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Three-pointers falling for Ducks.

Byline: Bob Clark The Register-Guard

Oregon didn't make a third of its three-point attempts during the regular season, but the Ducks have made nearly half of them in tournament play the past two weekends.

"We've taken better threes," UO coach Dana Altman said. "We've got a good understanding of the threes we want right now, we're taking very few poor ones and that's made a tremendous difference."

Oregon's three-point percentage in its 31 games of the regular season was .313. Then the Ducks made 18-of-41 three-pointers in three Pac-12 tournament games, 43.9 percent. In two NCAA games last weekend in San Jose, the Ducks made half of their 32 attempts.

In those NCAA games, Damyean Dotson made 8-of-15 outside the three-point line, and E.J. Singler and Carlos Emory were each 3-of-5 from that range. The Ducks are likely to need something like that to spring an upset on Louisville in the Midwest Regional semifinal Friday night in Indianapolis.

"Hopefully we'll keep taking good ones," Altman said, adding that the Louisville defense "will not allow many good ones so when we get one, we've got to knock it down."

Quick guards pace Louisville

Louisville is paced by a pair of 6-foot guards, junior Russ Smith and senior Peyton Siva, the latter from Seattle's Franklin High School.

Altman said they're "as fast and quick a duo as we've faced, and it's not even close. Defensively, what those two guys do is really something."

Smith leads the Cardinals in scoring (18.4) and Siva in assists (5.9). They've combined for 160 steals.

"Everybody knows college basketball starts with guards," Altman said. "That's why they're No. 1 (seeded overall) in the tournament and favored to win it all.

"Heck, even the President has them winning it all."

Altman laments coaches' firings

Altman has connections to a couple of coaches who were fired this week, Tubby Smith at Minnesota and Ben Howland at UCLA.

"I feel bad for both guys 'cause they're good coaches and good men," the UO coach said, also predicting, "I'm sure if they want another job, somebody will be willing to hire both of them."

Considering both Smith and Howland averaged more than 20 wins at the schools that fired them, it's a tenuous business to be in, which Altman recognizes.

"We're in a profession where if the university changes its mind ... we're all big boys," Altman said. "We're well paid and if they make a decision to go in a different direction, that's their decision."

Finals over, Ducks concentrate on hoops

It's all basketball for the Ducks this week, after combining preparation for winter term finals with the Pac-12 tournament and then spending part of finals week on the road for the NCAA Tournament.

Johnathan Loyd, for instance, took three finals at the team hotel in San Jose and also had to finish a term paper last week.

Having no classwork to worry about this week, Loyd said, is "a lot better. I don't have to go home and write a paper, I don't have to go home and study. I get to relax and chill and worry about basketball and that's it."

Singler honored by coaches association

Oregon's E.J. Singler was named to the second team for the district that encompasses Pac-12 schools in voting by coaches, the National Association of Basketball Coaches announced.

The NABC makes all-district selections for the 24 districts in the nation. On the first team for District 20 were Allen Crabbe of California, Shabazz Muhammad of UCLA, Jahii Carson of Arizona State and two players from Arizona, Mark Lyons and Solomon Hill.
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Title Annotation:Oregon Men Basketball; Oregon has raised its percentage during the postseason
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Geographic Code:1U9OR
Date:Mar 27, 2013
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