NCAA countdown: No. 36 Oregon
by Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY Sports
The first word: Dana Altman remembers the natural jubilation from his team when Oregon Ducks rolled off Greg Gumbel’s tongue to provide reality to most of his players earning their first trip to the NCAA tournament.
Then came the head-scratching.
Of all the snubs, Oregon’s No. 12 seed was by far the most puzzling decision made by the committee. Altman’s group sent a message with wins over Oklahoma State and Saint Louis to reach the Sweet 16. The only brick wall standing in front of the Ducks turned out to be eventual champion Louisville.
Altman’s third year in Eugene certainly trumped the first two, which included postseason trips to the NIT and CBI. Now he’ll look to follow a similar script to the one he used at Creighton, where he helped lift the Bluejays into the national conversation long before the school’s move to the Big East. The game plan is obvious: Keep the momentum going and turn Oregon into a perennial Pac-12 Conference contender and a program that expects to hear its name called every season. And perhaps as a single-digit seed next time.
2012-13 in review: 28-9 overall (12-6 in the Pac-12 to tie for third place), lost in Sweet 16 of NCAA tournament to Louisville.
Path to the Dance: An automatic bid.
Star watch: The Ducks lose most of their lineup including top catalysts Carlos Emory, and E.J. Singler all gone. But two key pieces return in the backcourt with Damyean Dotson (11.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg) and Dominic Artis (8.5 ppg, 3.2 apg). Oregon wasn’t the same team without Artis when he suffered a foot injury. The Ducks started the Pac-12 6-0 before buckling and going 5-4 without their point guard. Jonathan Lloyd is another key returner who could fit in the backcourt mix.
Newcomers: Altman has been highly successful with the usage of short-term transfers, the latest being former UNLV star Mike Moser, whowill be a critical addition to the Ducks’ front line, which lost Singler, Tony Woods and Arsalan Kazemi. Moser struggled last season (7.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg) with the Runnin’ Rebels after averaging 14 points and 10.5 … [For more on College basketball countdown: No. 36 Oregon, click here.]