Dana Altman has been here before with the Oregon Ducks with several key injuries entering the final stretch of the season.
On Wednesday, Altman announced that Chris Duarte would likely remain out for an extended period following surgery on a broken finger. Altman said he would miss this weekend’s final home games vs California and Stanford and would likely also be out for the Pac-12 Tournament next week in Las Vegas.
Oregon has the chance to be the top seed and win the Pac-12 this weekend with two wins over the Golden Bears and the Cardinal. The Ducks will lean more heavily on a Freshman Class that has gained a ton of experience this season and helped pave the way early on to make the Ducks a top ten team.
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Will Richardson may also be out after suffering an ankle injury against Oregon State. Richardson is averaging 10 points per game and has been a key starter for the Ducks last 11 games as the team went 8-3 in that stretch. Being short-handed, I expect Shakur Juiston will have his opportunities on the floor on both the offensive and defensive side. The Ducks will need him to stay out of foul trouble.
The Ducks game still goes through Senior Payton Pritchard. He has been instrumental to the success of the team for the last four seasons and may single-handedly decide to get Oregon to the top seed of the Pac-12 Tournament himself.
Several bracketologists already have the Oregon Ducks ranked as a five seed or higher, so the respect for the Conference of Champions is already there. I remember in past seasons where the top seed was an 8 or higher. Oregon has several key wins on their side including an early-season win on the road at Michigan.
The Oregon Ducks face California on Thursday night. Tipoff is set for 8pm from Matthew Knight Arena.