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Oregon Travels South to Face Fresno State

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Midwest Regional Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Oregon Ducks (8-3) will travel out of the state of Oregon for the first time this season to take on another hot team in the Fresno State Bulldogs (9-2).

Oregon faces a tough challenge heading down to Southern California this Saturday. For coach Dana Altman, weathering the storm will be pivotal. The defense remains a concern for the team and will undoubtedly face a test on the road.

The Ducks have played outside of Matthew Knight Arena by taking part in the Phil Knight Invitational. Oregon did have a home-court advantage with the tournament taking place in Portland.

With a true-road test taking place this weekend, a pro-Bulldog crowd will be on hand at the Save Mart Center.

Elijah Brown will be the Ducks’ x-factor with his familiarity playing against the Bulldogs. The graduate transfer faced Fresno State as a member of New Mexico before transferring to Oregon.

Consistency in scoring had eluded Brown during non-conference play. After being held pointless against Texas Southern, he responded with a 22-point effort last game against Portland State.

Kenny Wooten has come on high for the Ducks in the last few games. Hope is the freshman will bring the block party down to Fresno as he has taken a page from former Duck, Jordan Bell. Wooten had six blocks while chipping in 18 points last game. Through 11 games, Wooten has 32 blocked shots on the season.

Wooten is not the only freshman making an impact as his teammate, Troy Brown, is providing an all-around performance. Brown recorded a third-straight double-double against Portland State and just missed out on a triple-double, falling one assist shy of the feat.

Portland State entered the contest against Oregon on a four-game winning streak but could not find enough offense to break through. Fresno State is another hot team currently on a seven-game winning streak.

Fresno State is coming off a 78-52 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The Bulldogs shot 55 percent from the floor in the game. Through eleven games this season, the Bulldogs have scored at least 75 points in nine of the games.

Deshon Taylor is the top scorer currently for the Bulldogs, averaging about 19 points per game. He has an excellent supporting cast of teammates Jahmel Taylor and Bryson Williams. The Bulldogs now average about 82 points per game. The Ducks average nearly 86 points per game.

Rodney Terry is the head coach at Fresno State. For Terry, this is his first coaching gig which began in 2011. He previously served as an assistant coach at Texas before taking the current role.

Coach Altman could face an uphill battle if the Ducks revert to the display shown against Texas Southern. The offense must get going early and stay effective which proved crucial in the win over Portland State.

Tipoff begins at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday with a telecast on the CBS Sports Network.