While we watch the NCAA Basketball season come to an end today, we ought to reflect on how our team could’ve possibly been in that championship game. Was your team two wins away, or was it five wins away from getting in the tournament?
Fortunately for myself and many other fellow residents of Eugene, we can acknowledge that we weren’t too far from currently playing in the final four. Now yes, we have to admit that we did in fact lose before the Sweet Sixteen round. However, we must also remember that we are the only team right now that gave the Wisconsin Badgers some problems until they went down to Kentucky.
After going into the second half down by 14 points, the Badgers faced the largest deficit they have been forced to overcome all tournament. The Badgers advanced to the final four, and were one win away from the National Championship. It goes to show how talented this Oregon Ducks basketball team truly was.
Top 3 highlights of the year:
3. 78-71 victory over the Washington Huskies. Not only did the Ducks beat their northern rival, but Johnathan Loyd also became the winningest Duck in history with 90 career wins. Oh, and head coach Dana Altman also won his 500th career Division one game.
2. Receiving a top 10 rank in the AP Top 25 poll after starting the season off 13-0 in the non-conference schedule.
1. Finishing off the regular season with a seven-point win over the number 3 ranked Arizona Wildcats. Without a doubt it was the best win for the Ducks, and making it happen at Matthew Knight Arena just put the cherry on top.
Top 3 lowlights of the year:
3. The 80-72 loss on January 19, 2014. This loss came by the hands of Oregon’s in-state rival, the Oregon State Beavers. Not only was it a loss, but it was against a team that was well below Oregon’s competition level. They straight up embarrassed Oregon Duck fans.
2. Conference play start. Oregon had lost 8 of their last 10 games and were sitting at 3-8 in conference. If it weren’t for a seven-game win streak to finish the season, then the Ducks may have not earned a March Madness bid.
1. Oregon’s 85-77 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers. Not only did the Ducks’ season come to an end, but they also gave up a 12-point lead from halftime.
Now that this season is behind us, it’s time to look down the tunnel and see what’s next.
Key losses include: guards Johnathan Loyd and Jason Calliste, and forward Mike Moser.
Key gains include: incoming freshman guard JaQuan Lyle and forward Ray Kasongo, and Providence transfer Brandon Austin.
The upcoming season remains a question for now, but if Oregon’s Joseph Young decides to return instead of declaring early for the NBA Draft, then the Ducks’ backcourt will be one of the best in the Pac-12. However, the front court remains a question for now. With Richard Amardi, Waverly Austin, and Moser all leaving, the Ducks will be very low on depth at the frontcourt position.
After seeing the success Dana Altman as had with the Ducks over the past two years, it’s hard to imagine that he won’t meet any expectations. I expect him to produce another 20-win season and take the Ducks to the NCAA March Madness tournament once again next year. Go Ducks!