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Oregon Athletics: A Year in Review

Ryan Robertson Editorials 18 Comments

The 2018-2019 school year has concluded (not including summer, but who counts summer when there are no Duck sports?). The major sports are over for the year, and now it truly is the offseason.

We have no scrappy basketball squads to watch on deep tournament runs, no underdog baseball teams to read about, no softball dance videos and no more players playing.

After an impressive year for many Oregon sports, the lull of the offseason can make us forget about multiple double-digit-seeded tournament runs or about the Women’s Basketball team’s first-ever Final Four. So, while we brave the unforgiving wilderness of yet another offseason with only the fall to end your suffering, here are some quick reviews of several notable sports teams from the U of O.

Football

Instagram

Can Oregon live up to the hype in 2019?

Record: 9-4

Notable Achievements:
30-27 W at home against the Washington Huskies
55-15 W in Corvallis against the Oregon State Beavers
7-6 W in the Redbox Bowl against the Michigan State Spartans

Offseason Storylines to Consider:
Coming off an up and down nine-win season, Oregon brought in its most talented recruiting class in school history. Will it propel the Ducks over the hump to their first Playoff appearance since 2014?

Is incoming freshman Kayvon Thibodeaux going to live up to the insane amount of hype surrounding his arrival in Eugene?

Justin Herbert is either going to have a tremendous season with a major bowl game at the end, or the Ducks will need to find a new offensive coordinator.

If it truly never rains at Autzen Stadium, why do you bring a raincoat when it is cloudy?

Women’s Basketball

Record: 33-5

Notable Achievements:
Pac-12 regular season champions
NCAA Tournament Final Four appearance

Offseason Storylines to Consider:
Kelly Graves’ historically good recruiting job has somehow seemed to overshadow the return of the best college basketball player in the country, Sabrina Ionescu.

Can the Ducks build off their first-ever Final Four appearance and get to the national championship game?

Graves continues to impress, and the team has looked better every season since he was hired. How much better can this team actually get?

Men’s Basketball

Gary Breedlove

Coach Altman will have to reload once again.

Record: 25-13

Notable Achievements:
Pac-12 Tournament champions
NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen appearance

Offseason Storylines to Consider:
Restocking on talent doesn’t seem to be proving difficult for Oregon, as this is the third straight year we’ve seen a possible one-and-done player in CJ Walker, along with three other highly rated recruits.

Is the program going to survive as a refuge for one-and-done players, or should Oregon pursue long-term players?

Dana Altman is safe from corruption allegations … for now. It is worrisome that Bol Bol has been mentioned as a player who was paid going into college.

Softball

Record: 22-30

Notable Achievements:
8-5 W against No. 8 LSU
4-3 W against No. 1 UCLA

Offseason Storylines to Consider:
The return of Haley Cruse, along with an offseason without star players transferring out of the program or coaches departing, should lead to more success in 2020.

Can the Ducks rebuild the program to the heights of the previous regime?

Baseball

Record: 27-29

Notable Achievements:
9-4 W against No. 8 Texas Tech
2-3 record against Oregon State (First Civil War wins after 11 losses)

Offseason Storylines to Consider:
Mark Wasikowski is back at Oregon. The program was flat, and a reintroduction of a coach who was with the Ducks during their most successful seasons should start to re-energize the team.

Volleyball

From Twitter

The women’s volleyball team turned heads.

Record: 23-11

Notable Achievements:
NCAA Tournament Regional Runner-Up

Offseason Storylines to Consider:
After a dream run to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament as a 15 seed, can Oregon Volleyball build enough to get over the hump in the 2019 season?

A top-10 incoming class should propel the Ducks further in the tournament over the coming years.

Additional Thoughts

Most Oregon athletic programs are on the rise, or are already at or near the top.

The basketball programs are competing deep in tournaments every year behind coaches who don’t appear to be leaving any time soon. The football, softball and baseball programs are in the midst of breaking in relatively new coaches who are energetic and are elevating their respective teams from extremely difficult situations across the board.

Every major Oregon team accomplished great things in the 2018-2019 academic year, and the 2019-2020 season is looking even better for every single team.

Fall will be here before we know it, and we’ll all be excited to watch the football team out at Autzen — or if it is too chilly out, the volleyball team will be inside Matthew Knight Arena putting together another impressive campaign.

Until then, Go Ducks!

Ryan Robertson
Yuma, Arizona                                                                                                                                                                     Top Photo From Instagram

 

Natalie Liebhaber, the FishDuck.com Volunteer Editor for this article, works in the financial technology industry in Bozeman, Montana.

 

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