Date & Time: Friday, November 16 at 4:30 p.m. ET
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, N.Y.
Line: Oregon, -1.5
Radio: Cuse.com, TK 99/105, WAER 88.3
Oregon Blog: Addicted to Quack
Rivalry: 0-0; they’ve never played one another!
Current Streak: N/A (see above)
First Meeting: Oregon and Syracuse’s men’s basketball teams have never faced one another, though their women’s teams did face off just a few days ago. That game resulted in a 75-73 win for the Ducks out in Eugene.
Last Meeting: Seems there’s a disconnect here between “we” and “haven’t played them.”
Head Coaches: SU: Jim Boeheim (43rd year, 1,029-372); Oregon: Dana Altman (9th season, 211–84)
Coach Bio: The Nebraska native played at Fairbury Junior College (in Lincoln), then Eastern New Mexico before entering the coaching ranks at Western State Colorado. Altman spent a couple years there before heading back to Fairbury (by then, renamed to Southeast Community College) for a season. He went from there to Moberly, and then was an assistant at Kansas State.
Altman took over Marshall in 1989, then went right back to K-State as head coach. His four years were marginally successfully, and he moved onto Creighton where he ended up building a perennial NCAA Tournament team before a late fade. Since taking over Oregon in 2010-11, he’s won at least 20 games each season, and made the NCAAs in five of eight seasons (including the program’s first Final Four in 78 years).
Last Year: Coming off the aforementioned Final Four trip, the Ducks struggled with injuries and departures, sputtering to a 23-13 finish that ended in the second round of the NIT. The team was marginal on both ends of the floor, and played at a cripplingly slow pace (still not as slow as Syracuse’s). Four players scored in double digits, led by Payton Pritchard at 14.5 points per game.
Last Game: Syracuse’s upset loss on Thursday might matter most to us, but the Ducks also dropped their game to an unranked opponent yesterday — a 77-69 defeat to Iowa. Senior guard Ehab Amin put up 25 points and Bol Bol had 14 points and five boards. Oregon was actually beat on the boards, 46-34; a result that’s at least a little surprising given their size (sound familiar?).
“Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Thursday brought back one of your “favorite” recurring themes for Syracuse — out-of-nowhere three-point performances. Well, if the Ducks get hot from outside, it’s unlikely to blindside anyone. Paul White is 5-of-12 from deep (though he missed all four tries against the Hawkeyes). Last year, he hit 35 percent from three.
If Syracuse Wins: Well we’re sort of back on track, I guess. Despite the fact that we lost to UConn (/vomits), beating a top-15 team at MSG would actually fix the resume immediately (as long Oregon fixes their own season). We figured there was a real shot we’d be 3-1 after four games... this just wasn’t the way we thought it would happen.
If Syracuse Loses: Welp. That’s a 2-2 record and there are quite a few people running for the exits just four games into the season. Tough it’s certainly not the start we’d hoped for, any games without Frank Howard can probably be taken with a grain of salt for now.
Fun Fact No. 1: Oregon’s not necessarily thought of as a basketball school (more of a t-shirt club and Nike cult), but they did participate in and win the first Final Four back in 1939. They beat Ohio State in the title game, and Villanova and Oklahoma were also there. The other teams managed to get back at least a few times. It’s just weird that U of O took nearly eight decades off from the event.
Fun Fact No. 2: Everyone knows Oregon’s teams as the Ducks, but they actually weren’t officially named that officially until 1978. Before that, they were the Webfoots — though known as the Ducks by most since the 1940s. See? We’re not the only ones with at least sort of interesting mascot/nickname histories.