by Craig Yamada
Who: Oregon (7-7) vs UW (10-3)
When: Thursday, 5:30 PM
Where: Hec Ed
***UPDATED at 3:59 PM***
Venoy Overton will make the start tonight against the Ducks. Confirmed by inside source.
UW has had a roller coaster of a week. Flying back to Seattle, UW returned home on the heels of their first LA sweep since 2006. MBA wins Pac-10 POW for the first time in his career. Countless buzz generates about this team finally living up to its pre-season potential and talk about running away with the Pac-10 title was going around all the blog boards. Enter Wednesday morning. It is announced that Abdul Gaddy had torn his ACL in practice the day before and that he will miss the remainder of the season. Hearts of Husky nation dropped in plain shock of the news.
UW’s resiliency will undergo a huge test this week as the Oregon schools come for a showdown at Hec Ed. No doubt that Husky nation is down and depressed in hearing the news of Abdul Gaddy (myself included). However, the team still has a game to play against the Ducks on Thursday. How will they respond to the tough news? My guess is is quite well. The depth of this team makes for great confidence in this kind of adversity.
The Ducks on the other hand enter Thursday’s game on a four game losing streak, including being swept at the hands of the Arizona schools last week. This Duck team is young, it lacks depth and is in serious rebuilding mode to start its 2010 season. Dana Altman truly took over a sinking ship and is now trying to turn this program around. The Ducks handed UW one of its two Pac-10 losses at home last season. And thus, the Dawgs will be eager to come out of the gates running to avoid any hint of a let down on Thursday night.
Ducks 101: The Ducks are not the same team they were last year. With the early departure of Michael Dunnigan and graduation of Tajuan Porter the Ducks are searching to find their identity as a team. Their team is anchored by returning 6’6″ PF Joevan Catron who is the team’s leading scorer at 16.4 ppg. Although Catron is not the tallest PF UW has matched up against, he finds a way to score whether its taking you off the dribble or muscling down low. EJ Singler, brother of Kyle, is second on the team in scoring at 12.1 ppg and first in rebounding at 6.4 rpg. Singler has made the most 3 pt field goals on the team and is 2nd in 3pt shooting percentage at 38%.PG Malcolm Armstead is no stranger to UW. He single handedly dismantled the UW backcourt last season at Hec-Ed. He is off to a slow start in 2010 as he is averaging 6.9 ppg but leads the team in assists at 3.7 apg. Jay-R Strowbridge, a senior transfer, was expected to help pick up the slack with Tajuan Porter graduating. Thus far he is averaging just under 8 points per game. He definitely is not shy from shooting from beyond the arc but is shooting just 24% on the season. Their third leading scorer is Jeremy Jacob at 8.3 ppg and came off the bench in his last game against ASU. Jacob dropped 17 against Arizona the game before and does possess the ability to lead his team on offense. Dana Altman brings a defensive mindset to the Oregon Ducks. Altman likes to apply pressure whenever he can as the Ducks pick up full court after a made basket. They tend to trap the corners as the guards bring the ball up the court. They then fall back into a man to man defense once the ball crosses half court.
Likely Starting Lineup for the O:
G – 6’0″ – Malcolm Armstead, 6.9 ppg
G – 5’8″- Jonathan Lloyd, 5.3 ppg
G – 5’10” – Jay-R Strowbridge, 7.9 ppg
F – 6’6″ – EJ Singler, 12.1 ppg
F – 6’6″ – Joevan Catron, 16.4 ppg
UW Quick Notes: The question at debate all day long on the blog today has been: Who replaces Abdul Gaddy in the starting line up? The smart money would be on Venoy Overton to slide into the starting PG spot and run alongside IT at the SG. That would be the easiest move for Romar in this scenario. The smartest move however, remains to be seen. Given UW’s lack of ball handlers with Abdul Gaddy out, it may be wise to have Venoy to come fresh off the bench and slide IT to the starting PG position. The starting SG position can be filled by one of three: Ross, Ross or Ross. Just kidding. Suggs, Ross and Wilcox will be battling for that spot if Venoy comes off the bench. Given Ross’ recent performance, he has definitely merited a chance to start. But that is just my humble opinion. I want to hear from you, the reader:
Huskies Win if they:
- Force 15+ Turnovers: The Ducks average 13 TO’s per game and with the likely addition of Venoy Overton to the starting lineup, look for UW to start forcing TO’s with high pressure defense from the opening tip. Armstead averages over 3 TO’s per game, and thus Venoy should have some fun guarding him.
- Win the Rebounds: Don’t look now but the Dawgs are in the top 25 in the nation in rebounding. Let’s hope they can continue the trend tomorrow. The Ducks are not a large team. The biggest player that actually gets decent burn is 6’8″ Jeremy Jacob. Thus size should not be the issue. Aziz and MBA will need to keep Catron and Singler off the boards.
- Inbound the ball quickly: Press has never been a thing that has given UW fits. Most teams are smart enough to not try and press one of the best transition teams in the nation. But if they do, look for Venoy and IT to go buck wild by slashing middle on the inbound and lead their team to some easy buckets as Oregon does not possess the quickness to keep up with UW’s speed.
- Get Catron in foul trouble: As talented as Catron is, he has found himself in foul trouble to open the Pac-10 season. He fouled out against Arizona and nearly did the same against ASU. MBA will need to bang in the post to try and get their post threat out of the game.
Game Prediction: UW jumps all over the Ducks from tip, playing with intensity and pride for Abdul Gaddy. UW wins this game with ease: 94-69.