Prognosticating Oregon

Cal beat Oregon 77-66 in their first meeting of the year, at Haas, then won again in Portland 62-60. Cal meets Oregon again this evening in the Pac-10 tourney semifinals (tip off 8:50 p.m.) and will try for the hat trick – to match the one Cal earned yesterday by defeating USC for the third time this season.

Oregon has improved as the season developed, though that is not reflected in their Pac-10 won-loss records. The Ducks were 4-9 in the first half of Pac-10 play, 3-9 in the second, but five of those losses second-half losses were by one, two, or three points: 5 losses by a total of 11 total points.

Just two bad losses mar the Ducks’ Pac-10 record: losing 59-78 to Washington on January 21st, and by 53-70 against UCLA on February 26th.

A regular-season-ending loss to Pac-10 8th ranked Oregon State by three points in the Oregonian version of the “Civil War” was especially galling.

Two recent factors make the Bears’ opponent tonight a different team than the one they faced twice this year.

First, Oregon’s outstanding guard Aaron Brooks has left himself outstanding from the Cal game tonight by leveling Washington’s Ryan Appleby with a deliberate right forearm to the face in yesterday last quarterfinal game. Ejected from the game, Brooks also drew an automatic one-game suspension, “deleting” himself from tonight’s contest against Cal.

Brooks has averaged 34 minutes a game, scoring 11.7 points per game against Pac-10 opponents. He is the team’s leading free-throw shooter (9th in the Pac-10), 2nd leading three-point shooter, and 2nd leading scorer after his teammate guard Hairston Malik. Brooks assists (134) lead the team, more than double Malik’s 2nd leading contribution (63) – and his assist-to-turnover ratio (1.88) is second only to Brandon Roy of Washington, the league’s player-of-the-year.

Brooks will be missed. Hairston is already playing 32 minutes a game – not much more can be expected from him. Look for #25 Chamberlin Oguchi (6-5 195 lb sophomore) to at least double his normal 17 minutes – as he has done in the last two games. Brooks’ remaining minutes will be filled by contributions from #14 Brandon Lincoln (6-4 195 lb senior) and #2 Jordan Kent (6-5 205 lb junior).

The latter two have been averaging about 20 minutes a game, so are experienced, but both lack skills that Aaron Brooks brings to the court. Lincoln is a poor three-point shooter, and tends to get in foul trouble. His assists are running at half what a Brooks would provide. Jordan Kent is not a player coach Ernie Kent wants shooting from behind the arc (16%) or from the foul line (25%). His short jumper game is good however, scoring at about a 50% clip from the floor.

Thus the “Brooks burden” will largely fall on #25 Oguchi and #14 Brandon Lincoln.

Oguchi is the key story here. His 36% season average from beyond the arc is solid, but doesn’t tell the story. In the last seven games of the regular season he has averaged almost 17 points, with 20 or more in four of those games. He led the Ducks in the regular season with 54 treys, 26 of which came in those last seven games.

In the Pac-10 tournament, Oguchi has hit 12 of 25 from 3-point territory against Washington State and Washington, with all 22 points against Washington coming in the second half.

In several games this season, Richard Midgley has drawn the “defender card” from Braun’s Tarot deck, and has been given the assignment of shutting down a key scorer for an opponent. Coach Braun has frequently cited Midgley’s defensive job against Salim Stoudamire of Arizona – holding him scoreless – as a peerless defensive effort.

It is certain that Braun and Co will arrive with plans to limit Oguchi’s three-point shooting. Given that Omar Wilkes was challenged to defend Malik Hairston in the two games played already this season, we can expect to see the same again. And since Ayinde Ubaka’s primary role will be at point guard, both to manage the floor and to produce points, it is likely that we will see Midgley given the (exhausting) defensive assignment on Oguchi. Watch the game opening sequences to see what strategies Cal adopts.

Ernie Kent chose to defend Powe one-on-one in the first game, and paid dearly for that choice. Powe was 8 of 14 from the floor and 10 of 14 from the line, for a total of 27 points. And the additional body supposedly available to help defend Cal’s guards didn’t help much either, as Ubaka poured in 29. Kent won’t try that defense again – and didn’t in second game when Cal and Oregon played on February 4th.

The second game was a more conventional affair, with Powe limited to 15 points and 5 shots from the foul line, with 20 points for Ubaka who was 10-for-10 from the line – and Cal barely survived with a 2-point win.

So Cal can expect a conventional defense from Oregon where Powe is doubled as soon as he touches the ball. Cal for its part will try to use their improving passing skills to create open looks for other players off Powe’s doubles.

To summarize these factors – Cal will see a defense similar to what it saw in game 2, yet will be somewhat more productive offensively due to their pressure-tested experience and maturity. Midgley will draw the Oguchi assignment, and will probably hold him under his recent totals against the Washington schools. Wilkes will do his customary good job on Hairston – and Oregon will not be able to fully make up for Aaron Brooks’ loss – not for a whole game.

It says here that Cal will pull out an 8-10 point win, and be headed for the title-game tomorrow at 3:30 pm.


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Oregon has improved as the season developed, though that is not reflected in their Pac-10 won-loss records. The Ducks were 4-9 in the first half of Pac-10 play, 3-9 in the second, but five of those losses second-half losses were by one, two, or three points: 5 losses by a total of 11 total points.

Just two bad losses mar the Ducks’ Pac-10 record: losing 59-78 to Washington on January 21st, and by 53-70 against UCLA on February 26th.

A regular-season-ending loss to Pac-10 8th ranked Oregon State by three points in the Oregonian version of the “Civil War” was especially galling.

Two recent factors make the Bears’ opponent tonight a different team than the one they faced twice this year.

First, Oregon’s outstanding guard Aaron Brooks has left himself outstanding from the Cal game tonight by leveling Washington’s Ryan Appleby with a deliberate right forearm to the face in yesterday last quarterfinal game. Ejected from the game, Brooks also drew an automatic one-game suspension, “deleting” himself from tonight’s contest against Cal.

Brooks has averaged 34 minutes a game, scoring 11.7 points per game against Pac-10 opponents. He is the team’s leading free-throw shooter (9th in the Pac-10), 2nd leading three-point shooter, and 2nd leading scorer after his teammate guard Hairston Malik. Brooks assists (134) lead the team, more than double Malik’s 2nd leading contribution (63) – and his assist-to-turnover ratio (1.88) is second only to Brandon Roy of Washington, the league’s player-of-the-year.

Brooks will be missed. Hairston is already playing 32 minutes a game – not much more can be expected from him. Look for #25 Chamberlin Oguchi (6-5 195 lb sophomore) to at least double his normal 17 minutes – as he has done in the last two games. Brooks’ remaining minutes will be filled by contributions from #14 Brandon Lincoln (6-4 195 lb senior) and #2 Jordan Kent (6-5 205 lb junior).

The latter two have been averaging about 20 minutes a game, so are experienced, but both lack skills that Aaron Brooks brings to the court. Lincoln is a poor three-point shooter, and tends to get in foul trouble. His assists are running at half what a Brooks would provide. Jordan Kent is not a player coach Ernie Kent wants shooting from behind the arc (16%) or from the foul line (25%). His short jumper game is good however, scoring at about a 50% clip from the floor.

Thus the “Brooks burden” will largely fall on #25 Oguchi and #14 Brandon Lincoln.

Oguchi is the key story here. His 36% season average from beyond the arc is solid, but doesn’t tell the story. In the last seven games of the regular season he has averaged almost 17 points, with 20 or more in four of those games. He led the Ducks in the regular season with 54 treys, 26 of which came in those last seven games.

In the Pac-10 tournament, Oguchi has hit 12 of 25 from 3-point territory against Washington State and Washington, with all 22 points against Washington coming in the second half.

In several games this season, Richard Midgley has drawn the “defender card” from Braun’s Tarot deck, and has been given the assignment of shutting down a key scorer for an opponent. Coach Braun has frequently cited Midgley’s defensive job against Salim Stoudamire of Arizona – holding him scoreless – as a peerless defensive effort.

It is certain that Braun and Co will arrive with plans to limit Oguchi’s three-point shooting. Given that Omar Wilkes was challenged to defend Malik Hairston in the two games played already this season, we can expect to see the same again. And since Ayinde Ubaka’s primary role will be at point guard, both to manage the floor and to produce points, it is likely that we will see Midgley given the (exhausting) defensive assignment on Oguchi. Watch the game opening sequences to see what strategies Cal adopts.

Ernie Kent chose to defend Powe one-on-one in the first game, and paid dearly for that choice. Powe was 8 of 14 from the floor and 10 of 14 from the line, for a total of 27 points. And the additional body supposedly available to help defend Cal’s guards didn’t help much either, as Ubaka poured in 29. Kent won’t try that defense again – and didn’t in second game when Cal and Oregon played on February 4th.

The second game was a more conventional affair, with Powe limited to 15 points and 5 shots from the foul line, with 20 points for Ubaka who was 10-for-10 from the line – and Cal barely survived with a 2-point win.

So Cal can expect a conventional defense from Oregon where Powe is doubled as soon as he touches the ball. Cal for its part will try to use their improving passing skills to create open looks for other players off Powe’s doubles.

To summarize these factors – Cal will see a defense similar to what it saw in game 2, yet will be somewhat more productive offensively due to their pressure-tested experience and maturity. Midgley will draw the Oguchi assignment, and will probably hold him under his recent totals against the Washington schools. Wilkes will do his customary good job on Hairston – and Oregon will not be able to fully make up for Aaron Brooks’ loss – not for a whole game.

It says here that Cal will pull out an 8-10 point win, and be headed for the title-game tomorrow at 3:30 pm.


©Copyright 2006, BearInsider.com and Scout.com. All rights reserved.

If you haven't done so already, subscribe to The Bear Insider so you can participate in this active online Cal community and get access to the members-only content from the nation-wide Scout.com network.

Bear Insider staff writers visit the Insider discussion board regularly, and are available to discuss questions you may have about this article and Cal Athletics.

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