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Preview: Ducks Hope to Rain Down Buckets in the Desert

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The Oregon Ducks Men's Basketball Team hits the road this week, traveling down to the desert to face the Arizona schools. Just one month ago, the Wildcats looked to be in disarray. The media circus over Coach Lute Olsen's retirement had been dragging on for a month with no apparent end in sight. Highly touted recruits were changing their minds and looking for other options. Arizona eventually found a coach...it just happened to be Arizona State broadcaster Russ Pennell. On top of that, the football team goes to a bowl game and actually wins! Bizzaro World has effectively hit Tuscon!

The Wildcats collectively calmed themselves, took deep breaths, went training with Mr. Miyagi and begun the season. What have they done? Jumping out to a 9-3 record before Pac-10 play, laying eggs against teams that should have beat and losing to UNLV who is leading their conference at 13-2. Not at a bad start at all. Unfortunately, the wheels came off for the Cats when they went on the road to the bay area to start Pac-10 play, losing to Cal and Stanford by convincing margins. Chase Budinger, thought by many to be a budding NBA prospect, has gone 12 for 50 for the field and 2 of 17 over his past four games. Jordan Hill and Nic Wise have been picking up the slack so far but Arizona will need all three to do well in order to be competitive in the Pac-10 this year and signs point to that happening. The key question...can Oregon sneak out with a win before they pull it back together?

Keys to the Game for Oregon

  • Don't let Wildcats (or a giant Walrus for that matter) steal our buckets!

No throwing it randomly out of bounds, no getting scared that you are wide open and pass it to the other team. Playing a clean game will keep Arizona at bay. With some of their players in a slump, the last thing you want to do is give them extra opportunities. For us? We certainly should steal whatever buckets they have. After all, we are best in the Pac-10 in steals. We might as well put it to good use!

  • Do What Morgan Flint does...make Field Goals
Oregon has the worst field goal percentage in the Pac-10...by a LOT. Oregon absolutely has to make buckets if they want to stay in this game. Making 41.6% of your field goals won't work. Arizona has been giving up a lot of 3's this year. The Ducks will get open looks. They need to knock them down. Hopefully TP can get on a tear and help us get that FG percentage back up to reasonable levels by way of the 3.
  • Oregon needs to stay out of Foul Trouble

Dunigan should be able to go off in this game if he is aggressive and can stay on the court. His presence down low will cause a lot of problems for Arizona and may serve to get Hill or Budinger in foul trouble if they come to help.