After being given a disappointing 12-seed by the NCAA Tournament selection committee, the Oregon Ducks will look to upset the fifth-seeded Oklahoma State Cowboys in Midwest Regional second round action of the NCAA Tournament at HP Pavilion.
Dana Altman's Ducks had a very impressive season that included wins over Vanderbilt, UNLV, Arizona, UCLA, Washington and a Pac-12 Tournament title. Still, Oregon was announced as a 12th-seed despite its 26-8 overall record. This will be the first appearance in the Big Dance for the school since 2008 when it was bounced in the first round by Mississippi State. However, it did make a run to the regional final in its previous trip in 2007.
Travis Ford's Cowboys are going to be tough test for Oregon as they have one of the top backcourts in the nation. Freshman guard Marcus Smart has been sensational in his inaugural collegiate campaign with 15.4 points, 4.2 assists and 2.9 steals per tilt. Smart was able to net 18 points and grab six rebounds in the semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament, but the team still fell, 68-57, to Kansas State. OSU finished just one game behind Kansas and KSU in the Big 12 standings.
Oklahoma State and Oregon have met just one time on the hardwood. That meeting took place on Dec. 28, 1987, in the Far West Classic in Portland in a game the Ducks won by a 68-55 score.
Whichever team survives this matchup will face the winner of the Saint Louis/New Mexico State matchup.
Oregon poured in 47.5 percent of its field-goal tries including 7-of-14 from beyond the arc in the Pac-12 Tournament Championship to coast past UCLA. The Ducks assisted on 13 of their made field goals and held a 35-27 edge in the rebounding battle. It was yet another showing that illustrates how balanced the Ducks are on offense as they have six different players averaging at least nine points per game. E.J. Singler (11.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg), brother of former Duke star Kyle Singler, stands as the leading scorer and has been in double figures in three of his last four games. Carlos Emory tallied 20 points in the Pac-12 title game and Damyean Dotson provided 13 points. Arsalan Kazemi (9.3 ppg, 9.5 rpg) is one of the best rebounders in the conference and has shown a natural knack for playmaking on both ends of the court. As a team the Ducks are the leading squad on the glass in the Pac-12 (37.4 rpg), while scoring a healthy 71.7 points per game.
OSU has been stellar on both ends of the floor this season, scoring 72.4 ppg while surrendering just 62.8 ppg to opponents. While Brown leads the team in scoring with 15.3 ppg, Michael Cobbins and Philip Jurick act as defensive anchors as well as strong rebounders in the post. Le'Bryan Nash (14.1 ppg) and Phil Forte (10.4 ppg) are also consistent scorers. As a team, the Cowboys convert 75.0 percent of their attempts at the free-throw line.