he the answer or wait and see or regime change?
Everyone was ecstatic after the team overachieved last season. While this year hasn't been what we had hoped, its certainly better than Ernie Kent's last few years, and probably what we should have realistically been expecting this season. Will Altman get us to the point of competing for a national title? Absolutely not. But he will get us to respectability, which is a place we haven't been in awhile.
4. How has Garrett Sim's career played out? (By the way, thanks - without him asking to leave Cal, we wouldn't have signed Jorge)
Two years ago, we joked that Garrett Sim wasn't a D1 player. That said, he has improved tremendously under Dana Altman to get the most out of his talent. He can shoot from anywhere and play good defense, but he's a bench player on a good team. He's a nice player, a good kid that plays really hard, but not a Jorge Gutierrez.
5. What does the recruiting pipeline look like?
The Ducks have three players signed to LOIs in 4* PG Dominic Artis and 3* forwards Ben Carter and Daymean Dotson. After the transfers of Jabari Brown and Bruce Barron, the biggest need to fill out the rest of the class will be at guard, as Devoe Joseph and Garrett Sim are seniors, leaving only Johnathan Loyd and Brett Kingma on scholarship. The Ducks will almost certainly have to get a JUCO at that position, and another player or two as well.
6. Who are the Ducks most dangerous players on offense and defense?
Since becoming eligible, Minnesota transfer Devoe Joseph has been Oregon's best offensive player, averaging over 14 a game, including 30 in Thursday's win over Stanford (you're welcome). He is one of only two guys on the team who can really create his own shots, and also shoots well from deep. EJ Singler, of course, is the other guy who does both of those things well, though probably not as well as Joseph. Garrett Sim isn't really a creator, but gets a lot of jump shots in the offense, enough to average double digits. Olu Ashaolu is capable of being a load inside, but has struggled with inconsistency.
Defensively, Singler and Sim play great defense, and will probably guard Gutierrez and Crabbe. The wildcard there is 6'11" Tony Woods, who has been inconsistent, but at times has dominated the paint defensively with blocked shots.
7. What is the Ducks style? Run and Gun? Defensive grinders? Spread option?
Oregon definitely wants to get the pace up a bit. But this isn't an Ernie Kent type run and gun. They rank 115th in the country in tempo according to KenPom (Cal ranks 210th, for reference). They press a bit and mix man and zone defensively. Offensively, they run that high post offense, but use it mainly to free up perimeter shots. Its interesting, though, that Oregon ranks 26th in the nation in free throw rate, despite being a perimeter oriented team. They shoot a ton of free throws.