Having eased into the season against lower-division opponents, the city's Division I basketball teams are about to face significantly different challenges.
Here's a quick rundown:
Portland State men
Having rolled through Evergreen State (103-46 exhibition win) and Puget Sound (94-69 in Tuesday's official opener), PSU is about to step into the Big Ten.
At 11 a.m. PT Saturday, the Vikings visit Indiana.
Coach Barret Peery says his team played three good halves in its two games before losing intensity after building a big lead against Puget Sound.
"I didn't like us in the second half (against Puget Sound), but we continue to change lineups," Peery said.
All 10 players in action on Tuesday scored at least six points. Matt Hauser, a 6-2 graduate transfer guard from Santa Clara, led the way with 13 points, and four players scored 12 points.
Hauser looks like a key addition and a good fit as a running mate for junior guard Holland "Boo Boo" Woods.
The other two returnees, 6-8 center Sal Nuhu and 6-7 forward Rashaad Goolsby, combined for 18 points and 17 boards against Puget Sound.
Seven of the 10 Vikings who played are new, including 6-5 guard Kyle Greeley, who redshirted as a freshman. The former West Salem High star scored 12 points in 12 minutes.
The Viks' pressure defense generated 18 steals against the overmatched Loggers, including five by Woods and four apiece by transfers Alonso Walker (6-6 forward) and Ian Burke (6-5 guard). PSU scored 31 points from 32 UPS turnovers.
Peery liked the tempo. The 78 possessions were just below his target of 80 per game.
The Viks were only 2 for 15 on 3-pointers. Burke, a transfer from Seattle University, made 2 of 5). But Peery said he expects this will be a really good shooting team.
Pointing to 21 of 30 free-throw shooting and a sluggish second half overall, Peery knows his team will need to be sharper to meet the challenge at Indiana.
The Portland men got a much-needed blowout (86-36) win over Willamette in the season opener Tuesday at Chiles Center. On Friday, the Pilots visit USC, and Portland will be at San Jose State on Sunday.
The blowout was to be expected. The encouraging signs included 10 of 26 3-point shooting and 22 assists on 32 field goals. Portland had only 10 turnovers, an area that was a big issue last season.
Only three of the 11 Pilots who played against Willamette were in the mix last season: 6-4 junior guard Malcolm Porter, 6-1 junior guard JoJo Walker and 6-9 junior forward Tahirou Diabate.
The most intriguing addition is freshman 5-7 guard Chase Adams. Adams started against Willamette and was a pest defensively with four of the Pilots' 10 steals, which helped them score 21 fast-break points. He also had an impressive 7-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Tuesday's win followed an up-and-down effort in an exhibition win over George Fox and put the 18-game losing streak that ended last season to bed. It gives the Pilots something to feel good about heading into a difficult matchup against USC.
Portland State women
The PSU women opened with a thrashing of Multnomah on Tuesday. That followed an exhibition win against Warner Pacific.
The competition changes drastically when the Vikings visit Boise State at 6 p.m. PT Friday. The Broncos, you might recall, nearly beat Oregon State in the NCAA Tournament last season and add former Oregon Ducks post Mallory McGuire this season.
Win or lose at Boise, the Vikings will be on the road for the remainder of their Women's NIT games. If the Viks win on Friday, Missouri State is the likely destination for a Sunday game.
PSU is replacing three seniors who were vital to winning the Big Sky tournament, winning a program-record 25 games and reaching the NCAA Tournament last season.
Those accomplishments were recognized on Tuesday with a ring ceremony at halftime of the men's game.
The Viks' athleticism and shooting was on display in the 102-48 victory over Multnomah. PSU went 13 for 27 on 3-pointers, led by 5-9 freshman guard Jada Lewis (4 for 4) and 6-0 freshman Belle Frazier (3 for 8).
Sophomore Desire Hansen, a 6-0 guard, hit 3 of 5 3s and finished with 20 points, six assists (with zero turnovers), three steals and five rebounds.
Another player counted on to lead the way is junior Tatiana Streun, who missed last season with a knee injury. The 6-0 forward had 19 points and 13 boards against Multnomah after posting 20 and 16 in an exhibition win over Warner Pacific.
"Really excited. I forgot what it's like to put on a uniform," a smiling Streun said of finally getting to play at the Viking Pavilion. "Life's good."
The other key returnee is 5-6 junior guard Kylie Jimenez (10 points, seven assists, four steals in 18 minutes against Multnomah). The next Viks' home game, Nov. 23, will reunite Jimenez with her sister Alyssa, who is a true freshman at Nevada.
The Portland women officially tipped off the Mike Meek era on Thursday with a 70-64 win at Utah State.
Eight players saw the floor in the win, with Portland outscoring Utah State 42-24 in the paint and outrebounding the Aggies 43-31. The Australian tandem of 5-9 sophomore Haylee Andrews and 6-1 freshman forward Alex Fowler combined for 34 points and 26 rebounds.
Fowler, who finished with 16 points, 13 rebounds three blocked shots and two steals, made three buckets inside down the stretch as the Pilots turned a late one-point deficit into a five-point lead with 44 seconds remaining.
Andrews had 18 points and 13 defensive rebounds in a team-high 34 minutes. Junior Maddie Mulheim scored 16 points in 32 minutes and made 5 of 6 3-pointers. Senior Kate Andersen hd eight points and a career-high six assists. The other starter was junior forward Liana Kaitu'u, wh had five points and five rebounds.
Portland shot 52.8% from the floor, made 6 of 12 3-pointers and 8 of 11 free throws in winning its season opener for the fourth time in five years.
Last week, the Pilots warmed up with a 92-30 exhibition victory over Lewis & Clark. All 12 available players scored, led by Andrews and Fowler with 14 points apiece. Andrews had seven assists, and Andersen had seven of Portland's 22 steals against overmatched Lewis & Clark.
The Pilots will then visit Weber State at 6 p.m. PT Saturday. They play home games at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13 against Warner Pacific and 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17 against Fresno State.
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