The Oregon Ducks are NIT bound for the first time since 2004 and for the tenth time overall. The Ducks finished the season 22-9 (13-5 in the Pac-12) and will they will host LSU from the Southeastern Conference. LSU finished 18-14 and 7-9 in the SEC. This is the first ever meeting between the schools and they will match up on Tuesday, March 13th at the Matthew Knight Arena at 6:30 pm PT. The Oregon Ducks enter the game as a 3 seed and LSU as a 6 seed in the tournament.
The Ducks are joining three other Pac-12 schools in the NIT. Pac-12 regular season champion Washington (1 seed), Arizona (1 seed) and Stanford (3 seed) will all be gunning to reach the final game at Madison Square Garden. The Pac-12 sent two schools into the NCAA Tournament with Pac-12 tournament winner Colorado being joined by California.
The Ducks were one of the highest scoring teams in the Pac-12 averaging 72.2 points per game placing them third in the conference. They are led by senior guard Devoe Joseph who topped the team in scoring. Joseph averaged 16.6 points a game which was third in the Pac-12. Fellow senior guard Garrett Sim averaged 12.2 points per game tying him for 19th in the Pac-12. The last member of the Ducks to average double digits is junior forward E.J. Singler chipping in with 13.1 points per game tying him for ninth in the conference. Singler also led the Ducks in rebounding at 6.1 boards a game.
It was a successful second season for Coach Dana Altman. The team increased its wins in the Pac-12 by six games from the previous season. In Altman’s first season, the Ducks were 21-18 overall and 7-11 in conference. Altman will match wits with a former Pac-10 coach in Trent Johnson of LSU. Johnson just finished his fourth season in Louisiana with previous stops at Stanford and Nevada. Johnson is a three time Coach of the Year winner. He has won the award in each conference he has coached at including the Pac-10, Southeastern Conference and Western Athletic Conference.
The LSU Tigers averaged 65 points a game which ranked them eighth out of 12 SEC teams. They are led by 7’0” junior center Justin Hamilton. Hamilton averages 12.7 points per game which put him 14th in the SEC. It will be vital for the Ducks to keep him off the glass. Hamilton led the team in rebounds at 7.2 a game with 3.3 of those boards coming on the offensive end which was second best in the SEC. The other double digit scoring threat for the Tigers is sophomore guard Andre Stringer at 10.1 points per game.
Both teams are looking to bounce back from tough losses in their respective conference tournaments. LSU lost in the second round of the SEC Tournament to Kentucky by a score of 60-51. The Oregon Ducks were upset in the first round by a 63-62 score to Colorado. The winner of this clash between the Ducks and Tigers will play the winner of the Dayton versus Iowa game.
Check out my blog at www.sportissue.com
Follow me on twitter @RaymondMenckeJr, https://twitter.com/#!/RaymondMenckeJr
Also check us out on Facebook on the Autzen Zoo page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Autzen-Zoo/218278984920632
Tags: Andre Stringer Arizona Colorado Dana Altman Dayton Flyers Devoe Joseph E.J. Singler Garrett Sim Iowa Justin Hamilton Kentucky LSU Tigers Nevada NIT Oregon Ducks Basketball Pac-10 Pac-12 Popular SEC Stanford Trent Johnson WAC Washington