EUGENE, Ore.,- Oregon (9-1) has been the beneficiary of a home-heavy non-conference schedule that will allow them to play 10 of their 13 games at Matthew Knight Arena. To this point the Ducks have played just two games on the road, splitting games in the Global Sports Classic to UNLV and Cincinnati in Las Vegas.
The Don Haskins Center, or ‘The Don’ as some call it, has been a major adversary for UTEP (3-5) visiting foes for years.
“That’s a tough place to play no matter how good they are,” head coach Dana Altman said after Saturday’s win over Nebraska. “It’s a very good atmosphere for college basketball. We’ll have our hands full.”
This season, it has hosted four major conference or top-25 ranked teams, with the Miners dropping every contest.
Among them are two common opponents with the Ducks, Vanderbilt and UNLV. The Commodores ended a three-game losing streak (including a 26-point loss to Oregon) at “The Don”, beating UTEP 24. But, the Miners appear to be improving, with a two-point loss to 21st ranked UNLV on Monday, that required game-winning three point miss for the Rebels to leave with a win.
Unlike the Ducks, UTEP prefers to slow the pace into a half-court game, depending on their defense to get stops and their offense to be efficient. This is a stark contrast from Oregon, who prefers to get up and go. The Miners average just 57.1 points per game, compared to the Ducks 77.5.
On Saturday, Oregon faced a similar challenge in the Cornhuskers, who held the Ducks to a season-low 60 points. The effort left Altman displeased with his team’s inability to control the tempo and if the Ducks are incapable of doing so Wednesday, Oregon may not be in such fine position to win.
The Miners feature substantial height in the post, with three players towering over 6-foot-10. Despite that, they’ve been outrebounded by six boards a game, which may be a focal point for a Duck team that is tenth in the nation in rebound margin.
Julian Washburn and John Bohannon, the Miners' starting posts, are the team’s leading scorers, both averaging over 11 points per contest. UTEP has struggled to find efficiency in the backcourt, an assist-to-turnover margin of less than one.
The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network (Comcast HD 725) at 5:00 pm. James Bates and Steve Lappas will be on the call.