GAME NOTES: The Oregon Ducks look to continue their dominance at Matthew Knight Arena as they host the Nebraska Cornhuskers in non-conference action on Saturday.
Tim Miles has done an admirable job in his first season at the helm of Nebraska's program, as his team enters with a 6-2 record despite only having six scholarship players for most of that stretch. The Cornhuskers notched decisions over Valparaiso, USC, and Wake Forest before dropping a 64-42 decision at Creighton its last time out. Nebraska plays at a slower pace as it is averaging 62 points per game while limiting 59.2 ppg.
The Ducks improved to 7-0 at home and 8-1 overall last Saturday with an 87-35 rout of Idaho State. Oregon has won three games in a row since suffering an 11-point loss to Cincinnati in the Global Sports Classic championship round in Las Vegas. The Ducks are 14-30 all-time against Big Ten foes, but it outlasted Iowa for a 108-97 win in last season's NIT. Coach Dana Altman's team is outscoring its opposition by an average of 16.8 ppg this season as it is producing just under 80 ppg.
This will be the 13th time in history Nebraska and Oregon collide on the hardwood. The Cornhuskers hold a 7-5 all-time series lead after their 83-76 loss at home to the Ducks last season.
The Cornhuskers had a forgettable performance versus Creighton as they shot a season-low 32.1 percent from the floor to be held nearly 20 points below their season average. Nebraska was outscored 10-2 at the free throw line and converted just 4-of-16 3-point attempts in the contest. Seniors Dylan Talley and Brandon Ubel scored 14 and 10 points, respectively. Talley is pacing the team with 15.4 ppg, but he has a .364 field goal percentage. Ubel (13.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and junior guard Ray Gallegos (12.9 ppg, 24-of-60 3PT) are also scoring in double figures for the Cornhuskers.
Oregon was impressive its last time out on both ends as it held a 40-14 advantage in points scored in the paint and a 35-13 edge in bench points, to coast past Idaho State. The Ducks also committed a season-low seven turnovers versus the Bengals. The team, which shot 64.6 percent from the field, was paced by freshman Damyean Dotson's game-high 12 points. Dotson is leading five Ducks with double-figure scoring averages with 11.3 ppg. The team's forward combo of E.J. Singler and Arsalan Kazemi (9.1 rpg) is one of the best in college basketball. Singler is only converting 34.2 percent of his field goal tries, but he is beginning to get more open looks and heat up with Kazemi demanding attention in the paint. Center Tony Woods is also a force in the paint.
Nebraska should be more competitive in this one after its long break from action, but the Ducks hold the upperhand. Altman's squad is loaded with talent from top to bottom and is very tough to slow down despite lacking a clear go- to-guy. The Cornhuskers will not take too much time to realize Oregon's homecourt advantage is one of the best in sports.