Washington State Cougars (13-11, 5-7) at Oregon Ducks (17-7, 8-4)
3:00 PT :: Matthew Knight Arena
TV :: Good Luck
Pomeroy Ratings :: WSU (118) :: Oregon (88)
Pomeroy Prediction :: Oregon 75-69
I will be watching this game on Ozone and providing updates throughout the game in this thread.
Oregon returns to the court for its first game since a very successful Happy I Hate Washington Day. In theory, this is the second easiest game left on the schedule, making it a must win if the Ducks are to get to that 20-win mark. That said, the Cougars are coming off a big win in Corvallis, and has beaten both Bay Area schools this season. This game also has massive let down potential for the Ducks after the big win over Washington, so its certainly not a gimme.
Oregon won't shoot the lights out like they did the first game against the Cougars, so defense will be a big key, and that starts with slowing Brock Motum down low. Motum is a no-brainer first team all conference player, averaging 17.5 points and 7 boards a game, but what is impressive is how he can score. Motum can score some extremely physical points down low, but he can also head out and hit the three, where he shoots 41%. An overall 57% shooter, he can pass well out of the double team (2 assists per game), and hits at a 77% clip from the free throw line. Motum is one of the most improved players in the nation this season, and I'd be pretty surprised if he's not on a pro roster next season.
Faisal Aden was the other guy who could really hurt you, but he's out for the year with a torn ACL. Point guard Reggie Moore has had a disappointing season, and has looked really bad at times. Marcus Capers has looked worse. Both have been especially poor on the defensive end. DaVonte Lacy has had his moments (see the first game against UO, where he went bonkers from three), but has been inconsistent as you would expect from a freshman.
Mainly due to Motum's stellar play, WSU ranks 59th in the country in offensive efficiency, because they shoot the ball well and get to the line. However, the guard play has been pretty poor, and they turn the ball over a lot. They also give up a lot of offensive rebounds, which was evident in the first game between these two teams. They are also very poor defensively, and give up a lot of open shots, especially beyond the three point arc.
Oregon doesn't need to go crazy like they did the first time these teams met to win this game. They merely need to shoot decently, crash the offensive boards, and make somebody besides Motum beat them. If they come into this game with full focus, they should be in great shape.