The Oregon Ducks take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys today in their first match up of the NCAA tournament. The teams have almost identical records with Oregon holding two more wins than the Cowboys. I personally don’t believe Oregon should have been as low as a 12 seed, especially playing a team that received a 5 seed who has basically a worse record, but that has already been discussed everywhere so I will leave it alone.
The Cowboys’ best wins for the season were NC ST, Kansas, and Kansas State. Oregon’s best wins for the season were UNLV, Arizona, and UCLA (twice). Oklahoma State’s record is 24-8 compared to the Ducks’ 26-8. These teams are very comparable. Oregon has a slight rebounding advantage over the Cowboys and will need to exploit every bit of that to advance to the next round. This means guys like Kazemi, Woods, and Singler need to crash the boards hard!
Oklahoma State has four players averaging in double digits with Marcus Smart (15.4), Markel Brown (15.3), Le’Bryan Nash (14.1), and Phil Forte (10.4). They are a very well rounded team and play good basketball down low. Oregon will need Tony Woods and Waverly Austin to play big and shut it down in the post.
Another key for the game will be the play of the guards. If Johnathan Loyd can keep up his hot streak and Dominic Artis can get back on track, things should bode well for the Oregon Ducks. They need to dictate the pace of the game and not let the Cowboys get into their game plan.
To watch the game, tune in to TNT at 1:40 PT.