Oregon Week: What To ExpectPosted by Connor Pelton on August 12th, 2012
We’ve gone through the Oregon roster and told you about the returnees and the newcomers, but let’s put it all together today: What does the 2012-13 season hold for the Ducks? Just how good will returnees like E.J. Singler, Tony Woods, and Carlos Emory be, and which of the newcomers will emerge as major contributors? And most importantly, can these Ducks match or improve upon last year’s NIT appearance? Let’s break out that old crystal ball again and see what it says.
UO’s Leading Scorer – E.J. Singler. With Devoe Joseph now out of the picture, Singler will get all the touches he can handle in the Duck offense. That can be both good and bad as opponents will surely key in on the senior until another consistent scorer emerges. Singler is an athletic three who is able to get open on the wing, so he needs a good point guard to get him the ball. Johnathan Loyd will start the season there and showed flashes of brilliance last season. Incoming freshman Dominic Artis will back him up, a slashing one-guard who can use his small frame to cut through seams in a defense.
UO’s MVP – Carlos Emory. Emory emerged as a major scoring threat towards the end of 2011-12 and will be the go-to guy in the post this season. Emory can play both the three and four, but due to a serious lack of scoring big men on the roster, he’ll spend most of his time as a power forward.
UO’s Most Improved Returnee – Emory. Like I said, this guy came up huge for the Ducks at the end of last year. Emory averaged 10 points and five rebounds in Oregon’s final 14 games, basically begging coach Dana Altman for an increase in minutes. His game is still very raw and rough around the edges, but if he puts in the work this summer he could be a front-runner for the conference’s most improved award.
UO’s Most Impactful Newcomer – Dominic Artis. It’s tough for any freshman point guard to make an immediate impact, but Artis has the skill set to do so. He makes up for what he lacks in size with incredible quickness, and he has the handles to penetrate as well. His defense should get him on the court immediately considering how bad the Ducks’ perimeter D was in 2011-12. If he can knock down a jumper with consistency, he could very well pass Loyd on the depth chart.
UO’s Conference Record/ Finish – 9-9, 7th Place. We’re projecting the Ducks for a middle-of-the-Pac finish in 2012-13. It’s tough to project anything better than that with only one known scorer on the roster. Could Artis and Emory step up and become All-Pac-12 players by the time conference play rolls around in January? Certainly. But it’s difficult to assume that and give them the benefit of the doubt. If the Ducks finish with a record of .500 or better in Pac-12 play, they should definitely be in the mix for an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament. They’ll have much-improved RPI numbers as they face Vanderbilt, Nebraska, Arizona, Washington, and Colorado at home, not to mention games against UNLV, UCLA, Washington, and Colorado (and a possible meeting with Cincinnati or Iowa State) away from Eugene. If Oregon can get out of a tougher than usual non-conference slate with a 9-3 record, it’ll be on the bubble come Selection Sunday.