The Michigan Wolverines will take on the Oregon Ducks Thursday night to kickoff the Sweet Sixteen. Oregon is 0-4 all-time versus Michigan. The two teams last met in the 2014 Legends Classic (70-63 Wolverines).
To prepare for the upcoming Sweet 16 matchup tomorrow, let’s take a look at some of the key players for the Oregon Ducks and who will guard them from Michigan.
The Ducks are led by senior forward Dillon Brooks, who is the team’s leading scorer at 16.4 points per game. Brooks was named the Player of the Year in the PAC-12 and is also one of finalists from the PAC-12 for the John R. Wooden National Player of the Year award. Brooks can score the ball in a variety of ways, he led the Ducks with 35 triples in PAC-12 games this season.
In Oregon’s first two games in the tournament, Brooks contributed 18 points against Iona and added 19 against Rhode Island. The senior was especially clutch in the closing stages in the victory over Rhode Island. Brooks played sidekick to Tyler Dorsey, nailing a timely three during Oregon’s late comeback. The Ducks will continue to heavily lean on Brooks’ production, he’ll be tested Thursday night on both ends of the floor matching up against D.J. Wilson.
If it wasn't for Dorsey’s go-ahead three-point shot against Rhode Island, the Ducks would’ve been another team victim to the madness of March. Thankfully, Dorsey saved the day, scorning 27 points on 9-10 shooting, helping Oregon advance to the next round with a 75-72 victory.
Dorsey has been the best player for the Ducks this post season. The sophomore has scored 20 or more points in a career-high five straight games. Dorsey’s post season emergence isn’t all that surprising, he averaged 14 points per game in the regular season — good for second leading scorer on the team and PAC-12 All-Conference Honorable Mention.
What’s been surprising is how efficient Dorsey has been. Dorsey is 18-23 in Oregon’s two tournament games. That’s 78%! Pretty incredible considering most of his shots were taken outside the paint.
No doubt that Dorsey will come into Thursday’s Michigan matchup will plenty of confidence. Michigan will most likely throw a variety of defenders at him. Dorsey could see the likes of Derrick Walton Jr., Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Zak Irvin. We also could see plenty of pick and roll action between Dorsey and Brooks, which may result in Wilson switched onto Dorsey throughout the game.
Bell is the defensive anchor for the Ducks. He won Pac-12 Defensive Player of Year, and he’s the first Oregon player to claim the award in its 14 years of existence. Bell has really had to raise his game since fellow PAC-12 All-Defensive Team selection Chris Boucher tore his ACL on March 13. The injury arguably makes Bell the most important player going forward for the Ducks.
Besides providing the Ducks with excellent defense, Bell contributes in many other facets of the game. He was the only player inside the top 10 of the PAC-12 in rebounding, steals, and blocks, while also providing a career-best 10.1 points per game.
Unfortunately even with the best defender in the PAC-12, the Ducks have struggled on the defensive end without Boucher. Courtesy of ESPN, in Oregon’s past three games the team allowed 1.19 points per possession in a loss against Arizona, 1.10 PPP against Iona, and 1.12 PPP against Rhode Island.
Going up against Michigan wont make it any easier on Bell and the Ducks. The Wolverines have one of the best offenses in the country. And Bell will be dealt with the responsibility of guarding Moritz Wagner, who arguably had the best game of his college career against Louisville.