Oregon, at 18-2, is the top team in the Pac 12 and they are one of the hottest teams in the country. They are fast, athletic and talented and under third year head coach Dana Altman they are undefeated in conference play. However, with the loss of one of their top players how long will the Ducks remain unbeaten in the Pac 12?
Point guard Dominic Artis is out indefinitely with a foot injury and there is not a timetable for his return. Artis was seen on Friday wearing a protective boot but the severity of his injury is unknown. A source told The Register Guard that Artis will be able to return this season but it is not known when that will be.
Artis averages 10.2 points, a team high 3.8 assists per game and leads the Ducks in made three-pointers all as a freshman to lead Oregon to a No. 16 national ranking. Artis has started 19 games this season but in his absence junior Johnathan Loyd will have to step up and try to fill the productivity void.
Oregon played their first game without Artis on Saturday and they were able to scrape out a 81-76 home victory over Washington. In his first game replacing Artis, Loyd put up solid numbers: nine points, five assists, two rebounds and one steal. However, Loyd also committed five turnovers and almost fouled out of the game with four personal fouls. Without Artis their made 3-pointers were limited to just two, a season low.
How will Artis’ injury really affect the Ducks? It will hurt their offensive flow without their point guard getting the team into their sets. Their inside-outside game will not be effective without Artis because the three-point threat is not as great without the freshman. The change in rotation will take some time to get used to each other but luckily for the Ducks the rest of their Pac 12 schedule doesn’t pose the biggest threat.
Oregon no longer has to play either Arizona or UCLA again in the regular season after they already beat both teams. The Ducks toughest remaining tests will be one more game against Washington, this time on the road, and two games against Colorado.
Whether Artis will be back for any of those games is unknown but in the meantime Oregon should be fine in his absence. If they do falter everyone will know Artis’ exact importance to their team.
David LaRose is one of the featured College Basketball writers for Rant Sports covering the Pac 12 and the University of Colorado. He’s also a member of the U.S. Basketball Writer’s Association of America. You can follow him on Twitter or check out his Facebook page.