Virginia and Oregon square off tonight in Sweet 16 action, and we chatted with our friend Adam Chimeo (@adam_chimeo) of Addicted to Quack (@AddictedToQuack) to get more info on the Ducks.
You can check out my answers to his questions here.
Streaking the Lawn: Oregon has been on a tear as of late, winning its last 10 games. What has been the biggest factor in this surge?
Addicted to Quack: Communication on defense. Dana Altman has said that the team has finally put aside ego and opened up communication on the floor during every defensive outing. The team also got healthier; Louis King and Kenny Wooten both missed a significant amount of time due to injury earlier in the season and the team has had to learn how to play without Bol Bol.
STL: Payton Pritchard is kind of the straw that stirs the drink with 13 points and 4.6 assists per game. What are the strengths and weaknesses of his game?
ATQ: He is a lot more confident cutting to the basket. Pritchard has become a bit like DIllon Brooks on that final four team. His increased efficiency has helped the overall flow of the offense. Pritchard and the Oregon offense as a whole can run dry for large stretches, and if you can stop Pritchard’s layups and jump shots with a lockdown defender than you can shut down the Ducks. Out worst games usually have a good amount of Pritchard turnovers.
STL: This Oregon defense has really come on, now up to No. 15 on KenPom. What’s the key to scoring on the Ducks?
ATQ: Ball control is key. Oregon has some athletic and speedy defenders that are looking to score points in transition. They also have block-happy Kenny Wooten ready to swat one into the stands. Slowing down the pace definitely takes them out of their element, and if y’all continue to shoot the three the way you do than our defense may have trouble staying in our zone. Just don’t be intimated to shoot again after Wooten blocks your first attempt.
STL: Wisconsin boasts a strong defense, one behind the Cavaliers (No. 3) on KenPom. What was so successful against the Badgers in that upset? How do things change when approaching the Pack Line defense that Virginia runs?
ATQ: Oregon did a pretty great job taking Ethan Happ out of the game, mainly by utilizing the height of Wooten, King, and White. We also got 10 points off turnovers and held the Badgers to 33.3% by scaring the Badgers away from the boards.
Virginia is a whole different beast and I’m afraid that your ball control and stingy defense will deprive the Ducks of the turnovers and second chance points that fuel our offense.
STL: Who is someone to know if you’re a Virginia fan?
ATQ: Already said his name a couple of times, but definitely Kenny Wooten! He is a fan favorite due to his hops and blocking ability. He was one of the few bright spots of last year and has recovered from a midseason jaw injury to become a leader of this team.
Ehab Amin has also made a huge impact! He’s a transfer from Texas A&M Corpus Christi and last year led the nation in steals with 3.4 per game. He can hit the three and does not give up defensively! He’s been an excellent sixth main as of late!
STL: Can the Ducks keep shooting the three like they have been? Please say no.
ATQ: I hope so. But the pessimist in me says no. I just hope they can do it for at least one more game.
STL: Ok, how do you see this one playing out? Who wins?
ATQ: I think that the Cavaliers will hit a series of early triples that scare the Ducks, resulting in an early 12-0 Virginia run. The Ducks slowly fight back and we go to the half Cavaliers 32 - Ducks 26. Oregon comes out strong and takes the lead with 14 minutes left in the game. Back and forth the game goes until a couple of goofy Duck turnovers give the Cavaliers the extra push they need to pull off the 64-58 win.
But I’m almost always wrong, Go Ducks!
Huge thanks to Adam and Addicted to Quack for chatting. Tonight’s game is set for an approximate 9:59pm tip, and will be aired on TBS.