march madness

NCAA Selection Committee Missed Mark on Selection Sunday

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NCAA selection committee
NCAA selection committee

NCAA selection committee, shame on you!

Yes it’s me, another disgruntled Oregon fan here to tell you of your corruption. How dare you put Oregon as a three seed. A meet up with 14 seed Iona, while nowhere near a juggernaut, is a much tougher first test than the Ducks should be facing in their opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

It’s preposterous. There’s only one reason to drop Oregon below a two, and it’s not a valid reason.

You had the gall to justify the seeding on national television by noting Chris Boucher’s devastating ACL tear in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals.

“That was a consideration,” committee chairman Mark Hollis said on CBS’s broadcast selection show. “That was on the table, as most injuries are.”

Boo, hiss, I say.

Why should an injury factor in at all to a team’s body of work, especially when it hasn’t proven to be an issue so far?

Boucher, Oregon’s starting center and one of the best two-way players in the country, suffered the setback in the Ducks’ narrow victory against Cal on Friday.

With just hours to prepare, the Ducks were back without their star big man the following night to face Arizona. Yes, the Wildcats did end up on top. Yes, the Ducks did handily clobber them by 27 back in February.

But that’s not any indication that this team will be unable to play with the nation’s elite come tipoff time Friday.

NCAA Tournament 2017 Bracket
NCAA Tournament 2017 Bracket

To me, the matchup was a clear ratings move. Just look at the bracket!

Think it’s a coincidence Oregon would play sixth seed Creighton in the second round? In case you didn’t know, that’s where Dana Altman used to raise banners before coming to Eugene.

Looking at the rest of the tournament, how about Villanova, a tournament sweetheart, getting the easiest path back to the final four?

The Wildcats should go through untested until the final four-play-in game when they meet another tournament favorite: Duke.

The NCAA selection committee wants exciting games – you can’t entirely blame them for that. Look at how loaded the seven-10 seeds are.

Note: Wisconsin, Vanderbilt, St. Mary’s, Michigan State, Michigan and Wichita State are all under seeded teams or perennial bracket busters.

This 2017 tournament feels like the first round games were meant to be a set up for round two. And it’s working, but no one is calling the committee out on this.

I mean, how great does a Michigan St.-Kansas round of 32 sound?

Wichita St.-Kentucky? Hell yeah, I’ll watch that.

This tournament is loaded with fun storylines, opening round, second or third, and I can’t help feeling that’s not coincidence.

Color me a conspiracy theorist, but something here is fishy.

March Madness: Welcome Oregon women’s basketball to the Big Dance

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March Madness
March Madness

SEATTLE – Any doubts about Oregon women’s basketball’s inclusion to the NCAA Tournament were thoroughly snuffed out Friday in Key Arena.

Sophomore guard Maite Cazorla and freshman Ruthy Hebard contested Kelsey Plum’s shot at the buzzer, hanging on for a 70-69 victory over rival Washington in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals.

Plum, the NCAA’s all-time leading scorer, played all 40 minutes and scored a game-high 34 points. But it wasn’t enough as the No. 3 seed Huskies (27-5, 15-3 conference) fell in front a largely friendly crowd of nearly 10,000.

The Ducks, which moved to 20-13, 8-10, on the season Saturday with a loss to perennial power Stanford in the semifinals, did enough to punch their proverbial tickets by up ending border rival Washington.

In their previous meeting of the season, a 99-77 shellacking at Matt Knight Arena on Dec. 30, gave little hope of an Oregon bounce back.

But bounce it did, right out of the bubble and into solid tournament placement.

The Ducks résumé is finito. Written, spell checked – signed, sealed and delivered. Now the waiting begins.

While the Oregon men’s basketball team carries its No. 1 seed into the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas, the women have a week off to wait for Selection Sunday.

There’s no doubt both Ducks teams will be dancing. The only question is will there be any ill will with seeding for the Big Dance.

It’s safe to assume the women, which haven’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2005, will wind up somewhere in the 6-8 range.

But hey, with a friendly committee it wouldn’t be outlandish to see the Ducks as high as a five. And an unfavorable one could drop them as low as a nine or even a double digit.

Their RPI is No. 34, which doesn’t do their body of work justice. But really, when does a computer ranking?

That’s the fun of March Madness, right?

As for the men, their fate is a little more certain.

Oregon men's basketball
Oregon men’s basketball

Their No. 5 ranking would lead to believe they’re sitting on the cusp of back to back No. 1 seeds for the NCAA Tournament – Oregon reached the elite eight last year as the West’s top seed.

Should it win out, a one would almost be certain. That is unless the selection committee buys into the all powerful, benevolent RPI.

Yes, according to ESPN, Oregon is only No. 14 in the latest RPI rankings. That’s one spot behind UCLA, the highest ranked team, which just so happens to be ranked No. 4 in the AP Poll.

Even more surprisingly, Arizona, who seems to be in the top 10 in every human poll/power ranking, is only No. 23 in the RPI.

Riddle me that, please…

Joe Lunardi of ESPN has the Ducks as the No. 2 seed from the west. A trip to Sacramento wouldn’t be the worst thing for a Pacific Northwest squad.

And, in my very humble opinion, Gonzaga is the weakest of those No. 1 seeds.

NCAA Tournament
NCAA Tournament

I’ll take it. Oh yeah, I’ll take an underdog role.

How weird is that, really, that a No. 2 seed is considered a slight to Oregon basketball.

Just five years ago, as an up and coming Dana Altman prepared to take over a mediocre Ducks program, the idea of back to back tournament appearances would have been enough for Phil Knight to donate another *insert ridiculous amount of money* check to the program.

Now, and maybe it’s just how bad Oregon football has been the past two years, but fans are already spoiled, entitled hoops fans.

This column certainly rambled and got away from my original message of “wow – just check out what these Lady Ducks are doing.”

Both Oregon teams haven’t gone dancing the same March in 17 years. Both teams are having unprecedented years for different reasons.

Make no mistake, this could end up being the best March Madness in Oregon history. So let’s make sure we appreciate it for what it really is.

The move to, dare I say, becoming a basketball school?

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Battle For The Top: March Madness 2015

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For basketball fans, the Final Four Tournament is the highlight of the season.  Lovers of Basketball consider the March Madness to be the most compelling, and greatest sporting event on earth.

If you are a more casual fan, here’s a little breakdown on how this works:

  • The Final Four is a single elimination, division specific tournament.
  • 68 teams out of more than 340 are invited for the tournament each year (yes invited)
  • Each Tournament is divided by region with at least 16 teams in a region
  • A Selection Committee seeds the whole field of teams
  • The Tournament as several rounds
    • The First Four
    • The First Round (also known as “the Round of 64”)
    • The Second Round (also known as “the Round of 32”)
    • The Regional Semi-finals (participating teams are known popularly as the “Sweet Sixteen”)
    • The Regional Finals (participating teams are known commonly as the “Elite Eight”)
    • The National Semi-finals (participating teams are referred to officially as the “Final Four”)
    • The National Championship
  • UCLA has won 11 titles
  • Oregon has a single win in 1939

As of this writing, nobody is officially in the tourney: selection takes place on “Selection Sunday” – March 15th.  However there are some clear contenders, and yes, Oregon is one of them albeit on the bubble.  Ducks Senior Guard Joseph Young recently shared his confidence about being in the Madness:

“We’re going to the (NCAA) tournament. I just want to get that out right now, We’re going to the tournament. We’ve just got to take one game at a time, and we will be at the tournament.”

Pete Martini at The Statesman Journal seems to agree with Young.

“A win Sunday (22nd) gives the Ducks 20 victories for the season. A win gives them a big name in the “Who did they beat?” category come Selection Sunday. And a win keeps them alone in third place heading into the final three games of the regular season.  If the Ducks finish the regular season in the top four in the conference, then they will earn an automatic berth into the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals.”

Even NIKE has unveiled new Oregon Madness uniforms.

OregonMadnessBasketballNike
image uoducks-instagram

CBS Sports has Oregon “On The Bubble” coming in against Miami in the first round.

Brackets-CBSSPorts

While our money is on Justin Phillips analysis that perception is everything, oftentimes the book betting crowd does a better job than any of the pundits when it comes to calculating who lands where in the Final Four.  We follow www.sportsbooknavigator.com.  While online betting is illegal in Oregon, in never hurts to get a little expert help for the office pool….

EDN Final Four Picks:

  1. Kentucky takes it all.
  2. Duke
  3. UCLA
  4. Wisconsin or Stanford

With the Ducks still on recovery from last years tremendous turmoil, this sports fan will be happy if they just beat Utah on Sunday.  One day at a time, right James?

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