NCAA Men’s Basketball Sweet 16 Tonight: 9:45 p.m. West, PAC 12 foes (7) Oregon vs. (6) USC, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, TBS; Ducks game preview 

03/25/21

https://goducks.com/documents/2021/3/25/Game_28_NCAA_Tournament_3rd_Round.pdf

Pac-12 regular season champion Oregon, the #7 seed in the West Region, will face sixth-seeded USC Sunday at 6:45 p.m. PT in the NCAA Regional Semifinal Round (TBS). 

THE STARTING 5
• 1 –Oregon is one of just three teams in the nation that has advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in four of the last five NCAA Tournaments (2016, 2017, 2019, 2021). Gonzaga and Michigan are the other two.
• 2 – This is Oregon’s seventh appearance in the last eight NCAA Tournaments (the NCAA Tournament was not contested in 2020).
• 3 – The 2021 Pac-12 regular season championship was Oregon’s fourth league title in the last six years.
• 4 – Oregon has now won 20 games for the 11th consecutive season. Gonzaga, Kansas and Belmont are the only other three Division I programs nationally with 11 straight 20-win seasons.
• 5 – Chris Duarte is one of five national finalists for the Jerry West Point Guard of the Year Award. He is one of only two Division I players in the country averaging at least 17.0 points and 1.8 steals per game while shooting 50 percent from the field.
• BENCH – Combined, Oregon’s four scholarship seniors – Chris DuarteLJ FigueroaEugene Omoruyi and Amauri Hardy – are averaging 50.3 points per game.
• BENCH – 2020-21 marks Dana Altman‘s 24th consecutive winning season as a head coach. He is one of five head coaches in Division I with an active streak of 24 or more consecutive winning seasons. That list includes Altman and four Hall of Famers: Jim Boeheim, Mike Krzyzewski, Bill Self and Tom Izzo.

HOW WE GOT HERE
Oregon reached the Sweet 16 after a record-setting performance against second-seeded Iowa in the NCAA Tournament second round on March 22. The Ducks scored a Tournament program-record 95 points in a 95-80 win against the Hawkeyes. The previous high was 93 versus Iona in a 2017 first round game. Oregon’s 25 assists against Iowa was a season high. LJ Figueroa tied a season high with 21 points with a season-high five three-pointers. Chris Duarte tied a career high with seven assists to go with 23 points. Eugene Omoruyi scored 17 points for his 25th game in double figures this season. He tied a season high with five assists. Oregon advanced to the second round when the Ducks’ first round game against VCU on March 20 was declared a no contest due to COVID-19 related issues within the VCU program.

DUCKS IN THE SWEET 16
Oregon is one of just three programs nationally with four Sweet Sixteen appearances in the last five NCAA Tournaments. That list is Oregon, Gonzaga and Michigan. This is Oregon’s eighth all-time appearance in the round of 16, five of which have come under Dana Altman. Oregon is 5-2 all time in Sweet Sixteen games.

THE FIRST NCAA CHAMPIONS
Oregon’s 1939 basketball team earned a unique place in sports history by winning the first NCAA championship basketball tournament ever held. With a first unit composed of four native Oregonians and one Washingtonian, coach Howard Hobson guided the “Tall Firs” to a 29-5 season record and Oregon’s only NCAA basketball title. Oregon’s title run began in the Western Playoffs at Treasure Island, Calif., by knocking off Texas, 56-41, and dropping Oklahoma, 55-37. On March 27, the Tall Firs faced Ohio State on the neutral Northwestern University court in Evanston, Ill., for the national title. John Dick scored 13 points and Laddie Gale and Bobby Anet contributed 10 apiece as the Ducks rolled to a 46-33 victory and the NCAA crown.

VERSUS USC
Conference rivals Oregon and USC have played 125 times with the Trojans holding a 67-58 series edge. The Ducks have won 16 of the last 21 games, though USC won the lone meeting this season (72-58). Oregon and USC have played once previously in the NCAA Tournament. The Trojans edged the Ducks 81-79 in a 1961 first round game played in Portland, Ore.

JERRY WEST AWARD FINALIST SHINES IN FIRST ROUND
Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award finalist Chris Duarte displayed why he has one of the best adjusted shooting percentages in the NCAA in Oregon’s second round game against Iowa. He scored 23 points on 9-of-12 attempts with seven assists. Duarte is the first Jerry West Award finalist in program history. He is one of only two Division I players in the nation averaging 17.0 points and 1.8 steals per game while shooting 50 percent from the field. Elijah Ford of Wagner is the other. Duarte is ranked among the Pac-12’s top 10 in six different statistical categories. He is sixth in scoring (17.0 points per game), second in steals (1.8 per game), second in three-pointers per game (2.4), fourth in three-point field goal percentage (.428) and ninth in field goal percentage (.533). Duarte is the only player in the Pac-12 ranked in the top 10 in both overall field goal percentage and three-point field goal percentage. The other Jerry West Award finalists are Joel Ayayi of Gonzaga, Quentin Grimes of Houston, MaCio Teague of Baylor and Joe Weiskamp of Iowa.

NCAA THREE DOT DATA
Oregon, Baylor and Michigan are the only three schools with both their men’s and women’s teams in the Sweet 16 … This is the fifth time that both the UO men and women have played in the NCAA Tournament (1995, 2000, 2017, 2019) … Oregon has advanced to the second weekend in each of its last four NCAA Tournament appearances (2016, 2017, 2019, 2021) … This is Oregon’s 17th NCAA Tournament appearance overall and the seventh under Dana Altman.

OREGON IN THE NCAA UNDER ALTMAN
In the NCAA Tournament under Dana Altman, Oregon:
• – has won at least one game in all seven tournaments
• – has advanced to the Sweet 16 five times (2013, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2021)
• – has advanced to the Elite 8 twice (2016, 2017)
• – has advanced to the Final Four once (2017)
• – has lost to a lower-seeded team only one time (2016, falling as the No. 1 seed to No. 2 Oklahoma in the West Regional Final)
• – was eliminated all six times by teams that advanced to the Final Four
• – lost three times to the eventual national champion (2013 – Louisville, 2017 – North Carolina, 2019 – Virginia)

LAST TIME AS A #7 SEED
Oregon was last a #7 seed in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. In the West Regional in Milwaukee, Wis., #7 Oregon defeated #10 BYU 87-68 in the opening round before falling to #2 Wisconsin 85-77 in the Round of 32.

NCAA TOURNAMENT EXPERIENCE
Four Ducks have previous NCAA Tournament experience. Will Richardson came off the bench in all three games during Oregon’s 2019 NCAA Sweet 16 run. He had seven points and five rebounds in the first round game against Wisconsin. Walk-ons Luke Osborn and Will Johnson both saw the floor during the 2019 Ducks’ second round win against UC Irvine. LJ Figueroa scored 19 points with 10 rebounds for St. John’s in a 2019 First Four loss to Arizona State.

11 STRAIGHT 20-WIN SEASONS
The Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinal win against Arizona State was Oregon’s 20th win of the season, making the Ducks one of just four programs nationally with an active streak of 11 consecutive seasons with 20 wins. The four schools on that list are Oregon, Belmont, Gonzaga and Kansas.

LEADERS OF THE PAC
Oregon leads the Pac-12 in field goal percentage (.476), three-point field goal percentage (.382), steals (7.4 per game) and three-pointers per game (8.5).

PROTECT THE ROCK
Oregon has committed 12 turnovers or less in 12 of its last 13 games. Four times in that span, the Ducks had less than 10 turnovers. In conference play Oregon averaged just 10.7 turnovers per game.

70 OVER UNDER
Under Dana Altman, Oregon is 191-21 when holding opponents under 70 points, including a 155-13 mark the last six seasons.

COURTESY OREGON ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

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