Ehab Amin

The last double-digit seed standing: No.12 Oregon vs. No.1 Virginia

The last double-digit seed standing: No.12 Oregon vs. No.1 Virginia

Oregon is the NCAA tournament’s lone double-digit seed in the Sweet 16. The Pac-12 Tournament champion Ducks are on a 10-game winning streak after crushing UC Irvine, and the nation's longest winning streak (17 games). The Ducks are about to about to face their toughest competition yet. Virginia defeated the Oklahoma Sooners, 63-51 on Sunday, to punch its ticket to Louisville, Kentucky. It’ll be the Cavaliers’ 10th NCAA Sweet 16 appearance.  

Fun Fact: Oregon is the last Pac-12 school standing in the big dance.

Did you know? In the history of the NCAA Tournament, a total of twenty No. 12 seeded teams have made the Sweet Sixteen. The Ducks are the first school to ever advance to the Sweet Sixteen twice as a No. 12 seed (2013).

Records: Oregon (25-12), Virginia (31-3)

A win would: Advance the Ducks to their fifth Elite Eight appearance since 2002.

All Hail Dana Altman:  No Oregon basketball coach has more wins than Dana Altman. The victory over UC Irvine tied Altman with Ernie Kent as the winningest coach in Oregon history (235 wins). Oregon and Altman have finalized a contract extension through the 2025-26 season.

Odds Are: UVA opened as a 7.5-point favorite over the Ducks, according to Westgate Las Vegas Superbook. The over/under is 119 total points.

[READ: The Ducks’ have an X-Factor, a commander and a King]

Defensive surge: Oregon’s stifling defense continues to shine throughout its 10-game winning streak; allowing only 54.2 points per game while shooting 34.9 percent from the field and 23.0 percent from three. 

High Flying Ducks

Oregon's 10-game win streak is tied for the longest active streak in the nation with Auburn. 

Kenny Wooten swatted his way to a seven blocked shots against UC Irvine, which is the most blocks in an NCAA Tournament game, second only to Jordan Bell’s eight blocks vs. Kansas in 2017.

The 6-foot-9 sophomore has been on a tear; blocking 10 shots in Oregon’s two NCAA tournament games and four blocks in the Pac-12 Championship game. 

Payton Pritchard has taken command of Oregon. The junior guard is averaging almost 17 points per game with 54 assists and 25 steals during Oregon’s 10-game winning streak.

Pritchard’s dominance continued against the Anteaters, leading all scorers with 18 points and adding seven assists. He scored 19 against Wisconsin in the first round and didn’t score less than 18 points in any Pac 12 tournament game.

6-foot-9 forward Louis King added 16 points and provided huge bursts of momentum with his clutch shooting against UCI.

Against UC Irvine, Pritchard commanded, Wooten denied and dunked, steady Paul White shined, King came up clutch, Francis Okoro led the huddle, but it was senior Ehab Amin who changed the game. His presence was felt beyond the stat line.

Cavaliers to keep an eye on

The Virginia Cavaliers are averaging 71.6 points on 47.9 percent shooting. Against Oklahoma, UVA had three double-figure scorers: Mamadi Diakite (14), Ty Jerome (12) and De’Andre Hunter (10).

Virginia ranked No. 1 in scoring defense this season. UVA allows only 55 points on 38.1 percent shooting with an impressive 27.8 percent shooting from deep. The Cavaliers grab an average of 34.8 rebounds per game.

They are mentally tough and don’t make errors; the Cavs are among the best in the nation in turnovers and fouls per game.

Quotable: "We're going to have to play really well,” Altman said. “They're big. They're physical. They don't make mistakes. They're not going to beat themselves. But we've got a puncher's chance, and we'll go swing away and see what happens."

How and where to watch

Time: Thursday, March 25, at 7 p.m. PT

Where: KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky.

TV: TBS

Live stream: March Madness Live

More Ducks: How sweet it is: Impressed by Oregon basketball yet?

Resilient Ducks only one win away from clinching the Pac-12 Tournament title

Resilient Ducks only one win away from clinching the Pac-12 Tournament title

LAS VEGAS - In their third night game in as many days, the Ducks began fresher than ever.  Oregon came out with energy and a zip that many of us only feel after a double shot of espresso.

Oregon (22-12, 10-8 Pac-12) had complete control of the first 20 minutes but, similar to a caffeine overdose, crashed in the second half, only to re-emerge to force overtime and upset second-seeded Arizona State.

"Our whole season was on the line,” Ehab Amin said. "As a senior it was super emotional for me”.

With the 79-75 victory over Arizona State (22-10, 12-6), Oregon is only one win away from clinching the Pac-12 Tournament title and the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Oregon is riding a seven-game winning streak, their longest streak of the season, into the championship game versus top-seeded Washington.

Colorado, also as the six seed, is the only team to win four straight tournament games and claim a tournament title, accomplishing the feat in 2012.

The victory also etches Oregon coach Dana Altman in the history books; Altman passed Arizona’s Sean Miller for the most Pac-12 tournament wins with 18.

The 8:50pm tipoff started with Kenny Wooten blocking Arizona State’s first two shots, which would foreshadow Oregon’s domination in the first half.

When the Sun Devils made mistakes, Oregon made them pay. In the first half alone, the Ducks scored 15 points off of ASU’s seven turnovers.

Paul White and Payton Pritchard also made their presence known early. Oregon’s veterans refused to let Oregon go down without a fight; White (14 points), Pritchard (18 points), Amin (13 points) combined for 45 points.

Pritchard added eight assists, passing Johnathan Loyd (458-2010-14), for fifth in UO career assists.

However, it was Louis King who led the team with 19 points and who changed the game. The freshman willed the Ducks out of 1 of 11 scoring drought in the second half. He rattled off nine straight points to put Oregon back in striking distance.

The Ducks’ aggressive defensive play continued in the extremely physical game. UO blocked seven shots in the first half and finished with 10.

Missed free throw attempts almost killed Oregon, going 13-24 at the line.

With the end of regulation counting down, back-to-back three-pointers by White and Amin tied the game to force overtime.

Oregon outscored ASU 8-1 to open overtime, beginning with a gnarly Wooten dunk. The Ducks never lost the lead. 

"We never count ourselves out,” White said. "We are grateful for how good we are playing, but we're not done”. 

Who knows where Oregon found the energy, but suddenly the Ducks in the Big Dance seems incredibly possible. The Pac-12 Championship game between Oregon and Washington will be played at 7:30 p.m., Saturday.