The Oregon Ducks will open the season as the No. 19 team in the AP poll against the Georgetown Hoyas in South Korea on Friday. If they hope to come back to the States with a win and maintain their status as a top-25 team this season, Dana Altman will need to get his team playing better than last year in several areas. Chief among them, however, will be Oregon’s offensive efficiency.
Altman’s job will be made all the more difficult by the graduation of rebounding machine Arsalan Kazemi, who logged 9.5 rebounds per game last season, including 2.6 offensive boards per game. Oregon lacks that singular presence to clean up on the boards this season and Altman knows he’ll need to get better collective team rebounding to replace Kazemi’s production as no single player will likely be able to step in and do what he did by themselves. The Ducks have high expectations for UNLV transfer Mike Moser, a 6-foot-8 presence down low who averaged 10.5 rebounds per game during the 2011-12 season, but can’t rely on him picking up the slack entirely on his own.
On top of losing their best rebounder, Oregon must answer questions about their ability to score points on the offensive end of the court. Last season, they ranked as the No. 9 scoring offense in the Pac 12, averaging just 0.98 points per possession during conference play. Oregon is counting on a healthy Dominic Artis to give them a spark after he struggled with injuries last season, but he’ll have to show more than he did a year ago. Even when Artis was in the lineup for Oregon, the Ducks managed just 1.03 points per possession which just won’t cut it this season.
If Artis can stay consistently healthy and the additions of Moser and Houston transfer Joseph Young pan out, Altman may have the foundation to keep Oregon in the top 25 and in the mix for the Pac 12 title this season. The Ducks need more offensively if they’re going to make any kind of impact this season so the pressure is on Altman and the Ducks to find that offensive spark for the 2013-14 season.