The University of Oregon Men’s Basketball team has had an amazing turnaround this year. The seniors, freshmen and everyone in between have stepped up – especially down the stretch – relentlessly continuing to push forward as they eye their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2008, when they were ousted by Mississippi State in the first round of play.
One key factor catalyzing the Ducks’ success has been their defense; their relentlessness and athleticism allows them to defend teams on the perimeter and inside the paint. This has translated to impressive numbers on paper with the Ducks leading the PAC-12 in steals (284) and steals per game (8.61). On the flipside, the Ducks were dead last in turnovers (492) and turnovers per game (14.91) in conference play, effectively rendering their remarkable defensive numbers insignificant.
With such polar opposite numbers on each side of the ball, the Ducks must find a way to limit their turnovers and value the basketball in order to take advantage of their top tier defense. Analysts have always said, “Defense always travels.” In the upcoming tournament – which is on the road – Altman’s bunch must play within themselves and learn to cherish each offensive possession. If they can limit bone-headed mistakes on offense the Ducks could make some noise in March.