Oregon basketball heads to Pac-12 Tournament with winning momentum

N'Faly Dante #1 and Head coach Dana Altman of the Oregon Ducks. Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images)
N'Faly Dante #1 and Head coach Dana Altman of the Oregon Ducks. Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images) /

It has been another roller-coaster season for the Oregon basketball team. Head coach Dana Altman has had fits at times, one even making him drive his car down I-5 by himself for a moment of reflection. This team has had bad bouts with the injury bug all year but now are finally healthy enough.

On Saturday, in front of a national television audience on CBS, Altman and the Ducks showed how offensive play with three-point shooters and inside play with a big man should play out. Oregon fell behind early but came on at just the right time.

The Ducks were outshot on the floor by Stanford, who led in most of the statistical categories including three-point percentage and field goal percentage. The Cardinal did have more turnovers with 13 to Oregon’s 8. Oregon had a better time at the free throw line than Stanford hitting 66 percent to the Cardinal’s 56 percent for the game. It was enough for a 73-68 win for the Ducks.

N’ Faly Dante finished with five blocks, including one on Stanford’s final possession to seal the win. He also had 15 points and 12 rebounds for a double-double. Will Richardson had 10 points in the win.

Oregon has won three straight games starting with Oregon State and wins vs Cal and Stanford to close out the regular season. The victory on Saturday was important giving Oregon the four seed in the Pac-12 Tournament that starts later this week in Las Vegas. The top four seeds will get a first-round bye. The Ducks face their first opponent on Thursday and likely have some work to do to add to their list of accomplishments this season to make the NCAA Tournament.

According to Bracketologist Joe Lunardi, the Ducks are in the ‘Next Four Out’ line in the 8th position. They will likely need at least two wins this week in Las Vegas or better yet win the tournament to guarantee your spot in the NCAA Tournament.

After watching the last three games, this is a team that I feel deserves an opportunity. They have playmakers that are finally healthy and the team is showing they have built chemistry. Oregon has a three-game winning streak entering this week, and momentum with any Dana Altman team can be dangerous as we all know.

Oregon will face either 5th-seed Washington State or 12th-seed California on Thursday. Tipoff is set for 2:30 pm Pacific Time.

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