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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Analysis: Ducks in the zone

When Arizona and Oregon played on Jan. 16, the Wildcats had great offensive success against the Ducks, running away in the second half with a 74-60 win in Eugene.

Tonight the Ducks (12-10, 4-6 Pacific 10 Conference) come into McKale Center with a new look on the defensive end that may force the Wildcats to make an adjustment.

“”I do know they’re playing a different style right now,”” said Arizona (12-11, 6-5 Pac-10) head coach Sean Miller. “”They’re playing more zones, and we’ll have to be ready for that.””

The Wildcats will need to effectively move the ball against the zone and knock down the 3-pointers that will certainly be open against zone defenses. The Wildcats guards will have to be ready, as they will see numerous open looks against the zone defense.

“”Just trying to get the ball in the middle and kick out for some (3-pointers),”” said forward Derrick Williams. “”That’s all (we’ve) been doing in practice this week.””

Williams will be expected to guard Oregon sophomore center Michael Dunigan, who is considered one of the best big men in the Pac-10.

“”Anytime you have somebody 6-10, 260 (pounds), you just got to keep him out of the paint,”” Williams said. “”If he gets the ball in the paint he’s either going to dunk it or And-1 foul every time.””

Oregon State (10-12, 4-6) presents the same challenges as the Ducks, with a more disciplined zone defense and a low-post threat from center Roeland Schaftenaar, who torched the Wildcats for 22 points in Corvallis on Jan. 14.

“”He was really the difference in the game, in that he scored big baskets,”” Miller said of Schaftenaar. “”They really went to him when they need a basket. We’re going to have to do a good job against him.””

On the road, Arizona struggled against the zone early but figured it out in the second half. Miller expects his team to react better a second time around.

“”We got better as the game wore on,”” Miller said of his team’s performance against the zone in Corvallis. “”Hopefully the second time around will be more comfortable. Now that (we’ve) done it the first time there’s no excuses.””


Key players for Oregon

Michael Dunigan — The big man is averaging a mere 10.4 points per game but is one of the better centers in the Pac-10, and his size can cause some problems for the Wildcat frontline.

Tajuan Porter — The senior point guard isn’t having the season most expected from him, averaging 11.9 points a game, but he’s capable of having a big game if he gets it going.


Looking ahead: Key players for Oregon State

Roeland Schaftenaar — The center only averages 8 points a game but will probably come into McKale with some confidence from his 22-point performance against Arizona on Jan. 14.

Calvin Haynes — Haynes is the Beavers’ leading scorer, averaging 19 points a game in the last four contests, including back-to-back 25-point performances against California and USC.


Key Wildcats to watch for

Brendon Lavender — The guard showed signs that he could knock down jumpers against Washington, going 3-for-3 from distance in the first half. Now with two Oregon schools playing zone defenses which will provide wide-open looks, these two games may be an opportunity for Lavender to show that last week was no fluke, and his confidence is not lacking.

Jamelle Horne — It’s simple, will Horne finally rebound the way Miller has hoped he would all year?

Derrick Williams — Williams may be the most important Wildcat against both Oregon schools, as he will be crucial on both ends of the floor. The offense will mainly run through the freshman as the Wildcats try to get the ball to him in the high post to get others open shots or allow him to drive from the top of the key to break down the zone.  On the defensive end, he will be asked to contain two solid post players in Dunigan and Schaftenaar.

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