One week ago, the Oregon Ducks lost a hard-fought game against a quality ranked opponent on the road. Thursday night, the Ducks were defeated by double digits to a Californi Golden Bears team that was without the services of arguably their best player, Jabari Byrd. One week later, the Ducks would lose their third straight contest to the Stanford Cardinal 82-80. Their third consecutive loss, their second straight home loss is a complete head-scratcher.
The Ducks entered Pac 12 Conference play with an unblemished record, but now find themselves 1-3 in conference. Conference play is commonly referred to as the second season, and right now, the Ducks are struggling to keep their heads above water in the second season. Even the contest against Utah gives room to question the validity of Oregon’s ranking in the Top 25. Utah had the Ducks dead to rites in overtime until an unfortunate bounce for the Utes resulted in an Oregon layup.
The bounce, however, landed in Oregon’s favor. Aside from a victory against Georgetown, the Ducks have had to use overtime to land quality victories. In a cutthroat league like the Pac 12, the Ducks can no longer afford to live dangerously. As seen in their first two weeks, the Ducks will continue to be challenged every night they take the floor.
The Ducks were fractions of an inch of escaping the jaws of defeat Sunday. Johnathan Loyd narrowly missed an open jumper, and thanks to some spotty free throw shooting in the waning seconds by Stanford, Oregon got a second chance. Dominic Artis was able to drive to the lane for a lay in, but did not have enough touch to force overtime. Oregon was able to get all their breaks in the first half of the season, but it appears their luck has finally ran out in conference play.