In preparation for tonight's game between Colorado and Oregon, I spoke with the managing editor of Addicted to Quack, the SB Nation blog for the Oregon Ducks. We spoke about what what Buff fans should look for from the Ducks, and what the keys to the game will be. You can check out our answers to their questions here.
Cameron Goeldner: From the outsiders perspective, what are your thoughts on the Buffs and where would you rank them in the PAC-12?
Sean Larson: Colorado is always a tough opponent for the Ducks. Since entering the Pac-12, Colorado is 6-3 against Oregon and handed them their last Pac-12 loss on January 17. I always have regarded them for the most part as a team that you might not expect to do much in the conference, but always find a way to make some noise. It's so hard to rank teams in the Pac-12 this year because of how much depth there is. If I had to though, I'd probably rank them 4th behind Oregon, Arizona and Utah.
CG: Everyone here is obviously very high on Josh Scott, how do you see the Boucher-Scott matchup?
SL: Chris Boucher is coming off a monster performance against Arizona State last weekend. Boucher scored a career-high 26 points to go along with 10 rebounds and seven (!!!) blocks. Josh Scott is a talented player, and Boucher is going to have his hands full. I think if Boucher can out-rebound Scott and contain him from having a big scoring night, the Ducks have a chance in this one.
CG: The Ducks obviously have a few standout names such as Dillion Brooks, but is there anyone on the team that flies under the radar that we should keep an eye out for?
SL: Dillon Brooks gets the spotlight, but one of my favorite guy to watch is Dwayne Benjamin, a versatile forward. Benjamin has the size (6-foot-7, 210 lbs) to play down in the paint and drive to the rim, but what I think makes him really valuable is his ability to hit the shots from beyond the arc. He's like Oregon's version of Kevin Durant. There have been some games where the Ducks have been trailing and then Benjamin heats up from deep, and just like that, Oregon would climb back into the game. So if he gets going from 3-point range, watch out.
CG: Were you expecting the team to break out like it has or did this come as a surprise to you?
SL: Honestly, I actually was. We had so many key guys coming back from last year's team. Dillon Brooks, Dwayne Benjamin, Elgin Cook and Jordan Bell were all guys who have played huge roles on this team and were back for another year. That, plus the newer faces like Chris Boucher and Tyler Dorsey, it seemed like going into this season, all the pieces were there. Last year, after Oregon's roster got imploded following the unexpected departure of some key players, nobody expected the Ducks to even have a winning record. However, they exceeded expectations and made it back to the NCAA tournament. This year, we all had high hopes for this team, a pleasant change. And so far, they've been meeting those expectations. We'll have to see if they can keep it up through March and hopefully, into April.
A big thanks to Sean for answering my questions about the team, and the best of luck to the Ducks after tonight.