Ask any college sports fan about what comes to mind when the Oregon Ducks come up, football will likely be the most common response.
Ask any OregonDuck fan what comes to mind about their athletics now that football is over, and the top response isn’t the 2013 football campaign — it’s what their men’s basketball team is up to.
The Ducks welcome in the Arizona Wildcats to Eugene tonight, and in past years, the Wildcats and Ducks might be in the middle of the pile of Pac-12 games.
Not now, not tonight. It’s the marquee game along the Pacific, and maybe even one of the top games of the night in the nation.
How has Oregon gotten to the point where they are?
Their defense is one of the most surprising in America. Oregon has the eighth best opponent efficiency holding others to just over 84 points per 100 possessions. Defensive rebounding is one major factor of that: Oregon out-rebounds their opponents by nearly 11 a game.
It’s the physicality that has put Oregon near the top. Teams don’t expect how much body work Oregon puts on the other team, and it is has been one of the major reasons why the Ducks have 12 overall wins looking to knock off the Wildcats for the first tim
e this season.The Ducks can’t quack as loudly as they can about their defense. The Ducks shoot 22 percent from the three-point line while being the least valuable with the ball in the Pac-12.
That needs to change for the Ducks to knock off Arizona tonight. Having a 16-game home winning streak helps give the Ducks belief that they can win the game.
One of Oregon’s members that has helped them become part of the national conversation is freshman guard Damyean Dotson.
Dotson has certainly not played like a freshman averaging 11.8 points per game, including scoring a team-high 21 points in their most recent game against Oregon State.He is playing the second most minutes on the team with 27.1 MPG. His gas mileage is helping drive the Ducks to a potential NCAA bid.
There’s another freshman who you may not see on the box scores, and the reason why is that you’re looking at the wrong sport — for now.
Arik Armstead just finished up playing football for the Ducks with an impressive Fiesta Bowl win, and he’ll trade those pads for some sneakers.
Armstead has practiced with the team some when the football squad was off after learning their BCS bowl bid, but has returned to participating full time for the Ducks basketball team earlier this week.