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Everyone seems to know who Marcus Smart is (for good reason). He won the Big 12 Freshman and Player of the year awards. The only other guy to do that was some guy named Kevin Durant. Smart doesn't really have a weak part of his game. He averages 15.1 points, 4.3 assists, 5.7 rebounds. He can play defense too. Averaging 3 steals a game, Smart needs just nine steals to break the conference season record of 102.
I did a little research to acquaint myself with the rest of the team, and it ends up that Smart isn't the only future NBA prospect on the team. The two wings, Markel Brown and Le'Bryan Nash, are both very solid players too, averaging 15.3 and 14.1 points a game respectively.
The Cowboys aren't a very accurate outside shooting team, hitting 31% from behind the arc, but freshman Phil Forte averages 10.4 points in 25 minutes a game off the bench and can give them a nice spark from outside.
Obviously whoever is guarding Smart will need to play the defensive game of their life, but realistically it's going to take a team effort. Oklahoma State likes to get in the paint to make things happen; therefore, guys like Tony Woods and Arsalan Kazemi will need to be very active in disrupting shots. Emory, Singler, and guys like Austin and Carter will be crucial in this role too.
Oklahoma State is very talented, but they are also young. The only senior on the starting lineup is the center Philip Jurick. Oregon, on the other hand, is a senior laden team, with guys like Singler, Kazemi, Woods, and Emory leading the way. Senior leadership can prove to be very valuable in big games.
In the end, this game will likely come down to a few things like shooting percentage, rebounds, free throw shooting, and turnovers. But it's not far fetched to think that one player could get hot and take over the game.
Keys to the game .
Limit turnovers-- Oregon can't be giving the ball away 15 times game like they did during the season. Smart averages 3 steals a game that were often converted into fast break points.
Force outside jump shots-- OSU isn't a good outside shooting team but they are good at driving the lane
Rebound, rebound, rebound-- This is where Kazemi will be so important. But we need guys like Tony Woods to grab more than his season average of 4 rebounds.
Play scrappy-- The Ducks need to make the Cowboys as uncomfortable as possible by poking away balls and forcing turnovers. Furthermore, they need to fight for every loose ball and get offensive rebounds for second chance points.
This is a very winnable game for Oregon if they play disciplined, play with heart, and can score more points that the Cowboys.
This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by LetMeSeeYourO 13 months ago
Scoring more points than the Cowboys is probably pretty key lol.
Good details...I feel the keys are pretty similar - doesn't this scouting report just scream zone defense. I think we'll see a lot of it on Thursday
Thanks LMSYO. I feel good about the game - not a given - but winnable. Playing tough, lock-down D, limiting turnovers, and free throws. Those are my keys.
And yes Matmik, I bet we see some zone. Altman needs to channel his inner greatness, and Kazemi needs to be involved!!
That was purely speculative on my part. Lol
Matmik- I didn't see your keys til this morning. Good breakdown, and I fully agree with your keys. I would be very surprised if we don't go with a zone because we need to clog up the lanes and force them into shooting jump shots. A well executed zone is the perfect recipe for how to do that. The key on defense will be for us to have good communication and not let their cutters find an opening for an easy layup. The length of guys like Kazemi, Singler, Emory, and Woods should help with that.
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