After winning its first four games by an average of 33 points, Oregon will receive its first true test at this week’s PK80 Invitational in Portland. The Ducks open play in the eight-team Victory Bracket on Thursday against Connecticut, whose goal of being ranked by the time conference play begins would be helped by a few wins this week.
Oregon freshman forward Troy Brown has been as good as advertised, averaging a team-high 13 points and 6.3 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field. The Ducks have nine players averaging at least seven points, but coach Dana Altman said he doesn’t expect his young team to compete for the PK80 Invitational title against ranked opponents such as North Carolina and Michigan State. “We’re not ready for that. We’re not ready to handle playing 40 minutes of good basketball and then turn around and do it the next night and then do it again,” Altman told reporters. “Hell, we weren’t ready for that last year until late in the year. Even then we had some ups and downs. You need a very mature and disciplined team to do that.” The Ducks look to take another step forward against UConn, which boasts a plus-10.3 rebounding margin with five players averaging at least five boards per game.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPNU
ABOUT CONNECTICUT (3-0): The balanced Huskies have four double-figure scorers, including Terry Larrier (16.7), Jalen Adams (15.5), Antwoine Anderson (11.0) and sophomore guard Christian Vital (13.0), who had a career-high 30 points in last Sunday’s 85-66 win over Boston University. Graduate student David Onuorah is averaging a team-best six rebounds for the Huskies, who averaged 13-point margins of victory over Colgate, Stony Brook and Boston. “We want to shock the world,” Anderson told reporters. “A lot of people are doubting us. We want to go out there and compete and play at a high level.”
ABOUT OREGON (4-0): Sophomore point guard Payton Pritchard averages 12.5 points and recorded a career-high 20 points and eight assists in last Sunday’s 95-71 win over Ball State as the Ducks shot 52 percent after the half. Pritchard is the lone returning starter for the Ducks, who have reloaded with transfers Elijah Brown and MiKyle McIntosh along with Brown, a five-star recruit from Las Vegas who could be headed to the NBA next season. Freshman forward Kenny Wooten has also made an immediate impact, averaging a team-high 6.3 rebounds off the bench.
1. The only previous meeting between the teams came on Nov. 23, 2016, when Oregon won 79-69 in Hawaii.
2. Oregon is 129-14 when holding opponents under 70 points under Altman.
3. UConn forward Eric Cobb missed last Sunday’s game with an ankle injury and is listed as day-to-day.
PREDICTION: Oregon 93, UConn 74