This is unfortunately a position that fans of the Oregon Ducks men’s basketball team have become familiar with over the past few years.
It’s nearing the middle of February, and Dana Altman’s squad is currently fighting hard to secure a bid into the upcoming NCAA March Madness Tournament. The Ducks are currently 16-7 on the year with an 8-4 record in the Pac-12. Despite being tied for second place in the conference, Oregon is still on the outside looking in when it comes to the tournament bubble.
However, they’ve got a great chance to pick up a massive win this coming weekend with Washington State coming to town. The Cougars are currently tied with the Ducks for 2nd in the Pac-12 with wins in seven of their last eight games. The NET rankings currently have Washington State just inside the bubble, but this game between the Cougars and Ducks on Saturday could be meaningful for whoever wins, according to ESPN.
Four losses in its previous six conference games made Oregon a tough call for inclusion when Bubble Watch made its 2024 debut. Ultimately what made the difference was that the Ducks have a feasible, if narrow, path from where they are now (outside the field) to a bid. An excellent start would be a win against Washington State in UO’s next game. Dana Altman’s group already defeated the Cougars in Pullman. Securing the season sweep over WSU would improve Oregon’s profile ahead of an upcoming three-game road swing.
The Ducks have been dealing with some injuries and absences over the last few games, losing Keeshawn Barthelemy and Mookie Cook for the season while Nate Bittle has missed three games with an illness. There’s a hope that Bittle can return for Saturday, though, which would be big for Oregon’s chances.