3. Oregon Ducks (8-4) LW: 2
For those who have yet to hit the panic button on Oregon this season, it might be time to break the glass and leap from a ship that seemingly continues to sink faster with each passing week.
Superstar freshman forward Bol Bol has been sidelined since Dec. 12 dealing with a lower leg injury. In his absence, the Ducks narrowly avoided disaster at home against Florida A&M before a double-digit loss to Baylor.
Adding perspective, the Rattlers participate in the MEAC, a conference that possesses ZERO teams with a winning record. Florida A&M, currently sporting a 3-11 mark, lost by seven in Eugene.
In Waco, the Ducks weren’t as fortunate.
Baylor came into the game not too far removed from thumping Arizona — manhandling the Wildcats 51-19 on the boards — before winning by nine.
Against Oregon, the Bears won the rebounding battle 33-18 and the overall contest 57-47.
Yes, a preseason top-25 was held below 50 points and the Ducks certainly did not play Wisconsin or Virginia. Without Bol, there is no primary scorer and when he’s been healthy, the presence of a secondary offensive threat has been inconsistent.
A friendly reminder, Bol and fellow five-star forward Louis King have similar skill sets and have played just two games together due to injuries. Learning to coexist will take time, something the Ducks are running out of if they hope to come close to their preseason expectations.
Pegged as the Pac-12 favorites, Oregon’s best win of the year came on a neutral floor against a Syracuse team that is 8-4. Instead, the Ducks have a number of concerning losses that leave some people wondering if their only ticket into the NCAA Tournament at this point is winning the conference tournament.
Oregon’s first attempt to try and turn a corner comes on Saturday in its final nonconference game, a second meeting this season with Boise State.