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No Dominic Artis makes Oregon worst ball-handling nationally?

Feb 3, 2013, 6:30 PM EDT

Tony Woods, Arsalan Kazemi, Waverly Austin

Oregon has had better trips to the Bay Area, I’m assuming.

Two days after getting thoroughly beatdown by Stanford, the Ducks lost a nail-biter to Cal on Saturday. It was their second straight loss, one that dropped them back into a tie for first place with Arizona at 7-2 in league play and will likely send them freefalling out of the No. 10 spot in the country.

And that’s probably fair, if only because Oregon was overrated as one of the nation’s top ten teams.

But that doesn’t mean the Ducks can’t play. They are good, potentially the best team in the Pac-12 and definitely a threat come NCAA tournament time due to their size and versatility. And there’s a very real explanation and excuse for this weekend’s loss.

Dominic Artis.

He’s got a foot injury, which is why he was on the bench in street clothes this weekend instead of on the court, running the show for Dana Altman.

Oregon is not a great offensive team. They are 107th in the nation in offensive efficiency, according to Kenpom. And there’s nothing that the Ducks do worse than protect the ball. They are 286th in the nation in turnover percentage, giving the ball away on 22.6% of their possessions. Artis certainly isn’t the greatest ball-handler, as his turnover rate is 24.6%, which is not very good. But his backup, Johnathan Loyd, has a turnover rate of 38.3%.

That could probably explain why Oregon has committed 65 turnovers in three games since Artis went out. They’ve committed turnovers on 29.8% of their possessions. Extrapolated over a full season, that would be the worst in the country. Grambling — as in, “they haven’t won a game this season” Grambling — has a turnover rate of 29.4%.

I think it’s pretty obvious what Oregon needs to work on in practice this week.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

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