The Ducks and Utes have met 13 times previously and Utah holds a 7-6 advantage. Utah is scoring an average of 74.1 points per contest and is led by junior center Luke Nevil, 7-1, 14.4 ppg, 7.9 rpg. The Utes are coming off an uncharacteristic 11-19 season last year, but are looking to regain national prominence under new head coach Jim Boylen.
Oregon is ranked 19th in the current Associated Press poll. This week's ranking marks the first time the Ducks have been in the ranked in the Top-25 for 19 consecutive weeks (dating back to last season) and breaks the previous mark of 18 weeks -- the final six polls of the 2001-02 season and the first 12 of the 2002-03 season.
Head coach Ernie Kent in his 11th season with a record of 199-121 will be trying on Saturday to become just the second man to win 200 games as coach of the Oregon Ducks. Only Basketball Hall of Famer Howard Hobson, 212-124 in 11 seasons between 1936-47 has won more than Kent. Hobson also led Oregon to the very first NCAA Championship in 1939.
So far this season Oregon has scored at least 80 points and twice has scored more than 100. At 91.3 points per game, the Ducks are fourth in the nation in scoring. Oregon currently has two 1,000-point career scorers on the roster in Malik Hairston (1,264) and Bryce Taylor (1,125) and will soon be joined by Maarty Leunen, who currently has 884 points. Leunen is also the top career rebounder in the Pac-10 conference with 687 rebounds.
Another interesting fact is that the Ducks are averaging more than five blocks per game this year, the most for any Oregon squad.
When the Ducks take the floor Saturday, all five seniors (three starters) on the Oregon roster will have completed their degree requirements for graduation. Malik Hairston, Mitch Platt and Ray Schafer finished their degrees earlier this year, while Maarty Leunen and Bryce Taylor completed their required classes to earn their degrees on Friday -- the end of the 2007 fall term. Oregon is
believed to be the only school with five degree-carrying players on its roster. Junior Churchill Odia will make it a sixth player when he graduates at the end of the spring quarter.
The Oregon women take on UC Santa Barbara at 12:30 p.m.
Tickets are available for the 2007 Papè Jam, with the price ranging from $10 to $25. Tickets may be purchased at the Rose Quarter Box Office, all participating Safeway outlets, ComcastTIX.
com or by calling 877.789.ROSE (7673).
Kent look for Win 200 at Papè Jam
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