Photo by Allan Johnstone
Oregon Basketball

Preview: Washington State

March 12, 2019
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With a four-game win streak to close out the regular season, Oregon earned the sixth seed in the Pac-12 tournament and will play 11th-seeded Washington State in Wednesday night's first round.

If that sounds familiar, it is because it’s the same road the Ducks faced last year – and once again, the winner of this game goes on to play No. 3 Utah on Thursday.

I couldn’t be happier about the Ducks seeding, because they start with Cougars then could play Utah, two teams that they have beaten this season. Washington and Oregon State are both on the other side of the bracket, so the Ducks would not face them until the final.

Not much has changed since Oregon handled the Cougars in Pullman a week ago. Since then, Oregon went on to dismantle regular-season champs Washington, 55-47, in Seattle, while Washington State lost at home to Oregon State, 85-77.

But it is March, and madness can happen in March. So it is important that the Ducks don’t look past the Cougars.

In their last game, the Ducks rode to victory on a combination of big performances from Victor Bailey Jr., Will Richardson, Paul White, plus a good bench rotation and forced turnovers. Different players might come up big on Wednesday, but a good rotation and forcing turnovers still need to be there if the Ducks want to win.

Interestingly enough, the Washington State win was the only game of the last four games that the Ducks didn’t manage to hold an opponent to the fewest points they had scored all season. So stellar defense is something else to shoot for, too.

Over the life of the tourney, no team in the Pac-12 has won more games in Las Vegas than the Ducks (13-4). With the roll the Ducks are on, combined with the breakdown of the tournament, I think Oregon has one of the best chances of sliding into The Big Dance.

 
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