University of Oregon Ducks (7 Seed, West)
Record: 23-9 (10-8 in PAC-12)
Coach: Craig Neal
Tournament Berth: At Large Bid
Big Wins: Georgetown, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Utah, BYU, UCLA, Arizona
Big Loses: Colorado, Stanford, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, Washington
The Ducks opened 2013-14 with a #19 preseason ranking and tore through the first part of their schedule, ripping off 13 straight, including thrilling overtime victories over Ole Miss, BYU and Utah. Oregon would climb all the way to number 10 before dropping their first 100-91 to then #20 Colorado, taking a 13-1 non-conference record into its PAC-12 slate.
League play, however, turned out to be a completely different animal. The Ducks would lose their first four conference games to Cal, Stanford, Oregon State and Washington before finally getting on the right side of the ledger with a 71-44 thrashing of Washington State. The turnaround was cut short by another slide, though, and Oregon dropped another three of four before finding some traction and going on an eight-game run that ended with an 82-63 loss to UCLA in the PAC-12 tournament quarterfinals.
The Ducks come in ranked 11th in the nation with 81.8 ppg, 204th at 34.3 rpg, 63rd with 14.4 apg, while shooting 46.8 percent from the field. Defensively, they allow 74.0 ppg for 274th national ranking.
C – Waverly Austin
G – Mike Moser
F – Johnathan Lloyd
G – Joseph Young
G – Damyean Dotson
Who’s Hot: Junior G Joseph Young is Oregon’s key cog. Young went over 20 points 13 times this season and he can take the ball to the hole or score from distance almost as efficiently. The Ducks have a couple other scoring options in Mike Moser and Jason Calliste, but Young will likely need create most of the opportunities and get to the line as often as possible, where he shoots a stellar 88.4 percent.
Who’s Not: Senior C Waverly Austin. Austin’s 6-11, 257 pound frame is a lot of times the biggest body on the floor and the biggest on the Oregon roster, but his 1.8 ppg and 2.4 rpg is hardly indicative of that. Austin sometimes starts and sometimes comes off the bench, but either way he’ll need to be a more of a presence right out of the gate.
Outlook: The Ducks had the misfortune of drawing a big, physical BYU team in the first round. They topped the Cougars 100-96 in overtime back in December, but along WCC player of the year Tyler Haws, who put up 31 points in that game, they’ll once again have a bevy of shooters to contend with, including Kyle Collinsworth and Matt Carlino. If they can survive that iffy proposition, second-seeded Wisconsin is likely to be looming in the second round. But that could be a better matchup for Oregon, as the Badgers don’t have the weapons BYU does. Beyond that, the sweet 16 is a possibility with the winner of a Baylor/Creighton matchup in the second round the only thing between the Ducks and the sweet 16, and both are beatable.
Commentary Rick Sarlat