MBB Game 2 Preview: Denver vs. Oregon

Game Time: 8:30pm @ Mac Court, Eugene     TV: n/a

The BTI tournament continues today as the Ducks take on the Denver Pioneers from the Sun Belt Conference. The University of Denver has been in the news lately because of a planned move to the WAC starting in 2011. The Sun Belt has teams like Western Kentucky (which has a red grimace for a mascot) and Florida International with former Detroit Piston and bane of New York Knicks fans, head coach Isiah Thomas.

The Pioneers opened their season at Mac Court against the Gauchos of UC Santa Barbara and did not look good at all. UC Santa Barbara held them to 37% shooting from the field with Redshirt Sophmore Trevor Noonan getting most of the touches. If there was a bright spot for Denver, it would have to be their free throw shooting rebounds. They aren't a huge team but they can certainly get on the boards. One threat the Ducks will need to be especially mindful of is 6-9 Junior Forward Justin Coughlin who hit 3 of 4 from beyond the arc. He could pose a match up problem with his size, especially if he can bury some outside shots and make the Duck defenders come out to challenge him. Only 8 players saw action in their opening game so this may be one of the few teams Oregon has an advantage depth-wise this year.

For Oregon, the gameplan should be simple. Play sound defense and don't allow the Pioneers to get offensive rebounds. Denver will provide steal opportunities as the Gauchos racked up 17 steals in the game and forcing 22 turnovers overall. If the Ducks can play in control defensively, opportunities will present themselves. On the offensive side of the ball, guys need to take it to the rack early and often. Getting the Pioneers to move around will force fouls and free throw opportunities. This isn't a great shot blocking team and challenging them in the paint should give Oregon a distinct advantage.

After the overtime win last night, the Ducks could be a little tired coming into this game but I don't expect there to be much of a hangover. Denver should be outmatched in this game but I would expect a Duck victory in high single digits. Go Ducks!
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