Another crucial road trip starts tonight. For us to stay in the Pac-10 championship race we need preferably sweep the Oregon schools or at least get a split. Our best chance to get a split is tonight as we take on a Oregon team which has been struggling to stay above .500 (with a lot of talented players). They lost their last game against Washington in Seattle, but they have won 3 out of their last 4 and are 9-2 at home. So yeah they are no pushover. BBR has the preview:
Last week the Ducks beat Washington St. 52-50 at Pullman but then were routed by Washington 78-59.
The Ducks are led by sophomore forward Malik "Carmelo" Hairston (6'6, 200). He is averaging 15.2 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. Hairston can hit from anywhere on the court; he is shooting 48% from the field, and 45% from beyond the 3-point arc.
A healthy Cedric Bozeman would have been a good size and athletic match-up for Hairston. Michael Roll has done a good job defensively against his opposing number at SF but Hairston plays at another level. Most likely we'll see Arron Afflalo, Michael Roll, and Cedric Bozeman take their turns matching up with Hairston.
On our side, the keys as usual are going to plays of Arron and Jordan. Dohn had an article on Arron's double duties and how he may be wearing out trying to do too much on the court. Howland dismissed the notion wanting AA to be more aggressive:
"Everybody is playing him for the catch-and-shoot," Howland said. "I want him to be more aggressive, driving the basketball. I think he's very good at that. He has a strong body, but he's going to be fine."
Now, Farmar utilizes the jump-stop to near-perfection, earning raves from Howland and a conference-best 5.9 assists per game. He understands the importance of getting his teammates involved in the offense, even if it means passing up open shots.