Ranked 16th in the nation and boasting a 16-2 record, the Oregon men’s basketball team have been projected as a five seed in Joe Lunardi’s latest NCAA tournament Bracketology. The Ducks have been rising recently in Lunardi’s weekly projected rankings. Last week Oregon was projected as a seven seed and they were projected as a ten seed the week before that.
Lunardi’s projection comes with the Ducks on an absolute tear the past month. The Ducks are currently on a seven game winning streak, including a 5-0 record in conference. That 5-0 conference record is something Oregon has never done in school history.
That’s right in 110 years of Oregon basketball, Oregon has never started off conference play with five straight wins – not during the time of the Tall Firs or Oregon’s Elite 8 run in 2006.
Under Lunardi’s projection, the Ducks would be placed in the East region and would play 16-3 Bucknell. While the Ducks are in the East region, they would play their first two games in San Jose, Calif. Just over 450 miles away from Eugene, San Jose is the closest site for the Ducks in the tournament.
If the Ducks made it to the Sweet 16, they would have to travel across the country to play in Washington D.C., the main site for the East region. In the Sweet 16 Oregon could meet Duke, who at this point would be the number one overall seed in the tournament. Four Pac-12 teams in total are projected to make the tournament, with Arizona receiving a two seed. Arizona would receive the highest seed, and UCLA and Colorado also making the tournament.
Ducks should be favored in all of their games the rest of the season. In their 13 remaining games, Colorado is the only opponent projected to make the Big Dance. The Ducks will also face Washington twice, who was projected as one of the first four teams out of the tournament. Oregon will face Washington this Saturday at home, and then go on the road to face them February 13th. Oregon will take on Colorado February 7th at home.
While all except one of Oregon’s remaining opponents have winning records, it’s not out of the question for Oregon to run the table and finish the regular season with a 29-3 record. That would be the best record in Oregon men’s basketball history and would earn oregon a one or two seed in the tournament.
Overall, this would be a difficult bracket for the Ducks if they were ultimately placed in it. The Ducks would have to travel across the country to Washington D.C. If they got deep in the tournament, and would potentially have to face the overall number one seed Duke Blue Devils.