After the 2013-2014 basketball season, everything was looking rosy for Dana Altman and Oregon basketball. They just finished a season
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We have reached a point in the Basketball season for the Oregon Ducks Men’s Basketball team where every game is important. However Dana Altman’s team is not the only one in the country working toward playing with a sense of urgency. Some of the top teams in the nation have had their struggles over the last few weeks. It just so happens that two of them are in the Big 10 Conference.
The Ohio State Buckeyes have been hovering in the Top 5 of the AP poll for much of the season, until last week and the beginning of a four game losing streak that for them ended with a win over Illinois on Thursday night. Another Big 10 team looking for a Championship is Wisconsin. The Badgers had won sixteen in a row until they hit their three game skid that ended in Minnesota with a win. On the other hand there are also teams that are extremely hot right now.
Arizona is 20-0 on the season and ranked #1 in the country. They took care of business against Colorado. One of the bigger surprises is Florida who are 5-0 in the SEC after beating Alabama. The Gators currently hold a 10 game winning streak. So, Duck fans all is not completely lost for this season.
Last year Oregon hit a skid in the Mountains and bounced back with a five game winning streak, but from what I’ve seen this is a different team and when opportunities are given they are not taking advantage. Last year they had players on Defense who could rebound and guard the rim in Arsalan Kazemi and Tony Woods. This year it is a mix of everyone on the floor trying to make it work. At times it looks great, at others not so much.
The biggest issue of this five game losing streak for Oregon that I have seen is they are not finishing. The main reason why? They can’t keep up or catch up to finish. They had two solid looks at the end of the game vs Stanford a few weeks ago and neither shot fell their way. Oregon Head Coach Dana Altman knows his team is aware of the issue, but I’m not even sure that he can fix the issues that plague this Ducks team. Sure, next year will be better, according to a Eugene Daily News article published last week.
Oregon went 1-1 on the road trip in Washington. Opportunities went the Huskies way Thursday night in the final minutes. Oregon found a way to get the win with solid rebounding a defense. They even managed to hold onto a lead, making it a 20 point advantage just after halftime in a win over Washington State Sunday 71-44.
Several weeks ago Transfer Mike Moser spoke of the situation of getting a win being almost dire. Now, the Ducks look to build on what they have. If they can put a string of victories together now they will have a shot at the NCAA’s, if they continue to not finish it will likely be the NIT or CBI. For those that are saying, but Justin – it’s only the end of January. This I realize, but in a conference like the Pac-12 every loss is harder to come back from and considering the Ducks don’t see Colorado or Cal again in the Regular season the losing momentum needs to change now.
Oregon takes on UCLA Thursday night at Matthew Knight Arena. Gametime is set for 6pm for a National Broadcast on ESPN2.