Louisville vs. Oregon: Interview With Ducks Writer


So, as any Louisville fan should know, Louisville will be playing the Oregon Ducks in the Sweet 16 this Friday, in what is sure to be a great game against a very underrated Oregon Ducks squad.

Anyways, I figured that I would try something new and interview an Oregon writer on his thoughts about the upcoming matchup.  Luckily, Fansided has an Oregon blog, so I contacted my colleague Justin Phillips (@justinphillips), writer at Fansided’s Oregon Ducks blog, Autzen Zoo.  Thankfully, he said yes to my offer, and he has also asked me questions, which you can check out over at Autzen Zoo.  I hope you readers will enjoy getting perspective about the game from someone who isn’t a Louisville homer.

Below is a transcript of the questions I asked him and his thoughts, which are in italics:

  • Oregon averages about 15 turnovers per game this year, and their key players are very prone to turning the ball over.  How will they fare against the press of Louisville and the steal-minded duo of Siva and Smith?  Oregon, recently has been able to come up with steals of their own, with Johnathan Loyd doing the picking. He is also one of the Point Guards for the Ducks and knows how to protect the ball. (he’s been the fill in starter when Dominic Artis was out for a month with a foot injury.) I’m sure Coach Altman will have them prepared for the Cardinals. 
  • How will Oregon’s big men match up against Louisville’s Dieng, the Big East Defensive POTY?  Oregon was able to play it’s game with Oklahoma State’s Freshman and Conference Player of the Year Marcus Smart, limiting him to 5-13 shooting and 14 points, at halftime he had 6. Oregon offensively is about as hot as they can get right now, and things seem to be working on all cylinders.
  • Will they have trouble rebounding?  No, When it comes to rebounding, the Ducks have one name you need to know. Senior Arsalan Kazemi. He has been the rebounding man for the Ducks all season. Against Oklahoma State last week he nearly had a double double at halftime and ended the game with 17 rebounds. Against St Louis, he finished with 8 points and 16 rebounds. Getting off solid looks in the paint? Oregon was able to get inside from the get go vs St Louis, another team that some said the Ducks would have trouble with inside. Oregon has so many weapons and everyone has heated up of late, including Loyd, Carlos Emory, even Freshman Dominic Artis is getting back into form. 
  • Oregon has certainly had its high and low points this season.  After their great conference tourney run, being underrated in the tourney, and beating a 4 & 5 seed, how much of a factor will mental discipline and the will to win and prove people like the committee wrong fuel their gameplay against the Cards?  Since the committee announced the seeds the Ducks have taken it in stride and just gone out and played the game and not worried about the number. I don’t see any reason to see why playing the #1 overall seed would change this.
  • How motivated will they be? If you had a shot at the Final Four, How Motivated would you be? There is plenty of motivation on this team. Senior leadership and Freshman stepping up, not acting like Freshman so far in this Tournament is what has the Ducks where they are. The Seniors have a chance to leave their mark on the program and they have a shot to get to the Elite 8/Final Four. I don’t think they need any more motivation than that.
  • Oregon certainly has quality players on their team.  If there’s one player on Oregon that is the biggest threat to Louisville and can win the game for them, who would it be and why?  Man, that’s a good question. Rebounding-wise we’ve already talked about Arsalan Kazemi. Senior E.J. Singler is due to have a great game. Freshman Damyean Dotson cs St Louis hit 5 three pointers to start the game and led the team with a career high 23 points. Then there’s Carlos Emory who can pretty much shoot from anywhere. All of Oregon’s weapons are in play.  Right now this team is confident, I would watch for Dotson as who the Cardinals need to stop. 
  • What would the Cards have to do to stop this player? When it comes to stopping a player there are several ways to look at it, you take him out of the game (fouls), but the Ducks have a secret weapon of sorts….the bench. Oregon’s play off the bench has been awesome this season. Emory and Loyd on offense, Austin and Carter on defense. 

Once again, I cannot thank Justin Phillips enough for taking the time to answer my questions and give us all a little bit more insight on the Oregon Ducks.