Oregon will try to repeat as tournament champions, after winning last year's tournament en route to a NCAA tournament Sweet 16 appearance.
This year's challenge will be greater. Unlike last season, when the Ducks were the third-seed and receive a first round bye, this year's team will need four wins in four days to earn the automatic bid to the Big Dance.
"It's survive and advance from here on out," senior guard Johathan Loyd said Monday. "I've heard Mike say it before, every games has been a tournament game, so we're going to play the way we've been playing."
"I think it's kind of the mentality that all of this could be over at any moment now, we have to continue to play with that sense of desperation," Moser explained.
Oregon's first opponent will be in-state rival Oregon State, setting up a rare Civil War matchup away from Oregon soil. The Ducks and Beavers split two regular season appearances, with the home team winning each meeting.
The Ducks loss in Corvallis may have been the most decisive of the season, as Oregon held one lead, at 2-0, before trailing by double-figures for most of the rest.
The Beavers gave Oregon fits in the paint in the first game, taking advantage of an Oregon frontline in compete disarray.
"If we get production from that five spot, we're really dangerous," Loyd said." I'm glad everybody is picking their games up.
"I'm excited to see what they do next game, just keep getting better and better. This is the right time of year to do that. "
Loyd was last season's Pac-12 tournament MVP, but the Nevada-native is not the only Duck who's had success playing in Sin City.
"I'm excited to go back to Vegas. It's been a good place to play for me. I hope I can spread that to my teammates as well," he said.
Moser's play of late has been fantastic, winning back-to-back Pac-12 player of the week honors the last two weeks. "He seems like he's a little younger now. He's moving well. He's going after every rebound. He's playing with a lot of confidence too," Loyd said.
Moser is among five seniors who are in their last month of playing collegiate basketball, and so it's no surprise that he and Loyd and Jason Calliste are leaving it all on the court of late, because their days in the NCAA are numbered.
"He doesn't want to lose. It's his last go-around, just like it's mine and Jason's. None of us want to lose. We want to give it all we've got," Loyd said.
Two Ducks honored in Pac-12 awards
The Pac-12 conference recognized guar Joseph Young and forward Mike Moser as a part of their All-Conference teams Monday. Young was voted to the league's second-team, while Moser received honorable mention status.
Still, the Ducks, who finished in a five way tie for third place, were the only school in the top group in the final standings without a first-team representative.
"I always tell the guys, the spoils kind of go to the winners. We didn't win it. I thought some of our guys were maybe more deserving," Altman said.
Altman recognized a number of snubs, notably Loyd's nonappearance on the All-Defensive team, and Jason Calliste's absence from any award, but understood part of it was due to the nature of his team's season.
"We kind of caught up at the end," he said. "I'm sure some of the ballots were in before that."
Altman was also surprised to find Washington's C.J. Wilcox and Oregon State's Nelson omitted from the first-team.
Moser was also honored as the Pac-12 player of the week following his team's sweep of the Arizona schools. After receiving the same honor the previous week for his work against UCLA and USC, Moser becomes the first player in Oregon history to win back-to-back Pac-12 player of the week awards.
"That's really cool. That's a big honor, especially with all of the great players to come through here. It's definitely a cool feeling to know I'm the first player," Moser said.