The Oregon Ducks traveled to Ann Arbor back in 2019 to face the Michigan Wolverines in basketball, beating Michigan in overtime by one point. Oregon was expecting the Wolverines to return the favor and come to Eugene the following season, but the game was canceled due to COVID.
Now, the Ducks still want Michigan to come out for a game, but the Wolverines apparently aren’t answering the phone. At least that’s what Oregon head coach Dana Altman said publicly, so he isn’t too happy about this situation.
“There’s no buyout, they’re coming. They’re having a hard time answering the phone, I guess,” Altman told the media on Monday. “But no, they owe us a game and we fully expect them to repay the game. I’m sure if the shoe was on the other foot, they would expect us to return it, and we sure as hell expect them to return it.”
This is a very different scenario than if this was happening in football. It’s not like going on the road into a tough environment against a good team and risking a loss is putting your entire season in jeopardy. Non-conference games in basketball are a lot of fun to watch and they are relatively pretty low risk, so it’ll be interesting to see how this story develops and if Michigan will eventually reschedule with the Ducks.
This is all happening during the midst of conference realignment as well. Teams all over the country are beginning to find new homes in new conferences. The Big Ten has already snatched USC and UCLA from the PAC-12, and many believe that teams like Oregon and Washington could be next, among other options.
It is unclear at this point whether or not we will see Michigan add a road trip to Eugene on a future schedule, but if the Ducks do join the Big Ten at some point, we could potentially see a new rivalry brewing in the conference between the Wolverines and the Ducks if they don’t get what they want here.