After everything that transpired Wednesday, with UCLA losing to Washington State and Cal losing to Stanford, it looked almost certain that the Ducks would wrap up their first conference championship in more than a decade. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t meant to be as we were blown out by both Colorado on Thursday and Utah Saturday.
Fishduck has written a good many articles over the course of the last month talking about how the Ducks controlled their own destiny. They controlled their own destiny up until the final whistle sounded Saturday afternoon at Utah with the Ducks on the wrong side of an 72-62 final. The loss to a Utah team that had 4 wins in conference play heading into the matchup not only will go down as a bad loss with the NCAA tournament committee, and hurt our overall seeding, but prevented the Ducks from winning their first conference championship in more than a decade.
We all thought this was the year. Our Ducks started tremendously strong beating the likes of UNLV, Arizona, UCLA, and our bitter rival Huskies. It seemed like this was it. However, Artis’ injury brought the win streak to a screeching halt as we lost 4 games (2 to Cal, Colorado, and Stanford) with him out of the lineup. We had no one who could replicate his offensive efficiency and ability to create easy looks for others. Even with his return in the end (he was nowhere near 100%), we couldn’t get it done. We were blown out of the water by Colorado on Thursday afternoon (only to have OSU beat them Saturday), and then we looked absolutely gassed and lifeless in Saturday’s wire to wire victory for the Utes.
With all of this said, it was a very disappointing end to what looked to be a very promising conference season. We still have a first round bye heading into the tournament as the #3 seed, but we all know the Ducks should have won the conference yesterday and should have been the #1 seed. We blew our chance at a regular season crown. Now it is time to put that in the rear view mirror and focus on winning the Pac-12 Tournament.