I picked the Dons to finish third in the WCC and the coaches picked them to finish fourth. They're not making us look very smart. The 82-100 loss at #17 Oregon tonight drops the Dons to 3-3 on the season and into a tie for 8th place with Portland.
The Dons are developing a trend, one that opposing teams will no doubt take note of. They've taken a lot of threes, and missed a lot of threes, in the games that they have lost this season. Tonight, the Dons shot 8-28 from outside the arc. All those long range bricks dragged the Dons' shooting percentage down to a paltry 36.8%. The Dons didn't help their cause at the line either, where they missed ten free throws.
In 2012-13, at 40.1%, the Dons posted the sixth best three point percentage in the nation. That high percentage wasn't due to small sample size as the Dons threes accounted for over one third of their total points. Since most of the Dons from last season are back in San Francisco this year, I can't imagine they'll continue to struggle from three. That said, I don't understand why this team was willing to jack up so many threes considering they had an advantage in the paint tonight.
Senior point guard Cody Doolin, who had never missed a collegiate game until Friday, was absent for the second straight game. Doolin is back in his hometown of Austin, Texas dealing with family issues. Without Doolin distributing the ball, 7.0 assists per game so far this year, the Dons had a hard time getting good looks. His absence no doubt contributed to their 20 missed threes and awful shooting percentage.
The star of the night for USF was Kruize Pinkins. Before he fouled out late in the game, Pinkins totaled 20 points (5-10 from the field) and 11 rebounds. Cole Dickerson and Matt Glover also fouled out of the game.
Poor shooting aside, this was actually a decent showing from the Dons. Oregon was unable to pull away from San Francisco for the first 25 minutes of the game. Even then, the scoreboard didn't indicate a blowout until the final minutes when Oregon's lead hovered between 15 and 20. For a team that couldn't buy a basket, scoring 82 points and hanging with a ranked team on their floor is pretty impressive.
Oregon is a fast team that was able to beat the Dons in transition nearly every time they had the chance. The Ducks play seven more mid-majors in the non-conference portion of the season. If those teams rely heavily on the three, they'll likely get blown by in transition like the Dons.
On Wednesday the Dons host a non-Division I Sonoma State squad that should allow them to get back on track. Oh, and if the Dons ever play the Ducks again, they should temporarily change their name to the "Donalds". Whichever team wins can get a gold plated carton of Donald Duck orange juice. I'm still brainstorming but I think it's a great idea.