The No. 20 Oregon men’s basketball team just wrapped up its first basketball weekend on the road in Omaha, Nebraska.
What was supposed to the be the season-opener against Eastern Washington last Wednesday at home in Eugene, Oregon, head coach Dana Altman returned to his alma mater Creighton University and the Ducks instead faced the Missouri Tigers and Seton Hall Pirates.
Oregon came away with a split record 1-1.
This season of college basketball has tipped off in sporadic fashion, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. There is a schedule set in place, but with it comes lot of uncertainty whether that game will actually happen or not.
This trip to Omaha, Nebraska was scheduled on November 30. And now, the Ducks will head back to Eugene, Oregon.
This year is anything but normal.
Team dinners have turned from steak nights out on the town to whatever is being served in plastic containers.
Free time to explore? More like exploring how to untuck hotel sheets and counting how many dots there are on the hotel room ceiling.
No fans in attendance; no traveling families; no community.
Altman put it simply: Being on the road isn’t any fun this year. That’s not a dig on anyone or an excuse. It’s the reality of playing sports during a national pandemic. And it’s really unfortunate.
“We’re going to try and play some games next week,” Altman told James Crepea of The Oregonian. “If we have to meet somebody somewhere, I don’t know if we can… I’ll tell you what, going on the road is not any fun this year. I didn’t even leave my hotel room. I ate whatever meals we have from plastic containers. Didn’t have any vegetables, didn’t have a salad… I’m back here with my family and would have liked to seen some people, drove down to Wilber to see my dad, you just can’t do that.
“I’m asking the team to sacrifice and not see anybody and stay with the group. I had a nice room and everything, but it sure was not any fun staying in it for four days. But we’re going to go back, find somebody to play. We need to work on so many things. Finding games is hard and because we have a long distance to go, we just don’t have a lot of Division I schools around us.”
Altman continued saying the team tried to schedule games with schools in California, but a lot of them couldn’t due to the inability to fly or COVID-related issues.
This season is a mess, but the joy of actually playing basketball is still there for Altman and the team.
Next up on the schedule is a trip north to Seattle, Washington to face the Huskies (0-2, 0-1 Pac-12) in the Pac-12 opener.