Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 11/18/14
A Defining Moment Say what you want about the recent history of Oregon Basketball, Oregon Men’s Basketball Head Coach Dana Altman is turning these guys around. After the departure of the most successful coach in Oregon basketball history (Ernie Kent), Altman was faced with the tough task of rebuilding a squad that had seen better days. Though the Ducks had a plethora of talent filling their roster, they could not put together quality seasons and wins despite a weaker Pac-12. Yet, that may all soon change when the Ducks play host to Vanderbilt on Friday night at Matthew Knight arena. Many do not know what to make of the Ducks yet, myself included. Though they do have a body of young talent coupled with some outstanding veterans that seem to have made progression over the offseason, there is always a lingering doubt surrounding the Oregon basketball program in today’s world, doubt that can mainly be attributed to the multiple talented classes that have cycled through Oregon without achieving anything. But, with a win over the Vanderbilt Commodores, a team that has their own reputation to uphold, the Ducks can begin to turn the eyes of their fans and the rest of the nation towards Oregon basketball. What to Watch The best part about this game is that it will feature a lot of young talent that should remain with both programs for the years to come. While both Vandy and Oregon find themselves outside of the top 25, a win in this contest should have both teams receiving more votes and give each other a needed boost of confidence and credibility. Dominic Artis has looked very impressive early on in his career. (Photo: Chris Pietsch/Registerguard.com) On Oregon’s side of the ball we’re going to be watching Dominic Artis, Oregon’s highest profile recruit that has been looking pretty good against college level competition so far. If Artis can solidify the perimeter and give the Ducks a presence from the threee-point line, Oregon could be tough to contend with, especially with their big man, Tony Woods dominating the center. The main thing we will be watching for in Vanderbilt during this game is to see if they can also establish a perimeter game for themselves. Vandy is one of those teams that gets after you by playing up-tempo basketball and putting a lot of points in the board, with many of them coming from three-point range. They will get after you from the outside and make you have to keep pace with their production. If the Ducks can eliminate the perimeter threat early on and force Vanderbilt to attack the middle, this game may turn the way of Oregon. What would a win mean? For an Oregon program that has had its fair share of ups-and-down in recent basketball history, this win would be huge in establishing the credibility of their team while giving them and their fans the needed confidence boost to believe that this squad has what it takes to bring the Ducks back to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. A win would signal the turning point for an Oregon program that has the tools to be very successful within the Pac-12, especially considering the fact that the Pac-12 is currently wide open for the taking. With Vanderbilt in town to take on Oregon basketball on Friday night and the Stanford Cardinal set to play Oregon football on Saturday evening, this weekend could be one hell of a week for Oregon sports. CLICK HERE CHECK OUT THE DUCKS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
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