INDIANAPOLIS -- Between them, Duke, Louisville and Michigan State have eight national championship trophies.
Nice ones, too -- well cared for, unbroken, with a designated spot of honor on campus.
Oregon has a piece of basketball hardware, too -- a trophy from the school's lone basketball title in 1939. The Ducks even brought it with them here to the Midwest Regional.
The hunk of junk more closely resembles something you'd find at a neighborhood yard sale. The little basketball man on top unscrews at the ankles thanks to a makeshift repair 74 years ago -- "I think they broke it after they won in '39,'' said Oregon assistant sports information director Mike Garabedian -- and the bottom is so unstable, the whole trophy wobbles.
It might have been golden or copper at one point, but now it more just looks tarnished and beaten.
The Ducks have treated it with all the reverence its dilapidated stature deserves. On the team plane they tricked it out in sunglasses (though they did strap it in to its own seat) before landing, and they have carted it around in both a duffel bag and a plastic bag from the UO bookstore.
Oregon doesn't even have a home for it on campus. There's a replica that the NCAA provided in the trophy case, but for now, the original resides on a dusty office shelf. The last survivor from that 1939 team recently died, so there's a casual plan to get a team banner he had and partner it with the trophy in a new case.
And, really, it's all just so perfect.
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