As I mentioned in the game preview, the Ducks were the stronger rebounding team during the season, but the lesser team when it came to ball security.
True to form, the Ducks out-rebounded the Billikens any way you look at it. Oregon grabbed nine offensive rebounds to St. Louis’ three, and 28 defensive rebounds to just 20 for the Billikens. That’s especially impressive on the offensive end where, due to hot shooting, the Ducks had eight less misses to rebound.
Also true to form, the Ducks lost the turnover battle 18 – 12, though E.J. Singler had eight of them on his own. That didn’t matter this game, as Oregon eclipsed the six possessions it lost on turnovers with that six-rebound advantage on the offensive glass and that 52.8% field goal percentage, leading to a sizzling 1.21 points per shot.
The three-point barrage is not something that is true to form for the Ducks. During the season, Oregon was a terrible three-point shooting team, ranking worse than 200th in the country in three-point percentage. However, in the last five games—during the Pac-12 and NCAA Tournaments—Oregon has shot 34-74 from deep for a 46% average. I’m not sure this is something that will last, as it’s hard to ignore the first 30 games of the season.
If Oregon had shot something like 5-11 (45%) that game instead of 8-11 (72%) from three, and if the Billikens had shot even 7-21 (33%) instead of 3-21 (14%), it would have been a different game. That’s a 21-point swing. Oregon can continue to count on hot shooting, or it can give itself more possessions to get shots up by reducing the boneheaded turnovers. And hey, maybe if the Ducks can do both, they can even beat Louisville. But they shouldn’t count on such a three-point shooting discrepancy again.
Oregon (12) — Louisville (1) matchup preview to come!