4. Oregon Ducks (5-3) LW: 5
Originally tabbed the offseason favorites in the Pacific-12 Conference, Oregon has instead taken on the identity of a team that is struggling to play behind its star freshman.
Much like LSU with Ben Simmons (2015-16) and Markelle Fultz at Washington (2016-17), the Ducks have been unable to find their rhythm, sitting at 5-3 in the middle of the conference standings, despite the presence of center Bol Bol.
Last week, the Ducks overcame a 19-point halftime deficit in Houston before falling 65-61 to the undefeated Cougars but rebounded to handle Nebraska-Omaha by 23.
Unlike its predecessors, Oregon is not built to rely on a star.
Fortunately for coach Dana Altman, he has the luxury of adding another eight games into the season.
In addition to Bol, who is averaging 21 points per game and close to 10 rebounds in what will likely be his only season in Eugene, five-star swingman Louis King rejoined the team for its game against UNO on Dec. 8.
King, a 6-foot-9 freshman, missed the first seven games rehabilitating a torn meniscus he suffered in January 2018, prematurely ending his high school career.
Against the Mavericks, he scored 11 points in 17 minutes (three 3-point shots), providing a spark off the bench. As his minutes increase, he will likely enter the starting lineup, creating a formidable trio alongside Bol and junior point guard Payton Pritchard.
The Ducks will get their first look at a healthy roster this week in out-of-conference tilts against San Diego and Boise State as part of a three-game homestand.