Let’s pile on yesterday’s Oregon notes. As mentioned even though the Ducks are coming off a tough road trip in Washington this is going to be an extremely difficult game due to both on and off court factors.
The Ducks are undefeated at home (8-0) this season. They are 3-1 against ranked teams, with wins over No. 25 Kansas State, No. 21 Arizona and No. 23 Stanford. Their only loss against ranked team came against the Cougars last Saturday.
KS Wong from Bruin Basketball Report has the preview of tonight’s game:
Oregon has struggled taking care of the ball season at times, giving up 15.4 turnovers a game, which has resulted in less field goal attempts per game versus opponents – almost 3.6 less attempts.
Last season the Ducks gave the Bruins difficulties when they spread the floor on offense to allow their perimeter players to take UCLA defenders off the dribble. Although, speedy point guard Aaron Brooks is no longer here, they have still have skilled and quick guards and wings who can cause problems for the Bruins.
UCLA may even have more trouble due to the potential loss of Luc Richard Mbah a Moute for this game due to a concussion. With Michael Roll already sidelined by a foot injury, if Mbah a Moute is unavailable then expect both Chace Stanback and Nikola Dragovic to see minutes. James Keefe will also see increased time if Mbah a Moute is out but also since senior center Lorenzo Mata-Real may miss the game. Mata-Real also suffered a concussion during the USC game.
Duck's reserve forward Joevan Catron, who has missed the entire Pacific-10 Conference season with plantar fascitis, is expected to play Thursday night. Kamyron Brown, the back-up freshman point guard who had to fly back to Los Angeles to visit his ill grandmother on Monday, is also expected to be on the court to face the Bruins.
Defensively, Oregon has allowed opponents 73.1 points a game on just 31.8% shooting. In six conference games, the Ducks have been outrebounded by bigger Pac-10 teams 33.3 to 32.2 rebounds a game.
Coach Ernie Kent’s Oregon team lacks size inside, although Catron's return helps. The Ducks usually play four guards on the floor lined up alongside forward Maarty Leunen. As a result of being overmatched in the interior against the Bruins, the Ducks will likely play primarily zone defense especially since UCLA has struggled at times attacking zones.
Besides on court issues Ben Ball warriors will have to deal with some off court nonsense. It sounds like lot of Duck fans are still bitter over losing Kevin Love to UCLA. And Ducks’ bitterness towards Love is the focal point of Dohn and Pucins’ writeups today. From Dohn in the Daily News:
How bad is it going to be, especially from Oregon's courtside student section?
"I keep telling my teammates that anything you've seen, it's going to be 100times worse," Kevin Love said. "They're going to shred me apart. I'm hoping that will bring out the best in me, because I'm going to get it."
"Stan did go to Oregon," Cogan said. "When Kevin first committed to UCLA, Stan chose to take a shot at the basketball program and the university, so we don't consider him to be a Duck. He's a traitor, that's what he is.
"Kevin, we have mixed feelings. I saw him play in high school and he's the best high school player I've ever seen, but there's a lot of guys from Lake Oswego who have a lot of negative feeling toward Kevin. There's a lot of people up there who think Kevin is pretty high and mighty. And his dad is worse."
Stan Love said he never thought about missing the game to deflate some of the negativity. "No way," he said. "My brother is so excited he's flying up from Tahoe. My sister is there, my brother's family. The Love family will be targeted, so, great. It's going to be bad."
Cogan said that with the help of Photoshop, the Pit Crew has plans for using a photo taken at McArthur Court last year when Love's team lost in the state championships. It shows Love crying.
I imagine none of our guys are going to pay any attention to all that nonsense. The only thing they need to focus on right now is to work on correcting the mistakes from last Saturday, and come in with the mentality of playing "team defense," and stay poised and execute on the other hand. This will be a huge test. Here is to our guys getting it done.