Fresh off an 87-78 loss at 15th-ranked Virginia Commonwealth that saw Toledo leading at halftime, the Rockets are headed across the country to face off against another traditionally strong opponent.
Toledo pays a visit to Oregon Friday at 7 p.m. in hopes of earning its first glamour win of the season.
While the loss to VCU dropped the Rockets to 1-1 on the season, they enjoyed some encouraging signs in the defeat. Four of head coach Tod Kowalczyk's Rockets scored in double figures, with center Nathan Boothe's 18 points and 8 rebounds leading the way. J.D. Weatherspoon complemented the effort with a double-double, at 11 points and 10 rebounds. Boothe's emergence as a scoring option could mean good things for the Rockets, as they look to transition from a team that relies heavily on the shooting of Julius Brown to a more balanced attack.
That balanced attack will be crucial in seeking a result against an Oregon team just a few months removed from putting a second-round scare into eventual Final Four squad Wisconsin in last season's NCAA tournament. The Ducks led 49-37 at halftime before Frank Kaminsky led a rally in front of a raucous pro-Badgers crowd in Milwaukee to seal an 85-77 win for second-seeded Wisconsin.
Senior guard Joseph Young led all scorers in that game with a whopping 29 points, and he is back to lead the Ducks in their effort to get through an intriguing Pac-12 Conference slate. With his help, the Ducks are 2-0 on the season, and they most recently rode Young's 22 points to put away Detroit 83-66 Monday. Young also piled up 32 points in Oregon's season-opening win over Coppin State, and Toledo's key to stealing a road victory will be to find a way to slow down one of the nation's most dynamic scorers.
It remains to be seen how this year's Rockets squad will react to a fast-paced, stat sheet-filling offense like Oregon's, but it will be an important test for a team striving to reach new heights this season.