On Thursday, Cal heads up north to take on the Oregon Ducks and their obnoxious court. What should we expect to see, other than the ugliest court in the entire country?
Oregon is a team that’s kind of vanilla. Not to say they aren’t exciting, but they’re around average in every category. They’re the 6th best offensive team in conference play, and 4th best defensive team. They run an average tempo and don’t do anything really well, except for shoot free throws. They do force a lot of turnovers, which can lead to runs that can put them back in games they were behind in (See last game against Cal).
Joevan Catron has developed into one of the most efficient scorers in the conference as a senior, and he’s also a very good rebounder. He’ll be tough to guard in the post. The problem is he doesn’t have a ton of support down there; Jeremy Jacob has missed some games this year with knee problems, and when he has played he hasn’t been very efficient. Tyrone Nared can nab offensive rebounds, but he’s the only other Duck over 6-6. EJ Singler also plays forward, and the little brother of Kyle isn’t bad. He’s efficient shooting the ball, and plays some good defense. He may be forced to guard taller players in the game against Cal.
Oregon does throw a lot of guards at you, including Malcolm Armstead and Jay-R Strowbridge. Armstead is a good passer and a pest on defense who picks up a lot of steals. Strowbridge scores efficiently, and he doesn’t turn it over a lot. Both are solid guards, and are joined by former Cal commit Garrett Sim. Sim is a decent player who won’t turn it over either, and is above average on offense. They do have Johnathan Loyd and Teondre Williams for quality depth.
KenPom Prediction: 71-68 Oregon, 64% confidence
My take: The Ducks have been one of the biggest surprises of the conference season, and have been unstoppable at home. I think the Bears can grind out a victory, but it’ll be close late. The Bears have a pretty big advantage in big man depth, although the Oregon pressure defense could have the thin Cal bench in trouble. It’ll definitely be an interesting game, hopefully one our Bears pull out.