Well, here goes. I'll give a game preview a try. Oh, how I toil while Tom devours Chipotle burrito after Chipotle burrito.
Oregon comes into the game 8-0 and ranked 15th. Oregon's best win came in South Korea (duh) against Georgetown in early November. Otherwise, they beat an ok Mississipi squad in overtime last Sunday, and beat lots of other lesser schools including Pacific (alum alert: Michael Olowokandi!)
Oregon is a lot like the Illini in that they have remade their roster with transfers. Joseph Young (Houston), Mike Moser(UNLV), and Jason Calliste (Detroit), average a combined 46.4 PTs, 13.3 REBs, and 6.9 ASTs.
Unlike Illinois, their transfers don't seem to have to sit out a year. RAGE NCAA! Ahmad STAAAARKS! What, is the former CEO of Nike an Oregon alum or something?! Jeesh. The way I have this figured, if we win, we are a very good basketball team. If we lose, it is the fault of the corrupt NCAA. Go Illini!
Our Illini have been less impressive so far, playing IPFW, Dartmouth, and even a mediocre UNLV close, and losing to a not-great Georgia Tech squad, while Oregon have soundly defeated all the lesser lessers they have faced.
What Oregon does well: they score, and a lot. They average 91 PPG, shoot 52.9% from the field, and 43.8% from 3. They do not appear to be a particularly strong rebounding or defensive team. This is a perimeter-oriented team, as 3 of their top 4 scorers are 6-2 or shorter (the other is 6-8), and as noted, they shoot well from 3. This could be a good matchup for the Illini, as we have played well defensively so far and have multiple above-average defenders on the outside and wings, and Egwu inside to deter drives.
Illinois will hope to bounce back from a meh performance against Dartmouth, although I am concerned the frequent travel could take a toll on the Illini. This might be a completely invalid, irrelevant thought, but hey, there it is. The Illini have now traveled to Atlanta twice, Las Vegas, and now Portland.
Speaking of which! This is the 2nd of 4 NBA arenas the Illini will play at this season, at a minimum. The orange and blue played Auburn at the Atlanta Hawks' Philip Arena, play Oregon tonight at the home of the Portland Trail Blazers, the Moda Center, play Illinois Chicago at the United Center, and will play the Big Ten Tournament at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
O eFG%: 50.9
O TO%: 16.9
O Off Reb%: 38.0
O FT%: 33.5
D eFG%: 43.0
D TO%: 17.1
D Off Reb%: 31.0
D FT%: 27.8
O eFG%: 60.0
O TO%: 16.2
O Off Reb%: 34.8
O FT%: 60.4
D eFG%: 46.7
D TO%: 17.8
D Off Reb%: 33.6
D FT%: 39.6
Game Time: 8 PM CT.
TV: ESPN2, or WatchESPN, if you are so fortunate.