We have reached the final category of nominees in our second annual Webfoot Awards, and this is the big one. You've voted on such categories as Best Moment, Best Play, and Best Male/Best Female Athlete. Now, it’s time to vote on who was the best team of this past year in Oregon athletics.
The Oregon men’s basketball team was on the verge of a breakout season ever since Dana Altman came to town in 2010. Slowly but surely, he was building a program that could make a deep run into the NCAA Tournament. This year was finally that breakout season.
The Ducks went 31-7 on the year and went a perfect 18-0 at home. They didn't lose a game from mid-february until falling to Oklahoma in the Elite Eight over two months later.
After a Sweet 16 run in 2013 and two straight exits in the third round against Wisconsin, the Ducks made it back to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2007. The scary part is that this year’s team has the tools to be even better.
This year’s Oregon men’s golf team provided us with one of, if not the most exciting moment of the year when Sulmon Raza sank a putt in a sudden-death playoff to give the Ducks their first national championship in school history.
Despite having the advantage of playing on their home course, the Ducks still had to march through the tournament the hard way as they were the No. 6 seed in the bracket. Oregon took down the top three seeds on their way to a championship.
Earlier in the week, Oregon’s Aaron Wise won the individual NCAA title. When Raza sank the winning putt for the team title, it marked the first time since 1945 that a school won both the team title and individual title on their home course.
The win was also historic for the school as it was Oregon’s first national title in a non-running sport since the Ducks won the first ever NCAA tournament in basketball back in 1939.
Oregon Track & Field
While the Ducks didn't defend their national championships at Hayward Field in June, they did manage to sweep the indoor national championships back in March.
At that meet, the Oregon men dominated, winning the meet with 62 points. The runner-up, Arkansas, was 23 points behind. On the women’s side, Oregon defeated Arkansas by just three points.
It was the third straight indoor championship for the men while the women won their sixth title in the last seven years.
At the outdoor championships in June, the women finished 10 points behind Arkansas for second place while the men finished fourth behind Florida, Arkansas and Texas A&M.
The women’s basketball team has come a long way since the 2012-13 season when they went 4-27 and lost eight straight games on two separate occasions. This year, the Ducks reached the WNIT and came within one win of a trip to the finals in the tournament. A few years ago, the thought of playing in the postseason seemed like an impossible dream.
One of the biggest highlights of the year was the first game of the season when the Ducks marched into Chapel Hill and upset No. 22 North Carolina with a 79-77 win over the Tar Heels.
The Ducks wound up going 24-11, including an 18-4 record at home.
The future is bright for this program as they recently signed a batch of 5-stars in the best recruiting class in team history. If the Ducks can find a way for their new young stars to produce right away, this could be a team that turns some heads next season.