One of the most commonly held beliefs when the bracket was unveiled last Sunday was that Oregon was seriously short-changed in being slotted in as a No. 12 seed in the Midwest Region. Through two games, the Ducks are proving just how underrated they were by the selection committee.
After getting by No. 5 Oklahoma State pretty easily on Thursday, Oregon followed up with a 74-57 dismantling of No. 4 Saint Louis on Saturday. While the Cowboys were seen as an overrated No. 5, beating the Billikens the way Oregon did was beyond impressive. Saint Louis was coming off of an Atlantic 10 tournament title (and we all know how good the A-10 was this season) and were seen as a potential dark horse pick to emerge out of the Midwest, but on Saturday, they didn’t even look like they belonged on the same court as Oregon.
The only question left to ask, again, is how the heck the selection committee left Oregon out of a top-10 seed. The Ducks went 26-8 in pre-tournament play, went 4-1 against ranked teams, won the Pac-12 tournament title after easily defeating 21st-ranked UCLA in the championship game and came into the NCAA Tournament with a top-20 defence in terms of efficiency. That defence, more than anything else, is what has stood out for the Ducks so far in this tournament, as Oregon has held Oklahoma State and Saint Louis to just 39 per cent shooting through two games.
With the way No. 1 overall Louisville is playing right now, it’s probably unreasonable to assume that a No. 12 seed can give them a scare in the Sweet 16. But having said that, anyone who’s watched this Oregon team and still thinks of them as just a No. 12 seed has seriously missed the boat.