After spending last week in New York City to partake in the 2K Empire Classic, the Oregon Ducks return home Tuesday night to face the Green Bay Phoenix. At home, the Ducks are listed as 21.5-point favorites.
After a pair of easy wins against lesser teams to start the season, the Ducks suffered their first loss of the season at Madison Square Garden, losing to Iowa 77-69. However, they were able to bounce back the following day and win convincingly over fellow top-25 team Syracuse. That game helped to save Oregon’s spot in the top-25 before they come home for five of their next six games.
Green Bay also has a loss to Iowa on their resume. However, prior to that, the Phoenix suffered a disappointing home loss against Indiana State. Fortunately for the Phoenix, they have been able to bounce back with a couple wins over the past week, knocking off both Eastern Washington and Morehead State, a pair of solid teams from small conferences.
Like Father, Like Son
The biggest revelation to come out of Oregon’s stint in New York was the play of freshman center Bol Bol, the son of Manute Bol. The younger Bol was dominant at both ends during the win over Syracuse, showcasing an incredible skill set for a player who’s 7’2’’. Bol can shoot, pass, dribble, block shots, and do just about anything a basketball player could do, giving the Ducks a player who can influence games in a profound way at both ends of the court.
Of course, Bol is far from a one-man show for the Ducks. Sophomore Kenny Wooten gives Oregon a second big man for opponents to account for instead of being able to focus solely on Bol. The Ducks have also gotten plenty of scoring from their backcourt early in the season, namely Payton Pritchard and transfer Ehab Amin. The one weakness the Ducks have shown this year has been their hot and cold outside shooting. But when they are hitting shots from deep, they look the part of a top team.
Three of Green Bay’s top four scorers early in the year are players who started their careers at other schools but are now lacing up their sneakers for the Phoenix. At the moment, that team-building method appears to be paying off. The backcourt tandem of Sandy Cohen III and JayQuan McCloud, both transfers, are leading the way, with each averaging over 13 points per game early in the season.
However, the Phoenix could have a problem matching up with the size of Bol and Wooten inside. Green Bay’s roster doesn’t have a player taller than 6’8’’. That could take away their ability to score close to the basket and compete on the backboards. Unless the Phoenix can knock down outside shots with regularity, they may struggle to answer Oregon’s size advantage.
Ducks Fly Together
The Ducks have a lot of points to cover in this game, but they’ve proven that they can take care of business against lesser opponents. Oregon’s size will be too much for Green Bay, and as long as the Ducks can avoid going cold from the perimeter, they should pull away early in the 2nd half. Bet on Oregon covering the 21.5-point spread against Green Bay.