Bubble Watch: 5 Reasons Why Oregon Will Make NCAA Tournament
5 Reasons the Oregon Ducks Will Make the NCAA Tournament
There are less than two weeks remaining in the college basketball regular season before the unveiling of the bracket on Sunday, Mar. 16 leaving many teams to ponder where they will be in the bracket or if they will make it at all.
Nothing is more stressful in the world of sports than being a bubble team at this point in the season as there are little opportunities remaining to state your case for making the tournament. Only the conference tournament can be the saving grace for many teams at this stage in the game which proves disastrous for many in power conferences where favorites seem to rule with an iron fist.
The Pac-12 is among the many conferences that have already crowned a regular season champion, but the fact that one team has dominated conference play proves beneficial to all the bubble teams in the conference. Many bubble teams in the conference will either play themselves into or out of the NCAA Tournament through their performance in the Pac-12 tourney. They will knock out or be knocked out by their bubble brethren, giving the teams that go far in the conference tournament a decided advantage come Selection Sunday.
The Oregon Ducks' season has proved to be a tale of two halves in a best of times, worst of times season for a team that seemed to fall apart midway through the season. After rallying off 13 straight wins to start the season, the Ducks drowned as Oregon lost eight of the next 10 games. After a true collapse, the team has kept their head above water in the bubble conversation by winning five straight games, but will the turnaround prove to be enough after the team's mid-season disappearance?
The Ducks have a veteran presence that makes them dangerous, but the team's instability presents a "take em or leave em" mentality when it comes to the selection committee. Guard Joseph Young and forward Mike Moser headline the quack attack that is 9th in the country in points per game at 82.8 and yields a field goal percentage of .467. With four players who average 10 points, the Ducks' depth is superb and could allow the team to fly high in the tournament.
Even though Oregon has had their struggles this season, the Ducks are still the cream of the crop when it comes to the bubble discussion which should lead the team to a tournament bid when the bracket is announced.
Let's take a look at the 5 reasons the Oregon Ducks should make the tournament field.
Greg Douglas is a College Basketball writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on twitter @thegpd93 or add him to your Google Network.
5. Statement Wins
The Ducks' two major victories came in overtime to tournament teams that are solidly in the field at the moment. The Ducks defeated the BYU Cougars way back in December right before the team's epic collapse happened in the middle of the season. Oregon's other statement win came just last week when the Ducks defeated the UCLA Bruins on the road in double overtime. Even though the Bruins were playing without stars Jordan Adams and Kyle Anderson, the win against a top-notch team should serve the Ducks well in the bubble discussion.
4. Pac 12 Tournament
Oregon stacks up well against the teams the Ducks could possibly face in the Pac-12 tournament. As the Ducks currently sit mid-table in the conference standings, Oregon will have the ability to play their way into the big dance with just a couple of victories against like competition.
3. Strength of Schedule
Strength of schedule plays a major role in tournament selection as the tournament committee makes a decision among the last teams to get into the field. Oregon has played only two top-25 opponents this season, yet the Ducks' strength of schedule still sits at 44. When compared to two tournament projected No. 1 seeds, Oregon's strength of schedule matches up favorably as Syracuse's SOS ranking is 50 and Wichita State's is 101.
2. RPI Rating
RPI is another tool the selection committee uses to determine seeding within the tournament, and it might be the most crucial component in deciding the final teams that make the cut. Oregon's RPI is 33 which sits in the range of many bubble teams but is still higher than several tournament locks such as Iowa.
1. Victory Over Arizona?
There are only two games remaining in the regular season for the Ducks before the Pac-12 tournament. One of those games will prove to be the toughest test this season for Oregon as the team faces off with the No. 3 ranked Arizona Wildcats in the season finale. A win against the Wildcats would mark the Ducks' best win of the season and put all the bubble talk to bed to lock up a tournament berth. In the last meeting between these two teams on Feb. 6, the Ducks lost a 67-65 heartbreaker on the road.