Date: Thursday, Feb. 19, 2004
Time: 7:30 p.m. PST
Location: McArthur Court (9,087), Eugene, Ore.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: FSN (Steve Physioc/Marques Johnson)
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Oregon at a glance
Coach: Ernie Kent
Location: Eugene, OR
Starters Returning: 2
2002-03 Record: 23-10 (10-8)
Post Season: NCAA first round
Last Meeting: Arizona won 90-66. The Wildcats lead the series 33-18.
Good Wins: Fresno State
Bad Loses: Oregon State
Scoring: Luke Jackson 21.3 ppg
Rebounding: Jackson 7.0 rpg
Assists: Jackson 4.7 apg
LAST TIME OUT: Arizona crushed UCLA 107-83. Oregon beat Washington State 67-62 in overtime.
OVERVIEW: Oregon is firmly on the NCAAA Tournament bubble and would love to get this win. They lack quality wins and need to upend either Arizona or Stanford to have a shot at the NCAA's.
The big question is whether or not Aaron Brooks will be able to go against the Wildcats. The Ducks are a more dangerous opponent with the speedy point guard on the floor. At the time this story was posted he was still listed as a game time decision, but sources at Oregon have indicated that Brooks struggled at practice on Wednesday.
"It's a little different defending when you have a scooter at point guard," Lute Olson said.
If Brooks can go the Cats will likely put Chris Rodgers on him. Expect Rodgers to defend whomever plays point guard up, pick up that player at mid-court and do his best to disrupt the offensive flow. The Cats can't let the Oregon guards penetrate and dish to open shooters on the perimeter. The Ducks can get hot from the outside and if they are on the Cats could be in trouble.
This is now Luke Jackson's team and the senior has responded by leading the team in scoring, assists and rebounds. He and Andre Iguodala are the two most versatile players in the Pac-10 Conference and it should be a great battle between the two. Jackson scored 20 in the first meetind, but a lot of his points came after the game was already in hand.
If Brooks can't go, Oregon will start two seniors, two sophomores and a freshman. While Jackson is their best player, the Ducks are getting contributions from Ian Crosswhite, James Davis and Andre Joseph. The four score 61.5 ppg, which is almost 82% of the team's scoring. If the Wildcats can slow these four, the Ducks will be hard pressed to stay in the game.
The Ducks are an excellent rebounding team and Arizona will must crash the boards hard. The Ducks have bulk along the frontline which can pose serious problems. Their three biggest post players are Ian Crossewhite (6-11, 250), Mitch Platt (6-10, 270) and Jay Anderson (6-9, 220). Channing Frye has struggled with foul trouble the past two games, fouling out against USC and UCLA. Fyre must be aggressive offensively against the Ducks buy play smart and stay out of foul trouble.
BEST PLAYER:Luke Jackson. The senior just does so many things well. He leads the Ducks in scoring, rebounding and assists.
KEY MATCH-UPChanning Frye vs. Crossewhite and Platt. Can Frye handle the bulk? Can the two Ducks keep up with the mobile Frye? Frye needs to stay out of foul trouble and control the boards.
OREGON'S STRENGTHS:Oregon has some good scorers, especially on the perimeter. The Cats have struggled to defend the three-point shot and will need to tighten up and play protect against the three.
OREGON'S WEAKNESSES:The Ducks do not get balanced scoring. Four players score most of the team's points and if one or two of them go cold, the Ducks can really struggle. They have not played well against the better teams on their schedule and don't appear to be as talented as they were the past few seasons. If Brooks does not go, the Ducks lack quickness and leadship from the point guard spot.
OUTLOOK: This is a good, not a great Oregon team. They don't have the talent of the teams that gave the Wildcats fits. Arizona needs to play solid perimeter defense and move without the basketball. The Wildcats played much better defense the past two games, but still have had their share of lapses. Arizona must come out fast and not let the Ducks build an early lead. If the Wildcats don't play solid perimeter defense, they are in trouble.