The Ducks have gone from mountain high to below sea level low. Their furiously hot start in conference play has been halted by a three-game losing streak to teams they should be beating. Since Artis’ injury the Ducks are 1-3 and have looked lost on offense. The energy and intensity the Ducks used to have has slowly faded away.
The reason for this stumble is freshman point guard Dominic Artis. With Artis not out there to spread the floor and attack defenses, the Ducks’ offense has become stagnant with less ball movement and more one-on-one attacking. This type of play does not favor the Ducks, who are a team-oriented offense and do not have that one player who can single-handedly bring the team to the next level. What has made the Ducks so good is that they spread the ball evenly across the board, making it hard for defenses to prepare for the Ducks.
This has not been the case recently, as players have been trying to create their own shots. This has led to a jump in the team’s turnover ratio and forced shots. I wrote an article last week explaining that the Ducks were in the position to take a loss for Artis’ health. Things have quickly spiraled out of control, and now the question is how many more losses until Artis gets back? More importantly, it will be interesting to see how pressed coach Dana Altman feels to put Artis in. Even if he is not 100 percent, will he play him in small spurts to help the offense? Or will he wait for his star point guard to be fully healed, knowing more losses are around the corner? Regardless, the Ducks need to bounce back from this slump before their NCAA tournament dreams are crushed.