When the brackets were released last Sunday, there was a collective outcry from the “experts” concerning the under-seeding (on the 12 line) of Pac-12 Champion Oregon by the committee. After three days and two dominant wins, the Ducks made the committee look silly and the experts look brilliant. Oregon dominated #4-seeded St. Louis for the final 30 minutes of the night, and cruised to a 74-57 victory.
A 21-4 run by the Ducks gave them a 35-19 half-time lead, and while the Ducks played only to a +1 margin in the second half, they led by more than 20 for portions of the second half. Freshman Damyean Dotson led all scorers with 21 points (8-12 FG, 5-6 3-PT), but the key to the victory for Oregon was some incredible defense.
St. Louis was held to only 37.7% from the field on the night, but the most glaring statistic came from the Billikens’ inability to knock down three-point jumpers. They began the night 1-for-17 from the 3-point line, and needed to make 2 of their last 4 attempts (in garbage time) to even reach their final line of 3-for-21 from beyond the arc. It was a defensive clinic from Oregon, as they used a late 1st-half switch to a zone defense to alter the game plan of SLU, and they never looked back.
In addition to stellar defensive numbers for the Ducks, they also managed to shoot a blistering 52.8% from the field (28 for 53), as well as a comically impressive 8-for-11 from the three-point line on the night. It was an across-the-board domination (Oregon also controlled the glass, 37-23) and it was jarring to see an extremely well-coached team in St. Louis looked terribly overmatched in this game.
It is important to remember (as Ken Pomeroy noted on Twitter) that this version of the Ducks didn’t really exist prior to the tournament. I would certainly agree that they were under-seeded as a #12, but the level that they’ve established this weekend is a new bar for this ultra-talented roster, and if they can keep it going, they can give Louisville a run for their money in Indianapolis. For St. Louis, this is a disappointing end to an incredible season, and they left everything they had on the floor for their former coach, the late Rick Majerus.
Be sure to stay tuned to FanSided.com and BustedBrackets.com throughout the entire tournament as we keep you up to date with the latest results. Will there be a Cinderella story in 2013? We will have to tune in and see.