Even with the loss of prolific scorer Joseph Young, the Oregon Ducks have the pieces needed to factor into the Pac-12 race in 2015-16. Forwards Elgin Cook and Dylan Brooks lead the way amongst the returnees for Dana Altman’s squad, and the addition of players such as Dylan Ennis, Tyler Dorsey and Chris Boucher will definitely help as the Ducks look to make a fourth consecutive NCAA tournament appearance.
Thursday the program revealed most of its non-conference schedule, which features four games against teams that reached the NCAA tournament last season. The biggest of those four matchups is a home contest with Baylor November 16 in Eugene, with Oregon also taking on Boise State (on the road), UC Irvine (which lost to the Ducks in overtime by two points last season) and Valparaiso.
Oregon will also play UNLV (December 4 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas), with the Runnin’ Rebels expected to take a step forward after a disappointing 2014-15 campaign. Following that is a neutral site game against Navy in Hawaii on Pearl Harbor Day (December 7).
Oregon will take on Alabama December 21 in Birmingham, and they still have a home date (December 29 against an in-state opponent per the release) to fill before the non-conference portion of the schedule is fully complete.
Oregon, which opens its regular season November 13 against Jackson State, has a solid schedule that should help prepare them for Pac-12 play. While Arizona has lost four starters from last year’s regular season and tournament champion team they’ve added one of the top recruiting classes in the country, as has California. Utah and UCLA, both of which reached the Sweet 16, should also factor into the conference race in a league that should be improved as a whole.