Fresh off a weekend sweep in Los Angeles, the triumphant Oregon Ducks return to Matthew Knight Arena to face the Washington State Cougars in a Wednesday night contest. Washington State is a bad basketball team, sitting at 1-4 in the Pac-12, the sole victory being over Utah.
Washington State is not a very good team. Its may be the least talented team in the league. They want to slow the game way down, walk the ball up and down the court, and play an inside-outside game utilizing Brock Motum. Motum has been the league's best kept secret the past two seasons, and averages 19 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. He is an adept low post player, but can also step out and shoot the three at a 34% clip. Motum can also kick the ball out to Mike Ladd (10.8 ppg) and DaVonte Lacy (9.6).
Wazzu will try to slow the game way down because, outside of Motum, this isn't a good team offensively. They rank 10th in the league in efficiency (100.8 points/100 possessions). They simply do not shoot the ball well, ranking 11th in the conference in FG% (42.8), 10th in FT% (66.2) and 10th in 3PT% (34.7), though they shoot a ton of threes anyway. It is little wonder why Wazzu is the slowest paced team in the PAC--if they get into an up and down game, they simply cannot score enough to keep up. Oregon's first order of business will be to dictate tempo against Washington State.
Defensively, this team is actually pretty good, ranking 4th in defensive efficiency (93.1). They will give up the three, but only allow opponents to shoot 40% overall. The problem for the Cougars is that they can't really match the Oregon front line. It's a mediocre rebounding team that gets blocked more than any other in the league, and simply doesn't have the depth to contend with Oregon down low for a full game.
This team doesn't have a true point guard, and can tend to be rather turnover prone (12.3/game). The Ducks should be able to utilize a full court press both to cause the Wazzu backcourt turnover problems and to force them into the offense with a short clock, but also to get the tempo of the game in a direction they want it to head.
This is one of the bottom three teams in the league and one that the Ducks should certainly beat at home.
Game time and date:
Wednesday, January 23, 6:30 p.m. PT