After a mid-December loss to Stanford, the Oregon men’s basketball team stood at 5-5 (0-2 in Pac-12) and appeared lifeless, out-of-sync, incoherent and listless. I could go on. Even the most adamant of Dana Altman backers, such as myself, were resigned to this season being a rebuild.
Altman, who seemingly every year starts with a motley crew of a roster that starts slow but finishes strong, seemed lost on the sideline early in the season. Sound, if not blowout losses to BYU, Houston and St. Mary’s had Oregon fans believing that this was going to be a very long, long season. Not even the magic of Altman could save this season for a chance at the big dance.
But, then, something happened.
The Ducks reeled off six straight wins, including back-to-back top 5 wins over UCLA and USC, and suddenly the idea of them being in the NCAA Tournament does not seem ridiculous. There is still plenty of work to do, and no matter what happens the Ducks are still positioning themselves for next year to provide a solid supporting cast around 5-star, and potential first-round picks, center Kel’el Ware and point guard Dior Johnson. Along with these two blue-chips, the Ducks will also be welcoming leading junior college scorer, shooting guard Tyrone Williams. But, this is not to say that the Ducks have nothing to play for in 2022
Could the miracle that was the 2018-19 season reappear? A season in which the Ducks also started 11-6 but finished the season by winning 10 of their final 11 games, which included a Pac-12 Championship and trip to the Sweet 16. Keep your seat belts latched as Altman looks to once again wave his magic wand across the Oregon hardwood.
Top photo credit: Twitter
Darren Perkins is a sales professional and 1997 Oregon graduate. After finishing school, he escaped the rain and moved to sunny Southern California where he studied screenwriting for two years at UCLA. Darren grew up in Eugene and in 1980, at the tender age of five, he attended his first Oregon football game. His lasting memory from that experience was an enthusiastic Don Essig announcing to the crowd: “Reggie Ogburn, completes a pass to… Reggie Ogburn.” Captivated by such a thrilling play, Darren’s been hooked on Oregon football ever since. Currently living in Spokane, Darren enjoys flaunting his yellow and green superiority complex over friends and family in Cougar country.
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