Takimoto of SB Nation's Oregon blog, Addicted to Quack, took the time to answer some questions about the Ducks before tonight's men's basketball matchup at Maples Pavilion. Here are my answers to his questions. Enjoy.
1. I love the trees on Oregon's new court, for obvious reasons. What are your impressions of the Ducks' new digs?
I think the arena is the best basketball facility in the world. Once the team starts to achieve some success, the place will be more intimidating than Mac Court. However, I have mixed feelings about the court. It looks great in pictures, and from what I've heard it looks just fine in person. But it looks pretty crappy on TV, and not having a visible halfcourt line is just ridiculous. All in all, it has done its job of getting the nation to pay attention to the new arena, and getting Duck basketball in the headlines without a top-level team. Considering the reception it has received, don't expect the trees to stick around past this season.
2. What are the biggest differences between Dana Altman and Ernie Kent in terms of coaching strategy and style of play?
Ernie Kent would be a pretty decent NBA coach. He is a player's coach who is a talented recruiter and knows how to exploit talent mismatches. Over the past two seasons, it became very clear that Coach Kent is not a good player developer, especially with big men, and is a mediocre in-game coach when he needs to make up for a lack of talent. Dana Altman has this year's Ducks playing with a ton of energy on both ends of the floor. It actually looks like basketball, and it's fun to watch. Now all he needs is some talent, and he's got a top 20 recruiting class lined up for next year, including 5 star guard Jabari Brown from Oakland, CA.
3. Who or what has been the most pleasant surprise for the Ducks this year?
Coming into the season, we had next to no expectations. This was a team decimated by transfers and left with very little talent. But man is this team fun to watch! Coach Altman has the Ducks pressing, attacking offenses, and making games tough on their opponents. Once we took #9 Missouri down to the buzzer, Duck fans knew we were gonna be able to steal a couple Pac-10 games, and we've already won a couple.
4. Stanford has had all sorts of problems scoring points this season. How is Oregon defensively?
Oregon's strength is being disruptive on defense, and will make every shot Stanford takes be a tough shot. For a team with shooting woes, this could turn the game in Oregon's favor.
5. Offensively, who needs to step up for the Ducks to steal one on the road?
Junior point guard Malcolm Armstead is very talented and wildly inconsistent. If he can penetrate and create scoring opportunities, Oregon can have success, provided we knock down shots. Senior transfer Jay-R Strowbridge has been shouldering much of the scoring load, and is important to Oregon success as well.
6. How excited are you for next season's gridiron showdown in Palo Alto? But seriously, is it football season yet?
Very excited, though I think I'm still in a latent grieving period as it's really tough to think about football right now. I just see Nick Fairley
running at me and Michael Dyer
levitating above the field. Damnit, now I'm depressed again. Where's my whiskey?
7. What's your prediction for the game?
I would love to see the Ducks steal one, but we're usually pretty bad in the Bay Area and we've only played three road games so far this season. I think the home court advantage is the difference in a 62-60 Cardinal win. Aw, screw it. 65-62 Ducks. We're winning this one.