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What you need to Know: BYU vs. Oregon (Basketball Edition)

A week after losing to rival Utah, the BYU basketball team travels to take on the 13th-ranked Oregon Ducks. This will be the 22nd meeting between the schools, the last took place in 2011 on a neutral floor in Salt Lake City.

Winder goes up for a layup.
Winder goes up for a layup.
William Mancebo

The History

In the 22nd meeting between the Cougars and Ducks, the Cougars will try and narrow the gap in the win-loss column. Even with BYU winning the last meeting, the Ducks hold a 12-9 edge in the series. The first game was played in 1954 with the last being played in 2011 in Energy Solutions Arena.

Salt Lake City, UT 2011 (9-12)

BYU used 23 points and 12 rebounds from Noah Hartsock to cruise past Oregon 79-65. With Stephen Roger adding 16 points and Anson Winder with 10, the Cougars rode a 14-0 run in the second half to put away the Ducks. Oregon jumped to an early lead with a 8-0 lead before Brandon Davies scored the first points of the game which started a 16-3 run. After starting off slow the Cougars ended with 10 three-pointers and shot 39 percent from the field.

The Outlook

After a hard loss to the Utes, the outlook is not as grim as many fans have portrayed. Although the loss did expose the Cougars in a number of ways, the losses have come against quality opponents. Three of the four losses have come against teams ranked 22 (UMass), 17 (Iowa State), and 11 (Wichita State). If you add in Utah, the total win-loss record for the four teams is 37-1.

The Positives

In a game that got away from the Cougars early, they managed to keep the turnovers to a minimum. With only 10 for the game, they stayed below their average and kept control of the ball. Staying on the offensive side, the Cougars also had the advantage in offensive rebounds with 15. Eric Mika again made his presence known under the rim as he corralled seven of them.

On the defensive side of things the blocked shots stand out. As a team the Cougars got a piece of eight Ute shots. In blocking, and altering, shots the Cougars helped keep the Utes to a 42 percent shooting percentage which is well below their average.

The Negatives

In a nutshell, the majority of the offense failed to make a showing at the Huntsman Center. In a game that requires the ball to go in the hoop, the Cougars only made 33 percent of their shots. The three-point shooting was even worse at 26 percent and the percentage from the free throw line came in at a dismal 55 percent. At this point all that can be said is that the ball didn't go in the hoop.

On defense the Cougars again allowed over 80 points while allowing 18 Utah assists on 27 baskets. Not only did they give up 81 points, they allowed 28 of them to come in the paint. With the frustration of the Cougars struggles, players also lost their composure. Mika found himself in the locker room after a frustration foul was turned into a Flagrant Two foul. Although it appeared that the call was not justified, Mika would not have been in the position if he had kept his composure.

The Keys to Watch

When Oregon has the ball: Watch for the Ducks to push the ball. With an average of just over 89 points per game, the Ducks are 2nd in the nation in scoring. One of the reasons for this is the almost 53 percent shooting percentage. Oregon is led in scoring by junior guard Joseph Young who is averaging just over 19 points a game. Senior guard Johnathan Loyd leads the team in assists with almost seven per game, but also adds 10 points per game. Oregon shares the ball as they are 27th in the nation in assists and they have six players averaging at least 10 points a game. Watch for the Cougars to put pressure on the Ducks and force them to take longer shots. They need to be careful on giving up the three point-shot because Oregon is shooting 44 percent from behind the arc. The Cougars will look to get their hands in the lane as well as go for the rebounds. The Cougars are averaging almost nine rebounds more per game and will try to establish the advantage.

When BYU has the ball: Watch for BYU to play much more poised and efficiently on the offensive side of the ball. Many of the shots that weren't falling against Utah should fall against Oregon. BYU is still 6th in the nation in scoring and 8th in assists, both stats which can be achieved with a higher shooting percentage. Look for Mika to continue to be aggressive in the paint. Against a team that doesn't rebound well, he could have a monster game on the offensive boards and second chance points. Look for Oregon to force the Cougars to rush their shots. BYU is shooting under 47 percent from the field and if they are rushed, that number could go down. Knowing that the Cougars shoot less than 68 percent from the free-throw line will give the Ducks an option to make BYU earn all their baskets from the field and the line. If the Cougars are hitting their shots, watch for the Ducks to up the physicality and fouls.

Interesting Tidbit

Most hardcore basketball fans will recognize the home court of the Oregon Ducks by the design on the court. What most people don't know is that Matthew Knight Arena is a tribute to not only Matthew Knight, but former athletic director Pat Kilkenny and the 1939 National Championship basketball team. The nickname of this team was "The Tall Firs" and is the inspiration behind the tree design on the court.

The Broadcasting Details

Time: 8:30 pm MST

Where: Mathew Knight Arena-Eugene, Oregon

TV: Pac-12 Network

Radio (BYU): KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM, BYU Radio-Sirius XM 143

Listen Live via Internet (KSL): Click Here