Cats vs. Ducks: In-Depth Scouting Report

If there is anything certain about either of these two teams, it's that Oregon sticks to what it does best: winning at home; losing everywhere else. Unfortunately for Arizona, Saturday's game happens to be in "The Pit", which does not bode well for the young Wildcats. But then again, neither did playing Maryland, Florida, Texas, Illinois and Purdue.

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The Starters:

#10 Arizona (6-2;1-0)

PG-Jason Gardner, 5-10 Jr. (22.1p,4.0r,4.1a, 43%FGs, 42% 3's)

SG-Salim Stoudamire, 6-1 Fr. (8.5ppg, 28%FGs, 31% 3's, 95%FTs)

F-Luke Walton, 6-8 Jr. (13.6p,8.0r,5.5a,1.6s, 46%FGs)

F-Rick Anderson, 6-9 Jr. (14.1p,6.5r,1.2b, 49%FGs, 44% 3's)

C-Channing Frye, 6-10 Fr. (6.5p,5.5r,1.9b, 51%FGs, 80%FTs)

Oregon (7-3;1-0)

PG-Luke Ridnour, 6-2 So. (13.4p,4.6a, 51%FGs, 46%3's, 86%FTs)

SG-Freddie Jones, 6-4 Sr. (15.0p,4.6r,2.0s, 50%FGs, 27% 3's, 84%FTs)

G/F-Luke Jackson, 6-7 So. (14.2p,5.4r,3.3a, 45%FGs, 39% 3's, 88%FTs)

PF-Robert Johnson, 6-8 Jr. (10.0p,8.3r,1.0b, 56%FGs, 68%FTs)

C-Chris Christoffersen, 7-2 Sr. (9.9p,5.4r, 57%FGs, 54%FTs)

Arizona's Bench (three deep)

*Isaiah Fox, 6-9 Fr. C (6.6p,5.3r, 47%FGs)

*Will Bynum, 5-10 Fr. G (6.6p,2.4r,2.0a, 28%FGs, 26% 3's)

*Dennis Latimore, 6-9 Fr. F (1.9p,3.0r, 29% FGs)

Oregon's Bench (five deep)

*James Davis, 5-10 So. SG (7.1 ppg, 50%FGs, 44% 3's)

*Anthony Lever, 6-3 Sr. SG (5.9 ppg, 47% FGs, 52% 3's)

*Brian Helquist, 6-9 Jr. C (4.4p,3.0r, 62%FGs)

*Mark Michaelis, 6-10 Sr. PF (2.9 ppg, 40%FGs)

*Ben Lendquist, 6-4 Sr. G (2.6p,1.6r,1.9a, 21%FGs, 38% 3's)

Backcourt edge: Oregon...The Ducks are playing at home and should be comfortable shooting the ball and cut down on any potential turnovers. Ridnour is an elite-level point guard and Jones is athletic as they come. Arizona's guards have been ice cold shooting the ball lately and it's hard to project an end to the slump in The Pit.

Frontcourt edge: Arizona...The emergence of freshman center Channing Frye really gives Arizona a solid frontline at all three positions. Walton is the playmaking, do-it-all guy, Anderson is a solid shooter and rebounder and Frye blocks shots, grabs offensive boards and shoots a high percentage around the basket. Oregon will be led by JC-transfer Robert Johnson, who is a monster on the glass, averaging over eight per game. The 7-foot-2, 300-pound Christoffersen is big but very slow and doesn't really block many shots for a guy his size.

Key Matchup:

SG-Salim Stoudamire/Will Bynum, Arizona vs. Freddie Jones, Oregon:

Even without knowing the playing status of Bynum, this figures to be the most significant matchup on the floor.

Jones is one of the most athletic players in the Pac-10, if not the nation, and should have a decided advantage over the smaller, less experienced freshmen guards from Arizona. He can shoot from outside, drive to the basket and play very good defense. However, Stoudamire is the Wildcats' best on-the-ball defender and Bynum's defense has improved dramatically since the start of the season according to Lute Olson. The young Wildcat guards will have to think defense first, offense later to hold their own against a player of the caliber of Freddie Jones.

Keys to an Arizona victory:

*Don't allow the Ducks to get out and run.

-Oregon is the polar opposite of the Oregon State team Arizona faced Thursday night. While OSU tried to use the majority of the shot clock on each possession, the Ducks probably don't even need a shot clock on most nights. Oregon loves the fast break and has a good enough point guard in Ridnour to run it effectively. Plus, Jones and Jackson are great finishers.

*Shoot well from outside.

-Over the last three games, the Cats have shot horrendously from three-point range. We're talking sub-20% level here. Guys like Gardner, Anderson, Stoudamire and Bynum (and even Luke Walton) are all much better shooters than their percentages would indicate. The problem is that most teams don't break out of slumps while playing at Mac Court.

*Play with intensity 100% of the time.

-Anyone who watched the Oregon State game knows that, other than Frye and Walton, the Wildcats looked apathetic and even bored on the court. Playing with that level of disinterest is good for one thing: a loss. Someone needs to step up and start getting crazy by slapping the floor defensively or yellng at his teammates to get into the game. Nothing is worse than watching a team who doesn't seem to care out there. The nomination here is for Gardner and Anderson to light the fire. When this team plays with heart and emotion (see: Maryland, Florida and Illinois) the Cats are very tough to beat.


*Oregon started off the year with four wins, then dropped three straight before winning three in a row going into the Arizona game.

*If the Ducks are going to lose, you better hold them under 80 points, where they are 0-3 on the year. They are 7-0 when scoring 80 or more points, including Thursday's 103-90 win over ASU.

*A weak schedule may have partially contributed to Oregon shooting 50% on the year and an even more impressive 42% from downtown. But throw in the fact that the Ducks make over 77% of their free throws and you've got a very good shooting team. By contrast, Arizona is only making 41% of its shots from the field, 35% outside the arc.

*In each of their last five games, Salim Stoudamire and Will Bynum have struggled tremendously with their shooting touch. Stoudamire is eight for his last 43 (18.6%), while Bynum is nine for 40 (22.5%) since his 16 point outting vs. Florida. To win at Oregon, both freshmen had better at least double those percentages.

Prediction: Oregon 87-79.

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