Oregon v Saint Louis

No. 12 seed Oregon knocks off No. 4 seed St. Louis, advances to Sweet 16

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Damyeon Dotson finished with 23 points on 8-12 shooting, hitting 5-6 from three, while Arsalan Kazemi did a little bit of everything, as usual, finishing with eight points, 16 boards (seven offensive), three assists, two steals and two blocks as the No. 12 seed Oregon Ducks blew out No. 4 seed St. Louis, 74-57 on Friday night.

It was an impressive performance from Oregon and, quite frankly, one that should not have been that difficult to identify. The Ducks were legitimately a top ten team in the country when Dominic Artis got hurt. They were on their way to a run through the Pac-12, sitting undefeated in conference play with no games left against either Arizona or UCLA, and finished off the season with a Pac-12 tournament title.

They’re athletic, they’re talented, they’re versatile and they have arguably the nation’s best glue-guy in Kazemi. I’m still kicking myself for picking against them.

But I don’t regret hyping up St. Louis. I don’t think that I made the wrong call by saying that they can beat Louisville in the Sweet 16. And a 17-point beatdown that featured a 24-point second half deficit doesn’t sway that opinion.

Oregon played arguably their best game of the season on Saturday night. St. Louis undoubtedly played their worst. And that’s what makes this outcome so head-scratching.

The Billikens are a veteran-laden team that won a dual-Atlantic 10 title. They dominated VCU and Butler during the regular season. They beat up on La Salle, who is the only Atlantic 10 team to have won two games in the tournament as of this moment. They are a team playing to honor the memory of head coach Rick Majerus, who passed away in December, yet they laid an egg in the biggest game of the season.

Go figure.

Credit must be given where credit is due — Oregon played a heckuva game and deserves this trip to the Sweet 16.

But that doesn’t mean that the Billikens were a fraud.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Akron reveals special bobble heads for LeBron, high school teammates

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When it comes to discussing some of the game of basketball’s best players, specifically those who went directly from high school to the NBA, a question that’s often asked is where said player would have attended college if forced (by rule) to do so. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among those who have been discussed in this manner, and in the case of LeBron he’s got connections to two programs within his home state of Ohio.

LeBron’s connected with the Ohio State program, which is outfitted by the Nike’s LeBron signature line, but there’s another program with an even closer connection. That would be Akron, which is led by head coach Keith Dambrot, and all he did was serve as LeBron’s high school coach at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s HS in Akron during the player’s freshman and sophomore years at the school. Also on those teams were two future Akron Zips in guard Dru Joyce and forward Romeo Travis.

Thursday the school announced that it would be honoring James, Joyce and Travis with bobble head dolls to be given out before Akron’s home games against Buffalo (February 16; Joyce’s bobble head), Bowling Green (February 26; Travis) and Ohio (March 1; James).

All three bobble head dolls are wearing Akron uniforms, which in the case of LeBron allows fans to think back and imagine what could have been. Season ticket holders guaranteed one bobble head per account (on each of the three giveaway days), with the first 750 fans in attendance to receive one as well.

NEW PODCAST: Indiana, Cal, troublesome trends and a weekend preview

California's Jabari Bird celebrates a score against Oregon in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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The gang is back together again for another episode of the NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk Podcast, with Rob Dauster hosting and Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips joining him. Today’s episode touched on big wins picked up Thursday night by California and Indiana, discussing the performances of those teams and also touching on their prospects down the line.

Also discussed were the recent performances of Iowa State, Providence and Texas A&M (which are you more worried about?), and some of the top games on this weekend’s schedule headlined by Kansas visiting Oklahoma. And if you’re a fan of seafood, you may take umbrage with some of Rob’s comments at the beginning of the podcast.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher, and there’s also a link to listen to this podcast below. Thanks for listening.