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EUGENE, Ore. -- The University of Oregon men’s basketball team will open the 2011-12 regular-season schedule with a road game against No. 7/7 Vanderbilt. Tip-time for the Ducks-Commodores contest is set for 7 p.m. (PT) at Memorial Gym (14,316) in Nashville, Tenn.
Vanderbilt leads the all-time series history with Oregon, 4-2. The Commodores defeated UO in the last meeting back on Nov. 30, 2005, a 76-75 result in Nashville. A year before, the Ducks won 76-65 in a Pape’ Jam game played at Rose Garden Arena in Portland.
Vandy returns all five starters (and 10 letterwinners) from a team that went 23-11 overall and 9-7 in SEC play a year ago. The Commodores have made back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Tournament, falling 69-66 to Richmond in the first round last season.
Head coach Kevin Stallings is in his 13th season as mentor at Vanderbilt and 19th season overall as a NCAA Division I head coach. He maintains a 236-148 record at VU (career mark of 359-211).
The Commodores were picked to finish second in the SEC’s preseason media poll, receiving four first-place votes and a total of 265 points. Kentucky was picked first by the media with 18 first-place votes and 282 total points.
OREGON-VANDERBILT LIVE COVERAGE
•TV: Fox Sports South; Pete Pranica, play-by-play; Larry Connelly, analyst
Game is on satellite TV (make sure it is part of your existing programming package): DIRECTV Channel 646 and Dish Network Channel 420
The game will not air live on ROOT SPORTS NW. The game may air live on other regional broadcast channels that carry Fox Sports Net programming. Check your listings.
• Radio: Oregon IMG Sports NetworK; 95.3-FM KUJZ in Eugene/Springfield; Jerry Allen, play-by-play
• GoDucks.com: Live audio, stats
• ESPN3.com: Click here for ESPN3.com programming schedule (Oregon-Vandy contest is listed as subject to blackout)
• Satellite radio: Sirius 217, XM 199 ** Both are Vanderbilt broadcasts
• Twitter: @Geraghty_UO for in-game updates, stats, etc.
Follow @OregonMBB for player/coaching staff perspective.
Complete media information (radio affiliates, TV schedule and information) is located on page 3 of the PDF version.
RANKED OPPONENTS IN SEASON OPENERS A RARITY
Friday’s meeting with No. 7 Vanderbilt marks just the fourth time in school history that Oregon will face a ranked opponent in a regular-season opening game. The Ducks are 0-3 in those games.
The Commodores are the first ranked foe UO has faced in a season opener dating back to the 1989-90 season. That year the Ducks lost 102-75 at No. 9 Arkansas.
The highest-ranked opponent Oregon has faced in an opener came back in the 1976-77 season, with UO falling 78-67 at No. 6 UNLV.
The first time UO faced a ranked opponent in an opener was during the 1964-65 season. The Ducks fell 99-70 at No. 19 Brigham Young.
Vandy is one of four UO opponents to start the 2011-12 season ranked in the top 25.
DUCKS TO TAKE ON CHALLENGING 2011-12 SCHEDULE
The Ducks’ 30-game 2011-12 schedule features 18 regular-season home contests at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene. Of the Ducks’ 23 opponents, 11 competed in postseason play a year ago.
Six of the opponents participated in the 2011 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, while another five took part in the postseason National Invitation Tournament. In addition to the Pac-12 schools on the schedule, UO will battle teams from 11 different conferences: SEC, Big Sky, Ohio Valley, Big Ten, Conference-USA, West Coast, WAC, ACC, SWAC, MEAC and Southland.
Highlighting the non-conference slate are road games against Vanderbilt (Nov. 11) and Nebraska (Nov. 23), a home game against UTEP (Nov. 29), a neutral-site game versus BYU (Dec. 3 in Salt Lake City) and home contest against Virginia (Dec. 18).
The Ducks will play all 12 teams as part of the new Pac-12 schedule. Oregon will host USC and UCLA, but will not play road games against the Los Angeles schools this season. UO will play at Arizona State and Arizona, but will not play home games against either Arizona school. Neither ASU nor UA will play at Matthew Knight Arena until the 2012-13 season (both played at Mac Court in 2010-11). UO will play all other conference foes both home and away, including inaugural trips to Colorado and Utah.
FOUR OPPONENTS RANKED IN PRESEASON TOP 25
Four of Oregon’s opponents begin the 2011-12 season ranked in both the USA TODAY / ESPN Top 25 Preseason Coaches Poll and the AP Preseason Top 25 Poll. The ranked opponents include (listed AP poll/coaches poll) No. 7/7 Vanderbilt, No. 16/16 Arizona, No. 17/20 UCLA and No. 24/24 California. Other UO opponents receiving votes were Washington, Virginia and BYU.
RECAPPING THE 2011 PRESEASON FOREIGN TOUR
The Ducks traveled to Italy for a 10-day foreign tour in late August and early September, posting a 2-3 overall record in facing Italian professional teams. In addition to the high-level competition, the coaches and players spent off days sight-seeing at the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Rome City Center, Coliseum, Roman Forum, Accademia Museum and Lake Como.
In Oregon’s 71-54 win over Latina Basket, UO freshman guard Jabari Brown scored a team-high 18 points to go with six rebounds. He was joined in double-figures by junior center Tony Woods who added 12 points, six rebounds and five blocks. Junior forward Carlos Emory tallied a team-best eight rebounds.
Four Ducks reached double figures in scoring in their next game, a 95-89 loss to Scafati. Once again it was Brown who tallied a team-high with 22 points. Junior forward E.J. Singler had 12, while senior guard Garrett Sim and freshman guard Brett Kingma each added 10.
Oregon came back to win the third game against Varese by a score of 75-67. Brown had 15 points and five rebounds to mark the third straight game that the first-year player led UO in scoring. Senior forward Jeremy Jacob tallied a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
The Ducks dropped their final two games on the trip, a 72-67 result with Tezenis Verona and a 72-63 loss to Casale Monferrato. Brown (14 pts), Woods (13 pts) and Kingma (11 pts) led the way in the fourth game. Kingma (13 pts) was the only UO player to reach double figures in the fifth and final game. Singler contributed eight points to go with an Italy trip-best 15 rebounds in that finale.
Foreign tour statistical leaders: Points - Brown (15.4 ppg); Rebounds - Singler (5.8 rpg); Assists - Johnathan Loyd (3.0 apg); Blocks - Woods (2.0 bpg); FG% - Olu Ashaolu (.464).
SINGLER, SIM LEAD CORE GROUP OF RETURNERS
Despite having nine newcomers to the squad, Oregon returns several key contributors with a significant amount of game experience.
Junior forward E.J. Singler, who led the conference in free throw shooting percentage (.852, 104-of-122) a year ago, is the top returning scorer and rebounder for this year’s Oregon squad, bringing back averages of 11.7 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Singler is also the top shooter returning in terms of percentages making 46.1 percent on field goals and 39.9 percent on 3-pointers last season. He was also the only Duck to start all 39 games in 2010-11, now having started 61-of-71 career games at UO.
Senior guard Garrett Sim, who has played in 102 career games (67 starts), averaged 8.2 points per outing last season which is second-best among returning players. He shot a career-best 34.7 percent on 3-pointers (52-of-150) in 2010-11 which also ranks second to Singler’s shooting clip from a year ago. A steady decision-maker and ball-handler, Sim’s 1.9 assist-to-turnover ratio is the best among players back for 2011-12.
Senior forwards Jeremy Jacob and Tyrone Nared provide some experience inside for UO. Jacob, who was limited to just 17 games last season because of injury, looks to regain the form he had during the 2009-10 season when he led the team in double-doubles and started half of the team’s contests. The high-flying Nared led UO in blocked shots last year (30) and returns with the second-best field goal shooting percentage (.455) behind Singler. Nared started 21-of-39 games in his first year in Eugene.
Sophomore guard Johnathan Loyd started 16-of-39 games last year, a season highlighted by his free throw shooting percentage (.737) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.7, 90a - 52to). His 34 steals are second-most among players returning.
ALTMAN’S RECRUITING CLASS RANKS HIGH NATIONALLY
Oregon posted a Top 25 recruiting class according to Scout.com, ESPN.com and Rivals.com. UO was joined by Arizona and Washington as the only Pac-12 Conference schools to rank in all three polls. Scout.com/foxsports.com ranked the Ducks’ class No. 20, while Rivals.com/yahoosports.com listed UO at No. 21. ESPN.com ranked Oregon at No. 23.
OREGON AMONGST CONFERENCE STATISTICAL LEADERS
The 2010-11 Oregon Ducks ranked at or near the top in turnover margin, free throw shooting percentage, steals and assist-to-turnover ratio.
Oregon ranked at the top of the league with a +3.18 turnover margin (477 UO turnovers, 601 opponent). In fact, in conference games only UO had a league-best +2.89 margin, with USC ranking a distant second at +1.0. Oregon committed fewer turnovers than its opponent 29 times last year (13 out of 18 league outings). The Ducks ended the year by posting a season-low six turnovers in Game 3 of the CBI finals against Creighton.
UO ranked second in the conference for free throw shooting (.739, 520-of-704) and steals (8.23, 321), while ranking third in assist/turnover ratio (1.14, 545-477).
The Ducks’ high free throw shooting percentage was in large part because five of their eight major contributors (players who averaged 16 or more minutes per game) shot 70 percent or better. And three other players were just below that mark. E.J. Singler led the league in free throw shooting (85.2 percent), while Garrett Sim shot a career-high 83.0 percent from the charity stripe. Players who also shot 70 percent or better included: Jay-R Strowbridge (77.0 percent), Johnathan Loyd (73.7 percent) and Joevan Catron (71.8 percent). In addition, Tyrone Nared (69.8 percent), Malcolm Armstead (69.5 percent) and Teondre Williams (64.7 percent) were just below that 70 percent mark.
UO set a new single-season school record for steals in 2010-11, registering 321 (8.3 spg) in 39 games on the year. The previous mark for a single-season was held by the 2002-03 team which had 263 (7.9 spg) in 33 games. Oregon State led the conference with a steals per game average of 9.45.
UO’s strong assist-to-turnover ratio can be attributed to unselfish offensive play. Last season, 57 percent of Oregon’s made field goals were credited with an assist (545 assists for 972 made field goals). This was a considerable improvement from the 2009-10 season when just 44 percent of the Ducks’ made baskets were assisted (355 assists for 803 made baskets).
ALTMAN COACHING NOTES
Head coach Dana Altman took the 2010-11 Oregon squad, which was projected to finish last in the conference’s preseason poll, and helped the Ducks defy expectations. Oregon finished in a tie for seventh in final regular-season standings and made a run to the semifinal round of the conference’s postseason tournament, before accepting an invitation to the 2011 CBI which UO eventually won.
• Altman has made 14-straight postseason appearances and posted 14 consecutive winning seasons.
• On 13 occasions (in 26 years as a head coach), Altman has posted 20 or more wins in a season.
• Altman is just the second first-year UO head coach to finish the year with a winning record. Dating back to when the Pac-8 (now Pac-12) was formed before the 1964-65 season.
• Altman has finished .500 or better in 19 of his 22 seasons as a NCAA Division I head coach.
TOUGH TO REPLACE
Joevan Catron captained the Ducks to 21 wins in his final collegiate season, something that wouldn’t have happened had he not received the medical hardship from the conference office in June of 2010. The versatile forward’s productivity and leadership will be hard to replace.
Catron led the team in scoring (15.9 ppg), rebounding (6.7 rpg), field goals made and attempted (195-of-416), and free throws made and attempted (178-of-248). In fact, his 178 made free throws set a new single-season school record (passing Fred Jones who made 169 in the 2001-02 season). Catron also managed to rank second on the squad in steals (1.1 spg, 42).
Those scoring and rebounding numbers positioned Catron in the top 10 of conference players during the 2010-11 season, ranking sixth in points per game and ninth in rebounds per outing. He was recognized as second team all-conference for his play.
In the 37 games he suited up for last season, Catron led the team in scoring 22 times and rebounding on 21 occasions. Of his 12 career 20-point or better games, 11 came last season. Catron reached double-figures in scoring 28 times in 2010-11.
On the career, Catron set the modern school record for games played with 133. He wrapped up his career in style by scoring a career-high 29 points in his final game as a Duck, a 71-69 victory over Creighton in Game 3 of the CBI championship series. He earned MVP honors for the tournament after averaging 20.7 ppg and 9.0 rpg in those six postseason games.
Oregon Weekly MBB Release - Vanderbilt
Release Date: 11/08/2011
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