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MBB Game 1 Preview: North Dakota State vs. Oregon

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Game Time: 7pm @ Mac Court, Eugene     TV: n/a

The Dana Altman era begins officially as the Men's Basketball team kicks off the season against the North Dakota State Bison in the opening round of the BTI Invitational. Let's be honest with ourselves for a few minutes. This season is going to rough. We're going to lose games... a lot of them. That being said, I'm excited for those little shimmers of hope that may represent the coming of a new dawn in Oregon Basketball. Maybe some defensive pressure? Maybe some cool plays? God forbid a freaking press? I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's take a look at the Bison

North Dakota State plays in the Summit conference, a league with teams such as Oral Roberts, Southern Utah, and our good friends, the Oakland Golden Grizzlies. The Bison put up an 11-18 record overall with losses to teams like Wichita State and Idaho. In conference, they went 8-10 and were bounced by Oral Roberts 65-64 in overtime as a 6th seed in the Summit Conference tournament. In 2008-09, NDSU went to the NCAA tournament and were bounced by the Kansas Jayhawks 84-74 in the first round, ending the season with a 26-7 overall record, 16-2 in conference. This season, the Bison took out Concordia Moorhead in exhibition play, 84-70.

There isn't a lot of data coming into the season but the stat that immediately jumps out at me is field goal percentage. Oregon shot 42% against Northwest Christian College. That won't get the job done against the Bison who shot nearly 54% from the field. Junior Forward Eric Carlson is their go to guy and we'll need to play great defense to shut him down. This team doesn't take a lot of three point shots, going 2-5 in their exhibition game. Collapsing down on Carlson might provide some open looks but it should give us some opportunities to break on the miss. There would be issues if I didn't mention Redshirt Freshman Guard Taylor Braun from Newberg, Oregon. He's a 6'7" guard. Not a typo. Braun had 10 points and 7 rebounds and will provide some match up problems for us.

North Dakota State will foul you. If Joevan Catron and EJ Singler can work the blocks, the Ducks can exploit the depth issues for the Bison and we can work our points at the charity stripe. If Eric Carlson has a big game or gets us in foul trouble, we're in for a long night. They aren't a great shot blocking team so go to the rack early and go to the rack often.

Although I'm ever the optimist when it comes to these types of games, I just don't see how we can shoot that badly against Northwest Christian College and expect to come out on top in this one. I hope I'm wrong. Go Ducks!