Oregon Ducks

Are college student/athletes really just assets?

Oregon's rumored bail from Pac-12 is just bad for the state
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

There’s a lot of online discussions these days about the University of Oregon leaving the Pac-12 Conference for better exposure and bigger financial numbers in the Big 12 or even Big Ten, and it’s all wrong for the state.

It’s probably a good decision to the bottom line for Oregon’s athletic department, and especially its football program, but the school needs to remember it’s a public institution and there should be a lot more commitment to that than a few dollars and better positioning for the College Football Playoffs.

Yes, USC is apparently looking hard at that same move, which has social media abuzz with which other schools would bail from the Pac-12, and Oregon is either next, or right behind UCLA with Washington in there, too.

That would leave the Pac-12 with eight schools, including Oregon State, and a huge drop in revenue for each so that it would then need to add members or merge with another conference such as the Mountain West.

And, it’s all basically related to football and its four-team national championship playoffs.

The Pac-12 does just fine competitively in every sport, right up to the four-team CFP, which is an annual battle to play into ahead of a second team from the SEC. This past season, Oregon won the Pac-12 and was in the discussion for a spot until a late-season loss at Arizona State knocked it out. Even though the Ducks won the conference title game with a dominating performance, being a conference champion of one of the five Power Conferences - along with the ACC and All-American Conference - doesn’t mean anything to the CFP voting committee, which probably still would have put one-loss Alabama ahead of one-loss Oregon into the Final Four.

Is that one thing enough to leave behind the Pac-12 and sister school Oregon State?

Here’s a "no" vote on that.

A key thing to figure in is the athletes that make the school what it is. Sure, each school wants to give its athletes the best experience possible, and that revolves around money to a significant degree. But, is football the complete measure of an athletic department’s capabilities?

If the conference champion can’t compete for a spot in the CFP equally with the second-place team from the SEC or Big Ten without being unbeaten, should the entire world of college sports on the West Coast change?

College football is already crazy with how much money is delivered to head coaches - many of whom are more known in each state than, say, the governor (at least until recently).

The Athletic’s Andy Staples recently wrote this four-team move should happen into the Big 12, which would become the Big 16 (even though the Big 12 only has 10 schools and would thus become the Big 14) - what a crappy name to be part of.

The Pac-12 has tons of history that doesn’t seem to be much of a factor in these rumors, only money does. Plenty of athletes - student/athletes - love being part of the history of the conference. Winning a conference title has that flair attached to it. It’s not just a conference title, it’s a Pac-12 title with a list of former champions that goes back to 1916 for some sports - football and baseball. That would all be gone with a conference title needing wins over schools such as Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas State.

And, again, Oregon State gets absolutely lost in that, as would Washington State for that state.

Oregon State scrimps along to compete in the Pac-12, as does Washington State, but those schools compete relatively equally in many other sports - remember the national title the Beavers’ baseball team won in 2018? And 2006, and 2007?

Rumors are great for social media, especially these days where there’s no actual contests to bounce around. But, Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens would do the state a great favor by talking over this subject with media and putting the Ducks squarely in the conference it’s been a part of for more than 100 years.

 

College, prep hoop get down to business

Brackets are in action across the state, West Coast
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

It's time for a whole lot of seasons to end for high school and college basketball teams.

Lots of hugs. A team meeting, and some speeches - an annual right of passage as playoffs and tournaments are in full swing across Oregon and the West Coast.

Class 3A, 2A and 1A state tournaments begin for girls teams today, with boys basketball tournaments beginning tomorrow at the same classifications in Coos Bay, Hermiston and Baker City.

Playoff brackets for girls and boys teams at the Class 6A, 5A and 4A levels began Tuesday night with those tournament set to start next week.

At the college level, there's significant action as well - in Las Vegas, where both the Pac-12 and West Coast Conference tournaments are set to play out beginning Thursday.

NCAA

In the Pac-12 women's tourney, Oregon State, ranked 14th, begins play on Thursday after finishing fifth in the highly competitive conference, which has five teams in the Top 14 of the final national rankings. The Beavers play Washington State in the first round.

No. 3 Oregon plays its game in the quarterfinals against one of Thursday's winners on Friday. 

In the WCC tourney, the University of Portland women's team doesn't play its first game until Saturday with its opponent still to be determined with games starting Thursday.

UP's men's team plays Santa Clara in the opening round Thursday.

The Pac-12 men's tournament is set for next week.

At the Div. II level, Western Oregon begins play in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference men's tournament in Seattle on Thursday against the University of Alaska.

At the Div. III level, the Northwest Conference played its tournaments over the weekend and George Fox of Newberg won the women's tournament for the third consecutive year on Saturday. The Foxes will play Montclair State Friday in the first round of the 64-team national tournament in Arlington, Va.

NAIA

In the Div. II Cascade Conference, both Northest Christian of Eugene and Southern Oregon played their way into the national tournament Tuesday. NCU won the tournament for the first time and SOU earned its spot by reaching the title game.

Oregon Tech reached the title game of the men's tournament, but Southern Oregon, which finished second during the regular season is automatically qualified for the national tournament despite losing in semifinals.

NWAACC

In the newly-renamed Northwest Athletic Conference, the 16-team men's and women's tournaments begin on Thursday in Everett, Wash. The women's tournament includes unbeaten Umpqua, Lane, Clackamas and Mt. Hood all in action, with winners playing Friday in the second round. Umpqua has finished second the past two seasons.

On the men's side, Clackamas, Umpqua, Portland and Chemeketa begin on Saturday with winners reaching the quarterfinals Sunday. Both tournaments close out the following weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oregon finally overcomes

No. 14 Ducks end three-game skid to Oregon State
Staff Report

The Oregon men's basketball team got back on track - in-state anyway - with its drive to own the Pac-12 Conference Thursday by beating Oregon State, 69-54, at Matthew Night Arena in Eugene.

It wasn't a surprise as Oregon entered ranked No. 14, while Oregon State entered just above .500. But, the Beavers had won the past three contests with the Ducks, including a 63-53 decision at Gill Coliseum earlier in the month. Hot shooting in the second half, though, helped Oregon pull away and end that particular skid on the way to moving back atop the conference standings.

Oregon improved to 22-7 overall, 11-5 in conference games, and into a tie with UCLA for the PAc-12 lead. The Ducks have home games with California and Stanford next week to round out the regular season.

Oregon State dropped to 15-13, 5-11 with home games against Stanford and Cal next week.

Senior Payton Pritchard, as he has nearly the entire season, led Oregon with 23 points, including 15 in the second half. Will Richardson added 15 points and Anthony Mathis had 13 for Oregon, which led just 29-25 at the half.

Ethan Thompson and Tres Tinkle combined for 29 points to lead the Beavers, who hit six of 20 3-point shots. Oregon hit 11 of 23 - 5-of-9 by Pritchard.

 

Ducks lead in-state title threats

Oregon's women have been at the top of the nation all season
By Cliff Pfenning, Publisher

It's getting to be a trend in Eugene that one of the town's two college teams is a threat to win its national title. This year is no different.

Both teams at the University of Oregon are ranked in th Top 15, and the UO women have fallen only as low as fourth after starting the season at No. 1. With a Final Four run in their pocket from 2019, the Ducks are again right in the mix of teams considered top contenders for this year's title. They're likely to not even need to leave the state in order to earn a Final Four spot as one of the four regional tournaments will be played in Portland.

They've likely already clinched a spot among the 16 teams that will play host to first- and second-round games.

The women's Final Four will be played in New Orleans, April 3 and 5.

Oregon's men moved to 14th Monday after sweeping a pair of home games over the weekend. With three weeks left in the regular season, the Ducks are tied for the Pac-12 standings lead. The men's Final Four will be played April 4 and 6 in Atlanta.

Among the other in-state tournament title contenders, Eastern Oregon's women and Northwest Christian's women stand out in the NAIA Div. II ranks, and Linfield's men's team stands out in the NCAA Div. III ranks.

Eastern and NWC are tied for the Cascade Conference lead heading into the regular-season finale for both teams Saturday in Eugene.

Linfield is 18-5 overall and 12-2 and in third place in the Northwest Conference. The Wildcats, though, play the two teams ahead of them in the standings, Whitman and Whitworth, this weekend.

Also, Oregon State's women have been ranked in the Top 25 and are among the teams that might qualify to host the first and second rounds, although they've got some work to do in the closing weeks of the season. The Pac-12 entered the week with 

 

DUCKS CLOBBER UCONN ON THE ROAD

Third-ranked and on a roll.

The Oregon Ducks started the women's basketball season ranked No. 1, and inspite of a couple losses, have remained one of the teams to beat for the national championship. They showed that off Monday afternoon by hammering No. 4 Connecticut 74-56 in Storrs, Conn., in a game televised on ESPN2.

UConn's loss was its worst on its home court in program history.

Forward Ruthy Hebard scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Ducks, who had all five starters finish in double figures. Sabrina Ionescu had 10 points, nine assists and nine rebounds to power the team effort, which included outscoring the Huskies in all four quarters before a sold-out arena.

Satou Sabally had 17 points, Erin Boley had 13 and Minyon Moore finished with 12 points.

Oregon improved to 20-2 overall with home games against Arizona on Friday and Arizona State on Sunday. The Sun Devils handed the Ducks their lone Pac-12 loss in January.

UConn dropped to 19-2.

The Ducks remained behind Baylor and South Carolina in the AP and Coaches Poll. 

In the first "reveal" for the upcoming NCAA Tournament, Oregon was listed as the West Region's top team, which includes playing host to the opening two rounds. The Regional Final Four is set for Portland, March 28 and 30th.

The Final Four will be played in New Orleans in April.

https://youtu.be/_0dWp1mqG2E

 

Defense will tell story of Ducks playoff options

Oregon needs to impress CFP voters to get a spot
By Cliff Pfenning

Offense wins games. Defense wins championships. This is what University of Oregon football fans should focus on for the final month of the season as the LSU at Alabama is set to play out Saturday.

With Oregon placed at No. 7 in the first College Football Playoff rankings, winning out the final four games might seem to guarantee a spot in the Final Four due to so many teams ahead of it playing each other. Only three teams have a chance at going unbeaten and if the Ducks end up with one loss and the Pac-12 title, they should be a natural pick for that honor.

But, the selection committee is going to look at the actual resume of the teams involved, and the loser of Saturday’s game might be a more logical choice for the fourth CFP spot, simply because they might be a better team, at least to the naked eye. This is where defense comes in.

Oregon can score points. That’s not a question. But, keeping the opponent out of the end zone is where the Ducks will make the biggest impression in the next month. They absolutely need to destroy their remaining opponents: Arizona, Arizona State and Oregon State on defense. And, beat Utah. This is the way to pump up the Oregon resume and put some major pressure on the CFP voters to offer the West Coast at least a chance to win the title. Remember the Ducks are really just a few inches away - a fourth down on Auburn’s final drive - from being unbeaten. (Auburn, which lost 23-20 at LSU two weeks ago, plays Alabama at the close of the regular season and can be a wrench in this whole argument for a second time).

Oregon’s defense has been up to the challenge for most of the season, especially on Saturday even with giving up 24 points. The dominance of the USC offense as the game went on was huge in the outcome, regardless of the 56 points put up on the scoreboard. The Ducks need to ratchet that performance up a couple notches - and not just focus on winning. But, complete dominance, even after possibly trailing due to a first-quarter score (the Ducks have trailed in the first quarter or first half of its past three games, allowing an average of 32 points per game over that stretch. They need to do much better for the CFP to come calling. 

The CFP voters aren’t going to look at a record so much as it’s belief in a team being able to win. I’d be doing that, too, and currently don’t think the Ducks are a top-four team. Even with the current eight-game win streak, I felt that way throughout the Auburn game - notably with the Tigers starting a true freshman. Auburn won the game at the end with an 18-year-old making plays. The Ducks started a senior and didn’t make the key plays. But, that’s changed as the season has progressed, including a game-winning drive in the final minute to beat Washington State.

The final four weeks - a blowout in the Pac-12 final - will do a lot to convince me they can beat Alabama or Clemson or Ohio State, and that’s what will get the votes to actually have that chance. 

And, the defense is the key to that.

 

 

Ducks start as Preseason favorites

Oregon's women are No. 1, men at No. 17
By Cliff Pfenning, Publisher

The Oregon basketball program has been improving in quality on an annual basis, but this season may be one of the finest for the combined men's and women's teams, at least according to Sports Illustrated magazine and it's preseason rankings.

Oregon starts out as No. 1 in the women's rankings, while the men are at No. 17. Only Maryland and Baylor have a women's team in the Top 10 and men's team in the Top 25. Baylor is No. 2 and 18, while Maryland is No. 5 and 7.

The Ducks are coming off perhaps their best post-season run with the women's team reaching the Final Four and the men's team getting to the Sweet 16. Only the 2017 tournament was better for the program as the men reached the Final Four, while the women played into the Elite 8.

Could this be the year for a national champion in Eugene?

Both teams are coming off Pac-12 Tournament titles.

The women open their season No. 11 with a home game against Northeastern.

The men's team, led by four-year starter Payton Pritchard, open Nov. 5 against Fresno State, and play No. 16 Memphis in Portland, Nov. 12.

 

Off to the NCAA!

MONDAY 4CAST: Oregon women, Pac-12 men, Blazers, Winterhawks
Staff report

Oregon's fabulous season continued to get better Sunday as the women's basketball team beat Stanford and won the Pac-12 Conference Tournament for the first time.

Sabrina Ionescu had a career game at the right time, scoring 36 points in 38 minutes to lead the 77-57 win over the Cardinal at Key Arena.

Oregon, ranked sixth in the nation, trailed early, but led 18-17 after the first quarter and steadily pulled away to improve to 30-4 overall. The win avenged a 78-65 loss to Stanford in Eugene in February - the team's last loss.

Ionescu, who ended up as the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, scored 14 of Oregon's points in the first quarter and equaled Stanford's 17 points by scoring a three-point play to start the second quarter.

Next up, the Ducks head to the NCAA Tournament, which will be announced Monday, March 12, at 4 p.m. The West Regional is set to be played in Spokane, Wash.

2. PAC-12 MEN'S TOURNAMENT

Oregon and Oregon State got paired with the Washington schools for the conference tournament, which begins Wednesday in Las Vegas.

The Ducks, who beat Washington for their 20th win Saturday night, take on Washington State.

Oregon State takes on Washington in one of the other three first-round games.

Conference champion Arizona, USC, Utah and UCLA earned the first-round byes. Oregon, seeded sixth, will play Utah with a win. Oregon State, seeded 10th, would play USC.

3. BLAZERS HEAD TO LA

Portland takes its six-game win streak to Los Angeles to take on the streaking Lakers having played all the way to the third seed in the Western Conference over the weekend.

With its win over Oklahoma City Saturday, Portland is 37-26 and a half-game ahead of New Orleans and Minnesota in the conference standings. The Blazers, though, are just two games ahead of eighth-place Denver.

4. HAWKS GO NORTH

The Portland Winterhawks scored a pair of home wins over the weekend, and now travel to Prince George, B.C., for games Tuesday and Wednesday night before returning home for a pair of games Friday and Saturday.

 

 

 

 

Ducks soar in second half

Oregon overcomes horrid first half for 68-65 win at Cal
Staff report

A season-low point total in the first half only served to make Wednesday's game at Cal more exciting for Oregon men's basketball fans who travelled to Berkeley, Calif.

Dillon Brooks scored the final three of his 22 points on a long-range shot with 0.2 seconds left to rally the No. 6 Ducks to a 68-65 win over the upset-minded Golden Bears.

Cal held Oregon to just 16 points through 20 minutes - a low for any team coach Dana Altman has guided since arriving in Eugene in 2010, and led 32-16 early in the second half. Oregon still trailed by 10 with 4:15 left before finding a rhythm behind Dillon Brooks and Christian Boucher, who combined for 35 points in the second half.

Oregon finally took its first lead with 1:51 left on a Boucher lay-up, and eventually finished the game on a 19-6 run capped by Brooks' basket - his second game-winning shot in the final second this season.

Oregon improved to 25-4 overall and 14-2 in Pac-12 play heading into a road game at Stanford Saturday.

Cal dropped to 18-9, 9-6, and will play host to Oregon State Saturday.

 

 

Give the Dodgers a chance

Tue, 02/21/2017 - 12:39am
Cliff Pfenning
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When you reflect on all the pro teams from the five major leagues across the US: NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball, NHL and even Major League Soccer, what's the top brand name for fans across the nation and even worldwide?

The New England Patriots might be No. 1 in terms of Super Bowls won in the past decade, but does anyone in Greece know who they are?

The New York Yankess, due to their long history of success, have to be one of the top teams. The Dallas Cowboys, due to their success during the television age and cheerleaders, are a top consideration, too. Red Sox, Cubs, Packers, Lakers, Knicks, Celtics ... even the Browns - the Sportsland, Oregon episode connects with those topics.

I would love the Los Angeles/Brooklyn Dodgers to be up there.

LISTEN NOW

Timbers? Portland's soccer franchise has to be one of the top US brands in the sport because of its fans, but it's got a long ways to go to be an international brand. That's something that comes with straying into the international scene, and the Timbers haven't really done that other than host an English team now and then. So, does the Timbers Army even want to be known in Scotland, or Sweden or Germany?

And, why are the upcoming tournaments for college and high school basketball players so long and short at the same time?

Good stuff to listen to on the Sportland podcast.

 

Oregon narrowly misses a huge win

Ducks lose 31-28 at Michigan State, but show they're title contenders
Sept. 12, 2015 / Oregonsports.com

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Connor Cook threw for two touchdowns, and No. 5 Michigan State held on to beat No. 7 Oregon 31-28 on Saturday night in college football's marquee game of the week.

The Spartans stopped the Ducks four times on fourth down, including one key stand in the second quarter near the Michigan State goal line.

The Spartans (2-0) led for most of the second half, and it was 31-21 before Oregon's Vernon Adams, Jr. threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Byron Marshall with 3:25 remaining. After a Michigan State punt, the Ducks (1-1) drove to the Spartans 33 before Adams overthrew Marshall, who had beaten his defender on second down. A sack moved the team out of field goal range and Adams missed on the pass that effectively ended the game.

Michigan State avenged last season's 48-27 loss at Oregon, which will play Georgia State at Autzen Stadium Saturday.

It was the first time two teams in the AP top 10 met at Spartan Stadium since 1966, when No. 2 Michigan State and No. 1 Notre Dame played to a 10-10 tie.

Adams, who threw two interceptions – half of the team's total from all of last season, nearly rallied the Ducks. His scoring pass to Marshall marked the 70th consecutive game Oregon has thrown a touchdown pass, breaking a record the Ducks had been sharing with Texas Tech.

In what overall was a shaky performance, Adams completed 22 of 39 passes for 309 yards and the scoring pass. Most of the yards were picked up after the initial completion by receivers Braylon Addison, Charles Nelson and Byron Marshall.

Addison, in addition to his seven catches for 138 yards, returned a punt 81 yards for a touchdown.







 

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