Oregon Unknowns: Ducks the odds-on favorite to advance in the Sweet Sixteen

Kevin Cline Photography

Ducks rally together against Louisville tonight

When Oregon and Louisville tip it off tonight at 4:15 on CBS, the Ducks are matched up against arguably the hottest team in the country.

But you should also know that this “Return of the Firs” team has been bending their knees and breaking all kinds of records this year.  Also, Oregon has some distinct historical and statistical advantages in this game.

By now you have probably heard all about the overall #1 seeded Cardinals and their Hall of Fame coach, Rick Pitino.

Most of the major media outlets have already pointed out some impressive numbers that surround this match-up, and there is plenty of doom and gloom predicted for our Fighting Ducks of Oregon.

It starts with a number about the Cardinal’s coach – the man is 10-0 all time in the Sweet Sixteen.

Oregon’s coach by comparison, the wizardly Dana Altman, has never even coached in this round in his eight previous NCAA tournament appearances.  Also tough to ignore is the staggering 0-18 all-time record of 12th seeded teams against #1 seeded teams in tournament play.

But there is another side of the story.

There are some bright spots in the Ducks’ resume and knocking off a towering #1 seed would be icing on the proverbial cake that this unexpectedly good season has become.

The Positive Oregon vs. Louisville:

– Oregon is 1-0 vs Rick Pitino coached Louisville teams; the Ducks decked the Cards 90-63 in 2001

– The Ducks are 3-1 all-time in Regional Final games

– Louisville hasn’t beaten Oregon since 1954

- The Ducks are 2-1 all-time vs the Cardinals.

Statistically speaking:

– Arsalan Kazemi’s 17 rebounds vs Oklahoma State bested Malik Hairston’s school record 11 for a NCAA tournament game.

– Kazemi’s 33 rebounds is tied with Robert Johnson (’02-’03) for most all-time, even  though Kazemi has only played in 2 games to Johnson’s 5.

Kevin Cline Photgraphy

If Arsalan Kazemi continues to control the boards, the Ducks could control this game.

– Damyeon Dotson’s 83% on 3 pointers last game topped the previous school record of 66.7% (’07 Tajuan Porter).

- In the last game against St. Louis, Johnathan Loyd passed Terrell Brandon on the Oregon all-time steals list.

– E.J. Singler has now won 92 games, 10 more than any other Duck.

Notable team achievements this season:

– The Ducks won the PAC-12 Tournament for just the 3rd time in school history, and first time since 2007.

– Oregon made the NCAA Tournament for the 11th time in school history, with six of those appearances coming after 2000.

– The Ducks swept the Beavers, Huskies, and Cougars for the first time in 87 YEARS.  If you are younger than 87, you have never seen this.

– Oregon’s three wins vs Washington made it the first time since 1946 the Ducks defeated the Huskies three times in a season.

– Oregon defeated UCLA twice in a single season for just the second time since 2003.

– The Ducks have won at least 20 games each of the last three consecutive seasons for the first time in school history.

– This year’s team has already won two more games than the dynamic “Luke and Luke” team from ’01-’02.

 

Kevin Cline Photography

Win or lose tonight, these Ducks have officially put Oregon back on the national radar.

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Josh White

Josh White

Josh White has been a dedicated Duck fan since the Bill Musgrave days. He has attended (and lost his voice at) virtually every home game and many away games since the late 1980's, including 96 of the current 97 game sellout streak at Autzen Stadium. A Eugene native, Josh works full time in Eugene area real estate, helping people buy and sell residential and commercial properties, and also volunteers with Habitat For Humanity, Kidsports and Food For Lane County. He welcomes your feedback. Twitter: @WhiteHouseJosh Facebook: EugenesBestRealtor