Know Your Attempted Coach-Stealing Rival: Oregon

PORTLAND OR - NOVEMBER 27: E. J. Singler #25 of the Oregon Ducks dribbles against his brother Kyle Singler #12 of the Duke Blue Devils on November 27 2010 at the Rose Garden in Portland Oregon. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

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Okay, I swear the Kansas: Beyond the Box Score piece is coming soon.  But ... holy crap, these important mid-week basketball games are wearing me out.  One, I can handle.  But two?  No, thank you.  Anyway, here's your Oregon preview; hopefully KU BTBS follows later in the day.

Oregon: 4-2


Ducks
Opp.
Pace (No. of Possessions)
72.8
Points Per Minute
1.86
1.81
Points Per Possession (PPP)
1.04
1.01
Points Per Shot (PPS)
1.22
1.27
2-PT FG% 45.6%
42.4%
3-PT FG% 32.0%
41.4%
FT% 70.3%
72.5%
True Shooting % 51.4%
53.8%




Ducks Opp.
Assists/Gm 13.0
10.3
Steals/Gm 8.7
4.8
Turnovers/Gm 12.8
16.7
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.69
0.91




Ducks Opp.
Expected Offensive Rebounds 14.2
13.0
Offensive Rebounds 12.3
11.3
Difference -1.9
-1.7

Under new coach Dana "Not Mike Anderson, Thank God" Altman, the Ducks have pretty clearly defined their strengths and weaknesses to date.  They don't mind running, they hound the ball very well, and they play decent interior defense.  Of course, they also shoot poorly from long range, don't shoot very well from short range, don't pass very well ... and they allow open 3-pointers like every team they play is Georgetown.  Oh, and they foul a lot.  Altman is trying to get the pressure game going, which presents some rather interesting matchups with Mr. Press, Mike Anderson, now doesn't it?

Ken Pomeroy Stats

Oregon Offense vs MU Defense Ranks

UO Offense MU Defense Advantage
Efficiency 114
59
MU
Effective FG% 225
262
UO
Turnover % 39
6
MU
Off. Reb. % 130
127
push
FTA/FGA 128
162
UO
MU Offense vs Oregon Defense Ranks

MU Offense UO Defense Advantage
Efficiency 26
126
MU big
Effective FG% 69
175
MU big
Turnover % 58
115
MU
Off. Reb. % 85
225
MU big
FTA/FGA 238
203
UO

First things first: WOW did Mizzou's defensive numbers plummet after Georgetown.  I mean, I knew they were going to and all, but ... wow.

Where the Ducks are weakest

They have almost the worst 3-point defense in the country (318th), they allow too many defensive rebounds (their raw numbers above look pretty decent, but five of their six opponents rank 120th or lower in Ken Pomeroy's rankings), and they foul too much (as mentioned above).  They show the same weaknesses that Anderson's first teams showed at Mizzou, only they don't quite have the same upside yet.

Where they are best

As mentioned, they are decent at forcing turnovers, and they protect the ball themselves very well.  They are 17th in the country in Off. Steal% and 39th in Off. T/O%.  They are uniquely equipped to handle Mizzou's pressure, and I'm curious to see what defense Mike Anderson utilizes against them.  They also play pretty good defense inside the 3-point land (60th in Def. 2PT%), so Missouri will likely be baited into taking a large number of 3-pointers.  If they're falling, great.  If they're not ... it could be interesting, especially if they're not forcing turnovers.

Oregon's Season to Date

  • Wins (Team Rank is from KenPom.com)
    No. 120 UCSB, 72-70
    No. 164 North Dakota State, 97-92 (OT)
    No. 223 Denver, 68-56
    No. 326 Texas Southern, 75-52
  • Losses
    vs No. 2 Duke, 71-98
    No. 213 San Jose State, 72-75

For all their pressing potential, Oregon clearly hasn't been playing amazing ball this season.  They have played five teams ranked better than 225th, and they are 3-2, with their three wins coming by an average of just 6.3 points.  Mizzou will get their A-game, as the Ducks are looking for redemption following a humbling loss to Duke last Saturday.  But Mizzou should be able to weather the storm barring some incredible post-Georgetown letdown.

(By the way, would any of us be too surprised by an incredible post-Georgetown letdown?  Me neither.)

Oregon Player Stats

Player AdjGS*/Gm GmSc/Min Line
Joevan Catron (6'6, 245, Sr.) 22.6 0.77 29.3 MPG, 18.8 PPG (56.9% FG), 6.3 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.5 SPG, 1.3 TOPG
E.J. Singler (6'6, 210, So.) 13.6 0.48 28.5 MPG, 12.0 PPG (53.3% 3PT), 4.8 RPG
Teondre Williams (6'4, 218, Jr.) 9.1 0.43 21.5 MPG, 8.7 PPG (34.6% 3PT), 3.0 RPG, 1.3 APG
Jeremy Jacob (6'8, 226, Jr.) 7.4 0.43 17.3 MPG, 9.0 PPG (46.2% FG), 4.3 RPG
Garrett Sim (6'1, 181, Jr.) 6.3 0.24 26.8 MPG, 6.2 PPG (31.6% 3PT), 3.8 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.2 SPG
Jay-R Strowbridge (5'11, 180, Sr.) 5.1 0.22 22.8 MPG, 7.3 PPG (27.7% FG), 3.8 RPG, 1.2 TOPG
Tyrone Nared (6'8, 210, Jr.) 4.9 0.33 15.0 MPG, 5.5 PPG (43.8% FG), 3.2 RPG, 1.2 TOPG
Johnathan Loyd (5'8, 160, Fr.) 4.4 0.26 17.2 MPG, 5.3 PPG (33.3% FG), 1.7 APG
Malcolm Armstead (6'0, 195, Jr.) 3.4 0.13 26.5 MPG, 6.8 PPG (32.7% FG), 4.3 APG, 2.3 RPG, 4.5 TOPG
Nicholas Fearn (6'1, 188, Jr.) 1.0 0.23 4.5 MPG, 0.5 PPG, 1.8 RPG
Martin Seiferth (6'10, 223, Fr.) -0.5 -0.09 5.5 MPG

* 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.

  • Highest Usage%: Catron (26%), Jacob (26%), Armstead (24%).
  • Highest Floor%: Catron (48%), Singler (45%), Jacob (40%).
  • Highest %Pass: Armstead (65%), Sim (54%), Williams (47%).
  • Highest %Shoot: Jacob (83%), Nared (50%), Strowbridge (50%).
  • Highest %Fouled: Catron (26%), Singler (20%), Strowbridge (18%).
  • Highest %T/O: Armstead (11%), Nared (11%), Strowbridge (8%).
  • If we judge anybody over 0.50 AdjGS/min as a very good player and anybody above 0.40 as solid, then this team goes about four players deep.  Joevan Catron is a unique load in the middle.  He's built like a mini-Charles Barkley and plays somewhat like him too.  He's careless on defense (he grabs almost as many offensive rebound as defensive rebounds and averages almost three fouls per game, likely from going for steals -- he does average 1.5 of those per game), but he's an absolute beast on O.  He shoots 62% on 2-pointers (he's made just one of seven 3-pointers) and shoots almost one free throw per field goal attempt.  In other words, he gets fouled a ton.  If he is able to get either Laurence Bowers or Ricardo Ratliffe in foul trouble, Mizzou will become even more perimeter oriented than they were before.  Again, this isn't a bad thing if the outside shots are falling ... but they don't always fall.
  • Like Catron, Singler leaves something to be desired on defense (he averages a whopping 3.3 fouls per game, and his Def. Reb. % is the same as that of 6'1 guard Garrett Sim), but the kid can shoot the ball.  He is 8-for-15 from 3-point range this year (he could send Mizzou fans into Georgetown flashbacks if he gets hot early) and is a solid all-around offensive player; Mizzou must abuse him on defense and take him out of the game.
  • Beyond that, perhaps the most interesting player on Oregon's roster is junior guard Malcolm Armstead.  He became a solid all-around weapon in the second half of the season last year, averaging 10.3 points and 4.3 assists per game for the season, but he apparently forgot how to shoot this offseason.  Never a great shooter, Armstead has become a wretched one so far.  A regression to the mean might mean he's due a hot streak, but ... wow, has he been bad.  Oh yeah, and he turns the ball over like crazy.  He alone averages over one-third of Oregon's turnovers.  Poor shooting and carelessness ... that's how one averages 0.13 AdjGS/min despite 4.3 assists per game.
  • Jeremy Jacob has shown some offensive potential, but he still has a ways to go.
  • Why yes, that is one-time Nebraska signee Jay-R Strowbridge.  Thanks for asking!

Last Time They Played

Mizzou ran Oregon off the court last December 5 at Mizzou Arena, primarily because of ridiculous shooting.  Oregon did suffer 20 turnovers, but for the most part, Mizzou just couldn't miss.  Oh, and Oregon couldn't make.  They shot 18-for-54 (33.3%) on 2-pointers and 4-for-18 (22.2%) on 3-pointers.  That they got to the line 27 times (making 21) was the only reason they didn't lose by 50.  Catron, a fifth-year senior who was given a medical redshirt last year after sitting out with a back injury, gives them a much better, more forceful offensive identity this year, however, so that should improve.  The defense?  We'll see.

Keys to the Game

  1. Corral Catron.  Mizzou very well could get hot from long range and run Oregon off the court no matter what.  But if they aren't shooting 50% from 3-point range like they did last year, then they could get beaten around a bit by Catron and his foul-drawing, bull-in-a-china-shop ways.  If Mizzou is missing from outside and either Ratliffe or Bowers get into foul trouble, momentum could shift the Ducks' way.  If they can do to him what they couldn't do to Austin Freeman Tuesday night (that is, slow him down to any degree whatsoever), then Oregon probably won't have enough offensive firepower to get the job done.

  2. Beat Them At Your/Their Game.  Turnovers and ball control are always important when Mike Anderson's team hits the court -- it is the reason for the BCI's existence.  Oregon plays the ball control game better than most teams Mizzou will face, and they might actually give Mizzou a run for their money in the BCI department, especially if Mizzou is a bit careless with the ball.  Winning the BCI battle is as important in this game as it has ever been.

  3. Kim English.  He really is working hard at contributing to the team in means other than simply points scored.  But he needs not be so hesitant.  Relax and play your game, Kimmeh.  If he and Marcus Denmon outscore Catron and, say, Singler, then Mizzou will almost certainly win this game.

Prediction

Man oh man, have I gone back and forth on this game a lot.  Oregon is the perfect team to take advantage of another slow Mizzou start, but unless Mizzou lays a complete egg, the Ducks shouldn't have the depth to avoid being overtaken by Mizzou sometime in the middle 20 minutes.  We'll say the Ducks have some early success in the up-tempo department, then wears down.  Mizzou starts cold, but figures things out and wins, 88-81.

Though I'll take a 30-point, "We really are the team you think we can be after the Georgetown game" statement if you're willing, guys.

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