march madness - Page 2

For The Oregon Ducks In the NCAA Tournament, It Will Be Deja Vu Playing Against BYU

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Prior to the Dec. 21 game between the Oregon Ducks and the BYU Cougars, many pundits and fans alike thought the game would be a clash between two NCAA tournament caliber teams.

However, no one could’ve predicted that the early season matchup would be a prelude to an NCAA tournament showdown.

On Thursday, No. 7 seed Oregon will play No. 10 BYU for its NCAA tournament lives in the first round in Milwaukee.

Oregon head coach Dana Altman commented on playing a repeat opponent in the first round.

“It’s a little unusual in these circumstances. I don’t think they try to do that much. But it’s not that big of a deal.”

In the game in December, the Ducks gave up a whopping 96 points, 22 points more than their season average(though the game went into overtime).

“They’re a very good offensive team. It was a long time ago that we played them. We’re a different team. They’re a different team. I don’t think we can draw too much from the first game. It was here, which was a big advantage for us because of the crowd,” Altman said. 

However, Loyd said the experience will be useful for preparation purposes.

Johnathan Loyd goes airborne in Oregon's first matchup against BYU. Photo - Craig Strobeck/Fishduck.com
Johnathan Loyd goes airborne in Oregon’s first matchup against BYU. Photo – Craig Strobeck/Fishduck.com

“Their zone defense is a little bit of a hybrid. So just see how they do it and see what kind of plays they run.”

In that game, Tyler Haws, the sixth leading scorer in the country, torched the Ducks for 32 points. 

Both Altman and Loyd have tons of respect for his game, especially his offensive repertoire.

“His midrange game is vicious, one dribble, two dribble pull-ups, he can get to the rack. He has the complete package.” Loyd said.

“He’s as good a offensive player that we’ve seen all year and we’ve faced some pretty good players. He can score with the best of them,” Altman added.

Though Oregon is extremely prolific offensively, scoring 81.8 ppg, BYU’s offense might be even more potent. The Cougars average 84.2 ppg. 

“Both of our strengths are still going to be to get up and down the floor. We’re both going to play to our strengths,” Loyd said. 

However, Kyle Collinsworth, BYU’s second leading scorer and leading rebounder, tore his ACL against Gonzaga in the WCC championship game and is out for the season. Collinsworth averaged 14 points and 8.2 rebounds per game and scored 15 points against the Ducks. 

Altman believes injuries are detrimental for an entire season or a long stretch, but not for one game.

“When a guy goes out for one game, everyone is excited about picking it up. Anyone who is backing him up is really excited about the opportunity. In past experience, it really doesn’t make that much of a difference.”

Jason Calliste driving the base line Photo - Dave Peaks
Jason Calliste driving the base line against California.
Photo – Dave Peaks/EDN

The player of the game in December was Jason Calliste, Oregon’s leading scorer off the bench. Calliste had his most prolific output of the season against BYU in December, scoring 31 points.

However, he suffered a minor injury against UCLA.

“He’s a little sore but I think he’ll be okay. By Thursday I think he will be ready to go,” Altman said.

As far as location is concerned, one Duck will be going home while a few others were disappointed that the the NCAA tournament committee didn’t send Oregon to their home state.

The lucky man is none other than F Elgin Cook, who is from Milwaukee.

 

Elgin Cook gets to go home to Milwaukee for the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament.
Elgin Cook gets to go home to Milwaukee for the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament. Kevin Cline/FishDuck

“I know he’s excited to play there with all of his family watching,” Oregon G Damyean Dotson said.

“I wanted to go back to Texas actually. We could’ve been a 12 seed, I just wanted to go back home,” Dotson added.

Damyean Dotson drives towards the basket. Photo courtesy of AP/Ted S. Warren.
Damyean Dotson drives towards the basket. Photo courtesy of AP/Ted S. Warren.

“Rich and Jason were hoping for Buffalo. Joe and Dot were hopping for San Antonio. Elgin had Milwaukee and I didn’t care,” Altman said. 

In order for the Ducks to stick around for more than a few days, they must rejuvenate after a somewhat disappointing Pac-12 tournament performance.

The Ducks are coming off a loss to UCLA in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament, where they completely collapsed in the second half. Oregon was down by just two at halftime, but lost the game 82-63.

“After that loss we have a sour taste in our mouths. We feel like we didn’t have our best game and didn’t give it our all,” Loyd said.

“It was tough because we just didn’t play very well. I think that hurt them more than anything. They’ll bounce back,” Altman added.

Also, Dotson must play close to how he played in last year’s NCAA Tournament, where he averaged 17.3 ppg., and the antithesis of his performance since he recently tried to bring a fake ID into Taylor’s Bar & Grill. The Oregon guard is averaging just 5.7 ppg on 28 percent shooting in the six games since the incident.

“I just got to get in the gym and just focus. It’s gonna start with me playing defense and getting rebounds,” Dotson said.

If the Ducks defeat the Cougars, they will play the winner of No. 2 seed Wisconsin and No. 15 seed American.

Not to diminish the daunting task of defeating a tough Badgers squad, but if the Ducks do pull off the upset, and if Creighton can win as favorites in the first two rounds, Altman will coach against his former team in the Sweet 16.

“I am happy for Creighton. They’ve had a wonderful year. (Doug)McDermott, whoo, what an incredible year. I hope we do play them. That means they won and we won.”

Last year, the Ducks won the Pac-12 tournament, but were slated as a No. 12 seed. This year, they lost in the quarterfinals, but were selected as a No. 7 seed.

“The complete opposite from last year. I feel like we were disrespected last year,” Loyd said.

Still, the Ducks proved themselves last year, pulling off multiple upsets to make it to the Sweet 16.

But just because Oregon made it to the Sweet 16 last year doesn’t mean they will take an NCAA tournament birth for granted this year.

“I feel nothing but excitement. It’s a great opportunity for us,” Loyd said. 

Altman at the wheel. | AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu
Altman is pumped for the NCAA tournament. | AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

Altman has the most understandable reason to be ho-hum about the tournament, as he has already coached in nine NCAA tournaments. However, he still maintains enthusiasm.

“I hope the guys are looking forward to it. I know I am. It never gets old.”

 

 

 

College Football Nation: Texas has Fallen and Fiesta Bowl Prisoner

Is anyone really paying attention to the college football world as March Madness is upon us?  I know I still care about college football and all it’s glory, but the college basketball tournament really helps occupy the time during this slow period.  I enjoy looking for the next “Cinderella” in the March Madness tournament.  I think everyone likes looking for that underdog.

I hope that with the upcoming playoffs, we are able to get an underdog here and there and it does not become the same teams over and over again.  Or maybe the same teams showing up year after year will make the playoffs expand … we do have the LSU vs Alabama rematch that got us the playoffs.  Well let’s get into some news and thoughts:

1) Texas has fallen!  That is the only way to look at the mess left behind with them “dismissing” Mack Brown.  After interviewing a few main Texas high school coaches, they found that most schools would rank Texas A&M and Baylor before putting Texas on their list.  If Baylor is ranked ahead of Texas, it just goes to show how much work Charlie Strong has to do in the next season or two.  Baylor used to be one of the worst programs in the history of the BIG-12.

Texas some how allowed themselves to be outdone by a school with nothing compared to them.  Texas used to be able to just show up at a high school in Texas or a Texas recruits house and it was a done deal.  Now Texas has to get in line when it comes to recruiting in their own state.  Charlie Strong is a fierce recruiter and will get back the fire and restore Texas to it’s rightful place in the “pecking” order down in the Lone Star state.

2) We all knew the BCS was a joke.  Sure it provided some great games, but in the end it had to go.  Read “DEATH TO THE BCS” to understand the scam of what the BCS was running.  In recent news the “CEO” of the Fiesta Bowl was sentenced to 8 months in prison for “illegal” use of funds.  Just read the article and see where and how he was spending the money.  What a joke!

Schools go broke when they go to a bowl game because of all the ticket sales and hotel room rules and regulations … really they are in place so these “fat cats” can keep on living the high life.  Google “UCONN loses money in fiesta bowl” and you will see how teams are “rewarded” for going to a BCS bowl game.

I know the March Madness basketball tournament is successful because of how they run their model.  That tournament rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars and schools are able to get a share and keep on going.  The Bowl system in college football needs to rethink how they do things and the NCAA needs to help straighten out things so the bowl games are not taking schools for all they are worth.  The next time you see a school such as Northern Illinois in the Orange Bowl … be glad for their achievement but sad because of how much it is “breaking the bank.”  On a side note, 3 bowls are going to be audited by the IRS now.  I am sure they are thinking, “Thanks, Fiesta Bowl!”

3) Despite the horrible season they had compared to their high expectations, Northwestern is able to give us a little positive light during this off season outside of the “union case.”  Northwestern is  going to build a multi-purpose facility on the water.  It looks like an amazing venue and will be another game changer in the world of recruiting for Northwestern.  I would be interested in polling recruits and seeing if their main draw to a school is because of buildings like these being built or what the main reasons are.

So we have a little news coming out of the college football world but most of the country’s attention has been turned from the football fields over to the basketball courts for the next 3-4 weeks.  Continue to enjoy the off season.  We will have spring ball here before you know it and then we will be able to get a better feel for our favorite teams and what we might expect from them in the 2014 season.  PLAYOFFS BABY!

Now here are some great Oregon football highlights to hold you over until next week:

NATIONAL NEWS:

1. Cinderella in the playoffs?

2. College football mailbag

3. Stadium needs some work

4. SEC vs PAC-12

5. The new voice

 

 

Bracketology at FishDuck Headquarters

Far be it from us to drop names but Joe Lunardi (of bracketology fame) and Charles Fischer (of analysis video and GQ fame) are actually one and the same.  Too modest to brag but too accomplished for just one area of expertise, Joe/Charles (or as we call him, Loon Fish) predict the NCAA Tournament bracket with astounding accuracy each and every year.

Charles Fischer

Charles Fischer

Joe Lunardi

Joe Lunardi

I’m not sure why folks haven’t figured this out before.

But it’s the possibilities heading into March that has basketball fans at the edge of their seat.  Who will make it to AT&T Stadium (pictured above) for the Final Four?  Is my team in?  Is my team out?  Why so formal Stephen F. Austin?  Will Quinnipiac make it in, because I want to hear Dick Vitale have to say it on the air?

HE'S A PTP ER BAYBEEE!

HE’S A P-T-P ‘ER, BAYBEEE!

But what caught my eye early this week is the bracket placement for your Oregon Ducks.  The 11th seed, in the Memphis Region, playing in the Raleigh pod . . . against Texas.

How badly do you suppose the Longhorn fans would like to get another crack at Oregon?

But...we're TEXAS!

But . . . we’re TEXAS!

We know that there is a long way to go, but here at FishDuck Headquarters in St. Tropez, we like to be ahead of the game.  So here is how we predict the Memphis Regional to transpire.

Oregon will take down Texas due to sterling guard play, particularly by Damyean Dotson who plays older than his years and almost as old as his I.D.

He looks so much younger on the court.  Must be the lighting

Damyean looks so much younger on the court. Must be the lighting.

Florida will take down Western Michigan because Michigan consists of Detroit in the East, Ann Arbor a little to the West, Lansing a bit further west and then this…

Western Michigan from the air

Western Michigan from the air.

Virginia Commonwealth will upset Stanford because they have a cooler name.  Also my wife thinks Shaka Smart is cute.

I guess he's okay, but that time the ref tipped over on to him did him no favors.

I guess he’s okay, but that time the ref tipped over onto him did him no favors.

Louisville will beat Harvard because the Crimson have more important things on their mind than March Madness.

"Louisville may beat us today but we will declare ourselves National Champions when we take over for these folks."

“Louisville may beat us today but we will declare ourselves National Champions when we take over for these folks.”

Finally Duke will beat Georgia State, because there isn’t one among us that doesn’t want to see Duke play Syracuse one more time . . . and because it probably was a block.

Ladies and gentlemen today is March 1st.  Let the Madness begin.  And, as always, Go Ducks!

Top photo by en.wikipedia.org

Catch Your Breath! A Mid-Season Wrap. No Bigs but Ducks keep yellin’ Timber.

Following a loss to the Colorado Buffaloes, Oregon men’s basketball is now 1-1 in the Pac-12 and, it would appear, their season is a complete loss.  Wait a second . . . not so fast, my friend!

Sure, everyone hates to see a good win streak ended, but we all need to remember, the basketball season is a marathon and not a sprint.  These days expectations run high in Eugene, and so far the team is right on track.  The Ducks are still far exceeding outside expectations; many sports writers from national news sources picked them to finish around fourth or fifth in the conference.

This is basketball season, not football, so keep in mind that a game on the court, win or lose, does not carry the same weight or consequence as one on the gridiron.  Simple: the Ducks lost to another great basketball team, on the road, a team that has historically played them as tough as any team in the Pac-12.

There’s a sports adage that “you learn more from a loss than a win.”  Well, we finally learned something this season.  The team is still in great shape with a 13-1 overall record and a No. 17 national ranking.

There has already been some tough competition on the schedule this year, but the second stretch of the schedule will still be a challenge.

Oregon has already faced tough competition this year, including a tilt against Illinois at the Moda Center in Portland, OR.

One observation I’ve made is how, for much of the game, Oregon leads but then surrenders their hard fought gains to easy layups and open jumpers.

Clearly, allowing Colorado to hit the century mark indicates that there is need for improvement on defense.  A not so obvious problem has been rebounding, which comes from a shortage of physically big players aggressively hitting the boards.

Currently, the team is ranked 131st in rebounding.  Even lacking the Bigs, this number is a bit surprising.  One would expect more available rebounds for Oregon.  This is because opposing teams have a common strategy of getting a quality shot up and then hustling back on defense to shield against our blink-and-you-miss-it offense.  The lack of rebounds is not a critical concern, as long as the Ducks keep winning without them, but it’s definitely an area to watch.

Altman's toughest goal as head coach may be to keep setting the bar higher every year.

Altman’s toughest task as head coach may be how to keep raising the bar every year.

At the mid-season mark, there are a lot of successes for this team of transfers to hang their hats on.  But nobody’s hangin’ their hats up and kicking off their shoes, another March Madness appearance is within reach.  Using last year’s team as a benchmark, there remains much work to be done.  Even winning the Pac-12 doesn’t carry much weight with the NCAA tournament selection committee.  Last year’s tournament awarded an underwhelming 12-seed to the conference champion.

The Ducks must continue winning to prove the doubters wrong, once again.  The focus now is to prepare for, play and win one game at a time.  The good news is that as their level of competition escalates, head coach Dana Altman will continue making excellent game plans and adjustments as he has done all season.

So don’t let the end of football season get you down, because basketball season is steaming full speed into one of the most optimistic times in program history.  Year after year the team keeps surprising the country, the conference and myself quite honestly. Oregon’s brand, and brand of basketball, is one of the nation’s best and should not be taken for granted.

Top Photo by Craig Strobeck

Quick hits: Everything you need to know about Louisville-Oregon

These tidbits are a mix of interesting facts and musings, short analysis and things to watch out for in the Sweet 16 matchup between the Oregon Ducks and Louisville Cardinals.

**Louisville is known for its unyielding full-court press, spearheaded by veteran guards Peyton Siva and Russ Smith. During the regular season the Cardinals were second in the entire country in steals per game. In context, there are 347 Division I teams. In the first round against North Carolina A&T, the Cardinals broke a tournament record with 20 steals. 

**When asked about getting ready to face Louisville’s bottom of the ocean-like pressure, Oregon coach Dana Altman said: “I guess you can compare it to people trying to simulate our football team’s speed. You can’t do it.”

**To break the press, the Ducks will need speed to get around it and control to survive it, meaning Johnathan Loyd and Dominic Artis may see significant time on the floor together. “It’s something against Louisville that has to be an option,” Altman said of playing his point guards simultaneously.

**The Ducks shot 31.9 percent from three in the regular season and missed their primary three-ball shooter, Dominic Artis, for most of the season. Thus far in the postseason, UO has shot 47.4 percent despite Artis going 1-for-4 from deep.

**Oregon is a 12-seed and Louisville is a one-seed. No 12-seed  has beaten a top-ranked team, going 0-18 since the tournament expanded to 64 or more teams in 1985.

**On three different occasions since 2000, Oregon has beaten Louisville by 20 or more points including the latest matchup, a 27-point Ducks win in 2001.

**Louisville possesses higher one-man averages in points and assists than Oregon, as Russ Smith outscores E.J. Singler, 18.4 to 11.6 and Peyton Siva bests Dominic Artis, 5.9 to 3.3 in assists.

**Who is your favorite wealthy elder – Colonel Sanders or Phil Knight? Oregon plays its home games in Matthew Knight Arena while Louisville calls the KFC Yum Center its haven.

**Of the remaining 16 participants in the bracket, Oregon (according to seeding) is the third-worst team left, in front of only 15-seeded Florida Gulf Coast and 13-seed La Salle. Louisville is the tournament’s overall top seed.

**Dana Altman has never reached the Sweet 16 as a head coach. Louisville’s coach Rick Pitino has made it to the Sweet 16 on 10 occasions, taking three different programs to the final four.

**Americans favor Louisville quite heavily to win the whole tournament, as one-third of online bracket entries have the Cardinals slotted as eventual champions. President Barack Obama picked Louisville to make to the ultimate twosome but Indiana as the 2013 kings.

Oregon vs Louisville Sweet 16 Preview

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The 12 seed University of Oregon Ducks (28-8, 12-6) will play the top overall seed Louisville Cardinals (31-5, 14-4) in the Sweet 16 Friday in what should be a hotly contested matchup.

Russ Smith leads the Cards attack on offense and defense (Kevin Jairaj/US Presswire)
Russ Smith leads the Cards’ on offense and defense
(Kevin Jairaj/US Presswire)

After blowout victories in its first two tournament games, Louisville head coach Rick Pitino said about the Ducks, “This basketball team to me is maybe the most underrated ever to play in the tournament.

However, Louisville will prove to be quite the challenge Friday. The first thing that stands out about Louisville is their press defense, which is the most ferocious in the nation.

That press has led to the Cards’ 12-game win streak, including four wins against ranked opponents. Louisville won the Big East regular season title and the Big East Tournament title.

Louisville’s ferociousness on defense makes them elite in a couple different statistical categories. The Cardinals are 4th in the nation in scoring margin, outscoring their opponents by 16.3 points per game, and 2nd in the nation in turnover margin. Louisville forces more than 19 turnovers a game and are led by junior guard Russ Smith on the wing.

Smith, the 6’1 guard from Brooklyn, NY, leads the team in scoring with 18.4 points per game and also grabs more than two steals a game. Smith has scored 20 or more points in 17 games this season, including four of his last five games.

Smith teams with his backcourt mate Peyton Silva to make a deadly combo. Silva is second in the big east in steals with 2.28 per game.

Oregon head coach Dana Altman said Louisville’s speed and pressure from their press can’t really be simulated in practice because there’s nothing like the live experience.

[gn_quote style=”1″]“You can compare it to people trying to assimilate the football team’s speed, you know you just can’t do it,” Altman said. “You can’t put 15-20,000 of their fans in the stadium, you can’t add the pressure of a Sweet 16 game, and you can’t simulate their speed.”[/gn_quote]

Turnovers have been a huge problem for the Ducks all season, as they finished the season last in the Pac-12 in turnovers with 15.1 a game. Even in both two tournament games, where the Ducks beat Oklahoma State and Saint Louis by a combined 30 points, Oregon committed 18 turnovers.

Another thing Oregon must do to win is start the game strong early. Against UCLA in the Pac-12 tournament, the Ducks were down early 10-4 as they committed seven turnovers in the first 5:38 of the game. In their matchup against Oklahoma State, Oregon committed five turnovers in the first six minutes. And to continue the trend, Oregon gave the ball away four times in the first five minutes to Saint Louis and were down 7-4.

Damyean Dotson has been explosive offensively for the Ducks in the tourney. (Associated Press)
Damyean Dotson has been explosive offensively for the Ducks in the tourney.
(Associated Press)

Oregon cannot continue this type of play against the Cardinals. The Cardinals are too talented and if the Ducks dig themselves in a hole early, they will not be able to get out of it.

A key matchup in the game will be in the backcourt between the veterans of Louisville and the youth of Oregon. Oregon’s two freshmen starters, Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson, are integral to the Ducks’ success and the two play beyond their youth.

Dotson has been explosive offensively for the Ducks in the tourney. Oregon, as a team, has been on fire from the three point range in the tournament, shooting 48 percent in the thus far in large part due to Dotson.

Dotson set a career-high with 23 points against Saint Louis and has been shooting lights out from deep in the past few games. Dotson is 8-15 from three-point range in the tournament and 16-30 in his last five games.

Artis will have to play up to his potential for the Ducks to have a chance to win as well. Artis had a strong showing against Oklahoma State in the second round, but struggled mightily against Saint Louis to the tune of zero points on 0-7 shooting.

One aspect where Oregon holds a clear advantage is rebounding. The Ducks are 20th in the nation in rebounding margin, grabbing more than six more boards than their opponents per game. Arsalan Kazemi is indispensable for Oregon and will have to have another standout performance for the Ducks to stay in the game. Pitino highlighted the Ducks physicality as the thing that stood out to him.

[gn_quote style=”1″]“The speed and quickness of this Oregon team is different than any other team we’ve faced this season,” Pitino said.[/gn_quote]

Oregon has the ability to play with and beat Louisville, but they must play at their A game by keeping the turnovers down, starting the game strong early and continuing to hit three pointers. With those keys, Oregon will make its way to the Elite 8 and all of the glamour that goes along with it.

To win Oregon needs to keep down the turnovers, start the game strong early and keep making three pointers.

Comment below on who you think wins: Oregon or Louisville. Make sure to answer the poll below and comment along on Facebook and Twitter @EugeneDailyNews

[yop_poll id=”7″]

Artis’ Poor Play Continues Against Billikens

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Oregon Ducks men’s basketball starting guard Dominic Artis has struggled to find his groove ever since returning from a month-long foot injury back in January. Artis, a true freshman from Findlay Prep High School, dominated in the first 19 games of the season, averaging 10.16 points per game and was one of the most consistent players on the team.

Dominic Artis (GoDucks.com)
Dominic Artis
(GoDucks.com)

Of those first 19 games he scored in double-digits in 14 of them, recording a season-high of 16 in just the second game of his career. His return from injury has been quite the opposite. Artis has played inconsistent basketball with three scoreless games in his eight since returning to the court.

His points per game has dropped to an abysmal 4.13 in his return, putting him below half of the active players on the team. It’s uncertain if the injury is continuing to plague him, or if he’s just in a bit of a dry spell.

It appeared that he was back to his old self with a 13-point, 4-7 shooting performance in round two off the NCAA tournament against Oklahoma State on Thursday, but his 0-of-7, 0-point game against St Louis undid whatever momentum was there.

It’s been pretty clear that he is frustrated on the court. Against St Louis, his demeanor was off and he wasn’t in sync with the flow of the game. Junior guard Johnathan Loyd, who is become a rising star on the team, has filled in nicely during Artis’ dry spell.

Loyd was the Pac-12 Tournament MVP and has been the primary ball handler for the Ducks in the tournament thus far. Loyd is averaging 10.8 points per game over the past four games, and had a great game against St Louis when Artis was struggling. Loyd scored nine points and had a team-high six assists against the Bellikens.

The Ducks will play Louisville in the sweet 16, and they will have close to a week to clear things up with their guard play. Regardless of who gets the bulk of the time handling the ball, whoever does grab the reigns will need to be ready to go.

The Cardinals have phenomenal guards led by Russ Smith. It has been the Ducks’ defense more than the offense that has been key to the team’s two tournament wins. As long as Arsalan Kazemi keeps the block party going and Damyean Dotson continues to cash three point shots, the Ducks will have a chance.

With that said, guard play is considered by many to be the most important feature of a basketball team in the NCAA Tournament. The point guard is the quarterback of the basketball team; a field general who dictates the tempo of play and commands the team.

If Artis can’t find his old form, it will be up to Loyd to put Dotson, E.J. Singler and Carlos Emory in positions to be successful. It will be interesting to see what lineup head coach Dana Altman goes with on Friday. Will it be a small lineup with Loyd and Artis both in, or will he go big with one of them in and Emory or another forward in instead?

Comment below on who you see stepping up for the Ducks. Make sure to continue the conversation on Facebook and on Twitter @EugeneDailyNews

Ducks Dominate Billikens, Advance to Sweet 16

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SAN JOSE – It doesn’t matter how often you say, it still remains the same… Oregon should not have been a 12 seed. The Oregon Ducks (28-8, 12-6) took care of business in the third round of the NCAA Tournament, advancing to the sweet 16 with a 74-57 win over the St. Louis Billikens (28-7, 13-3) on Saturday.

It started early with the Ducks shooting 15-25 in the first half and they continued to dominate offensively, shooting 52.8% to end the game including 8-11 (72.7%) from 3-point range. Freshman guard Damyean Dotson had the game of his career, scoring 23 points on 8-12 from the court including 5-6 from deep.

Damyean Dotson (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Damyean Dotson
(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Also having monster performances were senior forwards Arsalan Kazemi (eight points, 16 rebounds, two blocks) and Carlos Emory (14 points, four rebounds, three assists). Kazemi has recorded 33 rebounds in the two tournament games thus far.

What was most impressive in the Ducks’ win was their ability to overcome poor performances from some of their starters. Senior E.J. Singler struggled mightily in the first half, turning the ball over eight times.

Also struggling was point guard Dominic Artis who hasn’t looked the same since a foot injury mid-way through the season. Artis finished the game 0-7 with 0 points.

Defensively, the Ducks’ zone-defense was incredible. St Louis struggled all game to find easy looks and shot 20-53 (37.7%) from the field, 3-21 (14.3%) from deep.

Outside of the Billikens’ three-man tandem of Dwayne Evans, Kwamain Mitchell and Jordair Jett, the rest of the team shot a pitiful 3-21 from the court.

While the Ducks’ impressive run may come as a surprise to some, many expected a great performance from this underrated team. Included in those not surprised is the team itself, letting it be known via their Twitter account:

[tweet_embed id=315632495993434112]

Oregon will play No. 1 overall seed Louisville in the sweet 16 on Friday with the winner advancing to the elite eight. Comment below on how you see the Ducks doing. Make sure to continue the conversation on Facebook and Twitter @EugeneDailyNews

March 23 – Morning Headlines

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Morning Headlines

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After 11yrs, Lane County is forcing Ken Wagoner to move or face $1k a day fines.  Image courtesy kval.com
After 11yrs, Lane County is forcing Ken Wagoner to move or face $1k a day fines. Image courtesy kval.com
  • Pitching Paves Way for Ducks Against Arizona
    The Oregon Ducks baseball team used a strong performance by all three pitchers they sent to the mound on Friday to overcome a strong pitching performance by the Arizona Wildcats. Oregon scored a run in the fifth and sixth innings to lead them to a 2-1 
  • March Madness: Oregon faces Saint Louis with Sweet 16 bid on the line
    The Essentials: What: Third round of 2013 Men’s Basketball NCAA Tournament, Midwest bracket When: 4:10 p.m. tipoff. Where: HP Pavilion, San Jose, Calif. Televised on TBS Who: No. 4 Saint Louis Billikens versus No. 12 Oregon Ducks Why: Two confere
  • Oregon State Wrestlers Still in Chase for National Championships
    The Oregon State Beavers wrestling team saw four individual wrestlers keep their national title hopes alive on Thursday while forwarding the team cause as well. OSU was paced by Mike Mangrum, who won his 135th match of his career on Thursday, moving hi
  • Oregon Lacrosse Falls in Conference Opener
    Oregon’s lacrosse team could not hold back a furious rally by the San Diego State Aztecs, eventually dropping their first conference game of the season by a score of 12-10. Though the Ducks saw themselves to quite the advantage in this game, the Aztecs

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[gn_note color=#eee][Accuweather][/gn_note]

You’ll see a small chance of showers today, then drying out for your Sunday

An upper level high pressure ridge (shaded “Arch”shape) is replacing an upper level low (shaded “U” shape) decreasing the chances of rain for the weekend. A complex frontal system pushed through spreading rain and hail and colder air dropping snow levels below the passes bringing the cold “Spring Rain.”

[gn_spoiler title=”ADVISORIES” open=”0″ style=”1″]Winter weather advisories are still in effect.[/gn_spoiler]

High: 56
Low: 35
Forecast: mostly cloudy with patchy fog late this morning, a slight (20%) chance of sprinkles or drizzle in the afternoon (under 0.10 in. of rain possible), partly cloudy with patchy fog late tonight and Sunday AM, then partly cloudy in the afternoon and Sunday night highs 48-56 lows 30-35. A mix of clouds and sun Monday, mostly cloudy at night, a (30%) chance of showers Tuesday, a (40%) chance of showers at night, mostly cloudy with a good (50%) chance of showers Wednesday and Wednesday night, then mostly cloudy with a (40%) chance of showers Thursday highs 59-62 cooling to 58 Thursday lows 37-42. (seasonal averages high 57 low 38)

Because weather forecasting is a combination of science, intuition, and timing there can be no absolute guarantees that individual forecasts will be 100% accurate. Nature is in a constant state of flux and sudden unexpected weather events can happen.

Keep Current on the Weather: timchueyweather4u.com

Benefit For Autism

When the weather forecast is bad and the news is bad, there is always music. In this case it’s an album of exceptional local Eugene talent whose proceeds benefit the Kindtree Autism Rocks charity. Support Autism, the arts, and a bright spot in your day.

[bandcamp album=2124098872 bgcol=FFFFFF linkcol=4285BB size=venti]

March Madness: Oregon faces Saint Louis with Sweet 16 bid on the line

The Essentials:

What: Third round of 2013 Men’s Basketball NCAA Tournament, Midwest bracket

When: 4:10 p.m. tipoff.

Where: HP Pavilion, San Jose, Calif. Televised on TBS

Who: No. 4 Saint Louis Billikens versus No. 12 Oregon Ducks

Why: Two conference tournament champions clash in this one, as the winners of the Atlantic 10 meet the conquerors of the Pac-12. Saint Louis beat New Mexico State by 20 points and Oregon upset Oklahoma State by 13 to setup a battle in the round of 32 for the right to travel to Indianapolis for the Sweet 16.

The Brief:

Saint Louis is about steadiness through veteran experience, balanced offense and hypoxic defense.

After a 3-3 start back in December, Saint Louis won nine in a row before dropping two. The Billikens rattled off 11 more wins before dropping to Xavier in overtime. They jumped back into winning ways again, streaking to five wins in a row, racking up an Atlantic 10 title and a first round March Madness win along the way.

The Billiken squad is comprised of three seniors, six juniors, only two sophomores and two freshmen.

That unit is the six-best defense in the field of 68, allowing only 57.7 points per game. They allowed just 44 points to New Mexico State on Thursday.

“Our defense is one of our strong points,” Saint Louis forward Rob Loe said. “When other teams look at us and scout us, they notice that.”

Junior forward Dwayne Evans leads Saint Louis in points and rebounds with 14 and 7.7. Senior forward Cody Ellis and senior guard Kwamain Mitchell each add 10.3 per game.

Where Saint Louis struggles is where Oregon excels, which is the rebounding department. The Ducks’ rebounds per game average is 34th in the nation while Saint Louis is 239th. Despite the big win for the Billikens over New Mexico State, Saint Louis was out rebound by 11.

The Ducks won their first round game because of superiority on the boards, pulling down a well above average 44 rebounds. Arsalan Kazemi snatched 17 and Carlos Emory and E.J. Singler both went above and beyond in grabbing missed shots, with nine and seven, respectively.

Oregon will again look to be the masters of the fiberglass to gain an advantage over Saint Louis. The Ducks will be much taller than their opponents, as the Billikens’ tallest players is Rob Loe, a 6-foot-11 forward who plays more on the perimeter.

“We’re going to have to gain rebounds,” Evans said. “We’re going to need five men on the glass and boxing their man out. It has to be a team effort.”

Matchups to watch:

The Pace. Oregon’s offense and Saint Louis’ offenses move at different clips. While Oregon does often take the possession deep into the shot clock, the Ducks like to use their athleticism and quickness to score or set up perimeter opportunities.

“They’re really athletic,” Loe said.

“Our major focus will be stopping them from running,” Evans said.

The Billikens are short on athletes, and instead focus on quality shots, and taking care of the ball.

“We like to handle the ball, we value each possession,” Loe said. “We take our time to find the right shot and when it comes, we’ll take it.”

“They play a little slower tempo than we like to play,” Oregon head coach Dana Altman said. “I think that will be important, who gets the tempo in their advantage.”

Oregon’s guards vs. St. Louis’ pressure

Saint Louis likes to run the press and trap their opponents. The Ducks’ Johnathan Loyd has an immense speed advantage but can be sloppy with the basketball. Dominic Artis had a solid performance against Oklahoma State but will need to display some of the poise he had back in January in the face of burdensome defense. Damyean Dotson has shot incredibly well when he has been open on kick-out opportunities, yet he will likely be forced to create for himself if the Billikens are in his face.