Oregon basketball went into Pauley Pavilion and stole a big win over the No. 3 UCLA Bruins. Are the Ducks officially back after a slow start?
Just like football. If there were Oregon basketball fans at Pauley Pavilion on Thursday night, that’s what they’d be chanting in the travel section as the Ducks pulled off a shocking upset of No. 3 UCLA in overtime, 84-81.
With the win, Dana Altman has now won 700 career games.
The 2021-22 Oregon basketball season looked lost early on. The Ducks were just 5-5 to start the year and it really felt like all the losses in the offseason were going to be too much to even have a shot at the NCAA Tournament.
Teams that start the year .500 through 10 games don’t make the NCAA Tournament usually, but something seemed to have clicked with the Ducks after losing at Stanford.
Oregon lost by three to Stanford on the road and it felt like the nightmare was coming to fruition as Altman’s transfer-heavy roster wasn’t gelling. The team looked defeated.
The Ducks went on to beat Portland by 25 and then hosted No. 1 Baylor and played the Bears tough right down to the final buzzer. They lost by eight but it was a good game and it seemed to have given the Ducks some confidence.
Sitting at 6-6 after the tough loss to the top team in the country, the Ducks reeled off three straight wins to improve to 9-6 heading into Thursday night’s battle at No. 3 UCLA.
The win over the Bruins puts them at 10-6 and this is the type of confidence-boosting victory that could lead Oregon back into tournament contention.
Is Oregon basketball officially “back”?
It’s too early to say just that, but if they can put up a fight or even beat USC on Saturday, they’ll be right on that path. A win at USC or even a close loss could lead to eight more wins in a row and let’s say they lose to the Trojans but reel off eight straight, they’ll be 18-7. That might even be a Top 25 team at that point.
With Will Richardson turning a corner and Jacob Young playing one of his best games as a Duck against the Bruins and looking like a star, the momentum is headed in the right direction.
It’s all about where Oregon goes after this win over UCLA, but an NCAA Tournament berth is very possible after it looked rather unlikely a month ago.