Time for the first hoops installment of five questions. For today's round, we again talk to Ian of OregonLive's Vikings Blog regarding tonights matchup vs. Portland State. You can see my answers to his questions over on his blog. Anyway, here goes:
ADQ: Who are the key players for Portland State this year?
VB: PSU returns three starters and, for different reasons, their play will determine PSU's success. Perhaps most important is junior center Scott Morrison. Ducks fans will remember the 6-foot-11 center for how he dominated them last year. This year he is the only PSU player over 6-foot-6 and will need to stay on the court and out of foul trouble for the Vikings to compete down low. Senior Juma Kamara is probably the best all around player on the team and can do it all, though he is undersized for the four position he will play. Junior Ryan Sommer is our version of a Tajuan Porter/Aaron Brooks combo, only slightly bigger and a proven leader.
ADQ: The Vikings gave the Ducks fits last year winning at Mac Court. Can we expect a similar style from them this year?
VB: No. PSU is a much smaller team than it was last year. If the only exhibition game was any indication, expect PSU to pass the ball better and be more tenacious on defense. The big bodies to build a plodding half-court offense are mostly gone and have been replaced with smaller, athletic players.
ADQ: What are the expectations for the Vikings going into the season this year?
VB: The Viks are a unanimous pick to finish in the middle of the Big Sky pack. I think most fans would be happy with a .500 conference record, a berth in the conference tourney and a shot at winning the conference title and March Madness.
ADQ: I hear that Portland State may be building a new basketball arena. What's the latest on that?
VB: There's nothing in the works right now. I spoke with the new athletic director and she agreed a new facility was a necessity. She said she didn't think funding would be an issue but tat any discussion would have to wait until a proposed new student rec center gets under way. When that will happen is unknown.
ADQ: Oregon is going to beat Portland State more often than not. What are the expectations for a game like this, and what would a win mean for the Vikings?
VB: A win for PSU would be a sign that second year coach Ken Bone's rebuilding process is farther along than anticipated. Outside the players on the team, who I'm sure have expectations, a game like this is a no-lose with low expectations for PSU fans - win and you can rub it in Ducks fans all year, lose and nobody cares. A win also brings heightened visibility for a team that struggles to get more than brief game summaries in the paper and on the news.
Thanks, Ian, and best of luck tonight!