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PREVIEW: Baylor Basketball at Oregon

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The Bears put their Top 25 ranking on the line with an early road test in Eugene

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
at
No. 22/21 Baylor (1-0) at rv/rv Oregon (1-0)
Nov. 16, 2015 | 10:30 p.m. CT
Eugene, Ore. | Matthew Knight Arena (12,364)

TV: ESPN2 | WatchESPN

Radio: ESPN Central Texas
Watch | Gametracker Gametracker | Tickets Listen Online | Tickets Tickets | Tickets Baylor Notes | Tickets Oregon Notes

Baylor basketball gets a big road test on a national TV stage tonight as they travel to Eugene to play Oregon in a matchup that a lot of people will see and ask why we can't set up this arrangement on the football field. This game is part of ESPN's annual 24 hour College Basketball Tip-Off Marathon and will tip off at 10:30 PM CT on ESPN2 so get that extra cup of coffee in your system this evening because you might need it. (I'm sure nobody will make any jokes about body clocks.)

The Bears looked every bit the part of a top 25 caliber team in the season opener on Friday night in a 97-55 beatdown of Stephen F. Austin. Baylor had six different players in double figure scoring, led by Rico Gathers with 18. Lester Medford had 13 points to go with 9 assists in his first game as Kenny Chery's replacement as starting point guard. On the whole, Baylor tied a school record with 31 assists to just 8 turnovers. Defensively, the Bears were extremely active in their zone defense, holding SFA to just 32.7% shooting and forcing 13 Lumberjack turnovers. You never want to make too much out of one game in a long season but there were certainly plenty of great signs if you are a Baylor basketball fan.

Oregon also comes in 1-0 after a 80-52 win over Jackson State. Dana Altman is a great head coach and his teams have played in 11 NCAA Tournaments, including the last 3 with Oregon. The Ducks are led by an absolute stud in freshman guard Tyler Dorsey, and he'll be a good litmus test for our perimeter defenders. UO likes to play at a quick tempo and have been a high scoring team the past few years but they also give up their fair share as well. While Dorsey gives Oregon a slight edge at the guards, Baylor appears to have a pretty clear advantage down low as Oregon just doesn't quite have the same depth that the Bears possess as the Ducks are without key defensive stalwart Jordan Bell due to a foot injury. Oregon will also be missing guard Dylan Ennis, a Villanova transfer that Baylor recruited pretty hard this past offseason. One guy to watch will be Chris Boucher, 2015's National JUCO Player of the Year, who had 5 blocks against Jackson State. But obviously that was Jackson State and trying to keep Rico Gathers out of the paint will be a little bit more of a challenge for Boucher.

This should be an close and exciting game, as the Vegas line has this set as a Pick Em. Oregon will certainly have an edge with the home crowd behind them but Baylor may have too much down low for the Ducks to hang with. If the Bears can get contributions from Ish Wainright, Al Freeman, and King McClure like what they got against SFA and can keep Oregon's transition game in check, I like Baylor's chances tonight.

Projected Starters

Baylor

  • G - Lester Medford (SR | 11 | Tucson, AZ)
  • G - Ish Wainright (JR | 24 | Kansas City, MO)
  • G - Al Freeman (SO | 25 | Charlotte, NC)
  • F - Rico Gathers (SR | 2 | LaPlace, LA)
  • F - Taurean Prince (SR | 21 | San Antonio, TX)

Oregon

  • G - Casey Benson (SO | 2 | Tempe, AZ)
  • G - Tyler Dorsey (FR | 5 | Los Angeles, CA)
  • F - Elgin Cook (SR | 23 | Milwaukee, WI)
  • F - Dillon Brooks (SO | 24 | Mississauga, ON)
  • C - Chris Boucher (SR | 25 | Montreal, QC)