Altman not sure what to expect

Dana Altman wants as many games as possible to get his new-look roster ready for the regular season.

So when the NCAA allowed an extra contest if proceeds went to disaster relief, Oregon quickly put together a game against Idaho, the preseason favorite in the Big Sky Conference.

“They will be favored,” Altman said in advance of Saturday’s 11 a.m. game at Matthew Knight Arena. “They have six seniors, so they are just so much further along than we are. I am not saying we won’t get there at some point in time, but Saturday I have no idea what to expect.”

The Vandals return almost every player from last season’s 19-14 team, including 6-foot-5 guard Victor Sanders from Jefferson High in Portland, who averaged 20.9 points per game. Oregon returns three players who combined to average 12.5 points per game on last year’s Final Four team, with point guard Payton Pritchard as the lone returning starter.

“I want to get out on the floor and get some things on film so we can show them where we’re at and how far we have to go as a team,” Altman said. “We’re going to be throwing so many people out there with different combinations to get everybody enough time to get everybody on film.”

Oregon will follow up with another exhibition on Monday at Matthew Knight Arena against Northwest Christian. The Ducks will scrimmage Oklahoma on Saturday in Las Vegas, then open the regular season at home against Coppin State on Nov. 10.

“It’s going to be a good opportunity for us to go out there and play as a team,” senior transfer Elijah Brown said. “A lot of us are unfamiliar with each other because we only had a few months to play together and there’s been a lot to pick up. To go against another team and put ourselves up against someone else to see where we are at will be good to get a feel for each other.”

Teams are usually allowed a combination of two exhibitions and scrimmages before the regular season, but the NCAA granted a waiver for schools to add a third game if proceeds go to disaster relief.

The Oregon women will play Portland State at 9:30 a.m., followed by the Ducks and Vandals with the $10 ticket cost being donated to the American Red Cross Oregon Wildfire Fund.

Idaho was the overwhelming favorite to win the Big Sky in both the coaches and media polls with a roster that features four Oregonians, including Sanders and freshman Geno West from Jefferson. Brothers Chad and Nate Sherwood from West Albany are both returning starters.

“It should be a very educational game for us,” Altman said. “I hope we’re able to keep it close and give them a game so they get some good out of it. We’re going to find out a lot of things Saturday about how far we have to go.”