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.