Hoops Preview - Oregon

Without starting point guard Abdul Gaddy, who was lost for the season with a torn ACL, the Washington Huskies will try to make it 10-straight wins against Pac-10 opponents when the Oregon Ducks come to Seattle Thursday. The tip time is set for 5:30 p.m. PST and the game will be aired live on Fox Sports Northwest.

Oregon (7-7, 0-2), in the cellar of the conference, is in the midst of a massive rebuilding effort following the departure of long-time coach Ernie Kent. Dana Altman now leads the Ducks, and their team features several walk-ons and players who were offered late in the process last year just to help fill out the roster after a sizable bout of attrition. In terms of numbers, the Ducks have two seniors, seven juniors, three sophomores and three freshmen; however, only eight of those players are returning.

Leading the way for UO is Joevan Catron, a redshirt senior forward. The 6-foot-6, Illinois native is averaging 16.4 points on 54 percent shooting from the field. He is also averaging 6.3 rebounds and 1.1 steals.

Although his brother Kyle is the famous one, currently starring at Duke, E.J. Singler is slowly starting to make a name for himself in his home state. The 6-foot-6 sophomore forward is averaging 12.1 points on 49 percent shooting from the field, 85 percent from the free-throw line and 38 percent from three. He is also contributing 6.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game.

One of the bigger surprises of the season is the ineffectiveness of starting point guard Malcolm Armstead. The 6-foot junior is averaging just 6.9 points on 34 percent shooting from the field. He is still averaging solid assist and steals numbers with 3.7 and 2.2, respectively, but his numbers have taken a hit since his outstanding debut last season, especially at UW. On January 2, 2010, Armstead led the Ducks to a 90-79 win at Hec Ed with 21 points, six assists and three steals.

Beyond Catron, Singler and Armstead, look for Jay-R Strowbridge and Johnathan Loyd to round out Oregon's starting five.

Although there is a new coach at the helm for Oregon, the style of play won't be changing much. Husky Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said to continue to expect an up-tempo Duck team under Altman, but also a team that will use a variety of presses to try and turn over a UW team that currently leads the Pac-10 in assist-to-turnover ratio.

Following their encounter with their interstate rivals, the Huskies (10-3, 2-0) will begin to prepare for their other one, the Oregon State Beavers, (7-6, 2-0), who through the first two games has been the surprise of Pac-10 play. The game will be played at Hec Ed on Saturday, 3:30 p.m. PST.


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