2018 Oregon Ducks Basketball Predictions with Odds and Expert Picks
At first glance, this shouldn't be a ranked team - especially not a Top 15 team. They lost three of their four top scorers from last year and were, frankly, lousy last season. Despite a nice roster headlined by a one-and-done, five-star recruit, the team lost 13 games and bowed out in the second round of the NIT. It was not an inspiring season. But they have done a very good job of reloading, and expectations are very high in Eugene. And it's no wonder - they add two five-star recruits and have another NBA prospect ready to take a big step forward. The potential is here. But potential isn't always realized.
Oregon Ducks Additions/Losses
The headliner here is Bol Bol, the son of the late great Manute Bol, and the fourth-rated prospect in the country. Bol is 7-foot-2 and has a far more versatile game than his dad ever did. But critics are very frustrated by his ability to disappear entirely in a game if he isn't feeling it. He could be a top five pick in the draft next year, or he could fall out of the lottery. He could be an incredibly dominant inside force for the Ducks this year, or he could just be a reminder of what could have been possible. It's a bit of a mystery. He's joined by fellow five-star Louis King, a small forward who isn't likely to start right out of the gate and isn't likely heading to the NBA right away, either. Also in the strong class are Will Richardson, a point guard with a nice scoring touch who will see lots of time, athletically-freakish-but-very-raw wing Miles Norris, and big man Francis Okoro. The latter two will provide depth but not likely lasting impact this year.
Those players have to replace the three top scorers we mentioned earlier. Troy Brown Jr. was the one-and-done, five-star recruit. He led the team in rebounds, was generally solid, and was taken 15th overall by the Wizards. Also gone are two grad transfers - guard Elijah Brown from New Mexico and forward MiKyle McIntosh from Illinois State. Both had a strong impact in their only year with the program.
Another grad transfer joins the team this year - guard Ehab Amin from Texas A&M Corpus Christi. The Egyptian national team player led the nation in steals two seasons ago, but he is taking a huge step up in class and lost all of last year to injury. He's likely going to be a starter, so the team really needs him to step up.
Oregon Ducks Outlook
The most interesting thing here is going to be watching how the frontcourt works out. Bol is, when motivated, a shot-blocking machine. So is Kenny Wooten, a sophomore who could play himself comfortably into the first round of the draft this year. If they can get on the same page and work together, they could create nightmares and really be something special. But if it doesn't work then suddenly this is just a team that is too big and slow, and the season will be a disappointment.
Junior Payton Pritchard is a guy who could get a lot more attention this year. The point guard led the team in scoring last year, and was their best shooter. This is his third year as a starter, so you can reasonably expect a strong season from him.
Oregon Ducks Schedule
The team's preseason tournament is the 2K Sports Classic. The other major conference teams there are Iowa, Syracuse and UConn. None of those teams are nearly as good as their reputations cause us to expect, so Oregon should win the tournament - and we should be concerned if they don't. The rest of the non-conference schedule is very weak - a trip to Baylor is probably the toughest game, and that shouldn't be that tough. If the team is on the bubble in March the first couple of months of the season sure won't help them.
Five of their final seven conference games are on the road. That could be a positive - it means that more home games come earlier,so they have more time to get in top form. But it could also be a negative - if they are vulnerable by that point then that much travel could expose them.
Oregon Ducks Futures Odds
The Ducks are the 14th seed in the AP poll, but are tied with Michigan and Michigan State as the 10th choice to win the national title at +3300.
Oregon Ducks Predictions
The good news is that the Pac-12 is a bit of a mess this year. The Ducks are the highest ranked team in the group, and the only other ranked teams are No. 21 UCLA and No. 25 Washington. This team should, if things go even reasonably well, win the conference. But as high as the ceiling could be - they could easily make it to the second weekend of the tournament if the frontcourt gels - it feels like the potential for disappointment is high, too. The two stud youngsters might not be ready for the pressure they have signed up for, and the roster just might not work. I would call myself cautiously pessimistic about the team, and wouldn't bet them at this price.
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