That's the number of turnovers that the Ducks had against USC on Thursday. And they lost. Unbelievable. I have been around basketball my whole life, and never have seen a team commit only four turnovers and lose the game.
But on this night, USC was just ridiculous. They were hitting everything. And its not as if the Duck defense was terrible. A lot of those shots were with hands in their faces. SC is just a team with a lot of firepower. And in spite of the fact that the Trojans shot over 55% from the field, and the Ducks were shooting about as well as my grandmother, hustle, rebounding, and Aaron Brooks kept the Ducks in a game that they had no business being in. That being said, the Ducks should have won this game.
While they took care of the ball, they also took a lot of bad shots. Live by the three and die by the three. And the Ducks have had many more games this year where they have shot poorly this year than they have shot well. We know that all of the Duck perimiter players are capable of going off, but so rarely do more than one of them go hot at the same time (which makes their early season success all that more remarkable, I suppose). Still, in spite of popular myth, this isn't a spectacular outside shooting team, and I would like to see them penetrate more often. Unfortunately, only Aaron Brooks seems to do so on a regular basis. There is no doubt in my mind that the Ducks are a tournament team this year. But if they want to be really special, they have to stop making things difficult for themselves and get to the rim.
*You have to wonder if Tajuan Porter's early season success was really the best thing for him. He really is a sparkplug, and the team looks so much faster with him in there. But he has to stop shooting threes when the Ducks have man advantage on fast breaks. On 2 on 1 and 3 on 2 situations, you need layups. There were at least two situations like this where Porter took three pointers. If we get a layup on even one of those, we win the game.
*The ESPN people were criticizing Brooks for "not stepping up" in this game, saying he needed to provide senior leadership. What game were they watching? Everytime the Ducks needed a hoop, Aaron got it for them. Yeah, he missed a free throw at the end, but how many players would go 3 for 3 in that situation? ESPNEWS showed the last two minutes of the game, and then criticized Brooks based on that. They need to shut up and admit they didn't know what they were talking about.
*We know that Platt and Schafer suck, but Adam Zahn is even more maddening. Some games, he looks great, then he has a game like Thursday where he looks relatively incompetent. How many missed layups by Zahn in the first five minutes of that game? Be consistent, Adam. Please.
*Champ Oguchi still does not look 100% out there. He doesn't have the hop in his step.
*Joevan Catron keeps getting better and better. There were times when he was just having his way with the SC big men, and you have to wonder why Kent, who badly needs an inside presence, doesn't make a better effort to give him the ball down low. He is showing some potential that he could be the inside presence that the Ducks have missed since Robert Johnson and Chris Christofferson.
In all, there is no one to be mad at for this game. Oregon played pretty well, and, when you look at the shooting percentages, its amazing that the Ducks basically played SC even. Still, you hope that this game isn't a deciding factor come March. SC is a good team, very possibly a tournament team. But in the deep Pac-10, you need every win you can get.