It was an incredible regular season, and an even more remarkable post season for the Oregon Ducks (28-8, 12-6). Unfortunately it all came to an end by a final score of 77-69 to the No. 1 overall seed Louisville Cardinals (31-5, 14-4).
After being picked to finish seventh in the Pac-12 in preseason by the coaches, Oregon came within one game of the regular season conference title. In March, the Ducks exploded with a Pac-12 Tournament victory and was overlooked again, this time by the NCAA selection committee, and was given a 12 seed.
From there the Ducks would go on to cruise past Oklahoma State and St Louis in the first two rounds to the reach the team’s first sweet 16 appearance since 2007, and the first in the Dana Altman era.
The Ducks defied odds all season, accomplishing something remarkable that will may go down as a defining season in Oregon history. While a win would have been one of the biggest in school history, there should be no heads down with the outcome of this season. Oregon accomplished something that has only happened four times in Ducks history.
Going into the game, there was talk about how the Ducks would hold their own against the sensational Louisville guards and their press defense. Oregon responded by only committing 12 turnovers offensively. It was the Ducks’ defense that struggled containing the Cardinals’ guards.
Louisville’s Russ Smith had a monster performance, going 9-of-16 for 31 points including 12-of-14 from the free throw line. Smith played in foul trouble part way through the second half, but it didn’t seem to effect him. Guard Kevin Ware also had a huge game, going 5-of-7 for 11 points. The only other Cardinal to score in double digits was center Gorgui Dieng who dominated the boards with nine rebounds to go along with 10 points.
The Ducks’ offense was much more spread out. Five different Ducks scored in double digits with senior E.J. Singler scoring 15 points in his final game of a legendary career. Singler is already the all-time winningest player in Ducks history, but could have added an elite eight appearance to his hardware.
Freshman guards Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson each scored 12 points for the Ducks. Seniors Carlos Emory and Arsalan Kazemi scored 10 and 11 points respectively in their final game as Ducks as well.
The Ducks will lose four players to graduation, including three of five starters. Along with Singler, Emory and Kazemi, the Ducks also will lose starting center Tony Woods to graduation. Woods struggled all game long scoring just three points and only playing 11 minutes.
I loved putting that OREGON jersey on each & ever game. I will miss playing for the Ducks and representing the state of Oregon! Love you all— EJ Singler (@EJSingler) March 30, 2013
With the loss, the Ducks are eliminated from the NCAA Tournament. Louisville will advance to the elite eight to face the winner of Duke and Michigan State.