If the Ducks are going to rattle off late season wins for the second consecutive year, why not just carry on the seasonal parallels? That, of course, would mean they’d carry on into the second round and give Wisconsin one helluva run for their money? The Ducks held as large as a 14-point lead in that one. But let’s not be revisionist. Now is the time for Joseph Young to bid us adieu with his continued performances. To wow us and impress us and gain some slow motion time during One Shining Moment. I’m not saying Oregon is going to win the tournament, but rather that Young is the kind of player that makes plays you dogpile for.
OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS
This is a recent NCAA tournament rematch. The wildly under-seeded Ducks (12) drew the Cowboys in San Jose and would knock them off in 2013 en route to a Sweet Sixteen appearance. As for the 2015 Cowboys? Well they’re still coached by Travis Ford which isn’t the most confident building thing. He’s never advanced past the Round of 32. But they are the highest KenPom rated 9-seed in the tournament and they’ll be playing in Omaha, too. Le’Bryan Nash leads the OK State in scoring but does so inefficiently (99 ORtg on 32% usage). He does it on the blocks, however, which has been an issue for the Ducks. And if it’s not Nash it could be one of Phil Forte or Anthony Hickey connecting from deep (38% and 39%, respectively). Defensively, one thing that the Pokes do well is protect the rim. They have one of the nation’s highest block percentages and the 33rd lowest 2FG% against with the 13th lowest FG% at the rim. Unfortunately, Oregon doesn’t care. They’ll pretty gladly shoot their way to victory. Worth noting, especially as the nation lauds Joe Young, is that the Sooners have two players on the All-Big12 Defense Team in Michael Cobbins (6’9” forward) and Hickey (5’11” guard). I can’t say for certain but I imagine Hickey draws the task of matching up with Young.
- Joseph Young is a story. Can the pistol hot guard be America’s darling?
- The rematches. Oregon has played both Wisconsin and Oklahoma State in the past two NCAA tournaments.
- The Ducks are playing in Omaha, Nebraska which is where Creighton is. That’s Dana Altman’s old school and this ‘homecoming’ has prompted him to receive up to 60 ticket requests.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
“I’m not sure we’ll play well, but we’ll be ready to play.” – Dana Altman
“Upsets that WON’T happen: No. 8 Oregon or No. 9 Oklahoma State over No. 1 Wisconsin” – Rob Dauster
Wisconsin gets the SI cover. This is undoubtedly good for us #GoDucks
— David Piper (@atqdave) March 17, 2015
I actually really like the Ducks in the first round. Or maybe I just really don’t like the Cowboys who are maybe riding the coattails of a loaded Big XII. Nevertheless, the prospects of playing Wisconsin in the second round doesn’t bode well for the longterm outlook of these Ducks. And while I want to say “ya never know” it’s really hard to say that about these Ducks vs. these Badgers. Last year UO had – ya know – a really talented roster and Wisconsin wasn’t quite the defense they are today. Basically, Wisconsin has gotten better while the Ducks have gotten luckier (one of six NCAA tournament teams to rank in the Top-10 in KenPom’s luck rating). I can see Dana’s team advancing past Oklahoma State but not much beyond that. Which ultimately is a really successful season considering what 2015 had projected to be for the neons.