Okay, hopefully PETA doesn't come after me for that headline, but the Oregon Ducks have really made a statement lately with their superb play in college basketball. Previously, they had been one of the biggest disappointments in the sport this year after entering the season selected second in the Pac-12, even receiving a pair of first-place votes in the preseason poll.
This is a team that had many returning players from their run last year in the NCAA Tournament, so many predicted they would be in contention once again to win it all. They started off well enough, blowing out SMU and making a statement that they were indeed a top team. Then, it all started to go downhill. A stunning 31-point loss to BYU set the train in motion, and then an embarrassing effort at the Maui Invitational where they lost to Saint Mary's and got obliterated by Houston made everyone question whether or not this was even a good team. Then came losses to Arizona State and Stanford, and the Ducks were dead in the water.
So, why am I telling you to back a team that was so awful to start the season? Well, they are a very talented group of players, and they may have very well found their game recently. They went 3-0 this past week in conference play, beating some of the best schools in the nation in the process. They defeated No. 3 UCLA and No. 5 USC on the road, while also defeating their in-state rival Oregon State at their place. That's three straight road victories.
Per ESPN, Oregon is the first team since 1975-76 Clemson to beat two AP top-five teams on the road in a five-day span. That's a pretty impressive feat, and the Ducks have now won 5 games in a row. They have two straight home games coming up because their game against Washington State was postponed, so the season may be turning around for the veteran Oregon squad.
80/1 odds are pretty good for a team that is sitting where the Ducks are right now. They have a real chance to turn things around here in conference play, and if they can get into the tournament, they are a talented team to watch out for. This would be an incredible ticket to have for a team like this should they make the tournament, and I think this is the perfect time to buy now on the Ducks to start getting things together.
Even though their game against Washington State was postponed, they can still gain some momentum from this little homestand against two very inferior teams in Washington and Oregon State.
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