EUGENE OR - JANUARY 13: 'Puddles' the Oregon Ducks mascot walks on the court during the pre-game ceremonies before the first game between the USC Trojans and the Oregon Ducks basketball teams at Matt Court on January 13 2011 in Eugene Oregon. The arena is named co-founder and Chairman of Nike Inc. Phil Knight's son Matthew who died at the age of 34 in a scuba diving accident. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Portland State Vikings (5-3) at Oregon Ducks (5-2)
7:00 PT, Matthew Knight Arena
TV: Comcast SportsNet Northwest
Pomeroy Prediction: Oregon 82-68
Oregon hosts a tune up tonight against Portland State, and there are a lot of things that the Ducks need to clean up if they want a shot to beat Virginia over the weekend. Portland State is 5-3, but their best win is over Louisiana Tech, and two of those wins have come over DIII squads Linfield and Walla Walla. Guard Charles Odum is their best scorer, going for over 18 a game, and post Chehalis Tapscott is a double double guy at 13 boards and 9.6 rebounds per game, respectively. However, PSU's best opponent to date has been Wyoming, and they have faced no one of the caliber of even a sloppy Oregon. The Ducks should win this game, whether it will be handily or not will be determined by whether Oregon can take care of the ball and not have defensive breakdowns.
Four Factors Preview:
eFG%: UO 53.9 (32), PSU 45.1 (271)
Oregon has the big shooting advantage, and a big part of that is three point shooting. The Ducks hit 36% on their threes. PSU ranks dead last in the country at 19%.
Turnover %: UO 21.9 (201), PSU 23.4 (265)
You'd be hard pressed to fin a team that turns the ball over on more possessions that Oregon, who does it 22% of the time, but the Vikings do it at well over 23%. Both teams are among the worst in the country at forcing turnovers, so something has to give.
Offensive Rebound %: PSU 33.2 (158), UO 29.5 (261)
The Ducks have not been good rebounding the ball, the Vikings aren't great, but are better. They need to body up on Tapscott and Nate Lozeau on every play.
Free Throw Rate: PSU 51.1 (15), UO 49.0 (22)
PSU is the rare team that goes to the line more than Oregon, and they play a real post oriented game.
The four factors come out even, but Portland State's stats are against significantly lesser competition. So long as Oregon doesn't give up a ton of extra possessions, they should win, but if Oregon can do something they've had trouble doing this year, and get out to an early lead, Portland State's inability to hit from outside will make it very difficult for them to catch up. But I want more than a win--I want some hope that the turnover and defensive problems are improving, and that we have a good shot against Virginia on Sunday.