2008 NCAA Tournament Capsule: Oregon
Pac-10 (18-13, 9-9)
Big Wins: 11/29 at Kansas State (80-77), 1/5 at Arizona (84-74), 1/13 Stanford (71-66)
Bad Losses: 12/15 at Nebraska (79-88), 12/22 vs Oakland (62-68), 1/17 at Washington (70-78)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2007, Elite Eight loss to Florida
Coach: Ernie Kent (6-5 in 5 NCAA appearances)
Tajuan Porter, Sophomore, Guard, 13.8 ppg, 2.4 apg
Bryce Taylor, Senior, Guard, 13.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg
Malik Hairston, Senior, Guard, 16.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg
Joevan Catron, Sophomoire, Forward, 9.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg
Marty Leunen, Senior, Forward, 15.2 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 2.8 apg
Kamyron Brown, Freshman, Guard, 4.4 ppg, 3.2 apg
LeKendric Longmire, Freshman, Guard, 3.8 ppg, 1.5 rpg
Chuchill Odia, Junior, Guard, 1.8 ppg, 1.4 rpg
Why They Can Surprise:
Oregon certainly does not lack in perimeter weapons. Malik Hairston is dangerous from anywhere on the floor and can approach the 30 point plateau on any given day. However, Hairston also disappears at times and has about a half dozen games in which he failed to score double-digits. Even when Hairston fails to score, it does not mean the Ducks are in trouble. Hairston will do more than score and there are plenty of other options who would be more than happy to take some of Hairston’s points.
The diminutive Tajuan Porter is not shooting anywhere close to what he was last year from behind the arc, but the sophomore is still a very dangerous outside shooter. At 5-6, Porter can sneak into the paint and score some points, but he will spend most of his time jacking up three’s, for better or for worse. Bryce Taylor is a lot like Hairston, but slightly less effective. He can hit the three-ball, grab some boards, get to the basket and put up tons of points in a hurry.
Why They Can Disappoint:
While the team has five players who can take over a game, the Ducks lack a true floor leader like they had last year with Aaron Brooks. In Brooks’ absence an already average defense has gotten worse and Oregon will not win any battle of intangibles. On paper, the Ducks still rarely commit turnovers and share the ball very well, but Brooks’ absence is felt in a multitude of other ways. When Brooks was around, Oregon was a great rebounding team despite playing four guards much of the time. Now they have a bigger, more traditional, lineup, but the rebounding numbers are down. It does not have to make sense, but this is a team that pulled together for a magnificent year last season and fell apart to reach mediocrity this season much of this season.
Who To Watch:
And that mediocrity has happened despite Maarty Leunen. The 6-9 senior has had a magnificent year, averaging 15.2 points and 9.2 rebounds. He hits nearly two three-pointers per game and knocks them down at almost 51 percent. Not everyday does a 6-9 forward who has over nine rebounds per game, hit over 50 percent from beyond the arc. Leunen even passes very well from inside and out. Oregon has the ability and talent to beat anybody on any given day. Yet, they can pretty much lose to anybody just as easily, especially away from the friendly confines of McArthur Court.
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 76.8 (39th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 72.4 (254, 9)
Field-Goal Percentage: 48.5 (13, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.3 (208, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.7 (26, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 40.1 (11, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.9 (167, 7)
Rebound Margin: 1.9 (115, 5)
Assists Per Game: 14.9 (76, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.6 (43, 4)
Joel’s Bracket Says: Second Round loss to Memphis
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