How much more heartbreaking does it get than this? The Oregon Ducks have been bounced out of the Pac-12 Tournament in their first game after a 63-62 loss to a tough Colorado Buffaloes team. They buckled down on defensively and held the Ducks to just .951 PPP, while the Buffs generated .966 PPP of their own. That’s right. The Ducks got shut down, and part of that is due to Devoe Joseph. Wait what? How did that happen?
Yeah, Joseph sucked; there’s no other way to put it than that. I’m trying to avoid profanity here, but there isn’t a way to put a 6-19, 0-7 game in a bright light. And here’s the thing that bothers me the most about that performance; it’s the fact that the Ducks would have won if he took less shots. Sure he’s our best player and whatever, but you can’t just chuck shots up there and keep on doing that when they aren’t falling. He played well in the other aspects of the game by not turning the ball over, getting eight boards, two steals, and four assists; but he hurt his team by missing 13 shots.
Last time these two teams played, when the Oregon Ducks won, Garrett Sim was knocking down three’s and had a shot that was the turning point of the game. He was worse than Joseph last night and went 3-12. Screw the three assists and seven rebounds, Sim is a shooter whose job is to knock down those shots. It isn’t his fault at all, it’s more of a reason (excuse) of why the Ducks lost this game. Their best shooter wasn’t hitting anything, and nobody really was.
Hey, want to know why I picked Andre Roberson over Devoe Joseph for my Pac-12 POY? It’s because Joseph doesn’t always have a good game, but Roberson is consistently very good and showed it last night. He is the main reason for this team’s success and provides so much value on defense. He is easily the best defensive player in the conference, and the coaches’ decision to pick Jorge Gutierrez over him for both awards was moronic. Gutierrez plays great defense, but he doesn’t play amazing defense. He doesn’t shut down a whole zone of the floor like Roberson. And oh yeah, he isn’t even the best player on his team; Allen Crabbe is.
On to the rest of the rant mode, and things don’t get better when looking at our leader E.J. Singler. Over the past four games, the most important games of the year, Singler has shot under 40% from the floor and has been poor. He didn’t buck that trend yesterday in his fourth game of this streak by going 4-12, including an atrocious 1-6 from downtown.
All was not bad, however, because arguably the most admirable player on our team- Tony Woods- was shredding it. Easily our most efficient player last night, Woods went 6-10 and was even more impressive defensively. He thrashed his way to four blocks and showed why he is one of the best big men in the conference. After all, he is among the league leaders in block rate.
Speaking of guys who shut it down on the inside, Andre Roberson killed it with two blocks and ten boards. He, like Oregon Ducks bench star Carlos Emory, went 5-9 and chipped in a solid 12 points. However, he was easily the best rebounder in a game in which the Ducks killed the Buffaloes on the boards with 15 ORBs compared to 4 from CU. Anyway, Roberson wiped the glass and the floor and showed why he was snubbed from both awards. Seriously, this guy has been worth a little over five wins on a 22 win squad.
Last time these two teams played, Carlon Brown murdered the Ducks. I mean, he was roasting us for dinner. They didn’t win, but they were winning at the half in that game and Brown was the reason for it. He constantly blew by the Oregon Ducks guards and had an easy time getting off pretty lay-ups and making mincemeat out of us. Without Joseph to effectively combat Brown, the Buffs guard thrived in a 7-13 game with 18 points and no turnovers (Roberson also went turnover-free).
In the two match-ups before this Pac-12 Tourney throwdown, both teams committed more than their fair share of turnovers and fouls, but they both shot well. In this game, nobody hit anything in a shockingly slower paced game that went without many turnovers and fouls. And this, in fact, played in Colorado’s favor. The Buffs are better equipped to play a more facilitated game against the Oregon Ducks, because Oregon likes to run the floor and generate points in a hurry. That didn’t happen against a noticeably better defense. The Ducks are the bigger team and had more rebounds by virtue of this, but they couldn’t cope with Brown and Roberson.
So, we’re out of the tournament, and my ego is rightfully deflated. I was constantly berating others for underrating the Ducks, when it was me who was overrating them. This may seem too reactionary, but it’s this team’s overall inconsistency to win games like this (close games especially) that makes them a suspect NCAA team. They are out of the tourney now, but we ain’t done yet. There’s still the NIT to look forward to, and at least we didn’t lose to the Beavers like the Huskies did. Seriously, how the heck do you do that? In the crazy Pac-12, things like this happen. My question is, do any of you readers thing that Colorado can get to the NCAAs if they win the tourney against, say, Cal?
All I can say is that I am happy for the Buffaloes, and they deserved the victory. They played better basketball than we did and made the plays at the end of the game to win a close one. Nicely done. I did overrated the Oregon Ducks, but it doesn’t mean that they didn’t play good basketball this season and are a solid team. Heck, they are one of the favorites in the NIT. But we didn’t win this game and deserve to be sitting at home. Just because we were hot at one point doesn’t mean that we’ll be the hot team forever, but it’s time to commemorate a solid season and neglect the uncertain future ahead without our best players.
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Topics: Andre Roberson, California Golden Bears, Carlon Brown, Carlos Emory, Colorado Buffaloes, Devoe Joseph, E.J. Singler, Garrett Sim, Oregon Ducks Basketball, Oregon State Beavers, Pac-12 Tournament, Tony Woods, Washington Huskies