Oregon, trying to make up ground in Pac-12 bubble chase, loses to Arizona
The squeeze on the Oregon Ducks, the pressure to rise above mediocrity and make a big run toward the 2023 NCAA Tournament, is intensifying. The Ducks are running out of time and opportunities, and one very big chance to rescue their season slipped away on Thursday night in the desert.
Oregon lost to Arizona, 91-76, as U of A big man Azuolas Tubelis roasted the Ducks for 40 points. The Ducks had already beaten Arizona in Eugene, but they really needed a second win because, as you can see, the Ducks have lost way too many games already this season. UO is 13-10 with this loss. One Arizona win can’t save that resume. The Ducks — who have gone on long winning streaks in past seasons to save themselves — have to get on a long winning streak now.
What increases the pressure on Oregon is that the next three games are all hugely important: at Arizona State on Saturday, home versus USC next Thursday, home versus UCLA on Saturday, February 11.
Oregon must win at least two of those three games, and the UCLA game is pretty much a must-have at this point. Then Oregon has to hold serve in its remaining games against the Washington schools, Oregon State, and the Bay Area schools. A loss in any of those five games would be a substantial hit to the resume.
The walls are closing in. Oregon is feeling the squeeze. The Ducks’ chances of making the NCAA Tournament are quickly evaporating, and Dana Altman needs to do something about it, beginning on Saturday in Tempe against Bobby Hurley and the Sun Devils.
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