NCAA Basketball

Soft 16: Oregon Ducks

Last Year: 33-6 (16-2 conference)

Key Returners: no one LOL

Key Loss: all of their starters LOL

Key Additions: Bol Bol, Will Richardson, Louis King, Francis Okoro, Miles Norris

Coach: Dana Altman

Key Games: vs. Iowa (Empire Classic – 11/15), vs. UConn/#16 Syracuse (11/16), @ Houston (12/1), @ Baylor (12/21), vs. #21 UCLA (1/10), @ Arizona (1/17), vs. #25 Washington (1/24), @ #21 UCLA (2/23), vs. Arizona (3/2), @ #25 Washington (3/9)

After having a somewhat disappointing tournament ending in a departure for their entire starting lineup and other key backups, the Ducks hope to reload and use youth and skill on their size.  They were able to get the freak that is Bol Bol, who was the #3 overall recruit coming into this year.  They also secured 2 other top 100 players, a top 40 guard, and had another top 40 forward reclassify and enroll early.

The Ducks, while being ranked highly and possessing a young but skilled lineup, look to capitalize and have (again) a perfect home record.  Beating an over-ranked Syracuse early will help give them a bump in the initial rankings, which they can cost off of since the PAC-12 is just weaker than it normally is with the down year that Arizona will be having this year.

However, they still do have a tough schedule.  They play Washington, UCLA, and Arizona twice, and they do have to play a wild road trip where they play a tough defensive team in Baylor, and American Conference runner-up Houston early.  They have no room for error this year, and anything less than a conference championship and a 1-2 seed heading into March Madness should be viewed as a disappointing season.

Prediction: Oregon should win out in the PAC-12, and might even only falter once or twice with their relatively young lineup.  I believe they will go 28-2, falling both times on the road.  Once to Baylor, and once to an over-hyped but well-coached UCLA team at UCLA.  They will win the PAC-12’s tourney, and secure a high seed.  They will have an easy bracket, and be able to skate to the Sweet 16, where they will run into the buzzsaw that is whatever Cinderella appears this year.

Categories: NCAA Basketball

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