After surviving Arizona in overtime in the Pac-12 semifinal, the Oregon Ducks dismantled Utah in the championship Saturday, winning 88-57.
That’s right. A 31-point victory.
They laid the Quack down, if you will.
Oregon was rewarded with a 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament. Dana Altman didn’t see it coming – at least not at the beginning of the season.
“No, we went through a number of injuries in November and December and didn’t know our team would progress,” the Oregon head coach said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “Jordan Bell missed the first 10 games with the foot injury, Tyler Dorsey went down for a few games, and Dylan Ennis, a young man from Villanova that we were really counting on for experience and leadership at the point guard position, didn’t play for us at all because of a foot injury. We kind of had to go through some ups and downs in November and December and even into January before we started playing better basketball and got our seven-man rotation down and got things clicking.”
Oregon (28-6), which has won 14 of its last 16 games, including eight straight, plays the winner of Holy Cross versus Southern in opening-round action Friday at 7:27 p.m. ET.
A 1-seed has never lost to a 16-seed. Altman, however, said motivation won’t be an issue.
“Well, our team’s been pretty good at blocking out what people say about them and what they say about our opponents,” he said. “I hope they’re able to do that throughout the tournament. Anybody that qualifies for the tournament is a good basketball team and has won some games to get there and you’ve got to be prepared for that. Because of our lack of size, we just never really go out and dominate people. We are a quick team, but size – we don’t go out there and just dominate people with big bodies. We’ll have to compete and hopefully guys will get ready to play.”
The Ducks have six players averaging at least 7.0 points a game, including forwards Dillon Brooks and Elgin Cook, who lead the team with 16.8 points and 14.5 points, respectively.
This is Oregon’s first 1-seed in program history.
“I think we’ll be ready to go,” Altman said. “I think our guys will take the challenge. They’e excited about the No. 1. I told them it doesn’t do us much good (to be No. 1) if we don’t go make it work. I think the guys will be excited about trying to do that.”