No. 12 seed Oregon will have its toughest test of the season trying to beat No. 1 seed and tournament favorite Louisville in the Sweet 16. They have not faced a team with this much talent and length all year long. Not to mention, the Ducks will practically playing in the Cardinals backyard.
On a positive note, Oregon has been playing their best basketball of the season. They have defeated both of their NCAA tournament opponents (No. 5 seed Oklahoma State and No. 4 St. Louis) by an average of 15 points.
The main reason for their success is due to their balanced scoring attack that moves the ball really well against an opponent’s defense. But the Ducks have not faced a suffocating defense like Louisville before. The Cardinals do a great job of on-ball defense and covering all players on the court.
If the Ducks are going to win this game, then they will have to attack the Louisville defense and make each shot count. Here are three ways Oregon can break down the Cardinals defense:
Ball Movement is key against Louisville
The Cardinals defense does an excellent job of trapping offensive players, which leads to costly turnovers. The main way to combat their defense is with fast and consistent ball movement.
Moving the ball around the court quickly allows your players to spread the defense, which leaves players open for buckets.
Also, taking the right shot and not putting up the first option should be important to Oregon's offense. Louisville's big men have a knack for altering shots, which means shot selectivity will be crucial.
Damyean Dotson needs to play at a high level
Heading into the tournament, freshman Damyean Dotson averaged 11.3 points per game in the regular season. In his first two tournament games, the Texas native is averaging 20 points per game. He is shooting 53 percent (8-of-15) from beyond the arc.
Also, his athleticism has turned him into a much-needed offensive threat for the Ducks. Dotson needs to continue to shoot well from the three-point line and attack the hoop. Dotson needs to be smart with the shots he takes and not make freshman mistakes out on the court.
Louisville has to get in foul trouble
One of Oregon's main priorities has to be getting the Cardinals in foul trouble. This will allow their bench players to eat up more minutes, which leads to the Ducks having a slight advantage.
To get Louisville in foul trouble, Oregon has to attack the paint and the keep the defense on their toes.
The Ducks should focus on getting big man Gorgui Dieng in foul trouble because he is one of the best shot-blockers in the country. The more time he spends on the bench, the easier it will be to attack the Cardinals' inside.