Category Archives: NCAA Basketball

Ducks Hoping Bubble Doesn’t Burst

Five years ago, an Oregon Ducks basketball squad rumbled through the Pac-10 tournament unscathed, untouched and unstoppable en route to its second conference championship in program history.

Now, the Ducks are in somewhat similar territory: in need of a tournament sweep to go dancing in March.

At 19-8, Oregon doesn’t turn many experts’ heads for an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament, if at all. The Ducks have pocketed a few quality wins, but they still find themselves on the bubble, on the outside looking in, hoping for a sudden burst of energy that could trigger a streak like that of 2007. Read the rest of this entry

Throwing It Back In This Year’s Civil War

The midpoint of the Pac-12 schedule sits an arm’s reach away, and already, the conference has been shaken up. It’s been flipped upside down. It’s been snow-globed.

Not since the days of Gary Payton and Terrell Brandon have both Oregon State and Oregon swept the Los Angeles schools at home. Not since the last season the Beavers reached the NCAA tournament have both programs sent UCLA and USC back to California without a win. Not since 1989-90.

Oregon State took the Pac-10 regular season crown that year – its last.

But with the conference shuffling leaders each week, that could change. Then again, the Ducks share the top spot with Cal and ride a four-game winning streak, which is their longest since 2006-07. That makes Sunday’s installment of the NCAA’s longest rivalry even more compelling.

The Civil War has spanned 335 games since 1903, and the first battle of 2012 will prove to be one of the most pivotal matchups in series history. Especially since only 3.5 games separate the first-place Ducks from the ninth-seeded Beavers. Read the rest of this entry

Despite Strong Stretch, Inconsistency Leaves Oregon Vulnerable


The final 20 seconds played out like a crystallizing moment, slowly waning away and leaving 14,000-plus in disbelief as each time tapered off.

In 20 seconds, the body language of the Oregon Ducks went from one end of the spectrum to the other, with some experiencing LaMichael James Roller Coaster Syndrome.

Fortunately for them, the Ducks’ train of cars pulled into the station with the riders’ fists stretched to the sky in victory.
Saturday’s win over Arizona embodied all that is Oregon’s basketball season thus far – from hot shooting to cold, turnover-littered stretches.

Still, the Ducks return to Eugene with only their second desert sweep in 34 years and its first since the 2006-07 season and just one game out of first place in the Pac-12.

Oregon holds a 13-5 overall and 4-2 conference record as it reaches the season’s halfway point and has taken seven of its last nine games, but while that looks good on the surface, this program remains a sitting duck – vulnerable and on the verge of collapse. Read the rest of this entry

Three in the Key: Cheers and Jeers


Badgering Defense

According to fictional coaches made up for this statistic, the most overused coaching adage reads: “The best offense is a good defense.”

If anybody has a problem translating that onto the floor, do some homework on No. 15 Wisconsin.

The Badgers’ (8-2) offense is mediocre at best. Nothing quite stands out. No player on the roster ranks in the top 250 scorers in the nation. No player has recorded a double-double. As a team, they average just 68.1 points per game and shot less than 45 percent from the field.

Yet here sits Wiscosin: an AP No. 15 team whose only losses have come to No. 5 North Carolina and No. 11 Marquette.

Defense has been key. Read the rest of this entry

Three in the Key: The Highs and Lows


The Value of X

The SEC may have the No. 1 team in the nation. The Big Ten may be the top conference. But in the Atlantic 10, one club has become a potential powerhouse slayer.

They needed back-to-back double-digit comebacks to stay undefeated, but the Xavier Musketeers (6-0) have climbed to No. 8 in the AP poll, their highest ranking since they held the No. 7 spot in 2008-09. Never in the history of the program has Xavier eclipsed that mark. Expect that to change. Read the rest of this entry

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