How Far Will The Oregon Ducks Go In The 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament?

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Oregon Ducks men’s basketball team took a decisive blow last Saturday as they lost Chris Boucher for the remainder of the season due to a torn ACL and then went on to lose the Pac-12 title game against Arizona 83-80. The loss of Boucher hurt the Ducks psyche in that title game. Consequently the Ducks dropped to a three seed in the Midwest region in the NCAA tournament.

Boucher was coming off the bench for the majority of the season but he still averaged 11.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, and Pac-12 best 2.5 blocks a game this. His athleticism, height and experience made him a special player to be coming off the bench. He brought toughness and defense to team that needed his shot blocking ability come tournament time. It was a shocking blow to the team that could end up being a huge loss for this team.

The loss to Arizona definitely didn’t help Oregon with its seeding in the NCAA tournament as they were vying for potentially a #1 seed if they were able to win the Pac-12 tournament. The injury now makes the three seed harder for the Ducks to cope with as they will face tougher talent earlier, likely in the Sweet 16 against Louisville, if they get that far. Had Oregon won the Pac-12 title game, they would likely have been in the West region where they would have played the regional Sweet 16 round in San Jose, California. Instead they will play in Kansas City, Missouri if they are able to get past Iona and either Creighton or Rhode Island in the second round.

The Ducks will be going back to the sweet 16. They have the scoring and leadership in place to help them advance that far. But then comes the test against Louisville, which has a lot of size. Even though Jordan Bell has been having a great season in the post, he may be outmatched in this matchup. Kavell Bigby-Williams the backup to Boucher will likely see more minutes as he played in the title game against Arizona. Bigby-Williams is a big defensive player, whose size they will need against taller opponents. Foul trouble to any of the main rotation players, especially Bell could really hurt the Ducks chances of defending the rim and rebounding against bigger teams.

If Oregon is somehow able to outmatch Louisville, they likely would be playing the top seed in the Midwest region, Kanas, IN the Jayhawks backyard essentially.

Which blow was the hardest for this team, the loss of Boucher or the number three seed in the Midwest region? Tough break for a team who was looking to make another run deep into the NCAA tournament, not to say they still couldn’t make a deep run but after last Saturday, the odds are no longer in their favor.

Oregon will take on Iona on Friday in Sacramento at 11:00 a.m.

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About Author

Josh Gaunt

Josh is a sports reporter for The News-Review covering local sports. He is also a contributing writer for Oregon Sports News, covering the Ducks, Beavers, Trail Blazers and the NW sports scene. Josh played soccer, basketball, and baseball growing up in Portland, Oregon. He previously worked for the Portland Trail Blazers for six seasons.

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