And then there was one from the PAC-12.
That lone representative in the Sweet 16 of March Madness happens to be the conference’s last hope to win an NCAA Men’s Basketball championship: the Oregon Ducks. Further, the PAC-12’s lone wolf happens to face their most challenging task this Thursday, March 24 in Anaheim.
The defending national champions Duke.
It’s considered a daunting task by many college basketball pundits, even considering that Oregon (30-6 overall) is entering the contest as the West Region’s top seed. But a few Duck players told Steve Mims of the Eugene Register Guard that they’re not intimidated by the five-time national champs.
“They are a really good team with great players and some superstars. We are ready to come together as a collective group and defy all odds and beat them,” sophomore forward Dillon Brooks told Mims on March 21.
The Ducks, who were a 69-64 winner on March 20 against Saint Joseph’s, knew following the victory that Duke would become the next opponent. Freshman guard Tyler Dorsey told the Register Guard that he’s looking forward to the match up.
“They will come in prepared and so will we, so it is going to be a dogfight. It will be a hard-fought battle because they push the pace like we do, so that fits our style,” Dorsey said.
Anyone watching this Thursday night battle should anticipate plenty of guard play on both sides. Duke prefers to start three players in its backcourt with Matt Jones, Grayson Allen and Luke Kennard. Oregon will aim to counter Duke’s three-guard attack with Dorsey and Casey Benson.
The Ducks, though, have received their most production from the front lines. Athletic 6-foot-6 forwards Brooks and Elgin Cook combined for 43 of Oregon’s 69 points against Saint Joseph’s, with Brooks leading the way with 25.
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