The Oregon Ducks won the Pac-12 Championship, the proving ground for one of the nation’s top conferences, and the committee on Selection Sunday rewarded them by slapping them with a No. 12 seed.
That means that while they will play relatively close to home in Round 2 and potentially Round 3 in San Jose in the Midwest Regionals, they’ll match up against fifth-seeded Oklahoma State. The Cowboys were 13-5 in the Big 12 and only lost three non-conference games, defeating No. 6 N.C. State and narrowly losing to then-tenth-ranked Gonzaga by one point at home.
But looking at Oregon’s situation requires looking beyond their No. 46 RPI and quality wins over teams like UNLV, Arizona and UCLA (three times), their 12-6 record in the Pac-12 before going on to win the tournament is a slight to the conference itself. With five teams in the tournament in Cal, UCLA, Colorado and Arizona, the conference is by definition one of the ten strongest. But the fact that the selection committee is giving its winner a No. 12 seed is indicative of how weak they feel it is.
It’s also a product of the Bruins being over-seeded at No. 6. UCLA was missing key player Jordan Adams when they fell to the Ducks, and still were given the respect of a nationally-ranked team. Without Adams, they are a shell of themselves and struggle to find offense and score from all three levels. How does Oregon beat UCLA three times and get no respect as at least a No. 6 itself?
It’s all part of the great mystery of Selection Sunday and indicative to the lack of respect the committee and computers have for West Coast college hoops. It’s not fair to generalize, especially with teams like Boise State and a conference like the Mountain West getting some respect, but the Oregon situation is a head-scratcher.