March Madness is the highlight of the year for many college basketball fans, as the NCAA Championship tournament gets played.
Fans of the big college teams will be waiting anxiously for the event to start, but can supporters of the Oregon Ducks look forward to seeing their team take part?
Who Are the Oregon Ducks?
This team represents the University of Oregon and has a long history going back to the start of the 20th century. In fact, the Ducks hold an interesting record, as they won the first NCAA national championship, which came in 1939. After that, they next appeared in the Final Four stage in 2017, making this the longest gap between appearances in the history of the NCAA.
Overall, Oregon has made it to the March Madness tournament 17 times. In the 2021 event, they made progress to the Sweet Sixteen stage before losing out. They had got to the same stage in 2019, so recent history suggests that the Ducks are among the strongest performers in recent years.
It’s also worth noting that this team has contributed numerous players to the NBA. The likes of Chris Duarte (Indiana Pacers), Payton Pritchard (Boston Celtics), and Bol Bol (Denver Nuggets) all played their college basketball here before heading to a pro team.
What Are Their Chances This Year?
The bookmakers predict the favorites for winning the NCAA tournament this year are Gonzaga, Kentucky, and Arizona high on the list of favorites. If you are looking for March Madness betting tips for beginners click here to understand better the odds.
Despite their strong record in the last few years, Oregon isn’t anywhere to be seen on the list of favorites, but do they still have a chance of taking part and winning it?
At the time of writing, their hopes of getting to March Madness are faint but not completely extinguished. They recently beat the Washington Wizards 62-59, despite a nerve-jangling finish that almost saw the team from Washington pull them back right at the end.
Next up for the Ducks is a trip to Tempe, where they’ll play against Arizona State. The game against the Wizards has left them with a 10-4 record in the Pac-12 that leaves them tied with USC in second place in the conference, behind Arizona.
The next few weeks will see Oregon play the teams closest to them in the standings. As well as Arizona and UISC, they also face UCLA, who are just behind them currently. A recent projection of the bracketology for the NCAA Championship put the Ducks as a number 10 seed.
If this projection turns out to be accurate, the Ducks will face up to the seventh seed in the first round of the tournament. This would put them against the LSU team. There is still some way to go before this can be achieved, but the team from Oregon has its sights set on getting to the big event in March.
Who Are Their Key Players?
We saw earlier that the Oregon Ducks have had some excellent players who have gone on to play pro basketball. Who are their current starts that might follow the same path?
Nathan Bittle was their five-star recruit in 2021, joining despite interest from several other college programs. 6 foot 11 Bittle played his early career at Crater High School in Oregon and then Prolific Prep in California. Impressive figures led to him getting recognition as an All-American as well as several other awards.
Isaac Johnson was a four-star recruit in the summer. Standing at 7-foot-tall, Johnson was ranked in 53rd place in the 2019 list of the top 100 recruits compiled by ESPN. As a junior, he picked up 19.5 points and 8.4 rebounds on average. Johnson played for American Fork in Utah before heading to Oregon for the next stage in his career.
Quincy Guerrier was another new player to join the Oregon roster in 2021. However, in this case he came in as a transfer from Syracuse. Born in Montreal, 6 foot 8 Guerrier plays as a small forward and averaged 6.9 points in his freshman season with Syracuse.
Jacob Young is a point guard who transferred in from the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, having earlier played for the Texas Longhorns. His senior figures showed an average of 14.1 points and 3.4 assists. Young made himself eligible for the 2021 NBA draft but eventually headed to the Pac-12 with Oregon.
As we’ve seen, the Oregon Ducks still have a chance to take part in March Madness, and they have several promising players who joined this season and may feel that they have something to prove. If they manage to get through their next few games successfully, we could see them go on another fantastic March Madness run that has their fans dreaming of notching their first Championship in many years.