1) Since some of us haven't had a chance to see them yet, tell us what we need to know about Joseph Young and any of the other various D-1 and JC transfers suddenly added to Oregon roster this year.
You know that there are always a number of transfers on the roster, and this year is no exception. Young came over from Houston,where he was an 18 point per game scorer last year. He's a multifaceted scorer who is both deadly from the outside and can get to the rim, and for large chunks of the season, has been Oregon's best player, averaging 19 points per game. He's been cold the last couple of games, but can break out for 30 on any given night.
The other big name transfer who Cal fans will remember is Mike Moser from UNLV. Moser is a Portland native, so this was always a good fit. Moser was a double-double guy at UNLV and while he hasn't averaged double-digit rebounds at Oregon, he's a flexible big guy who can board, defend, and hit shots all the way out to the three-point line.
Two other transfers see significant playing time for Oregon. Sharpshooter Jason Calliste came over from Detroit and gives the Ducks another deadly three-point shooter. Richard Amardi is a senior JUCO transfer who is a poor man's version of Olu Ashaolu.
Loyd. Rarely do you see as remarkable a transition as you've seen from Loyd over the past year. A switch turned on for him in the Pac-12 Tourney last season, and he went from average to below-average backup point guard to one of the best point guards in the conference. Despite his 5'8" size, he's a total pest on defense, has turned from a bad to a competent three-point shooter, and averages six assists a game while maintaining an assist to turnover ratio of 3-1. He's also the emotional heart and soul of this team. Artis is a good player, and will start again next season, but Loyd has earned the job.
3) Oregon has shot the ball insanely well to star the year. Do you think it's sustainable?
Yes, because for most of the players on their roster, that's their single greatest skill. Guys like Young, Calliste, and Moser have been performing this way their whole careers. No reason to expect that to change.
4) Do you think Cal's long winning streak over Oregon is more a function of random chance, or is there something more to it?
A bit of both. I mean, Cal has clearly been a matchup problem for Oregon but, even in spite of that, you'd think the Ducks would have pulled one of those games out. That said, this is the first time during that entire stretch where you feel really certain that Oregon has the more talented team. That hasn't been the case in the past.
Cal Men's Basketball vs. Oregon (via thedailycal)
5) Who would you believe is the most irreplaceable player on the Ducks and why?
Mike Moser. This team is loaded with guards. I think the Artis suspension showed that they can whether a loss at that position (how many other teams lose a starting PG and go undefeated?). But Oregon does not have depth in the post, and Moser is far and away the best player they have down there. If he goes down, that means more Waverly Austin. Austin leaving the bench is almost always bad news.
6) What do you think will be the key matchup in this game?
What can Oregon do against Richard Solomon and David Kravish down low. The Ducks can be had inside. They don't have the rim protector that they did last season in Tony Woods. They're not a great rebounding team. Keeping those two guys off the offensive boards will be key. Austin is essentially useless, so the task will largely fall to Moser, Ben Carter who hasn't really rounded into shape yet after suspension, and the raw Amardi.
7) Pick a winner!