Know Your (Temporary) Rival: Oregon Ducks

Tajuan Porter leads a banged-up Ducks squad to Columbia tomorrow afternoon.

Oregon: 4-2

UO Opp
Points Per Minute
2.01 1.60
Points Per Possession (PPP)
1.18 0.94
Points Per Shot (PPS)
1.32 1.24
2-PT FG% 50.8% 44.4%
3-PT FG% 37.1% 37.5%
FT% 75.8% 64.1%
True Shooting % 57.1% 52.4%
UO Opp
Assists/Gm 14.3 11.7
Steals/Gm 8.5 5.7
Turnovers/Gm 13.0 16.7
Ball Control Index
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.76 1.04
UO Opp
Expected Offensive Rebounds 74 71
Offensive Rebounds 85 49
Difference +11 -22


UO's season thus far:


@Oregon 94, Winston-Salem State 43 (W)
@Oregon 95, UC-Davis 64 (W)
@Oregon 68, Colorado State 53 (W)
@Portland 88, Oregon 81 (L)
Montana 68, @Oregon 55 (L)
@Oregon 89, Montana State 66 (W)

Where the Ducks are solid

Hard to tell.  While it appears that Portland might be a rather legitimate team, the Ducks' schedule so far has been quite weak, and humongous wins over Winston-Salem State and UC-Davis have made their numbers look artificially great.  This does appear to be a rock-solid rebounding team, though huge efforts against the cakiest of cupcakes sways the numbers a bit; they were significantly outplayed down low in the loss to Montana.  Meanwhile, their guard play looks quite good if you take out of the equation the fact that Portland's backcourt ran circles around them.  In all, if I were to rank the five major categories listed above (FG% offense, FG% defense, BCI offense, BCI defense, and rebounding), I would list their strengths like this, from best to worst:

1. Rebounding
2. BCI offense
3. FG% offense
4. BCI defense
5. FG% defense

This seems like a team with size and decent potential, but their defense has not been great so far, considering the level of competition.  If you're allowing a true shooting % of 52.4% against this competition, then at home Mizzou should at least get into the 55%-60% range.  Shooting has very much not been Mizzou's strong suit thus far, but this might be a nice slump buster.  If the Ducks don't force a turnover (and they'll certainly force some), they're probably giving up a decent look.

Where the Ducks are less than solid

Well, for one thing, chemistry is probably going to be off a bit considering how many injuries and absences they've already had to deal with this season.  Five players -- Dajuan Porter (ankle), Joevan Catron (back), Matt Humphrey (knee), Josh Crittle (ankle), and Michael Dunigan (hip) -- have already missed time, which is impressive considering Oregon's only played six games.  If they are healthy, they've got a quick backcourt and a big frontcourt, but ... are they healthy?  Oregon's press for the most part seems justifiably distracted by the football team and Thursday night's Civil War, but I haven't been able to find out for sure who is supposed to play and who is not.  This is their first game in a week, so there's a good chance that everybody will be expected to play.  At least that's what I'm going to assume until I hear otherwise.

Anyway, beyond health/chemistry, I guess I covered their main weaknesses above: defense.

Player Stats

Player AdjGS*/Gm GmSc/Min Line
Teondre Williams (6'4, 199, So.) 13.5 0.53 25.3 MPG, 14.8 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 1.7 APG
Tajuan Porter (5'7, 155, Sr.) 12.4 0.47 26.4 MPG, 14.6 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 2.4 APG, 2.0 SPG, 2.0 TOPG
Malcolm Armstead (6'0, 204, So.) 10.7 0.41 25.8 MPG, 7.5 PPG, 4.5 APG, 2.7 RPG, 2.5 SPG
Michael Dunigan (6'10, 242, So.) 10.0 0.68 14.8 MPG, 8.0 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 2.3 BPG
LeKendric Longmire (6'5, 200, Jr.) 9.0 0.41 22.2 MPG, 10.2 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 1.2 SPG
Garrett Sim (6'1, 180, So.) 6.8 0.41 16.8 MPG, 7.0 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 1.5 APG
Joevan Catron (6'6, 237, Sr.) 6.4 0.30 21.3 MPG, 5.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.5 TOPG
Jamil Wilson (6'7, 209, Fr.) 6.0 0.36 16.8 MPG, 5.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.2 APG
E.J. Singler (6'6, 210, Fr.) 5.3 0.40 13.2 MPG, 3.8 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 1.5 APG
Jeremy Jacob (6'8, 225, So.) 3.4 0.23 15.2 MPG, 4.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG
Josh Crittle (6'8, 250, So.) 1.5 0.19 7.7 MPG, 2.7 PPG, 1.3 RPG
Drew Wiley (6'7, 215, So.) 0.8 0.10 7.6 MPG, 2.0 PPG
Nicholas Fearn (6'1, 190, So.) 0.7 0.25 6 minutes
John Elorriaga (6'2, 183, So.) 0.6 0.19 6 minutes
Matthew Humphrey (6'5, 185, So.) 0.5 0.07 7.8 MPG, 2.6 PPG

* AdjGS = a take-off of the Game Score metric (definition here) accepted by a lot of basketball stat nerds.  It redistributes a team's points based not only on points scored, but also by giving credit for assists, rebounds (offensive & defensive), steals, blocks, turnovers and fouls.  It is a stat intended to determine who had the biggest overall impact on the game itself, instead of just how many balls a player put through a basket.

  • Early-season injuries do funny things to the numbers -- because of the roster shifts, Oregon currently has TEN guys averaging at least 13 minutes per game.  That's really tough to do.
  • Honestly, from Mizzou's perspective the most dangerous player on the court for Oregon could be Michael Dunigan.  Vanderbilt used size to extreme advantage against Mizzou, and Dunigan did a nice job in Oregon's last game of banging around, getting to the line and making his free throws.  If Dunigan gets hot, either from the field or on the glass (or both), then this game could stay pretty close.
  • Tajuan Porter has a chance to set the Pac-10's career 3-pointers mark this season.  He is a quick guard and good shooter, but I'm curious to see how he handles not only Missouri's bigger guards, but Missouri's much bigger guards.  He's giving up eight inches to J.T. Tiller and nine to Zaire Taylor, and while I'm sure he's faced plenty of bigger guards in his day (like, every game of his career), here's where Mizzou's strong defense could take over.  If Porter can't really get going, then it's up to younger guys like Teondre Williams and Garrett Sim to knock down outside shots.  Both are capable of doing so, but you always want to be able to take away a team's most proven scoring threat, and that's Porter.
  • Oregon finished with a staggeringly bad 8-23 record last year, but taking a look at the roster, you can kind of see why athletic department may have held onto Ernie Kent for another season.  Four of the top six contributors are sophomores this year, with six more at the end of the bench; throw in a couple of freshman contributors (Jamil Wilson and E.J. "Don't Call Me Kyle" Singler), and Oregon's got a ridiculously young team.  Porter and Joevan Catron are the only seniors, so this team will be able to continue to grow together for a while.

Keys to the Game

  1. Rebounds.  They murdered Missouri in the last game, and if guys like Dunigan and Catron are allowed to not only prevent second chances for Mizzou, but also collect some second chances of their own, then Oregon will stay in this game a lot longer than they should.

  2. The 3-Pointer.  Oregon takes 21 3's a game, and Missouri takes 22.  Oregon's perimeter defense has been far from amazing in terms of FG% and 3PT%, but you never know who may get hot from one game to another.  If the Ducks make over 40% of their 3's and Missouri makes below about 35% of theirs, Oregon could have a chance.

  3. Pace.  Oregon likes to play a transition game (though they've only averaged about 68 possessions per game -- Mizzou would prefer closer to 75), with pressure defense and as many fast break opportunities as possible.  If they're good at it, they might be able to handle Mizzou's pressure alright and apply some of their own.  If they're only decent at it, they will play right into Mizzou's hands and get run off the court.  Based on the teams they've played, I can't tell if they're good or only decent ... and I'm leaning toward the latter.

Prediction

I always like Missouri's chances when a team from two time zones away makes a long trip for a game with a weird tip-off time.  That's just a really long trip to make for a single basketball game, no?  While Oregon could hurt Mizzou on the boards, and while they have a couple of long-distance weapons that could get hot, I can't imagine this game ends up tremendously close.  Oregon is still learning how to win again, and Mizzou's ready to take out some frustrations.  Mizzou 86, Oregon 67.

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