Pac-12 basketball is almost underway, and the 8-4 Beavers are taking on the 9-4 Ducks in the season’s first Civil War game. Round One is down in Eugene, and we reached out to Adam Chimeo over at Addicted to Quack, SB Nation’s home for all things Ducks, to find out how things are going to go down. Here’s what he had to say.
1. How’s Bol Bol doing? Is he expected to play this weekend? If so, how can we expect him to perform?Is this still a Payton Pritchard focused team, or have the new additions to the team changed the balance of the Ducks’ offense?
It has finally been announced that Bol Bol will not be returning to Oregon after a left foot injury forced him to sit out his one-and-done season. Bol is responsible for roughly 20% of Oregon’s season point total despite playing in only 9 of the Ducks’ 13 games. The highest rated recruit in Oregon Duck history finished his college career averaging 21 points and 9.6 rebounds. His departure is a huge blow to this offense.
2. Is this still a Payton Pritchard focused team, or have the new additions to the team changed the balance of the Ducks’ offense?
This is still very much a Payton Pritchard focused team, though, for awhile, it was a give-the-ball-to-Bol team. Now that Pritchard’s 7’ 2” ace in the hole has left the flock, he’ll need to concentrate on limiting turnovers. Even with Bol Bol, this Duck squad struggled to consistently score against even average defenses; if Oregon has any shot at being competitive in Pac-12 play they must focus on limiting their turnovers and becoming a more defensive-minded team.
3. OSU has some great talent in their starting five, but has struggled with getting production from the bench. How deep is this year’s Ducks team?
From the get-go, this year’s Duck team has been beaten up, and just as five star Louis King made his debut against Nebraska Omaha after a long recovery, Bol Bol was injured the very next week. Then, against Baylor, Kenny Wooten broke his jaw and was ruled out for four to six weeks. And Abu Kigab decided to transfer after an injury.
So, to answer your question: we used to have depth, but now we don’t. And without Wooten, our amazing shotblocker, we are perilously low on big men, which may prove profitable for Rakocevic.
4. Oregon was expected by many to challenge for the Pac-12 title, and potentially make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. With their early season losses, and their trouble with injuries, do you think this squad is still capable of that?
Of making a tournament run? No chance in hell. But as far as challenging for the PAC-12 title, I think it’s clear that the CONFERENCE OF CHAMPIONS is wide open. With so many mediocre to bad teams, we may actually have an entertaining conference race as it’s likely the PAC-12 only sends one team to the dance this year. And by entertaining, I mean Cheez-It bowl entertaining.
5. Finally, give us your prediction for this weekend’s game.
The 351st Civil War will be low scoring and sloppy, and after falling behind by 10+ points in the first half, the Ducks will squeak out an eight point win at home due to accurate free throw shooting and forcing turnovers, 68-60. Ehab Amin will lead all scorers with 23 points and the Oregon Duck will challenge Benny the Beaver to a dance off.