MBB Preview Vs. UC Santa Barbara

The Ducks get one last game before a break for Christmas and conference play.

After holding off Delaware State, the Ducks have a quick turnaround with UC-Santa Barbara paying a visit to Eugene. The Gauchos will be looking to get their first win of the season on the road. UCSB is currently 0-3 on the road but much of that has to do with the type of talent they have faced outside of Santa Barbara. So far, UCSB has played against SMU, Kansas and Florida Gulf Coast.

“They’ve got a really good team and they have played some people really tough and played a really tough schedule so we’re going to have to come out with a lot of energy and outwork them,” said guard Casey Benson

UCSB is led by center Alan Williams. Through 10 games this season, Williams is averaging a double double with 17.7 points and 11.8 rebounds each game. His presence on the court provides the match-up on the court to watch. Whether it is Elgin Cook or Michael Chandler at the pivot position, it will be interesting to see how they handle the center being the focal point of an offense.

Williams does not do it all by himself, however. He is joined by Michael Bryson, a Junior guard who garnered an honorable mention on the All-Big West team a season ago. Bryson chips in 13 a game and shoots the three well at 34.5%.

The Gauchos are a much better team at home offensively. They shoot around 50% at home but their percentage dips to below 40% when they are on the road. The biggest dip though comes from behind the 3 point arc where their percentage drops from 46% to 26%. With as well as the Ducks rebound the ball, this could be a major factor in the Ducks coming away with a win.

Where the Ducks have to improve from their win over DSU is allowing offensive rebounds. On Saturday, the Ducks allowed 14 offensive rebounds. There is a bit of a hidden stat in this as 6 of those rebounds were the result of a dead-ball rebound where Oregon simply could not corral the ball before it went out of bounds. With Williams in the middle, Oregon will not be able to take rebounds for granted or he is going to punish the Ducks with second chance points.

Oregon has an advantage with their big men and their ability to pass to one another. Williams also averages 3 blocks a game and will be looking to keep that going. As many know, the weakness of many shot blockers is that they love to block shots. If Oregon can get him to commit one way and pass across the paint, it could provide several easy baskets for Oregon.

Oregon needs to continue their habit of rebounding well and need to improve on the defensive side of rebounding. If averages continue, the Ducks will have plenty of opportunities to get out and run. Long shots lead to long rebounds and Oregon can use that to get the ball up court and perhaps neutralize Williams’ effect on the court. Oregon should win this game but if they cannot rebound, they may find themselves in a dogfight with the Gauchos.

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