With a win over the Virginia Cavaliers this week, Oregon could jump-start their season and make a run at the NCAA tournament.
With the Ducks coming into the game with a 6-2 record, this is certainly possible.
While this year there are currently no teams in the Pac-12 ranked in either poll, non-conference games are going to be critical this year.
The only marquee victory Oregon has this year is over Nebraska, a Big Ten school. While to the blind eye this does not look overly impressive, the Big Ten is no slouch when it comes to college basketball. Neither is the ACC, where Virginia hails from.
Point being, a victory over a member of the ACC conference could propel the Ducks into conference play and into the tournament.
The confidence gained from defeating two opponents from power conferences is immeasurable. In addition, it is a great resume builder for a team that could finish in the top three in a weak conference, to prove they have what it takes to compete in the tournament.
The great thing about this is, it could happen.
Oregon's game has been elevated by the senior transfer from Minnesota, Devoe Joseph, who averages 15.5 points and five assists per game. In addition, there is good play in the frontcourt with junior forward, E.J Singler, who averages 13 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Both players are going to need to have great games and great seasons if there is any chance Oregon will make the tournament.
The game is held at Matthew Knight Arena, which could give the Ducks that little spark to win the game.
So far Dana Altman has succeeded expectations. Let's see if he can lead the Ducks to the big show.