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.
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.