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Men's basketball teams at UO, OSU look positioned for success in 2021-22 season.

Opening tip for the 2021-22 men's college basketball season is Tuesday, Nov. 9. The Ducks and Beavers both come in with lofty expectations as they gear up for another run at March glory.

The Ducks open at home Nov. 9 against Texas Southern to start a non-conference slate that includes a Nov. 16 game against BYU at Moda Center.

The Beavers play home games against Saint Martin's (exhibition) on Thursday, Nov. 4 and their first regular-season contest on Nov. 9 against Portland State.

Dana Altman and the Ducks made it to the Sweet 16 last spring, thanks in large part to the efforts of Chris Duarte, the No. 14 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Despite some key losses, Altman deftly navigated the NCAA Transfer Portal to rebuild his roster, which is nothing new for the longtime coach. Altman is regarded as one of the best in the industry at bringing in and developing talent via the transfer market.

This time around, Altman nabbed three key contributors from fellow NCAA Tournament teams. Perhaps the most important of the three will be Quincy Guerrier, formerly of Syracuse. At 6-foot-8, Guerrier was one of the top defenders in the Atlantic Coast Conference a year ago. The Ducks also added two guards to the rotation in Oklahoma transfer De'Vion Harmon and Rutgers transfer Jacob Young, who were both key pieces in their teams' tournament runs.

The new faces are not just from the portal, either.

Nathan Bittle, a 6-foot-11 center from Central Point, Ore., was rated as a five-star recruit after spending his senior year at a prep school in California. He joins a crowded frontcourt that includes returning players such as Franck Kepnang, N'Faly Dante and Eric Williams.

Expected to be the main option on offense, lead guard Will Richardson was named to the Pac-12 Preseason All-Conference first team. Guerrier and Harmon, meanwhile, were both listed on the second team. All three players were named to preseason watchlists for national awards at their respective positions. The preseason AP poll has the Ducks listed at No. 13, while the Pac-12 preseason media poll tabbed Oregon to finish second in the league behind UCLA.

Perhaps the most shocking result from the Pac-12 poll, though, involved the Beavers.

A year removed from being picked dead last in the preseason, Oregon State ended up in a tie with Arizona for fourth place in the polling. The Beavers are coming off an electrifying end to last season. After winning the Pac-12 Tournament, OSU parlayed their NCAA Tournament bid into the school's first Elite Eight appearance in nearly 40 years.

Despite losing point guard Ethan Thompson — who served as the heart, soul and face of the team — head coach Wayne Tinkle is bringing back almost everybody else. Crucially, players such as Warith Alatishe, Roman Silva and Maurice Calloo came back to Corvallis after flirting with the NBA Draft. They join key returnees Jarod Lucas and Gianni Hunt in the search for another NCAA Tournament bid.

Alatishe, a 6-foot-8 forward who is one of the league's best rebounders and defenders, earned a spot on the All-Conference first team this preseason. Lucas made the second team and is expected to be a major focal point of the OSU offense.

The Beavers will also rely on junior college transfer Dashawn Davis to help ease the pain of losing Ethan Thompson. The 6-foot-3 guard from The Bronx was an NJCAA All-American last season after putting up averages of 21.3 points, 6.1 assists and 2.9 steals per game at Trinity Valley CC (Texas).

Looking broadly at the conference, UCLA comes in with enormous hype after making a Final Four run last March. Star players like Johnny Juzang and Jaime Jaquez are back, which is why the Bruins were picked nearly unanimously to win the Pac-12 this year and slated at No. 2 in the preseason AP poll.

USC was picked to finish third in the Pac-12 as they move on from Evan Mobley, who was an All-American last season before being taken No. 3 overall in the NBA Draft. His older brother, Isaiah, is still with the Trojans and a large part of why they are rated so highly.

Arizona is poised to make a big jump as a talented roster joins up with new head coach Tommy Lloyd. A longtime Gonzaga assistant, Lloyd takes over after the Wildcats parted ways with Sean Miller.

Further down the league table: Colorado has a star in Jabari Walker, but the Buffs bid farewell to legendary floor general McKinley Wright IV; Bobby Hurley and Arizona State are counting on Toledo transfer Marreon Jackson to be ASU's newest star; Washington State is a dark horse to make the NCAA Tournament under promising young coach Kyle Smith; Stanford returns some good pieces and will be tough defensively, but the team lacks star power; Utah has a new head coach in former Utah State skipper Craig Smith, who brought in a solid transfer class; Washington looks to avoid the cellar, as head coach Mike Hopkins looks to avoid the hot seat; and California is in dire straits after star guard Matt Bradley transferred to San Diego State.

Though it may be difficult to recapture the magic of last March, it should be another strong season for college basketball in the state of Oregon and in the Pac-12 Conference.

Pac-12 Media Preseason Poll

1. UCLA (32)

2. Oregon (2)

3. USC

T-4. Arizona

T-4. Oregon State

6. Colorado

7. Arizona State

8. Washington State

9. Stanford

10. Utah

11. Washington

12. California


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