Dana Altman would like to host two nonconference games against teams from major conferences each year at Matthew Knight Arena.
Oregon has reached agreements to play just three of those games at home in the past five seasons.
“Teams are hesitant to go on the road for, first of all, financial reasons,” Altman said. “Everyone wants as many home games as they can get for budgets and wins. … It has not been easy for us to find people who want to play home-and-home.”
Baylor, Alabama and Mississippi are the only teams from power conferences to schedule a true home-and-home contract with the Ducks in recent years. Oregon played at Baylor and Houston this year with both of those teams slated to visit Matthew Knight Arena next season.
Oregon played home-and-home series with Illinois and UNLV a few years ago, but all four of those games were played at off-campus sites, including the two return games in Portland.
Most of Oregon’s top nonconference games during the past three years came at the Maui Invitational, Phil Knight Invitational and 2K Classic.
“A lot of teams want to play neutral-site games,” Altman said. “I’m not as big of a fan as some coaches are of neutral games. I like home-and-home, but unfortunately for us, we have not found a lot of schools that want to do that. Obviously, the exempt tournaments are huge for everybody, but after that it comes down to three or four real good home-and-home series. We’d like to play two at home and two on the road every year against Power 5 schools, but finding four people that want to play has proven difficult for a lot of teams.”
One of the other teams having a difficult time getting big-name opponents to visit for nonconference games is Oregon State (15-8, 7-4), which hosts the Ducks (15-9, 6-5) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The Beavers faced Texas A&M in Portland earlier this season after facing St. Louis at the Moda Center last year.
“We’d love to bring quality teams to Corvallis, but the excuse is that travel out here is not easy and they don’t recruit Oregon regularly,” OSU coach Wayne Tinkle said. “So we had entice them by playing them on a neutral court in Portland and the return to their campus, which doesn’t make us real happy. We are going to continue to work on it.”
Tinkle said he is close to finalizing a contract for a team from the Big 12 to visit Gill Coliseum next season. The last team from a Power 5 conference to visit Corvallis was Mississippi State on Dec. 13, 2014, the eighth game of Tinkle’s first season with the Beavers.
“A big part of it, quite honestly, is as we went through some adversity especially in that third year, the strength of our team sort of eliminated some of those schools as far as strength of schedule,” Tinkle said. “Now that we are having more success, we might have more takers on that end.”
Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak took the Utes to Kentucky this season, but the return game against the Wildcats next year will be at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“It is harder for our conference to schedule because of geography,” Krystkowiak said. “We played at Kentucky, but they are not going to play at our gym so we will play them in Vegas. I think we end up playing more neutral-site and road games than other leagues because there are so many more teams on the eastern half of the United States than on our side of the country.”