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Talkin’ Tall Firs: N’Faly Dante is Finally Here

The Oregon Ducks just seem to be getting better and better

NCAA Basketball: Oregon at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

After their first non-conference road AP Top 5 win in program history, the #8 Oregon Ducks (8-2) now have three AP Top 15 wins all coming on the road. Memphis, Seton Hall, Michigan. That’s already a solid resume and the season is only one-third of the way down. Payton Pritchard, who was just named the PAC-12 Player of the Week, has put on an All-American type performance this season and he will now be getting a new weapon.

N’Faly Dante became eligible two days before the Michigan matchup last Saturday and will see his first collegiate minutes against Montana today. Francis Okoro can now take a step back and let the game come to him. He and an injured Shakur Juiston aren’t the only big men that can protect the rim on the roster anymore.

The Ducks just got a whole lot deeper. Oregon now gets ready for a three-game home stand before PAC-12 play starts.

Montana Grizzlies

Wins - MSU Northern, Montana Tech, Texas Southern, Coppin State, North Dakota,

Losses - @ Stanford, @ Arkansas, @ Washington, @ New Mexico

KenPom Ranking - #188

Key Numbers:

  • 64.9 points per game
  • 33.8 rebounds per game
  • 11.4 assists per game
  • 3.9 blocks per game
  • 6.1 steals per game
  • 68.8 points allowed per game
  • 43.6 field goal percentage

Player to Watch For:

Sayed Pridgett, Senior - 18.9 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 3.2 APG, 52.2 FG%

The leader of the Grizzlies is a scoring threat with both speed and athleticism. This guard can handle the ball well and and can also blow by any defender that is thrown in his way due to his elite quickness.

Game Time:

Montana @ #8 Oregon - 10:00 PM ET, PAC-12 Network on Wednesday, December 18th

Score Prediction: 88-62, Ducks over Grizzlies

Look for Anthony Mathis to continue to shoot lights out from beyond the arc. The grad transfer has been stellar for this team, now tied for the 31st best three-point percentage shooter in the nation (.526%) with 3.0 three-pointers made a game on average.

Texas Southern Tigers

Wins - @ Northern Kentucky, Lamar, Concordia Texas

Losses - @ San Diego State, @ Wichita State, @ South Dakota, @ Arkansas, @ Montana, @ #9 Gonzaga

KenPom Ranking - #270

Key Numbers:

  • 67.6 points per game
  • 39.2 rebounds per game
  • 11.8 assists per game
  • 3.2 blocks per game
  • 6.3 steals per game
  • 78.6 points allowed per game
  • 39.7 field goal percentage

Player to Watch For:

Tyrik Armstrong, Senior - 13.2 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.7 SPG, 47.6 3P%

Armstrong leads the team in scoring and assists. He has scored in double digits in eight games for the Tigers and has become major threat on the floor. Look for him to get his teammates involved early and then start to attack the Bulldogs offensively.

Game Time:

Texas Southern @ #8 Oregon - 10:30 PM ET, PAC-12 Network on Saturday, December 21st

Score Prediction: 81-51, Ducks over Tigers

Texas Southern actually already beat Montana on the road this season. This one should go down a lot easier than it did against the Grizzlies.

The Ducks are 5-0 at Matthew Knight Arena and that streak will be continuing throughout this three-game home stand.

*Arden Cravalho is a Gonzaga University graduate from the Bay Area... Follow him on Twitter @a_cravalho