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Oregon Men's Basketball Preview and Open Thread: Ducks vs. Portland State Vikings

The Ducks look to move to 2-0 on they young college basketball season as they face an intrastate matchup with Portland State.

Stephen Dunn

Portland State Vikings (1-0) at Oregon Ducks (1-0)

6:30 PT :: Matthew Knight Arena

TV :: Pac-12 Network (National)

Following a too-close-for-comfort opening night win against Northern Arizona, Oregon's hardwood heroes return to the court for a matchup with our friends from up the freeway, the Portland State Vikings. The Vikings are 1-0 in the early season, notching a 77-58 victory over Pacific on Friday night (not the good Pacific from California, the DIII Pacific from Forest Grove). The Vikings and Ducks already have a common opponent on the season, as both teams played Concordia in exhibition play. Portland State survived a 96-93 scare, while the Ducks beat Concordia handily, 102-75. The Vikings are projected to be in the middle of the pack of the expanded Big Sky Conference this season.

The Ducks survived a scare against NAU in the season opener, in a game where the Lumberjacks actually held a lead with about six minutes to go. It was surprising that the game was so close, as NAU was projected to finish last in the Big Sky, but there were three big factors at play in that result: Oregon committed a whopping 18 turnovers, gave up ten three pointers, and shot only 69% on 32 free throw attempts. Those are numbers that get you beat against a good team. Fortunately, Northern Arizona was not a good team.

Dana Altman surprised many with his starting lineup on Saturday, starting three of the freshmen. Dominic Artis started at point guard as expected, but Damyean Dotson and Willie Moore also started, alongside Tony Woods and E.J. Singler. Dotson was impressive, with 13 points and six rebounds, and Moore was also solid. But Artis turned the ball over five times, Carlos Emory shot only 1-5 from the field, and Singler was 4-11 from the field and also missed three free throws, which is equal to 1/3 of his season total from last season. It was also very apparent that Oregon has a lot of kinks to work out on the defensive end as, much like in the exhibition schedule, defensive breakdowns in the man-to-man defense were not uncommon. With Vanderbilt coming to Eugene on Friday, its imperative that the Ducks get those mistakes cleaned up pronto.

For Portland State, they will have to learn how to cope with the loss of two All-Big Sky players in Chehales Tapscott and Charles Odum. Washington State transfers Michael Harthun and Dre Winston are the big names, and both had double-digit scoring games against Pacific. Both are guards who can stroke it from anywhere on the floor. This is not a great rebounding teams, and not terribly big on the front line, so keeping those two guards in check, and making sure to clean up on the boards and not give up second chance shots will be important.