Sure, the Oregon Ducks (18-8, 6-8) are on a three game win streak, but that is bad for them when you realize their record before this streak was 15-8 overall and 3-8 in conference. Not to mention those three games were against Oregon State, Washington and Washington State, all in the bottom half of the Pac-12 standings.
So they have only won three games in conference, which is not exactly what the Ducks fans were imagining when Oregon was picked to finish in the top four of several preseason polls. So what happened? They are not that good, that is what happened.
Oregon seemed pretty sure of themselves when they hired head coach Dana Altman. Well, it turns out, he is not exactly the coach the Oregon faithful thought he was. With all that Oregon has done to overhaul their athletics department with Nike money, it is becoming more and more apparent that money does not buy championships. #JustLikeFootball
The Ducks went down to the wire with UCLA (21-6, 10-4) when the Bruins visited Eugene, Oregon earlier in the conference season. Oregon had a chance to send the game into overtime when Jonathan Lloyd (one of the shortest Ducks on the team at 5’8”) went the length of the court, and got blocked by UCLA’s 6’9” Kyle Anderson.
You see what I mean about Altman? Bad strategizing. Moving on…
Things do not get easier for Oregon as they bring their mediocre season into Pauley Pavilion, where UCLA has only lost once to (then) #1 Arizona by only four points.
Now, some Bruin fans meltdown after every loss, which was the case after their last game as Stanford beat the Bruins, 83-74. But really, it was a tough Cardinal team, especially when they have one of their guards hitting 7-of-10 three pointers.
But the Bruins do have to re-focus and play this game. Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams, two of the most dominant Bruins this season, combined for 14 points in Palo Alto, so there is no question they need to get their game going.
As for the head coach, Steve Alford, it is not sure what was different in the Stanford game as compared to the 4-game win streak they took into Maples Pavilion, but he also needs to get his mojo back.
One thing the Bruins did well in that streak was the implementation of their second-half adjustments. That was nowhere to be found at Stanford.
Hopefully, because he has done it before, Alford should be able to get his game plan down. But as we saw in the first game, UCLA had a clear size advantage that Oregon could not overcome. Add to that, the fact that Oregon is underachieving and you clearly have a Bruin victory.
Prediction: Oregon 62 – UCLA 78