When the brackets were announced many believed that the Pac-12 tournament champion Oregon Ducks were under-seeded by the selection committee, which handed Dana Altman’s team a 12-seed and a game against 5-seed Oklahoma State.
Oregon (27-8) wasn’t too concerned with the seeding chatter, going out and taking care of business by the final score of 68-55 in a Midwest region game in San Jose. With the victory the Ducks advance to take on 4-seed Saint Louis Saturday.
Damyean Dotson led four Ducks in double figures with 17 points but the game was won on the glass, as Oregon out-rebounded Oklahoma State 47-34 and grabbed 17 offensive rebounds. Arsalan Kazemi, playing in his first NCAA tournament game, accounted for 17 of those boards while also scoring 11 points.
Neither team shot particularly well from the field, with Oregon shooting 39.0% and the Cowboys not much better at 40.4%, meaning the team that took advantage of second-chance opportunities would come out on top.
Markel Brown (16 points) and Marcus Smart (14) led Oklahoma State offensively but those two needed a combined 29 shots (11 made field goals) to score those points. Oregon kept Smart from getting into the lane consistently, and with their best players struggling to find quality looks Oklahoma State found itself in trouble as the game wore on.
With Saint Louis on the horizon the issue the Ducks need to remedy is the same one that sprouted up when freshman point guard Dominic Artis went down during Pac-12 play with a foot injury: turnovers. Oregon turned the ball over 17 times against Oklahoma State, which fell short despite scoring 20 points off of those turnovers.
Given how well Saint Louis has played on both ends of the floor, Oregon can’t afford to be as reckless with the basketball if they’re to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2007.
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
James Banks announced on Thursday that he has committed to Texas, joining Jacob Young in Shaka Smart’s first recruiting class as the head coach of the Longhorns.
Banks is an interesting prospect. A 6-foot-10 center from Georgia, Banks is a still-developing prospect that was recruited more on his potential than his immediate ability.
“James Banks emerged as a good low post prospect this spring and summer,” NBC Recruiting Analyst Scott Phillips said. “With a good set of hands, some offensive potential and a frame that can add weight, Banks is a nice upside grab for Texas.”
He’s probably a few years away from having a major impact in the Big 12, but he may not have that much time to develop. Cameron Ridley, Prince Ibeh and Conner Lamert all graduate after this season, meaning that Banks is going to have to contribute immediately when he sets foot on the Austin campus for the 2016-17 season.
Texas has three commitments in the Class of 2015. Smart convinced Kerwin Roach and Eric Davis to remain committed to the program when he took over for Rick Barnes while he landed a commitment from Tevin Mack, who pledged to Smart when he was at VCU.
Memphis just cannot catch a break.
It’s to the point where I almost feel bad for Josh Pastner.
Today, CBSSports.com reported that Kedren Johnson, a 6-foot-4 point guard that was on track towards being an all-SEC point guard at Vanderbilt, could end up missing the season due to a shoulder injury. If he can handle the pain he can avoid surgery and play with the injury, but at the very least, Johnson is going to be less than his best.
Johnson averaged 6.7 points and 2.7 assists last season for the Tigers. He sat out 2013-14 after leaving Vanderbilt and entered last season incredibly out of shape. There was hope that he would be able to make a bigger impact this season and help fill the void at the point guard spot.
This news comes on the heels of Memphis finding out that Jaylen Fisher is heading to UNLV. Who’s Jaylen Fisher? Well, he’s a point guard and top 40 recruit from Memphis that was Pastner’s No. 1 recruiting target that opted to leave the city for his college hoops instead of play for the Tigers.
That’s a bad sign, but not quite as bad as Memphis losing star center Austin Nichols — another local kid — to a transfer over the summer. Nichols transferred to Virginia.