Oregon Ducks vs. Grand Canyon 'Lopes
7:00 PM, Matthew Knight Arena
Media: Ozone premium only (no radio broadcast)
There is as much anticipation surrounding Oregon basketball as I have seen in several seasons, and it all gets started tonight against Grand Canyon. The 'Lopes, a middling Division II squad located in Phoenix are coached by former interim Arizona coach Russ Pennell. While GCU has four Division I kickbacks on their team, this game isn't about them, and it will probably play out the way these exhibitions almost always do: a lopsided win for the home team (oops, sorry about that, Arizona). I'll be watching this game tonight, but its not the final score I'm concerned with. Here are the things I'll be looking for:
BACKCOURT: Keeping in mind that two players that could eventually figure into the backcourt mix won't be playing (Devoe Joseph isn't eligible until December, and Bruce Barron is nursing injuries), the biggest thing I want to look at is the point guard battle headed into the season. It figures to come between Garrett Sim and Jonathan Loyd. have either of them improved their weaknesses? Can Sim handle the ball well enough to lead the offense? Had Loyd improved his shooting enough to be a threat from deep? Of course, I want to see what Jabari Brown's game is all about. We know he's uber talented, but will that come within the team concept? And does Brett Kingma have enough other skills to contribute besides just being a deep shooter?
FRONTCOURT: We have a pretty good read on EJ Singler, but our other two returnees both have question. Is Jeremy Jacob back to 100%? Has Tyrone Nared, who had moments but was very raw last season, become more polished in his post game? I'm also very interested to get a first look at the plethora of new guys: Olu Ashaolu, Tony Woods, Carlos Emory, and Chris Larson.
I'll also just be keeping an eye out on general schematic changes on both ends of the ball given the influx of talent and depth that Oregon has this season.
The game itself shouldn't be a contest, but we'll start to learn a lot about this Oregon team right from the get go. Join me as I'll be commenting here throughout the game.