This is going to seem a bit out of place due to the amount of euphoria that has surrounded Ducks basketball this year with the new arena and in just being consistently competitive in the Pac, but I think the bar has already been raised. Let's be honest, sitting at home for the post season and letting Catron and Strowbridge fade into the alumni night without ever playing a tourney game for the Ducks just doesn't seem right now.
In order to achieve a post season berth, either in the NIT or the CBI, everyone on this team needs to step up for the remaining 6 games. Oregon needs to execute and play their game the way they have lately, and some guys that have been struggling need to figure it out quickly. I think we all realize that this team is not one that is just going to go out there and win with talent, or on the shoulders of one superstar. They need a complete team effort to finish the season with a winning record and put themselves in position for games late in March.
That means we cannot have games where Catron reverts back to his old self and tries to take everyone one on one and consistent turns the ball over. EJ has to figure out how to shoot on the road and can't disappear tonight against USC. I love how Armstead, Sim, Nared and Strowbridge have been playing lately, but this team cannot afford for any of those guys to slump now.
Lastly, Williams, Loyd and Jacob need to wake up and start playing better. Williams has put up a goose egg in 4 of his last 7 games. In that same span he's had 6 turnovers and only 2 assists. A team that has to be incredibly efficient and relies on ball movement cannot afford to have that type of inconsistent and erratic production from one of their main bench players.
Loyd has gotten exposed as a freshman the last couple of games as teams have attacked him early and he's picked up fouls and been forced to sit. It appears Armstead will be starting in his place tonight, and let's hope that Loyd can pull out some of that same magic he had last time against the Trojans when he had 12 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists.
Finally, Jacob has to start playing like his old self. I know the injuries have been taking their toll on his play, but Oregon needs some size off the bench, and there have been times where we've seen flashes of the brilliance he displayed all of last year.
I'm excited that expectations and promise have returned to Oregon basketball. It's awesome watching these kids lay it on the line every night they play. For all the hard work, everything these guys have gone through in the last 3 years, they deserve some post season games. But that's going to take executing and finishing what they've started, and everyone is going to need to step up to make that happen.