Bracketologists have not been kind to the Ducks this past week. The Pac 12 Tournament begins on Thursday for eight teams in the Conference, including Washington and Washington State, who the Ducks will see one of on Friday. (the top four teams get a ‘bye’ in Round 1. Oregon is slated as the 3 seed)
Feb, 28, 2013; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks guard Damyean Dotson Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports
Oregon’s 2012-2013 season was magical with a nice winning streak at Matthew Knight Arena (20 games going back to last year) and wins over UCLA and Arizona(who Oregon by virtue of scheduling only saw once during the regular season.) As the year came to a close the magic lost some of it’s luster with a losing streak to end the campaign.
We learned that Oregon struggles when it’s star player(s) are absent as Freshman Dominic Artis missed a significant amount of the Pac 12 season with a foot injury. The Ducks are having some issues with readjusting to him in the lineup as well, as they are 1-3 since his return.
Oregon did get recognized by the Conference on Monday with several awards going to Coach Altman(Coach of the Year), E.J. Singler(First Team All Pac 12), Arsalan Kazemi(Defensive All Pac 12), and Damyean Dotson(Freshman Team).
I find it funny that Pac 12 Analyst Don McClean pretty much believes that the Pac 12 Tournament is up for grabs. He thinks that any of 9 teams could win it. Honestly, I don’t think it’s that far from the realm of possibility to believe that. This year the game is at a ‘truly’ neutral site so there is no real home field advantage. It depends on who travels the best.
The big question is Which Oregon team will show up in Vegas?
In Conference this season the Ducks big wins include the win at home against Arizona, away at UCLA(only faced those teams once due to scheduling), and the win vs UNLV. Several of the big losses came to close the regular season, but I would also look at the Colorado loss at home along with the loss at Colorado and at Utah to end the conference season schedule.
Feb, 21, 2013; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks guard Johnathan Loyd (10) Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports
Oregon needs to win and build some confidence throughout the Pac 12 Tournament. An early exit should not be an option for this team. The Ducks have worked through a lot this year. Everything from turnovers to injuries and facing a team on Round 2 that they have already beaten this year should help get them a win.
Freshman Dominic Artis has also worked his way back into the rotation, along with Johnathan Loyd who helped carry the load during a foot injury that sidelined Artis for a month of the Pac 12 regular season. During the Pac 12 Tournament look for the minutes to continue for the Duck Freshman as Oregon heads towards the Big Dance.
It looks like Oregon could be as high as a 6 or 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but they would have to win the Pac 12 Tourney. If they lose in the First round, the Ducks harsh reality could be a Play in game(the Tournament Committee tends to like teams on winning streaks.) If they win two in conference tournament an 8 seed is the likely destination for Oregon.
Where will the Ducks have to go in the NCAA Tournament. Of course, closer to home is always better regardless of who you are. If Oregon has to travel East or South, (Washington DC or Texas), it won’t be as much as an advantage as it would be to play in the West(Los Angeles).
In the Pac 12 Tournament Oregon took care of Washington in Overtime 80-77 in the 2nd Round of the Pac 12 Tournament. The Ducks then made it look ugly in beating Utah by 19 points in Round 3 on Friday. In the Pac 12 Title game, Oregon continued to show confidence against UCLA. Oregon won the Pac 12 Title for the first time since 2007 with a 78-69 win over the Bruins. The Ducks have now won three in a row, and await word from the NCAA Tournament Committee on where they will end up.
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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