The Oregon men’s and women’s basketball teams have had about as opposite of seasons as two teams can have.
As we pass the midway point of the regular season and creep closer to March, let’s take a look at what went right and wrong for both teams.
Oregon Men’s Basketball: B+
- Record: 14-6 overall (6-3 conf.)
- Standings: 2nd in the Pac-12
- Highlight: N’Faly Dante and Nate Bittle returning from injury and quickly resuming their contributions on the court
- Lowlight: Continuously falling short of the big win needed to push them into a nationally-ranked position
Dante and Bittle have finally made their way back to game action after both receiving reparative surgeries and the duo didn’t hesitate to return to their usual production levels on the court.
Dante has already resumed playing nearly every minute of the Ducks’ games. Bittle’s endurance still needs some time to catch up yet he has contributed on the offensive and defensive glass.
The freshmen on the squad like Mookie Cook, Jackson Shelstad, and Kwame Evans Jr. have stepped into leadership roles and have each proven their value to the program.
Evans even leads the teams in rebounds and blocks per game while senior Jermaine Couisnard has increased his point production over the first half of the year.
Despite head coach Dana Altman ‘aligning Rubik's cubes,’ the Ducks have fallen short in the necessary wins over ranked opponents.
Losing to No. 17 Alabama and No. 9 Arizona has caused Oregon to be repeatedly left out of the AP Top-25 rankings regardless of their success and track record.
Without those big-time wins as well as dropping an unexpected game to unranked Syracuse, keeps the Ducks out of the A- to A+ range on their midseason report card.
Oregon Women’s Basketball: F
- Record: 11-11 overall (2-7 conf.)
- Standings: tied for 11th in the Pac-12
- Highlight: Phillipina Kyei, Chance Gray, and Grace VanSlooten are stepping into their roles on the offensive end of the court
- Lowlight: Failing to slow down opponents’ scoring and struggling to consistently put their shooting rhythm
Yes, the Pac-12 women’s basketball conference is one of the best in the nation. Yes, the Ducks have had pretty close games against ranked opponents. But, there is no excuse for how poorly Oregon has performed thus far in the season.
I genuinely can’t recall the last time Kelly Graves’ squad was at the bottom of the conference, they are currently tied for 11th (also known as last).
Even with starters Phillipina Kyei, Chance Gray, and Grace VanSlooten almost always putting up double digits, the rest of the team has looked dazed on the court at times.
Graves is known as one of the top coaches in the country but his consistency and support haven’t been enough to push the Ducks to victory.
Currently on a four-game losing streak, Oregon needs to turn their season back around when they host Oregon State on February 4th.
Graves and his team must figure out their shooting issues, their defensive holes, and how to get a couple of wins in a row to save themselves from a losing season.