Originally written November 15, 2012 on NorthWest Sports Beat:
A Veiled Season Shrouded by the success of the Oregon Ducks’ football team, the University of Oregon men’s basketball team has set sail on their 2012/2013 campaign that should mark a crucial point in the history of the program under Head Coach Dana Altman. Though the Ducks did lose senior leaders such as Garrett Sim and Devoe Joseph, Oregon returns a bevy of starters to compliment a youth movement that has many Duck fans wondering if their team can once again find its way to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. With play underway and Oregon sporting an early 2-0 record with wins over Northern Arizona and Portland State, there are already some strengths and weaknesses that can be pointed out about this Oregon men’s basketball team. Here are the things we’ve noticed so far. Strengths Up-tempo Like so many other Oregon teams under Dana Altman, this team can move the ball up and down the court pretty fast. Taking pages from the Oregon football team, players like Jonathan Lloyd and now Dominic Artis give the Ducks a great transition offense that is sure to provide for many fast breaks throughout the course of the season. Dana Altman is now in his third year with the Ducks, looking to take the program to new heights. (Photo: Oregonlive.com) Oregon is also pretty fast in getting their defense set, likely a consequence of the conditioning required to supplement their style of play. Inside Presence Though it will still take some time to develop as the season progresses, one strength of the Oregon Ducks this season should be their inside presence and physicality when teams are trying to drive to the hoop. Tony Woods, a standout athlete that has already proved his worth to the Ducks last season, will be supplemented by yet another 6′ 11″ monster in the form of Austin Waverly, giving the Ducks an intimidating center that should be able to hold up against the best of what the Pac-12 has to offer. Development is required, but this positional group should shape up to be quite the dominant force. 6th Man No, we’re not talking about the Pit Crew — they still have some work to do. Our 6th man references Carlos Emory, Oregon’s do-it-all player who can come off the bench and create an explosion of energy on the court. While he did take some time to adjust to Oregon’s system last season, Emory had a great second-half and has so far looked the same part early on in 2012. If Emory can continue his impressive play from last season, the Ducks may surprise more than a few people this year. Weaknesses Beyond the Arc With the loss of Sim and Joseph Oregon lost two of its better three-point shooters from a year ago, thus leaving the door for other players to step in. Though the Ducks did have an impressive line in their past game against Portland State, three-point shooting, once a staple of the Oregon attack, may be less productive this year than it was in the past. That, however, could quickly change should Artis really step into a big role and fuel the Oregon offense. Defense While the Ducks should have a solid center line and keep opponents out of the box, Oregon may struggle to really match up with top tier offenses in college basketball as they have some transition issues from time to time. Once again, this issue can be resolved with the further development of youth and better cohesion among players as the season goes on. CLICK HERE CHECK OUT THE DUCKS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
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