Saturday could turn into a very late night at Matthew Knight Arena.
Oregon hosts Stanford for an 8 p.m. tipoff that might feature a Pac-12 men's basketball championship celebration before the annual postgame senior ceremony.
The 13th-ranked Ducks (23-7) enter the final day of the regular season tied for first place in the conference with UCLA at 12-5. Oregon will know the stakes before it tips off against the Cardinal (20-10, 9-8) because the Bruins visit USC at 12:15 p.m.
If the Trojans win, Oregon will have clinched at least a tie for the conference title and the top seed in next week’s Pac-12 Tournament while needing a win over Stanford to claim the outright championship. If UCLA wins, the Ducks need a victory to secure a share of the title and the No 1 seed next week in Las Vegas.
“Stanford already beat us so they will come in with confidence,” UO coach Dana Altman said of the Cardinal’s 70-60 win over the Ducks on Feb. 1. “It’s a tough matchup and we will have to play our tails off.”
Oregon has never cut down the nets following a Pac-12 championship because all three of its titles were clinched on the road.
Regardless of the result, the Ducks will honor a three-man senior class headlined by Payton Pritchard following the game. The West Linn native has put together one of the best seasons in UO history while setting career school records for assists and wins while moving into the top four for points and steals.
Pritchard’s home finale will be his 144th career game to tie Johnathan Loyd for the most in school history.
“I don’t know if I’m emotional about it, but I’m ready for it,” Pritchard said. “My last game here and obviously I will look back on it and miss it, but it is just another step in the process of my life. I look forward to it and then I look forward to getting to tournament time.”
The other two seniors are Anthony Mathis and Shakur Juiston, a pair of graduate transfers.
Mathis was a high school teammate of Pritchard who went through a senior ceremony at New Mexico last year before finding out he was granted an extra year of eligibility to play at Oregon. He is averaging 8.3 points while shooting 44.5% on 3-pointers.
“You can’t write a better script, it will be a lot of fun,” said Mathis, who scored 17 points in Thursday’s 90-56 win over California. “It is funny because I already had a senior night at New Mexico so I feel like I am getting old.”
Juiston leads the Ducks with 6.2 rebounds while averaging 8.0 points per game after transferring from UNLV.
“I might cry,” Juiston said. “A lot of people are in a rush to get out of college but I took the long route and it is going to pay off. As soon as I walk out there and know it is my last home game, everything is going to replay. One last moment, one last dance.”