Oregon Basketball: Two key wins against northwest rivals

Oregon basketballAfter a bumpy ride, the Oregon basketball team has finally found its way on a nice roll. After losing eight of the previous 10 games, the Ducks have now won two straight games. The most important thing about the Ducks’ win streak is that the wins were against the Ducks’ most hated rivals: the Oregon State Beavers and Washington Huskies.

It took almost 2 months, but the Oregon Ducks have now won back to back games for the first time since conference games began. Coming to a critical point in their season, the impact of these wins could potentially determine the direction of the Ducks’ postseason. Whether the Ducks will be headed to the big dance or the NIT will be determined by the result of the Ducks’ next five games.

Sunday’s matchup will be against Washington State, but the Cougars have mightily struggled this year as they have gone 2-12 in conference games. The last time the two teams met, the Ducks won by 27 points, their second largest win in a game this season.

Following Sunday’s game, the Ducks will travel down to southern California where they will face one of the most talented teams in the Pac 12 in UCLA. Currently ranked number 23 in the nation, the Bruins have one game against Stanford in Palo Alto on Sunday, and then will have a three day rest before Oregon comes to town.

If the Ducks are able to win on the road at UCLA , then the Ducks will have a respectable opportunity to win out the rest of the season. This game versus UCLA may come with a little extra pride as well after the Ducks loss in a heart-breaking fashion during their last meeting with the Bruins. Staying close the entire game, the Ducks were tied until UCLA’s Travis Wear made a putback with 5.3 seconds left in the game. The Ducks went on to lose 70-68 on their home court in Eugene, Ore.

However, if the Ducks are able to pull out a road win in Los Angeles, they will then have a slightly less difficult matchup against the last place USC Trojans, who are 1-12 in conference play. After that, the Ducks will head home for what’s likely to be the most important games for the Ducks of the entire season as they face both the third ranked Arizona Wildcats and a heavily improved Arizona State team.