Off the heels of their thrilling win in the Sweet 16 over Michigan, the 3rd seeded Ducks look to topple Number 1 Kansas Saturday night, earning the team their first trip to the Final Four in 78 years.
The last time Oregon faced KU on the court in the tourney was the Elite 8 in 2002, when the team fell short of the Final Four.
The current Duck squad is looking to take their place among past legendary teams.
“I think this is one of the legendary teams in Oregon history, and I feel like guys recognize that,” Dillon Brooks said. “Guys want to have that and we'll remember 20 years later, and when we have kids I can say I was one of the Final Four teams in the NCAA and be an Oregon legend."
The team could cement that legend status if they can topple the top-seeded and heavily favored Jayhawks, who will be playing about 40 miles from their campus.
“We've been doing this all year. Everybody is picking us as underdogs and I love that,” Dylan Ennis said. “I have been an underdog my whole life. I know a lot of guys on our team has been underdogs, but I just enjoy it. It puts a chip on our shoulder. If anything, it puts more pressure on them to win."
Like the Ducks, Kansas was in this spot a season ago, falling short in the Elite 8.
For one family who will be in attendance at Saturday’s game, it's definitely a house and heart divided.
Duck alum Richard Lucas suited up for Oregon from 1987 to 1991. Now the agency manager at Country Financial in Portland is picking blood over alma mater since his son plays for KU.
"When the bracket comes out I say, ‘OK, please don't be Oregon. Please don't be Oregon. Okay, it's Oregon. Okay, great,’" Richard said.
While he has always remained true to Oregon, Richard said his pick for this matchup is clear.
“I have never rooted against the Ducks in anything the entire time, since I stepped foot on campus in '87,” he said. “There is no torn. I 100% want Kansas to win.”
His son, Jayhawks’ senior center Landen Lucas, grew up a Ducks fan, but the one-time Sunset student and eventual Westview High graduate traded in his Duck walk for Rock Chalk.
“When I was a kid I was a huge Oregon fan. I wore Oregon colors every day,” he said. “My decision to come to Kansas was just something based off how great Kansas was and less about the other schools. Once I made that decision there was no looking back.”
While there has been a large contingent of Oregon fans that made the trip, nothing says passionate fan base like the KU fans who recently named their twin sons Landen and Lucas.
“Yeah, that was pretty cool,” Landen said. “It just shows that we have some great fans and great supporters in Jayhawk Nation.”
“What it shows is, Jayhawk fans, they love their team,” Richard added. “Now that's a double-edged sword a little bit. They really love their team, and when their team loses, they lose their collective minds.”
Oregon fans might lose their collective minds in a victory as well, with the winner heading to the Arizona desert for the Final Four.
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