Men's Basketball Schedule Announced
Aug. 22, 2001
EUGENE -- The 75th anniversary of McArthur Court and non-conference games against Louisville, Massachusetts and Minnesota highlight the University of Oregon's 2001-02 men's basketball schedule released Wednesday. The schedule also finds conference play opening up before Christmas in preparation of the Pac-10 basketball tournament.
The Ducks open the year with a pair of exhibition games against Basketball Travelers on Nov. 6 and Global Sports on Nov. 11. The regular season gets underway with Oregon hosting the America's Youth Classic Nov. 15-17. The Ducks will face Alabama State in the opener, followed by games against Western Michigan and Long Beach State.
Oregon then heads to Portland's Rose Garden to play Louisville and new head coach Rick Pitino in the Pape Jam on Nov. 24. The Ducks close out the month of November by playing Massachusetts in Springfield, Mass., in the annual Basketball Hall of Fame game.
Oregon returns to the Rose City to face the University of Portland on Dec. 2, before heading out to Minnesota on Dec. 10 for a game that will be televised nationally on ESPN2. The Ducks will also host Pepperdine (Dec. 14) and Northern Arizona (Dec. 16).
'The non-conference schedule is designed to prepare us for another tough Pac-10 season,' said Oregon head coach Ernie Kent. 'We will have the opportunity to be successful and we will also be tested. But most importantly, we will be able to grow as a team and get ready for conference play because the Pac-10 is going to be more balanced than ever.'
The Pac-10 season gets underway on Dec. 20 when the Ducks host Arizona State, followed by Arizona on Dec. 22.The final game before the new year finds Oregon hosting Morris Brown on Dec. 27. The conference season starts early in 2001-02 due to the resumption of the Pac-10 Tournament following a 12-year hiatus. The top eight teams qualify for the tournament, which will be held March 7-9 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The final non-conference game of the year, Willamette University on Jan. 15, 2002, will mark the 75th anniversary of Mac Court, and will likely be one of the most memorable nights of the season. Plans are already underway to honor players and coaches from every era since that first game. 'Ideally, we would like to have either a player or coach represent each of the 75 years that Oregon has played at Mac Court,' said Oregon associate athletic director Dave Heeke. 'This is going to be a terrific celebration for the University and for the city of Eugene because of Mac Court's rich history and tradition.'
The University played its first game at Mac Court on Jan. 14, 1927, against Willamette, which was the reasoning behind inviting the Salem-based school back for the building's 75th anniversary. The Ducks won that first game at Mac Court, 38-10, for coach William Reinhart. Oregon Hall of Fame inductee Algot Westergren was a senior on that team.
'This is a game we wanted to play because it marks the 75th anniversary, and this community has always been very passionate about Mac Court,' said Kent. 'Willamette has great players and an excellent coach and it is a very wonderful opportunity to be able to bring them in and be a part of this because they were the first team to play at Mac Court.'
Earlier this year, The Sporting News named Mac Court the 'best gym in America.' In 1995, Sports Illustrated named it as one of the 12 toughest places play.
The building was named after the University's first student body president, Clifton N. (Pat) McArthur. Construction was funded by the Associated Students of the University of Oregon (ASUO), who imposed a $15 fee per student to cover the mortgage, which was paid off in 1932. Also known as 'The Pit,' Mac Court is now the oldest Division I facility in the United States. Oregon has an all-time Mac Court record of 603-351.
Schedule notes: Three first-time opponents appear on the schedule: Alabama State, Long Beach State and Morris Brown. It will be Oregon's first meeting with Willamette since the 1948-49 season. Willamette won the last game between the two schools, 55-43. The Ducks will face Pepperdine for the first time since the 1978-79 season.