Thoughts on the USC-Oregon Game, and Other Matchups from Sunday’s Sweet 16 Games

March 29th, 2021

By Alan Lu

Yesterday, I decided to take the time to watch Evan Mobley and USC play against Chris Duarte and Oregon in a very competitive, Sweet 16 matchup in the 2021 NCAA Tournament that took place between two Pac-12 rivals in college basketball.  Mobley played very well, and he threw down arguably the best dunk of the tournament, and he had a strong all-around game to help lead USC to a double-digit win over Oregon.  USC also had solid performances from plenty of other players on their team in addition.  For Oregon, Duarte and Eugene Omoruyi played very well, but they did not receive much help from their teammates.  Here are my thoughts on how Evan Mobley and other various prospects fared on this day, and later on, I will give you some of my thoughts on how the other games went.

USC’s Evan Mobley played very well as he had a very good all-around game, and he also threw down a ferocious dunk late in the second half to help spur the USC Trojans to a Sweet 16 win over the Oregon Ducks. USC will face Gonzaga in the Elite Eight on Tuesday.
(Photo:
Jamie Squire/Getty Images, via Los Angeles Times)

USC’s 7-0 freshman center, Evan Mobley had a strong showing in his team’s win over Oregon.  He played a very good all-around game, and he had 10 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 blocks, and he also may have thrown down the best dunk of the entire 2021 NCAA Tournament. Mobley excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  He was able to throw down powerful dunks off of a cut and a put back early in this game.  He also did a very good job of scoring on a high post drive, and he drove in to score on a ferocious dunk on an opponent that had gotten in his way. He also did a good job of scoring in the post.  Mobley was able to score on a smooth turnaround jumper after getting the ball on the block, and he also drew free throws after getting fouled off the ball.  He did miss on a contested, turnaround jumper another time.  He also took a three-point shot, but he ended up missing that time from beyond the arc.

Also, Mobley showed off strong playmaking skills in this game.  He passed the ball well off the dribble and in the post, and he has good court vision to rack up assists.   He also handles the ball well.  He was able to quickly drive in and throw a sharp interior pass to set up a score for a teammate in the post.  He also threw an accurate pass from the post to find a cutter to notch an assist, and he also threw a long outlet pass to set up a score for a teammate on the break another time.  He is a good passer and ball handler that played very unselfishly, and he consistently made good reads throughout this match.  He was called for a traveling violation off of a drive, but that was the only turnover he committed in this contest. He also showed a solid ability to rebound the basketball.  He would leap up to get boards on both ends of the floor, and he also was able to tip a ball to help his team get an offensive board.

Plus, Mobley also played satisfactory defense.  He did a good job of blocking shots in the paint to force misses, and he also would contest jumpers to get plenty of stops for his team.  He also used his length to contest a shot in the post to force a miss late in this contest.  On the downside, sometimes he would sag a bit too far off of shooters, which would lead him to allow them to score on mid-range jumpers.  Other times, he would struggle to stay in front of opponents on drives to the hoop. He also would sometimes get outmuscled when defending in the post, as he ended up committing a foul and allowing a score once.

In general, Evan Mobley played very well, as he turned in a strong all-around game to help lead his team to a convincing win over Oregon.  He is a very athletic big man that passed the ball very well, he played solid defense, and he also is an efficient scorer that threw down the best dunk of this tournament so far.  He is a uniquely skilled big man that is making a case to be the top pick in the 2021 draft, and he could end up being a superstar in the NBA.

Oregon’s senior swingman, Chris Duarte also put forth a good performance in his team’s loss to USC.  He is a versatile player that played well on both ends of the floor, and he scored 21 points, made 2 threes, and he also had 6 assists, 5 rebounds, 3 steals, and 1 block in this game. Duarte excelled at scoring on hustle plays as well as in the post.  He managed to score on a backdoor cut, and he also dribbled in to score around the basket another time.

He also showed a decent ability to score off the dribble, as he has a savvy pump fake move that he can use to get defenders in the air, and he also managed to score on a tough leaner. He also was able to pull up to knock down a couple of quick, mid-range jump shots.  Every once in a while though, he would take tough, difficult shots that would lead to misses.

Also, he showed a decent ability to knock down jumpers to provide some floor spacing for his team on offense.  Duarte was able to make a stepback three, and he also ran off the ball to make a quick, spot-up three another time.  He also used a pump fake to draw three free throws later on.  Sometimes though, he would be prone to rushing, and he was a bit streaky with his outside shot in this game.

Plus, Duarte also displayed solid playmaking skills in this game.  He is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man to rack up assists, and he also threw an accurate lob to a teammate in transition.  He did throw hasty entry pass that got intercepted once, as that was his lone turnover that he committed on offense. Also, he showed a satisfactory ability to rebound the basketball.  Duarte would leap up to haul in multiple boards on both sides of the ball due to possessing above average athletic gifts and a solid motor.

He also defended well when he was on the court.  Duarte was able to jump passes to get steals, and he also jumped on a deflected pass to help his team get another.  He also managed to block a shot in the post due to possessing good timing.  On one play though, he sagged too far off his man, which led him to allow an opponent to score on a corner three.

Overall, Chris Duarte played well in his team’s loss to USC.  He had a very good senior season overall, and he has really risen up draft boards recently.  He is an agile, skilled swingman that has a variety of skills that could prove to be useful at the next level, and he could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the late first to the second round range in the 2021 draft.

Oregon’s 6-6 senior forward, Eugene Omoruyi had a strong showing in his team’s loss to USC.  He scored 28 points and had 10 rebounds, and he made a number of impressive hustle plays on both sides of the ball to help his team in this game. Omoruyi did a great job of scoring on hustle plays.  He showed a knack for scoring on put backs and tip-ins, and it was remarkably impressive that he would run in to score on several tip-ins after grabbing offensive rebounds in this game.  He also used a drop step move to score on a strong put back leaner, and he also drew free throws another time.  He also scored on a dunk off of a drive in transition.  Omoruyi showed that he possessed a very good motor and scoring touch to consistently score around the basket. He also showed a satisfactory ability to score off the dribble.  Early on, Omoruyi drove to his left to score at the rim.  He then drove to his right, but ended up getting his shot blocked that time.

He also was able to show off some post-up skills.  On one play, he used a pump fake to score on a turnaround, fadeaway jumper, while getting an extra free throw.  Omoruyi has a good pump fake that he can use to draw defenders in the air, and he did so another time to draw free throws.  He is a strong player that can consistently get to the hoop, but he also would sometimes take tough, rushed shots that would lead to misses. Also, Omoruyi did a good job of knocking down threes to provide floor spacing for his team on offense.  He was able to make a couple of spot-up threes off the catch.  He also used a pump fake to draw three free throws on a step-back, corner three later on.

Adding to that, Omoruyi showcased satisfactory playmaking skills.  He was able to throw a crisp pass to a cutter to notch an assist.  He also dribbled in  to throw an accurate lob pass to help his teammate score on an alley-oop dunk.  Omoruyi is a good passer off the dribble, and he also showed off solid court vision.  On the downside, when posting up once, he was called for a push off that led him to commit an offensive foul and a turnover. He did a tremendous job of rebounding the basketball.  He especially excelled as an offensive rebounder, and he often would score on put backs to provide his team with second chance points.

Also, Omoruyi played fairly good defense in this game.  He was able to jump on a loose ball to get a steal, and he also managed to get his hands on a pass to get another.  He was able to block a shot in the paint, and he also would contest shots both out on the perimeter as well as in the paint to force misses.  He also successfully drew a charge due to being in position to do so.  Sometimes though, he would sag too far off of shooters, which would lead him to allow them to score on corner threes.  Other times, he would tend to commit touch fouls when guarding opposing ball handlers.

In summary, Eugene Omoruyi played very well, as he turned in a strong showing in his team’s loss to USC.  He really helped his draft standing by playing very well in this game, and he led all scorers in points, and all players in rebounds in this game.  He is a tough, physical, high-motor forward that could project well into a 3 and D role in the NBA, and he could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the second round in the 2021 draft.

USC’s 6-10 sophomore big man, Isaiah Mobley also had a solid showing in his team’s win over Oregon.  He primarily excelled as a scorer in the post, but he also passed the ball and defended well.  He scored 13 points, and he also had 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block in this game. Mobley did a very good job of scoring in the post.  He was able to score on a dunk early on, and he showed a very good touch to often score down low.  He managed to score on a turnaround jump hook, and he also scored on a floater after grabbing an offensive rebound another time.

He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  Mobley showed a knack for scoring on put backs.  He also went coast to coast to score on a smooth, switch of hands layup on an aggressive fast break drive, while getting an extra free throw.  He also used a pump fake to try to score on a half-court drive, but missed on that possession.  He also took a couple of outside shots, but he ended up missing on those occasions.

Mobley also displayed solid playmaking skills.  He is a good passer and ball handler, and he operates like a skilled point forward when he is on the court.  Mobley was able to pass out of the post to find cutters to notch a pair of assists.  He also threw a crisp interior pass to set up another score.  He did throw an inaccurate pass that sailed out of bounds, but that was his lone turnover of the match.

He also was able to chip in to get his fair share of rebounds, and he was able to haul in boards on both sides of the ball.  Mobley played satisfactory defense in this game.  He managed to intercept an errant pass thrown right to him to get a steal, and he also blocked a shot.  He also would actively contest shots to force misses.  Sometimes though when defending in the post, he would bite on pump fakes, which would lead him to commit fouls down low.

Overall, Isaiah Mobley played well, as he made solid plays on both ends of the floor to help his team get the win over Oregon.  He’s had a very good sophomore season, and he could be a solid pick for a team in the second round in the 2021 draft.

USC’s senior point guard, Tahj Eaddy had a terrific showing in his team’s win over Oregon.  He scored 20 points, made 3 threes, dished out 3 assists, and he had a number of impressive scores to show off his versatility as a scorer on offense. Eaddy shot the ball really well, especially from downtown.  He would often pull up to knock down threes, as he can make them from way out, and he also used a pump fake to make a three-point shot later on.  He also showed a very good ability to score off the dribble.  He is an agile guard that has supreme quickness and change of direction skills, and he would often score on crafty, switch of hands layups due to possessing very good quickness, body control, and finishing ability.  He also has a good set of dribble moves, and he excelled at scoring around the basket.

Also, he displayed adequate playmaking skills.  Eaddy is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, and he can throw timely passes to notch assists.  Sometimes he can be careless with the ball, which can lead him to commit turnovers.  He lost the ball once while handling it, and he also threw a hasty pass that got intercepted another time. He also was able to chip in to get his fair share of boards, and he was able to get a pair of defensive rebounds.  Defensively, he looked to be about average.  Eaddy would look to contest threes, but sometimes he would be late to get out on shooters, which would occasionally lead him to allow baskets to his opponents.

Overall, Tahj Eaddy played very well, and he is an agile guard that can get any shot he wants on offense.  He shot the ball very well, and he also showed an impressive ability to finish plays at the rim to consistently score the basketball.  He has flown under the radar as a draft prospect, but in a favorable scenario, he could end up being a reliable role player in the NBA.

USC’s 6-7 senior forward, Isaiah White played very well, as he scored 22 points on 8 of 10 shooting, he made 4 threes, and he also had 5 rebounds, and 3 steals in his team’s Sweet 16 win over Oregon. White did a great job of knocking down corner threes to space the floor for his team, and he has shot the ball very well in the NCAA Tournament.  He also excelled as a scorer on hustle plays.  He managed to score on a couple of smart backdoor cuts, and he also ran in to score on a tip-in while getting an extra free throw afterwards.  Plus, he also ran the floor to score in transition.

He also showed a decent ability to score in the post.  White was able to use a pivot move to draw free throws on a turnaround jumper.  He also looked to score on a left-handed drove to the hoop, but he ended up missing due to rushing.

He also passed the ball well, and he was able to drive and kick a ball out to a shooter to notch an assist.  Even better, he did not turn the ball over once on offense. White also was able to leap up to get his fair share of boards, as he was able to get boards on both sides of the ball.  He also played fairly good defense.  White was able to get his hands on passes to get plenty of steals for his team.

Overall, Isaiah White has been playing very good basketball, and he has excelled as a sharpshooter and as a scorer in this tournament.  He has flown under the radar as a draft prospect, but he is an athletic, skilled forward that could project well into a 3 and D role in the NBA.

Oregon’s 6-11 Cameroonian freshman center, Franck Kepnang played well in limited minutes off the bench in his team’s loss to USC.  He excelled as an inside scorer, and he is an athletic big man that provided energy and a solid scoring touch around the basket to help his team in this game. Kepnang showed a solid ability to score in the post.  He was able to use a spin move to score in the post, while getting an extra free throw afterwards.  Kepnang also caught a long pass to score on a powerful dunk.  He also caught a lob pass to score on an alley-oop dunk late in this game. He also ran down an offensive rebound to help his team get a board another time.  Overall, Kepnang is an athletic, energetic big man that could be a prospect to keep tabs on, and he could project into a defensive specialist role in the NBA sometime in the future.

Oregon’s 6-5 junior guard, Will Richardson did not play well, as he especially struggled on offense in his team’s loss to USC.  He had missed a significant portion of the season due to injury, so I had not been able to see him play this year.  This was his chance to make a strong impression, especially in a big NCAA Tournament game, but unfortunately, he did not do so, as he scored just 5 points on 2 of 8 shooting in his team’s losing effort.

Richardson showed an adequate ability to score off the dribble.  He was able to split defenders to score on a crafty, reverse layup.  However, he also would tend to rush his shots to miss on wild leaners around the basket. He also was able to use a jab step, as he dribbled right and pulled up to score on a three-point shot from beyond the arc.  On the other hand, Richardson was unable to consistently knock down three-point shots, and he also missed on a long two another time.

He also showed off satisfactory playmaking skills.  Richardson is an unselfish player that would look to find the open man, and he can throw quick drive and kick passes to get the ball to his teammates.  However, he dropped a pass that ended up out of bounds.  He also threw a hard, inaccurate pass that sailed way over his teammate’s head that went out of bounds another time.

Though he didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, Richardson was able to get a defensive board when he was on the floor.  He also played satisfactory defense.  Richardson was able to poke a ball off of an opposing ball handler to force a turnover.  He also was able to get his hands on a pass to get another steal.  He also managed to block a shot on a separate possession.

Overall, Will Richardson did not shoot the ball very well, and he did not score the ball very much in his team’s loss to Oregon.  He did show off some solid playmaking and defensive skills, but his inability to knock down shots pretty much makes this a lackluster performance from him overall in his team’s loss to USC.  His team needed more players to step up on offense, and he did not knock down the shots he was supposed to make.  Right now, he may be a borderline second round candidate if he were to declare to enter the 2021 draft.  He will likely need to stay in school for another season, and he will need to be a more consistent shooter and scorer in games.

The Other Games:

Here are some notes about what I noticed in the other games that took place on Sunday in the other Sweet 16 games.

Gonzaga’s sophomore center, Drew Timme scored 22 points to help his team get a double-digit win over Creighton. Gonzaga play will USC on Tuesday.
(Photo:
Michael Conroy/The Associated Press, via Fulton Sun)

Gonzaga’s sophomore center, Drew Timme played very well, as he excelled as a scorer in the post, he ran the floor to score in transition.  His team played well all-around game, and he scored 22 points, and he had 6 rebounds and 4 assists to help his team defeat Creighton.

Andrew Nembhard shot the ball very well, as he excelled as a shooter and scorer out of the post, and he did a very good job of taking care of the basketball.  Nembhard made smart plays consistently in this game, and he scored 17 points on 7 of 9 shooting, made 3 threes, and he also had 8 assists and 4 rebounds in his team’s win over Creighton.  Gonzaga is really good team, and they look like they could go all the way to win the NCAA championship this year.

Michigan’s Franz Wagner had a strong, all-around showing as he had 13 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists in his team’s win over Florida State. Michigan will play UCLA in the Elite Eight on Tuesday.
(Photo:
Albert Cesare/Indy Star-USA Today Sports, via Detroit Free Press)

Michigan’s 6-9 sophomore forward, Franz Wagner played really well, as he had a strong all-around game in his team’s win over Florida State.  He did a very job of scoring off the dribble, as he would consistently get into the lane to score at the rim.  He also passed the ball well as he showed off good court vision, and he also rebounded the ball really well.  Wagner scored 13 points, and he also collected 10 rebounds, and 5 assists in this game. He is an athletic, skilled versatile forward that played very well. In the matchup between himself and Florida State’s Scottie Barnes, Wagner was the big winner here, and Wagner seemed to make a very strong case for himself as he could end up being a lottery pick in the 2021 draft.

I also took the time to watch some of the UCLA-Alabama game.  Both teams struggled to get consistent offense at times, but it was a hard fought match that went into overtime, after Alabama’s Alex Reese made a three to beat the buzzer.  UCLA basically ran the show in overtime though, and Jaime Jaquez Jr. was the star of overtime, as he excelled as a shooter, scorer, and facilitator to help his team get the victory.

UCLA’s Jaime Jaquez Jr. hit big shots in overtime, and he played well as he scored 17 points in his team’s win over Alabama.
(Photo:
Associated Press, via The Herald)

UCLA’s 6-6 sophomore swingman, Jaime Jaquez Jr. played very well, especially in overtime to help his team get a win over Alabama.  He scored 17 points, and he also had 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block in this game. He showed solid strength and the scoring touch to consistently score in the post, but early on, he struggled to get by players off the dribble or to get back on defense.   He’s shown the ability to excel as a low post scorer and he is also a crafty scorer off the dribble.  He also made a three over Herb Jones, but he was fairly streaky with his outside shot.  He also deflected a ball dribbled by Petty off of his shorts to force a turnover.

He did a great job of making shots in overtime, as he made a mid-range jumper, and he also made a timely, step back three.  He also passed the ball well off the dribble, and he came up big in overtime, especially on offense. He’s not the fastest player, but he is a skilled player that plays smart basketball, and he would take smart shots and make smart passes to help his team on offense.  Overall, Jaquez turned in a very good showing in this game, and he is a second round prospect whose offensive versatility and basketball IQ could enable him to be a solid role player in the NBA.

Alabama’s Herb Jones‘ play overall was disappointing in his team’s loss to UCLA. Jones picked up two quick fouls early in the UCLA-Alabama game, and he tended to commit charging fouls, as he did so in the post and off the dribble, which led him to get sent to the bench early on.  Herb Jones sometimes will let opponents get easy scores in the post and will sometimes sag too far to allow scores, but he is an athletic forward that also can block shots, and is a solid passer. 

On the downside, he is not a good shooter, and he struggles to create his own shot off the dribble.  He really struggled to make free throws, but he scored on a tip-in late in overtime.  He also threw a hasty pass that got picked off late in this contest.  He also blocked a long two in overtime to show that he is a rangy defender that can cover a considerable amount of ground.

Offensively, his inability to consistently knock down jump shots or free throws, combined with his penchant to turn the ball over are significant concerns moving forward.  On the defensive end, Jones is a very athletic, rangy defender that can make a significant impact on that side of the ball, but he will sometimes sag a bit too far off of shooters, and he will occasionally let opponents score off the dribble that shouldn’t.  Right now, he looks to be a borderline second round candidate in the 2021 draft, but his athleticism and defensive skills could get him long looks from NBA teams.

Alabama’s John Petty Jr. had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to UCLA. Early on, he didn’t do much of anything in the first half, and he really struggled to create his own shot, as he would miss off the dribble and in the post.  In the second half, he scored on a cut, has been scoring more off the dribble, and he also made a three but has been streaky with his outside shot.  He’s been active defensively, and he poked a ball away to get a steal. 

On the other hand, in overtime, he bit on a pump fake, and committed a foul on the baseline that also allowed his opponent to score on a mid-range jumper and get an extra free throw.

Overall, he scored 16 points, but on 5 of 15 shooting, and he didn’t shoot the three-ball very well in this game.  He did look to be a solid athlete that can score off the dribble and on hustle plays, but his team really needed him to show that he can be a lights out shooter, and he struggled to knock down outside shots consistently in this game.  Still, he is a skilled swingman that could project into a 3 and D role in the NBA, and he currently projects to be a borderline second round candidate in the 2021 draft.

UCLA’s 6-6 junior swingman, Jules Bernard made a nice, step back three, and got an extra free throw after getting fouled by Quinerly.  He also used a jab step to make another deep three on Primo late in the first half.  He struggled to score inside the arc, but Bernard is a skilled, mobile shooter that excelled at making threes to help UCLA in this game.

UCLA’s 6-9 redshirt junior big man, Cody Riley is an athletic, energetic player that played well down the stretch in his team’s win over Alabama. He was able to score on a tip dunk, and he generally excelled as a scorer in the post.  He is a solid athlete that blocked a shot inside late in this game to get a stop for his team.  He is an athletic, energetic big man that could be a prospect to watch next season.

6-4 junior guard, David Singleton made two spot-up threes for UCLA in the first half.  He is an agile combo guard that also made a mid-range floater on the baseline in overtime while getting fouled.

UCLA’s 5-11 sophomore point guard, Tyger Campbell is an agile, fleet-footed guard that would consistently get into the lane to score and get assists in this game, and he also was active defensively. On the other hand, he did not make a single three-point shot in this game. He scored 13 points and had 5 assists, and he did a good job of running the point, as he was able to lead his team to a victory over Alabama.

UCLA’s 6-6 sophomore guard, Johnny Juzang is an agile swingman that has shown the ability to score on mid-range jumpers, and while he is streaky, he has shown versatile scoring skills.  He missed on a bad contested leaner, he struggled with his outside shot, and he fouled out late in this game before it went to overtime.

Alabama’s Jahvon Quinerly showed the ability to score off the dribble, and he also made a three, but he also missed on a contested three that was challenged by Jaquez late in the first half, and he committed a bad foul by landing on top of Bernard that gave his man a four-point play.  Overall, he scored 20 points, but on 8 of 22 shooting, and he sometimes played some bad defense in his team’s loss to Alabama.

Alabama’s freshman swingman, Josh Primo played well early on, but he struggled overall in his team’s loss to UCLA. He is a quick guard that can score on aggressive drives to the hoop, and he got fouled on a very powerful dunk attempt on a drive another time, but he’s been streaky with his jump shot.  Unfortunately, he missed on all of his threes, and for an athletic shooter, he’s still got a long way to go, as he has been entirely too inconsistent as an outside shooter in games.

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