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Pac-10 Men's Basketball Preview: Oregon Ducks

TwistNHook: So, Garrett Sim.  He was committed to Cal, but when Cal canned Ben Braun, he decided to go towards the Ducks instead.  Montgomery, coming in late to the game, grabbed the best recruiting remaining.  That gentleman just happened to be Jorge Gutierrez.  

Thanks, Garrett!!!  Hope you are enjoying the Pacific Northwest!

Avinash: Hey, don't you be tripping on Garrett. Look at all he's accomplished at Oregon.

FG% FT% 3P%
2008-2009 ORE 23.7 6.8 1.7 2.0 2.0
.7 .1
.355 .778 .324
2009-2010 ORE 15.4 4.2 1.7 1.0 .8
.5 .1
.363 .708 .333
2010-2011 ORE 24.4 7.1 2.6 1.6 .8
1.1 .0
.378 .800 .268

He scored 15 points on Willamette. Not just anybody scores 15 on Willamette!

Kodiak: Didn't you score 15 on Willamette?

Or did you score on 15 Willamettes?

In any case, this season's refrain looks to be an endless chorus of "Suckit Oregon."  Shhhh.  Hear that?  Yes, that would be the world's smallest violin acting all sads.  Let me be the first to say it:  Suckit Oregon.  They get to open up a spiffy new arena which is as much a tribute to Phil Knight's ego as it is to crack-head artists who may or may not be visually impaired.  They're certainly seeing things that we all wish could be unseen - that is one butt-ugly floor.

New Coach Dana Altman has jumped in bed with Team Nike after leaving behind a rather successful Creighton program.  Remember that school which was always busting your brackets in the NCAA tournament?  Yeah.  That Creighton.  Can you name any big-name NBA stars from Creighton?  Nope.  Me neither.  And that's not such a good thing because it suggests that Coach Altman actually knows what he's doing.  However, the cupboard is going to be rather bare for him in his inaugural season.  Mr. Tajuan "NRA" (Gunner w/out a conscience) Porter is gone.  Uber-recruit-turned bust Michael Dunnigan went pro.  Four other players transferred.  If it weren't for the NCAA's merciful decisions to allow transfer guard Jay-R Strowbridge to play immediately and to grant extra injury-eligibility to big man Catron, they might have had to suit up some of the hydro techs.

Strowbridge is a senior guard with plenty of experience playing for both Nebraska and Jacksonville State.  He is supposedly a good 3-pt shooter.  Malcolm Armstead is the other returning guard who is inconsistent, but is also capable of putting up big scoring nights.  In the frontcourt, Joevan Catron is their bruiser.  He used to be pretty physical, but is coming off a back injury.  Jeremy Jacob is their other big guy who put up 7pts/5rebs last year.  E.J. Singler is their up and coming wing forward.  He's the younger (and probably less-talented) brother of hated Dookie Kyle Singler.  Besides that, their team is young and lacking in both size and depth.

Normally, I'd be cautiously optimistic at home and somewhat concerned on the road.  But screw that.  Screw JuJu.  We're going to pound the smug right out of them.

LeonPowe: Benoit Benjamin went to Creighton. As did Kyle Korver. 

Wow, two facts which I thought would have absolutely no use whatsoever have proven marginally useful.

Kodiak: Geez...I knew about Kyle Korver.  That's a whiff.  I think I had him confused w/ Wally Szczerbiak.  I had no idea about Benoit Benjamin, though.  Even if they suited up those two guys, I think we take them.  Suckit Oregon!!!

Ohio Bear: Well, duh. Benoit Benjamin is prolly 50 years old now.

Kodiak: Prolly isn't good enough for CGB!  Can you ask Benoit when you see him at your next AARP meeting?

TwistNHook:  As much as I am sure our readers care about this in-depth analysis of Creighton, what are your guys thoughts regarding this year's Oregon team?

Ohio Bear: If their team plays half as ugly as the floor design in the new arena, they'll go winless in conference play.

norcalnick: Oregon hasn't played a particularly strong schedule outside of two top ten losses to Duke and Missouri, but they were surprisingly competitive against the Tigers, indicating that Dana Altmann's rebuilding program might be a little ahead of schedule.  Of course they've also dropped games to San Jose St. and Idaho, so it's clearly a mixed bag so far for the Ducks.  If the only major accomplishment of the non-conference schedule is one close loss at home you're probably in for a long year.
Still though, Oregon has clearly shown that they'll be tougher than last year's team, if only because Joevan Catron has made a huge leap in his senior year and might be one of the better big men in the conference.  The question is weather or not his sudden surge in scoring and FG% can sustain itself when the schedule gets tougher during Pac-10 play.

Avinash: Based on our struggles this season, I expect both Oregon games to be highly competitive.  The Ducks have more experience, they have a go-to guy in Catron, they have a knockdown shooter in E.J. Singler (Kyle the Dukie's brother), and those are two things we lack. Our perimeter defense will be very important, and that is arguably the biggest flaw of our team on that side of the ball.

Oregon's defense sucks too, particularly with regards to outside shooting. But our three point shooting has...uh...regressed a bit from last year. Their big men are undersized too, so they're good matchup for our strong in-the-paint defense.

TwistNHook: KenPom currently has Oregon at 113th in the nation. In comparison, we are at 75th.

It is odd that Nike can create such amazing football, yet have such unbelievable struggles here. 

Kodiak:  Didn't Oregon have a few teams that made deep runs into the tournament?  I thought the Luke Ridnour/Luke Jackson team was at least a Sweet 16 team, as was the one when Aaron Brooks was a senior.  Neither of those teams were that long ago.  But Ernie Kent had some big-time recruiting misses during the final years of his tenure.  Malik Hairston became a solid player, but was somewhat of a disappointment considering he was a McDonald's AA and top-10 recruit.  Catron was a notable recruit who was derailed by injuries.  Porter was supposed to be the next Aaron Brooks, but shot his team out of games more often than not.  And Dunigan was the biggest bust of them all - a McDonald's AA and top-5 center prospect who was too immature to ever put his physical gifts to work.  Not that I'm shedding any tears, of course.

TwistNHook: So, where do you see Oregon ending up in the Pac10 standings?

Avinash: Next to last. Unless they beat us twice. In which case eighth.