Tipoff: 5:00pm, Radio, Satellite, Internet (Live Audio/Video & Stats)
As Spurbury Police Chief Grady so aptly stated, "Desperation is a stinky cologne." And after Oregon's fourth-straight loss, a 32-point drubbing at the hands of Cal on Thursday, head coach Ernie Kent and the Ducks are starting to reek of despair.
Following the loss on Friday morning, the team vented about their on-court struggles, and later in the day, Kent politely asked reporters to leave the gym so he could have a word with his team. All of this seems to point to the team's acknowledgment of the importance of Saturday's game against Stanford.
And in a season of nonsensical wins and losses, it's only prudent that the Ducks' must-win scenario takes place at Maples Pavilion, a venue they haven't won in since 1986.
The Cardinal is led by senior Landry Fields, whose 17 points and 9 rebounds helped lift Stanford over Oregon State on Thursday night. Fields is averaging 17 points and 8.2 rebounds per Pac-10 game. Aside from Fields, Stanford's leading scorer is sophomore Jeremy Green, who's currently tied for first in the conference in scoring with 19 points per game.
But the real challenge for the Ducks is Stanford's home arena. The last time the Ducks won at Maples Pavilion was January 13, 1986, before any current Duck was born. In other words, a lifetime. How ridiculous would it be if the Ducks snapped the streak amid a four-game losing streak? About as ridiculous as starting the Pac-10 slate with two road wins in Washington, despite losing two non-conference games to Portland and Montana? Or as absurd as losing the final Civil War at Mac Court to an Oregon State team coming off a 51-point-loss to D-II Seattle U?
Believe it or not, zanier things have happened in the Pac-10 this season. Like the Cardinal losing at home to Oral Roberts.
The Ducks have their work cut out for them to turn this season around. A win at Maples Pavilion, ending a 23-game skid, could be exactly what they need to do it. And Kent's job could depend on it.
Keys to the Game
Start off quickly. This was one of Matt's keys to the Cal game, and it remains the most important key to tonight's game. If Oregon wants to get out of the funk it's been in, especially offensively, they need to start fast to get a little confidence going.
Establish outside shooting. Stanford is last in the Pac-10 in shooting percentage defense at 49.2 percent. But this isn't just about shooting well in general. After shooting 1-of-18 from behind the arc against Cal, Oregon desperately needs to establish the deep threat in order regain its confidence and clear the way for key No. 3...
Establish the inside game. Stanford has only five blocked shots in six conference games. If the Ducks can open up the middle, Dunigan could be in for a career game. That is, if he can finish. He was 3-for-8 from the field against Cal, finishing with only nine points.
I like Matt's use of the SBNation stats widget, so I'm going to tack that one as well. Enjoy, sabermetricians!