George Shroeder's column in the Register Guard yesterday shows that Oregon Ducks fans, media, players, and opposing coaches have fully bought in to the Dana Altman era in Eugene.
George Schroeder: Yes, it’s time to get serious about these Ducks
I don’t know if they can be any better than Thursday. Or even if they can be that good again this season. The path is still blocked by bigger, better opponents, and the Ducks will probably fumble away some opportunities.
But I think they’ll keep scrapping, hustling and firing away, and they’ll win some.
And I know this: Whatever Altman’s selling, I’m buying.
With the Washington Huskies in town today, the Ducks get a team that was a "bigger, better opponent" in their first meeting of the Pac-10 season and the chance to prove that their surprising 60-43 performance on Thursday against Washington State was no fluke.
Quack Fix: Ducks blow out Washington State at Matt Court - Addicted To Quack
The Ducks have far exceeded expectations this season, but even the victories didn't make you think an outcome like this was possible. The Ducks have been competitive this season, but you never expected them to run another team right off the floor. The Ducks dominated in every area of the game, and the Cougars shot 25% from the floor, and 16% from three point range. The Ducks shot over 40%, and got assists on almost 75% of their field goals. Four Ducks were in double figures, led by an improving Joevan Catron with 17.
Since dropping their first four contests of Pac-10 play - including that 87-69 loss in Seattle - Oregon is 4-2 and has to have some confidence coming in both from being at home and from clearly experiencing some second-half improvement.
Washington on the other hand has had a rough week after losing on the road to WSU on Sunday and Oregon State on Thursday. Regardless of whether we attribute that to poor defense as Lorenzo Romar has or shots not falling for one reason or another, they're not playing well and need to figure some things out. It's not so much that it's time to panic and flush the whole season down the tubes, but one might have expected a team to play better than they did on Thursday while looking to rebound from last Sunday's loss to WSU. Instead they almost indisputably played worse.
Today's game against Oregon is a chance to least come back home on a high note as they proceed through the rest of their Pac-10 schedule.