Let's call this the beginning season of playing games in multiple arenas. Besides the usual home games at Matt Knight and the away games at out of conference and conference opponents, Oregon also has games scheduled at EnergySolutions Arena against BYU and Spokane Arena against Washington State.
One of the real disappointing things when looking at the overall schedule is the lack of big time opponents coming to Eugene. Sure, Virginia, an ACC school, will be nice to have coming to Matt Knight, but it would be nice to see a marquee match up that will garner national attention. One of the exciting prospect about Matt Knight being built was the thought that big time OOC games might get scheduled bringing more attention, and a bigger spotlight to Eugene. Unfortunately, I think that is being countered by the resurgence of the Ducks program and the lack of benefit teams will get in playing Oregon right now.
The Ducks are stuck in that damned if you do, damned if you don't scheduling area. Because the Pac is still down and Oregon has a relatively weak schedule, if a big time school like Duke, Michigan St, Kentucky or Texas were to play Oregon at Matt Knight and win, they aren't going to get the appropriate RPI boost that will help them long term. Losing to Oregon puts them at the the top of SportCenter and does way more for Oregon. So what's the point in scheduling them? Add to it the fact that Altman is recruiting better, Oregon is on the rise, and there is even less incentive for a big time team to schedule a game at Matt Knight and take that risk.
If Oregon wants to hit the big time, they are going to have to pay their dues beating highly ranked teams on their own court. Oregon is going to have to be willing to schedule top 10 teams away and hope to pull a win or two, make the post season, build the prominence of the program and then they'll have teams wanting to play "Deep in the Woods." The Pac 12 TV deal will also go a long way to helping this. Right now, if you're playing Oregon, chances are it's going to be on regional TV like CSN or Root. What big time program wants to play a risky game, against a rising program, on regional TV?
Let's take a look at the overall schedule for the Ducks:
DATE DAY OPPONENT LOCATION TIME TV
Nov. 2 Wednesday Grand Canyon State (EXH) Eugene, Ore. TBA TBA
Nov. 6 Sunday Lewis and Clark (EXH) Eugene, Ore. TBA TBA
Nov. 11 Friday at Vanderbilt Nashville, Tenn. TBA TBA
Nov. 17 Thursday Eastern Washington Eugene, Ore. TBA TBA
Nov. 20 Sunday SE Missouri State Eugene, Ore. TBA TBA
Nov. 23 Wednesday at Nebraska Lincoln, Neb. TBA TBA
Nov. 29 Tuesday UTEP Eugene, Ore. TBA TBA
Dec. 3 Saturday vs. BYU # Salt Lake City, Utah TBA TBA
Dec. 10 Saturday Fresno State Eugene, Ore. TBA TBA
Dec. 12 Monday Portland State Eugene, Ore. TBA TBA
Dec. 18 Sunday Virginia Eugene, Ore. TBA TBA
Dec. 20 Tuesday North Carolina Central $ Eugene, Ore. TBA TBA
Dec. 21 Wednesday Prairie View A&M $ Eugene, Ore. TBA TBA
Dec. 22 Thursday Stephen F. Austin $ Eugene, Ore. TBA TBA
Dec. 29 Thursday at Washington State * % Spokane, Wash. TBA TBA
Dec. 31 Saturday at Washington * Seattle, Wash. TBA TBA
Jan. 5 Thursday Stanford * Eugene, Ore. TBA TBA
Jan. 8 Sunday California * Eugene, Ore. TBA TBA
Jan. 12 Thursday at Arizona State * Tempe, Ariz. TBA TBA
Jan. 14 Saturday at Arizona * Tucson, Ariz. TBA TBA
Jan. 19 Thursday USC * Eugene, Ore. TBA TBA
Jan. 21 Saturday UCLA * Eugene, Ore. TBA TBA
Jan. 29 Sunday Oregon State * Eugene, Ore. TBA TBA
Feb. 2 Thursday at Utah * Salt Lake City, Utah TBA TBA
Feb. 4 Saturday at Colorado * Boulder, Colo. TBA TBA
Feb. 9 Thursday Washington * Eugene, Ore. TBA TBA
Feb. 11 Saturday Washington State * Eugene, Ore. TBA TBA
Feb. 16 Thursday at California * Berkeley, Calif. TBA TBA
Feb. 19 Sunday at Stanford * Stanford, Calif. TBA TBA
Feb. 26 Sunday at Oregon State * Corvallis, Ore. TBA TBA
March 1 Thursday Colorado * Eugene, Ore. TBA TBA
March 3 Saturday Utah * Eugene, Ore. TBA TBA
March 7‐10 Wed.‐Sat. Pac‐12 Tournament Los Angeles, Calif. TBA TBA
# - Game played at EnergySolutions Arena
$ - Global Sports Hoops Showcase | Eugene, Ore.
% - Game played at Spokane Arena
* - Pac-12 Conference game
There are really three sections to this schedule; the preseason games, the Global Sports Hoops Showcase and the conference games.
The Preseason Games:
There are 4 marquee preseason games: Vanderbilt, Nebraska, BYU and Virginia. Unfortunately, 3 of those are on the road. Vanderbilt is the biggest of the 4 with the Commodores coming out ranked in the top 10 to start the season. On a side note, I hate the fact that we're playing at Vandy. I hate that court more than I hate the baby vomit Kilkenny Symbols. Only an educationally snobby school like Vandy would think it's a good idea to put the teams on the end of the court furthest away from the action. It's also the point where this happened and began the downfall of the Ducks. If there is one thing I really want this year, it's to get retribution for that game (not likely) and to never, ever play at Vandy again.
Global Sports Hoops Showcase:
If you can't get big time teams to schedule Oregon at Matt Knight, might as well hold a mid-season tourney and hopefully bring a little spotlight onto the Forest and see if teams will eventually bite (again, not likely).
Out with a whimper, in like a bang! 2012 is going to bring some important conference games. WSU, Uw, Stanford, Cal, ASU, UA, USC and then Ucla to end 2011 and start 2012 will most likely decide where Oregon ends the season. If Oregon wants to be a top 4 team in the conference and vie for an NCAA bid, they need to go at least 5-3 if not 6-2 during this stretch.
All in all, Oregon has stepped their game up with their recruiting and the building of the team, the schedule will provide them some opportunities to grow even more. This is not the most daunting schedule Oregon has faced, especially considering how down the Pac will be again this season. A 20 win season is not out of the question at this point, but Oregon is going to need to capitalize on some of their easier games to start the year, and then make sure to take full advantage of home court during the conference slate.