Shortly before the practice in which the Washington Huskies lost sophomore guard Abdul Gaddy for the season, coach Lorenzo Romar noted that Oregon is a pressing team but that his guards could handle it.
"(Former coach Ernie) Kent's teams were uptempo and coach (Dana) Altman's team right now is uptempo, but they press a lot more than coach Kent's team did," said Romar. "We feel our guards can handle presses, hopefully."
Not to say that losing Gaddy will cost the Huskies the game, but tonight's game will be a rather immediate test of the guard rotation without their most efficient all-around guards.
ACL injury claims Gaddy | UW Huskies - The News Tribune
Overton is just rounding into form after being slowed most of the season with hamstring and knee injuries, but he said he is ready for an increased role.
"It’s going to be tough, just the fact that we’ve been having that three-guard rotation," Overton said. "That’s not going to happen now. It’s going to be a lot of it on myself. A lot of the guards are going to have to step up."
That probably points to the key statistic of the game.
Key statistical battleground: turnovers
Both Oregon and Washington force turnovers on around 23 percent of their opponents possessions, but Washington has been a bit more efficient controlling the ball. The difference is that the turnover differential has arguably been Oregon's biggest strength and as Romar said they are going to come out and actively try to force turnovers.
With Gaddy out, there should be no expectation that UW will suddenly fold under pressure, but it will be interesting to see how thy handle the pressure - and which guards are most effective at it - given Oregon's game.
Players to watch
Malcolm Armstead, G (6-foot-0, 195 pounds, Jr.)
In the context of a team that likes to pressure and force turnovers, Armstead's elite steal percentage - he gets a steal on a team-high 4.6 percent of his possessions, higher than anyone on UW - could play a role in the game. Armstead also turns the ball over a team-high 3.42 times per game, but if the game becomes about defense he could be at the center of that statistically.
E.J. Singler, F (6-foot-6, 210 pounds, So.)
What Oregon has struggled with this season is shooting efficiency, ranking at the bottom of the conference in any shooting category you look at except for when nobody is guarding them at the free throw line. So although Joevan Catron is their top scorer with 16.4 points per game, Singler is almost equally important statistically as their most efficient scorer, with a true shooting percentage of over 60 percent while being the team's second-leading scorer at 12.1 points per game. What Singler adds from a scoring standpoint is a team-high 37.8 percent 3-point percentage on a team that shoots under 30 percent from beyond the arc.