Pregame: Arizona @ Oregon

On Saturday night the ‘Cats hope to keep their Tournament hopes alive while the Ducks are looking to save a little dignity.

On Saturday night the ‘Cats look to keep their Tournament hopes alive while the Ducks are looking to save a little dignity.

Both the Wildcats and the Ducks will enter into Saturday’s game hoping to salvage something of their season. The Wildcats have been getting themselves back into legitimate NCAA Tournament talks again, but a loss to Oregon would almost certainly be a knock-out blow for the ‘Cats. Meanwhile, the Ducks have been horrendous in conference play this season and are looking to salvage at least their dignity during the second-half of conference play. Can the ‘Cats avoid the knock-out blow and stretch Oregon’s losing skid to 11 with their second true road win of the year?






Last time Out


Arizona led by double figures for the final 19 minutes of the game en route to a 67-52 route of the Ducks. The ‘Cats did this despite Jordan Hill’s failure to reach a double-double for only the fourth time of the season and Chase Budinger struggling to shoot from beyond 10’.


The Wildcats key to success last game out was their defensive pressure as they prevented a single Oregon player from scoring double-figures and clamped down on Tejuan Porter. Porter, the center of Oregon’s offense, was limited to 2 points on 1-7 shooting, and only 2 assists. Ernie Kent said after the game that Arizona’s defense wasn’t stifling, but forced the Ducks to make basketball plays, which they couldn’t do that night.


Since Then


The Ducks have lost all seven of their games, with their closest being a 3-point loss to Oregon State last weekend in Corvallis.  The main reason for their lack of success in PAC-10 play is because the Ducks have failed to see significant production by any player outside of the notoriously inconsistent, yet dangerous Porter. Averaging points per game, Porter has been stepping up his play over the last five games.


Keys to the Game


All About the Little Things (I) – As I said before the last Oregon game, the Wildcats need to take care of business by securing long rebounds, protecting the defensive glass, not turning the ball over, etc. etc. The Wildcats have shown improvement in these areas recently, but the turnover problems are still a major concern. If Arizona wants to steal a sweep on the road, they’ll need to protect the ball.


All About the Little Things (II) – The midget match-up of Nic Wise and Tejuan Porter will be vital again. Wise didn’t have a stellar game against the Ducks down in Tucson, but he’ll need to perform better tonight because I don’t think Porter will be limited to 2 points and 2 assists on Saturday. The ‘Cats must communicate where Porter is on the floor at all times.


Future, meet Present: Michael Dunigan is a freshman with a lot of potential but is plagued by foul trouble. Sound familiar? Jordan Hill was in the same boat for the last two seasons before finally getting it under control this season. Hill is the better, more dominant player, but if Dunigan is able to stay out of foul trouble don’t be shocked if he has a big game for the Ducks.

Don’t get complacent: It’s great that Arizona has tied their longest winning streak of the year, and has USC and UCLA looming next week. But they need to with as much determination as they showed against Washington. Failure to play with energy and determination in Eugene is dangerous, even if the Ducks are 0-10 in conference play.  Arizona can’t afford to let their winning streak die prematurely.


1 Response to “Pregame: Arizona @ Oregon”

  1. 1 February 7, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    No way I see the Ducks winning this one. Porter is averaging 14.5 points in Pac-10 play, and he’s the one Duck averaging double digits.

    The Ducks are not getting any quality play from their young, inexperienced squad. They just haven’t learned to played together on a regular basis.

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February 2009
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PAC-10 Power Rankings

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