What’s No. 12 seed Oregon’s ceiling?
by Patrick Stevens, Special for USA TODAY Sports
Team of the day: Oregon
Route to the Dance: Automatic bid (Pac-12)
Credentials: 28-8 (12-6 Pac-12), conference tournament champs, beat No. 4 seed Saint Louis
Signature win: There’s plenty to choose from. The Ducks beat Arizona at home, UNLV on the road an UCLA in a pair of encounters outside of Eugene.
But the 68-55 deconstruction of Oklahoma State in the round of 64 was an emphatic message at how blatantly under-seeded Oregon was.
This isn’t hindsight declaring the committee made a poor decision slotting the Ducks as a No. 12 seed. It was rather clear Oregon belonged roughly around a No. 7 or No. 8 seed. Its profile looked a lot like Notre Dame’s, and the Fighting Irish rightfully earned a No. 7 seed before making their customary early exit.
Team strength: Balance
No one averages 12 points a game for Oregon.
Six guys average eight points a game for the Ducks.
And therein lies a substantial advantage for Dana Altman’s team.
Who is going to create headaches? It could be E.J. Singler. Perhaps it is Damyean Dotson. It might even be Carlos Emory, who is the only Duck to lead the team in scoring in three consecutive games (he did so in February’s final three contests).
So yes, Louisville is good at defense. Really good. But at the very least, the Ducks can field a lineup with five plenty capable offensive players, and they’ll at least have a chance to score against the Cardinals in the round of 16.
This team will remind you of: 2008 Villanova
The 2008 Wildcats had their share of guards (Scottie Reynolds, Corey Fisher, Corey Stokes, Dwayne Anderson and Malcolm Grant) and their share of turnover problems. But they pulled a 12/5 upset against a roster with no tournament experience (Clemson) and went on to lose to the eventual national champions in the round of 16 (Kansas).
The 2013 Ducks aren’t quite as guard-oriented, but they sure do have trouble holding onto the ball (more on that in a bit). They pulled a 12/5 upset against a team coming off a two-year NCAA tournament hiatus (Oklahoma State) and now encounter one of the tournament favorites in … [For more on Cinderella Watch: What's No. 12 seed Oregon's ceiling in the Big Dance?, click here.]