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What you need to Know: BYU vs Oregon II (2014 NCAA Basketball Tournament Edition)

With their seasons on the line, the Cougars and Ducks will meet up for the second time this season.

Eric Mika and BYU will face the Oregon Ducks in the NCAA Tournament
Eric Mika and BYU will face the Oregon Ducks in the NCAA Tournament
Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

The History

Today the Cougars and Ducks will meet for the 23rd time since 1954. Oregon leads the series with 13 wins and took the game in December in overtime. For the second time in three games the teams will meet on a "neutral" court as they met in 2011 at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City.

Eugene, OR 2013 (9-13)

Five Cougars scoring in double digits was not enough to elevate the Cougars to a win against 13th ranked Oregon. The Cougars had a 47-41 halftime lead and even had a double digit lead in the second half. With just under four minutes the Cougars had a five point lead but couldn't hold on to it and ended up being outscored in overtime. Tyler Haws led all scoreres with 32 points while Kyle Collinsworth added 15, Matt Carlino had 15, Eric Mika had 13 and Skyler Halford had 12.

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 Rogers 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

Many thought that the BYU would be sweating to reach a play-in game for the NCAA Tournament. On Sunday it was announced that the Cougars were comfortably in the field and ended up with the 10-seed. The fact that the Cougars will be without Collinsworth is a concern, but the Cougars are confident that they can find a way to win. BYU has won 10 of their last 12 games and will look to replace Collinsworth by committee as they attempt to continue their tournament run.

The Positives

In the WCC Championship game the Cougars didn't have a lot to smile about. They were beat soundly and never quite found their rhythm. The big positive that can be taken is the fact that they never gave up and continued to fight, even without Collinsworth. When Collinsworth went down the deficet was 20 points and even though the Cougars had made some nice plays, the defense wasn't creating stops. KC went down and ended up sparking the team. Well into the second half, the Cougars had managed to cut the deficit to single digits, before having to foul. The Cougars proved that they can play without KC on the court, and that they have the drive to continue even when the odds are stacked against them.

The Negatives

The Cougars once again started out slow ended up getting down early. They allowed the Bulldogs to dominate them early and only managed to win the rebounding battle and the free-throw battle. The Cougars defense allowed Gonzaga to shoot 52 percent from the field and 46 percent from behind the arc while dishing out 16 assists on their 25 made baskets. Gonzaga also won the turnover battle 14-10. The Cougars will need to shoot better and create stops in order to advance against the Ducks.

The Keys to Watch

When Oregon has the ball: When Oregon has the ball look for the Ducks to push the pace of the game and force the Cougars to play defense. Oregon is 11th in the country in scoring and will be facing a BYU defense that is ranked in the 300's for points allowed per game. Led by junior guard Joseph Young, who averages almost 19 points per game, the Ducks have three players that average in double digit scoring. Oregon also ranks in the top third of the country in assists with just over 14 per game as senior guard Jonathan Lloyd gets the bulk of them with almost five a game. Watch for the Cougars to pressure the ball and create turnovers and fast break opportunities. The Ducks shoot almost 47 percent from the field and so the Cougars can't rely on bad shot selection. The Cougars will look to force uncharacteristic shots and playing physical will be the cause of it. Watch for the Cougars to push bodies out of the paint and not allow the offensive rebounds to cause problems.

When BYU has the ball: Watch for the Cougars to be aggressive on the offensive side of the ball. With the lack of Collinsworth driving to the lane, Haws and Carlino will take up some of the slack. Anson Winder will continue to try and get to the rim as he plays a much larger role this time around. Watch for the Cougars to work the ball into the paint and get Mika involved early into the shot clock, opening up the outside shot for the shooters. BYU will look to take advantage of offensive rebounds and second chance points, since Oregon is ranked 210th in defensive rebounds. Watch for Oregon to force the shooters away from the basket resulting in long and low percentage shots. Watch for the Ducks to focus on minimizing the rebound advantage and will look to make hustle plays to accomplish it.

The Broadcasting Details

Time: 1:15 MDT

Where: BMO Harris Bradley Center-Milwaukee, WI


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

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