Oregon Ducks Junior Johnathan Loyd had had a challenging season as a Duck. He was thrust into a Starting role when Freshman Dominic Artis went down with a foot injury. Loyd was partially blamed when turnovers went up, and scoring went down. He has at times been a bright spot, in the win against Oregon State at Matthew Knight Arena. He played a key role earlier this week against Washington sinking the two free throws that would send the game to overtime and Saturday night he was superb. Loyd’s high school days were spent in Las Vegas and Saturday in the Oregon(26-8)victory over UCLA(25-9), 78-69 the Junior had 19 points, three assists and two steals. His effort earned Loyd Pac 12 Tournament MVP Honors.
“He was unbelievable for us this weekend. I’ve always had confidence in Johnny and I think he was just down on himself. He’s had a lot of ups and downs this season, but he has really worked on his game, is always in the gym and this is his payoff.” Oregon Senior E.J. Singler
Other Ducks also chipped in on the effort against the Bruins. Oregon Senior Arsalan Kazemi had a double double with 12 points and 12 rebounds and Senior Carlos Emory put in 20. Oregon’s Defense Saturday night in the Pac 12 Championship Game was the best I have seen them this year.
Kazemi was a rebounding monster, as he usually is, but Freshman Ben Carter showed that he can be the Ducks man inside when he needs to be.
Oregon started out sluggish, but when they found their groove there was no going back. For the second game in a row they held a lead for a good part of the game. The Ducks shot 50 percent from three point range for the game, sinking 7 shots. The Ducks shot 47 percent from the field in the Pac 12 Tournament win, their first since 2007.
The Ducks also are going to the NCAA Tournament, with the Pac 12 Tournament Title in hand they are the conference’s automatic qualifier, although they would have made it as an at large had the lost to UCLA. This only helps the Ducks in one important area, seeding in the NCAA Tournament. Oregon also now has a three game winning streak and three National television appearances this week, which can only help.
I am looking at the Ducks as a 7 or 8 seed. However with other Conference Tournaments finishing today, and several nationally ranked teams upset earlier this week, Oregon could come in as high as a 5 or 6.(a 5 might be a reach).
All we know right now is Oregon is headed to the Big Dance as March Madness officially begins in the Willamette Valley shortly after 2pm (PT) Sunday.
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