That's really all I have to say about the Oregon basketball team at this point. It's become clear that this is a mediocre team without Dominic Artis. They seemed to have solved the turnover issues, and have had very modest turnover numbers the last three games. However, the offense is just so incredibly bogged down, and this team hasn't come close to figuring out what to do about it. Nobody respects Nobody respects Johnathan Loyd's offensive game and, as a result, they clog the middle and take away Oregon's post game.
Oregon has certainly suffered a lot of bad luck during this streak without Artis. Oregon blocked Colorado's attempt at a a game winning shot, but the ball bounced right back into Andre Robertson's hands for a layup. Both of the California games came down to the final minute. The Ducks have lost those three games by a combined seven points, and are dangerously close to being 13-1 in league play.
That said, what has absolutely plagued Oregon is that they have nobody capable of creating their own shot, and its why they have led in the final minute of all of these games, only to go on to lose. Four straight turnovers down the stretch against Colorado. Scoreless in the final four minutes in Berkeley. As the stakes get higher, opposing defenses absolutely lock this team down. E.J. Singler doesn't have the burst to get by people. Carlos Emory has no left hand. Damyean Dotson just hasn't developed that part of his game yet.
The most frustrating part of this group has been Singler, and his 1-12 shooting performance against California was probably the statistic that was most responsible for that loss. Singler is in the midst of his worst shooting season of his career, by far. You can see when he tries to get past people--something he used to be able to do--that is body just isn't healthy. He should be the guy who is hitting the long ball and keeping the defense honest and out of clog-the-post mode, but he hasn't been able to do that consistently. It's not really his fault, but it pretty much ensures that this offense will struggle until Artis gets back. They're fighting their butts off to keep these games close, which should be applauded more than it has been, but they're going to need to get a bit more luck and have somebody step up and make some plays in the final minute to start winning some of these.
As Oregon prepares to face Stanford, a major key is going to be frame of mind. The loss to Cal was an absolute heartbreaker, and Oregon also knows that Stanford completely boatraced them last time out, the one outlier on the conference schedule for the Ducks. Coming off a buzzer beater always gives you trepidation, and you fear coming out flat the game after. However, if Oregon can successfully combat that, they actually have a good shot at beating the Cardinal.
This is mainly because Stanford, like Oregon, is post oriented, and Oregon should be able to successfully counter that. They didn't in the first game--they came out extremely flat, and Dwight Powell and Josh Huestis combined for 26 points and 26 rebounds. It is imperative for Oregon to win the rebounding battle decisively, and keep these two from having monster games on the boards, as Stanford doesn't have much in the way of rebounding behind them.
However, the real key to making the last game a blowout was the Cardinal's guard play. Chaisson Randle and Aaron Bright combined 29 points on 9-16 shooting, including 6-6 from behind the three point line. They were simply on fire, a number made all the more befuddling by the fact that Randle shoots 37% from the field on the season, Bright 35%. Neither is likely to repeat their performance in Palo Alto.
The overwhelming probability is that this game will be like every other game for Oregon over this stretch has been--a close game that comes down to the final minutes. Can the Ducks finally make a play when it matters the most?
Time: 5:00 p.m. PT
TV: Pac-12 Network