The Q&A, wherein we meet folks who are "Addicted to Quack"

by Face

Discuss this post on Yuku

Just as the Dukes must prepare for their next opponent, so must we.

Oregon: The home of the Ducks and one of the weirdest basketball floors in the entire country. We got in touch with the guys at "Addicted to Quack" to exchange info about our favorite teams. Check out their thoughts on Oregon's floor, the least intimidating mascot in the Pac10, and the secret to eternal youth! We'll make sure to post a link up when they post our responses (they're coming soon, I promise!). EDIT: We have their responses. Check them out here!

Otherwise, Join us after the jump for the full Q&A.

YD: We are the Dukes and you are the Ducks. You're in the Pac10 and we're in the A10. Otherwise, we don't know each other very well, so lets get to it!  You had a coaching change during the offseason that resulted in a number of transfers, a player declared academically ineligible, and some other headaches. Two questions (a) what can you tell us about these situations that someone who doesn't closely follow the program wouldn't know and (b) how does it feel to have the team playing more basketball after such a rough patch?

AQ: The backdrop to that entire story was the controversy surrounding the coaching change. The fanbase was split about what to do with Coach Ernie Kent. On one had, you had the winningest coach in program history, who had success taking the team to the NCAA tournament and recruited well. He was also a member of the "Kamikaze Kids", a storied group of Oregon teams from the 70's. On the other hand, the team had gotten into this mode where it would be 1 awful season, 1 mediocre season, 1 decent season, 1 good season, repeat. His program management wasn't the best and we got into this viscous cycle as a result. The other knock on him was that there wasn't an emphasis on fundamentals and it made those seasons even harder.

Mike Bellotti, our ex-football coach who was the athletic director at the time, made the decision and Kent was fired. Coaching changes are always rough on teams but we were coming off that "1 awful season" in the rotation with an extremely young group. I don't think anyone was surprised about these defections. The cupboard was bare and the situation was a mess. With the new arena on the horizon, there was a lot of speculation that corners were cut in order to get those highly prized recruits in. The problem being that Kent has always needed time to develop his players and this time, he didn't have that luxury.

The fanbase is extremely positive about the team and our current situation. Dana Altman has revitalized the program. The fact that we're even playing post-season ball is beyond anyone's expectations. This has been a great season and you see that in the passion of the fans who are coming out to the games. We're not selling out the new arena but you can tell that some of the magic of yesteryear is starting to return.

YD: Coupled with that last question, Seems like the Ducks have some really big wins in the PAC - 10, but some really tough losses to bad teams out of conference. Beyond some of the upheaval, what factors do you think have contributed to their paradoxical season? 

AQ: Youth, inexperience and a new coach. This is a team that does one thing really well and that's play hard. The problem is that you need time to grow together and that's been the primary issue with the team this season. Early in the year, it was obvious that the team just didn't know how to play together very well. The coaching staff was also adjusting to the talent on the roster which made for some great learning experiences. With so many defections in the off-season, we had essentially a whole different team to start play with this year.

YD: The soon to be inaccurately numbered Pac 10 seems to have been the big winner of conference realignment so far. What do you think Utah and Colorado bring to the conference?

AQ: In football, the answer has to be the ability to have a conference championship game and the increased revenue as a result. It's also a game changer with regards to the BCS. The Pac-10 routinely has been getting shut out of that 2nd BCS game (last year is an exception) because of our round robin type of schedule. This change also adds the Colorado and Utah TV markets which we will use to leverage better TV contracts. In basketball specifically, Colorado has been on the uptick recently and adds some beef to the Pac-10, a conference that's been pretty weak the last few years. Utah's add will be felt more in football. They've been a strong player in the BCS the last decade and will make an already strong conference stronger.

Overall, I think this is a great move. Although a lot of fans were hoping for Texas, I think these two teams are the perfect fit geographically, academically, athletically and from a fanbase perspective. We hit a homerun with this one.

YD: Duquesne plays an uptempo offense that loves to score in transition and a pressure defense that turns opponents over at a high rate. Freshman TJ McConnell just set the single season steals record, and the record was previously owned by teammate Damien Saunders, who matched his second highest career mark. All in all, though Duquesne plays a style similar to one of your Pac 10 foes, Washington. How did Oregon prepare for such a fast pace of play? What worked and what didn't?

AQ: Against Washington, some of it was luck. We caught the Huskies during a rough patch and we played one of our better games. The key to that game was how the Ducks were able to take Washington out of it's comfort zone with tough defense. Oregon isn't a team to get beat on transition very often and when the Huskies played in their half-court offense, the team would isolate itself trying to prevent turnovers. This led to even more turnovers and bad shots. When Washington would move the ball quickly and effectively, it minimized the damage the defense could do and it would open up good looks at the basket. There is a pretty big talent divide there and in the Oregon win, the Huskies just weren't playing good basketball.

Dana Altman will substitute a lot of guys throughout the game. A fast pace style of game shouldn't bother the team from a conditioning standpoint. Oregon will play a little high tempo when it serves them but if the pace gets too crazy, look for them to slow it back down.

YD: Like I said above, Duquesne forces a lot of turnovers. Do you think the Dukes will be able to rattle the Oregon back court? Who will they turn to to break the pressure?

AQ: This is one of the great strengths of Dana Altman's coaching. We've seen a lot of different styles of pressure from teams throughout the year and the one consistent measure has to be how well the team handles backcourt pressure. I would say the person the team turns to is Dana himself. He knows what plays to call to break the pressure and when to call timeouts to cool off the other team's momentum. The players will make mistakes against such a good team but given how Oregon played against Oregon State's pressure defense, I'm confident that we'll be prepared for that style of play.

YD: Before you started Nared, you guys seemed really small. Even with Nared in the starting lineup, you still look rather small. Yet, you don't seem to play particularly uptempo despite the lack of size. What's up there? Is it a question of the coach's style?

AQ: I think part of it has to do with Altman's style but it also has to do with the talent we have out on the floor. This team is still growing together and there can be a tendency to play hurried instead of quick. Fundamental basketball is important for this team and that often means running the halfcourt offense to get guys open looks. Oregon can get out in the open court but they won't do it just for the sake of being fast. There is a fine balance that the team tries to find and when we can find that balance... that's when we're the most successful.

YD: On a lighter note, I know that Catron is a good player for the Ducks - his stat line of 15.3 PPG and 6.3 RPG reflects that. But if Oregon truly could be said to have a superstar, it would be the floor. This is a star that shines so bright that there were news stories this year about the glare from it blinding the fans. What do you think of its performance so far?

AQ: The court is amazing when you're at the arena. The detail is just incredible and it's hard to argue with how unique it looks. It doesn't translate to TV well at all, even in high definition. The glare problem was overblown. This is a new arena and part of that new arena is trying to figure out how to manage the logistics behind managing the events. Overall though, the floor has given the designers exactly what they want. Opposing teams have trouble seeing the court lines because they aren't used to it. The media has something to talk about because it's "Oregon and Nike". The fans (mostly) like it because it represents some history of the Tall Firs teams and it's unique to our school. I would grade overall performance at a B, deducting points for looking like mounds of dirt on TV.

YD: Oregon gets a few shots now and again for uniform choices or basketball courts, but there are definitely other programs in your conference that are pretty weird. Which Pac 10 mascot is less intimidating? The Beaver or that weird looking Christmas tree thing that Stanford has? Seriously, who comes up with this stuff...?

Great question. You have 2 types of cats (Washington State and Arizona), a dog in Washington, two bears (California and UCLA), a trojan warrior in USC and the devil himself in Arizona State. Cats? All scary. They know when you want them to do something and they do the opposite. The climb up trees and make you late for appointments. Go over to a cat owners house and try to tell me that the armrests aren't scratched up. A Husky? They have multi-colored eyes that will steal your soul. I don't think I have to say anything more. Bears? Um, they're the #1 issue facing America today. Threat Down! I saw the movie 300, I know all about trojan warriors. Dangerous. I'm not going to even mention the Devil because I don't have an exorcist handy. That leaves Ducks, Beavers, and a Tree. Let's give it the kid test

Show a kid the following images

Beaver - http://blog.oregonlive.com/beavers/2007/07/large_benny_beav.jpg
Duck - http://blog.zap2it.com/pop2it/oregon-duck.jpg
Tree - http://www.uncoverage.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Stanford-tree.jpg

Ask yourself the following questions

1. which of those mascots do I not want to take candy from?
2. which of those mascots looks like it could eat my head at any moment?
3. who would be fighting with each other in the natural world?

Who is the least intimidating? I think you have to go with the Duck. Come on, he's one of Andy's toys!

YD: Ok, back to business. A lot of big names were thrown around before Altman was hired. What do Ducks fans think of him so far both on and off of the court?

AQ: Love him. He's exactly what Duck fans were hoping for in a coach. Honestly, I haven't seen him pop up too much off the court which, given the issues our football and basketball teams have had the last few years, is a nice change. For one thing, it's really nice to have a coach call a full court pressure defense or a pick and roll. We hadn't seen those plays in about 10 years.

YD: The Dukes are the happiest when the game is fast paced and high scoring. In fact, we're behind only Kansas in assists per game and 17th in the entire country in points per game. I noticed that both of these teams have struggled with rebounding. Anything high scoring usually favors the Dukes, and rebounds are often made up for by steals. What do you expect the style of this game to look like? 

AQ: I would suspect that the Dukes will take advantage of Oregon's poor shooting and run the ball as much as possible. Oregon has been doing a great job of getting back on defense so there may not be too many chances at the rim in transition. My bet is that we'll see lots of fouls and lots of bricks unless either team starts hitting from the outside.

YD: What defense is the most comfortable for the Ducks? What will we see the most of?

AQ: 2-3 almost exclusively. We play some man-to-man but it really doesn't show up very often. When it does, it's almost always out of a timeout and doesn't stick around for a long time. We also employ a full court trap that can be pretty effective.

YD: Finally, one team must leave disappointed. Who will it be and what will the score be?

AQ: I think Oregon leaves disappointed. When I look at Duquesne, I see balanced scoring, a high-paced group and experience playing the big boys both in conference and outside of conference. To me, I see a team that should have been a tournament team had the ball bounced differently in a few games. Even though Oregon has improved since the beginning of the year, I have a hard time predicting a win in this game unless the Dukes become bricklayers from the field and the Oregon zone slows the game down. If Oregon can take care of the basketball, limit second chance points and slow the game down, I think this will be a close game.

Duquesne 78
Ducks 74