Anyone who watched The Ducks last year saw a very successful season culminate in their first Final Four appearance since 1939. Jordan Bell was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year while Dillon Brooks won Pac-12 player of the year. The core of that team ended up leaving for the NBA, leaving guys like Payton Prichard to lead a relatively young and inexperienced squad.
This resulted in a very up-and-down, inconsistent season which is a representation of the Pac-12 as a whole. Only Arizona can make the claim to be a top team, they’re the only team in the conference that is ranked and has fewer than 5 conference losses.
The Ducks started the season off strong, winning 10 of their 13 non-conference games, although the three losses were to the only notable teams on the schedule; UConn, Boise State and Oklahoma. While entering conference play with a 10-3 record is nothing to be ashamed of, it would have been much nicer to see Oregon win one of those three games as it wold have added a little more credibility to their record.
Pac-12 play was a mixed bag for the Ducks this year. On one hand, they beat Arizona, crushed Washington State by 27 and swept both Washington and Arizona State. On the other hand, Oregon got swept by USC and lost by 35 points to a completely average Stanford team. The Ducks finished 10-8 in conference play, good for sixth in the Pac-12, tied with Washington.
Despite the inconsistent play, there is hope for this team. They have as good of a chance as any team other than Arizona for winning the Pac-12 tournament. Payton Prichard has progressed very nicely this year. Kenny Wooten threw block parties reminiscent of Jordan Bell.
Troy Brown is one of the best players in the Pac-12 and a projected mid-first round draft pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. They have talent, but they’ll need nothing short of an appearance in the tournament championship game to secure a spot in the NCAA tourney.
It all depends on which Oregon team shows up.