As many Yale students travel Cambridge today, the men’s basketball team (0-2, 0-0 Ivy) finds itself playing on the road across the country. Playing in Oregon for the first time since 1968, the Bulldogs will look to shake off the struggles from their 31-point blowout at Vermont on Tuesday night against two new opponents.
The Bulldogs start the trip with a contest against Portland on Friday. The Pilots, a member of the West Coast Conference, are 1-1 on the season; they upset Washington, a Pac-10 conference member, in their first game of season, 80-74. The Elis are familiar with Pac-10 foes, having kept up with Stanford during the Bulldog’s season opener, and appear to be the underdog coming into the game against Portland. Bulldog fans may remember that the Elis defeated the Pilots 88-70 in New Haven last year, meaning that game might be closer than this year’s performances indicate.
The Bulldogs make a short trip three days later to Corvallis, Ore., to play against Oregon State on Nov. 24. The Beavers will offer the Elis another Pac-10 test, but this challenge appears to be significantly less difficult than the one against Stanford. Oregon State was upset in their first game this season by Howard University, 47-45. The loss was an ignominious start for new head coach Craig Robinson, the former head coach of Brown and the brother-in-law of President-elect Barack Obama. While the possibility for an upset looks ripe then, Robinson will likely not overlook Yale given his years of coaching in the Ivy League and collegiate experience at Princeton.
Leading the Bulldogs will be forward Ross Morin ’09 and guard Alex Zampier ’10, who lead the team in points per game at 12.5 and 11.0, respectively. The Elis will need to play more consistent defense and rebound better over the break if they want to bring their record back to 0.500 on the season.