The Oregon men’s basketball program recorded its first sweep of a two-game set in Pac-12 conference play last weekend. The pair of home wins over Stanford and California improves the Ducks to a record of 15-9 overall and 6-5 in Pac-12 play, but most importantly it gives UO a chance to earn a top-four seed in the Pac-12 Tournament next month.
The Ducks’ shot to reach the NCAA Tournament likely depends on winning the Pac-12 Tournament, which provides an automatic bid to the big dance. However, CBS’ latest bracket hasn’t killed the idea of an at-large bid. Oregon’s likelihood of success in the conference tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada would improve greatly by securing one of the top four seedings.
The top four seeds automatically advance to the quarterfinal round. The other eight teams play an extra first-round game and must win four games in as many days. Since 2014, the Pac-12 tournament winner has been the one or two seed. The only team to win four games to become champion was Colorado in 2012, as a six seed.
Oregon hasn’t won a stretch of four games since December when Bol Bol was still active, and the Ducks beat the non-conference lineup of Omaha, San Diego, Boise State and Florida A&M.
Fortunately, for Oregon fans, the Pac-12 standings are a cluttered mess and the Ducks are only one game out of second place. After earning the only home sweep of the week, UO moved to a tie for fifth place with UCLA, Arizona and Stanford.
There are four weeks to go in the regular season and five of Oregon’s last seven Pac-12 games will be played on the road. Although the schedule takes a turn for the worst, UO’s roster is the healthiest it has been.
"We're going to find out how together of a team we have," Ducks coach Dana Altman said.
Next up, the Civil War in Corvallis, Ore. vs. Oregon State. The Beavers (15-8, 7-4) won the first meeting 77-72 on Jan. 5 at Matthew Knight Arena.