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Oregon Notes

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rfirpo has put up some interesting notes leading up to tomorrow's game which he correctly points out is going to be "an incredibly difficult game" on the road.

Oregon is coming off a tough loss against Washington State.

At 12-6 (3-3) some of the Ducks fans were a little despondent after getting swept by the schools in the Evergreen State. However, I imagine they are going to be more than a little fired up against a top-10 UCLA team on their home court.

And it's not like they have any shortage of talent. First let's go with the comments from Coach Howland. He is concerned and worried about the matchups:

He's also concerned about Oregon, especially at McArthur Court. "They're a very difficult match-up for us, because they all shoot it so well and they spread you out. Those three seniors - [Malik] Hairston, [Bryce] Taylor and [Maarty] Leunen - have been through a lot of games and have a lot of experience. The little guy [5-6 Tajuan Porter], you don't know when he's going to off and put 30 on someone; I just hope it's not us on Thursday night. He's so hard to guard because he's so quick."
More on Leunen below. But all the guys Howland mentioned are averaging in double figures for an Oregon team which is leading the league in scoring (80.4 points per game).

Leunen who is averaging almost a double, double a game can shoot the three. And I am sure a number of UCLA fans are familiar with Malik Hairston in the front court who is a prolific scorer and also a presence around the boards.

It looks like Mata-Real is probably out for this game. And right now it doesn't sound very good re. Luc (listed as 'doubtful'). So it will be up to Keefe and AA2 to step up in a big way to help out Kevin Love in the front court. If Luc can't Keefe and AA2 will have to play in control. Specifically AA2 cannot afford to get in needless foul trouble. He needs to focus on playing solid fundamental defense and do what he can to maintain our presence around the boards.

Oh yeah Kevin Love is making a return to his home state. And he had these thoughts on the game:
on fans at McArthur Court

"It's going to be ruthless out there. But, it's all in good fun. They are just trying to help their team to win. If I had a crowd like that, I'd be proud of it. I think that they are undefeated at home this season, so they're doing a great job with it.

"They're just trying to help their team win. I'm just going to look at it as something fun for me. We're going to come out with our game plan and will be ready. The Pit is just trying to help the U of O team as best as they can."

on Maarty Leunen

"Maarty and I have been playing against each other since I was in the eighth grade. He's a great player. I think he's shooting 49 percent from the threes right now, and he's looking like a great player. He's absolutely one of the best players in the Pac-10."

"He's very versatile, and I know his family very well. I played against his brother, Matt, back in the day, and also Mike back in the day. They've got a great family, and I look forward to playing against Maarty. He's got a very versatile game - he can drive the ball, he can really shoot the ball one, and like I said, he's one of the best players in the Pac-10."
While the Bruins are going to have their hands full up front the matchup assignment in the back court is not going to be easy. Tajuan Porter is an explosive guard who has the potential to go off. Here is the player rotation from
Usual Starters -- F Maarty Leunen, G Malik Hairston, G Bryce Taylor, G Churchill Odia, G Kamyron Brown. Key Subs -- G TaJuan Porter, F Frantz Dorsainvil, G LeKendric Longmire.
And roster report:
--Senior Maarty Leunen shot 8-for-9 from the field, including 4-for-4 from beyond the 3-point arc, and scored 22 points at Washington. He had 20 points and 13 rebounds at WSU.

--Sophomore TaJuan Porter continues to come off the bench, and it hasn't helped him find his shooting eye. He was 3-for-12 at Washington, then 4-for-13 at Washington State, making him 23-for-81 (28.4 percent) over an eight-game stretch.

--Freshman point guard Kamyron Brown had a tough night at Washington. He shot 0-for-5 from the field in a scoreless performance and had four turnovers to go with five assists.
A huge key for tomorrow night will be the focus and concentration of DC, Westbrook, and Shipp. DC and Westbrook didn't play well last Saturday. And Shipp even though started out on fire couldn't play in control during crunch time against the Trojan guards.

Those guys will need to be on defensively tomorrow night and they will have to play with poise on the offensive side putting more premium on sharing the ball and setting up their team (read looking for Love down low) and less emphasis on highlight plays. If they come out with the mentality of playing intense on ball defense and focus on executing their offensive sets, they should be fine. Tomorrow's game is going to be difficult. However, it is a winnable fun, if the Ben Ball warriors come out in control, poised, and the prototype defensive ferocity we saw in the first four games against the Bay Area and Washington schools. Let's hope they can get it done.