GLENDALE, Ariz. - Oregon traveled to Arizona for the Final Four with a friendly reminder onboard of the heights the basketball program has achieved in the past and what the goal is this weekend in the desert.
The Ducks brought with them the 1939 national championship trophy won by the "Tall Firs" back when the team was actually called the Webfoots.
Current players took photos of and with the trophy, touched it and allowed its inspiration to soak in.
"It’s a motivation to bring another one back," UO junior forward Dillon Brooks said.
As sophomore guard Tyler Dorsey put it, the Ducks aren't ready to close this chapter.
“We’re definitely making history and that should be talked about, but we have to keep writing the history and win the national championship," he said. "We’re not done, yet, and we know that as a team."
No. 3 Oregon (32-5) will play No. 1 North Carolina (31-7) at 5:45 p.m. on Saturday at University of Phoenix Stadium.
For the Tar Heels, who have now been to 20 Final Fours with five national championships, it's a chance to atone for last year's heartbreaking, 77-74 loss to Villanova in the championship game on a buzzer beater.
“They are experienced and they want to get back to that game," Dorsey said.
Oregon has already tasted its own form of redemption by reaching the Final Four after losing badly last season to Oklahoma in the Elite Eight. As for the Tar Heels' goals, Brooks said they aren't Oregon's concern.
“We faced a lot of hot teams, a lot of teams that had motivation to go far, like Michigan, Kansas and Rhode Island," Brooks said. "We just try to crush that all down and try to play our game and really be confident in ourselves.”
UO coach Dana Altman said the Ducks have done well sticking to their routine.
"It was a little easier the last two weekends because there wasn't all the hype and the media and so forth," he said. "But we're going to try to keep it as close to our routine as possible, and try to get the guys to focus on the game Saturday. And we get to practice here when we get done with all this in just a little bit and hopefully get them refocused and ready to go for North Carolina."
Oregon isn't losing out on any fun. They have enjoyed themselves. The idea is to not allow the fun to interfere with the goals.
“Now we have to set a new mindset,” UO forward Jordan Bell said. “It’s another four-team tournament. We’ve got to win this tournament and if we win it, it’s finally done and we can celebrate it.”
The 1939 trophy serves as a reminder.
“It was a great feeling to have that there,” Brooks said.
A companion for that national title trophy can't be had on Monday, however, if the Ducks don't win on Saturday.
“We can be out of here Saturday if we lose that game," Dorsey said. "So, we’re going to enjoy the process. We’re going to soak it all up. It’s an experience of a lifetime that many people don’t get. You definitely have to enjoy it in the moment.”