NCAA Tournament Game Preview (West Region – Sweet 16)
Duke Blue Devils [25-10] vs. Oregon Ducks [30-6]
Thursday, March 24, 2016 • 10:07 PM • TBS • Anaheim, CA • Honda Center
By Randy Dunson [Note: Please direct comments, suggestions, etc. to @RandyDunson.]
About the Ducks
The Ducks have advanced to the Sweet 16 for the second time in four years. Overall, this is Oregon’s fifth trip to the Sweet 16 (1960, 2002, 2007, 2013, 2016). Oregon is one of five schools in the nation to have won a game in each of the last four NCAA Tournaments. The other teams are Gonzaga, Kansas, North Carolina and Wichita State. For the first time in school history, Oregon won both the Pac-12 regular season and tournament titles. It was Oregon’s fifth all-time regular season title (1919, 1939, 1945, 2002, 2016) and fourth tournament crown (2003, 2007, 2013, 2016). Oregon’s computer numbers were among the best in the nation. The Ducks finished the regular season as the No. 2 RPI team in the NCAA, CBSSports and ESPN indexes. The Ducks also played the second-toughest schedule in the nation according to ESPN. In addition to the RPI and SOS, the Ducks led the nation with 22 ESPN RPI top-100 wins. The Ducks’ record of 30-6 is the program’s best mark in 77 years. The 1938-39 Tall Firs, which won the very first NCAA title, finished the season 29-5. Oregon’s 30 wins match the program record of 30 set in 1945. Oregon’s No. 1 seed eclipsed the previous best of a No. 2 (2002) for a Duck squad. It is Oregon’s fourth straight NCAA Tournament bid, also a program first. Milestones for the Ducks this season:
- Most Wins, 6-season period (153)
- Most Wins, 5-season period (132)
- Most Wins, 4-season period (108)
- Most Wins, 3-season period (80)
- School season-record 30 wins (tie)
Pos Name Ht Wt Cl
F Elgin Cook 6-6 205 SR
F Dillon Brooks 6-7 225 SO
F Chris Boucher 6-10 190 JR
G Casey Benson 6-3 185 SO
G Tyler Dorsey 6-5 180 FR
About the Blue Devils
Thursday’s Sweet 16 matchup between fourth-seeded Duke and top-seeded Oregon will be just the second meeting between the two programs. Duke is making its 15th Sweet 16 appearance since 1998, the most in the nation over that time. Duke is 9-5 against No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament since seeding began in 1979. The Blue Devils have the best NCAA Tournament winning percentage in the event’s history (.797) and ranks third all-time in NCAA Tournament wins (107). Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski has won a record 90 NCAA Tournament games. Only one other active coach (Roy WIlliams) has coached in 90 NCAA Tournament contests. Krzyzewski’s record 23 Sweet 16 appearances are five more than the next-closest coach on the list (Boeheim – 18). Brandon Ingram’s 17.1 points per game is the highest average among freshmen to reach the regional round of the NCAA Tournament. Duke’s average of 81.5 points per game is the sixth best among major-conference teams. The Blue Devils rank fourth nationally in offensive efficiency (120.3). Duke has made 321 three-pointers, the program’s second-best single-season total. Allen (88), Ingram (78) and Matt Jones (74) are the first trio in Duke history to each make 70+ threes in a season.
Pos Name Ht Wt Cl
G Grayson Allen 6-5 205 SO
G Matt Jones 6-5 200 JR
G Derryck Thornton 6-2 175 FR
G/F Brandon Ingram 6-9 190 FR
C Marshall Plumlee 7-0 250 SR
The 4-seed Duke Blue Devils were tested in their first two games of the NCAA Tournament but were able to advance after defeating the 13-seed UNC-Wilmington Seahawks, 93-85, and the 12-seed Yale Bulldogs, 71-64. On the season, the Blue Devils have been led by Grayson Allen (21.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.3 SPG), Brandon Ingram (17.1 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.1 SPG), and Marshall Plumlee (8.4 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 1.1 APG). Offensively, Duke is averaging 81.5 PPG on 46.1% shooting from the field and 38.7% shooting from beyond the arc. The Blue Devils average 9.2 three-pointers per game and have an assist/turnover ratio of 1.35. Defensively, Duke is allowing their opponents to average of 72.2 PPG on 44.3% shooting. The Blue Devils have a rebound margin of -0.4 and a turnover margin of 2.2.
The 1-seed Oregon Ducks had little trouble defeating the 16-seed Holy Cross Crusaders, 91-52, this past Friday, but had all they could handle with the 8-seed Saint Joseph’s Hawks in their 69-64 victory late on Sunday night. On the season, Oregon has been led by Dillon Brooks (16.8 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.1 SPG), Elgin Cook (14.5 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.4 SPG), and Tyler Dorsey (13.7 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.9 APG). Offensively, Oregon is averaging 78.9 PPG on 46.8% shooting from the field and 34.5% shooting from beyond the arc. The Ducks average 6.8 three-pointers per game and have an assist/turnover ratio of 1.18. Defensively, Oregon is holding their opponents to an average of 68.5 PPG on 42.2% shooting. The Ducks have a rebound margin of 3.4 and a turnover ratio of 2.8.
Duke displayed how they can put up points in a hurry in the first half against the Yale Bulldogs, but also showed a bit of their weaknesses, which includes a defense that ranks just 187th in scoring defense and bench that is not very deep. Oregon has been one of the hottest teams over the last two months and although the Hawks defense was able to slow down the Ducks offense, Oregon is still one of the better offensives teams in the country. Oregon is one of the most athletic teams in the country and although I think Duke will be able to keep up with them early, I think their lack of depth will cost them in this one and that the Ducks will pull away in the second half.
Keys to Watch For
Keys for Oregon
Oregon’s versatility is what has made the Ducks the top seed in their bracket.
- Forward Elgin Cook does not try to do too much on the floor, and that is one of his strengths.
- Cook is a beast who can score at the bucket, he plays through contact, he can rebound and he is a quality passer.
- Forward Dillon Brooks can score inside and out, and he showed his explosiveness by going for 25 in the second round vs. St. Joe’s.
- Guard Tyler Dorsey will be critical vs. Duke.
- He, along with fellow guard Casey Benson, will be key to keeping Duke’s athletic guards out of the lane on defense, and Dorsey can make an impact from beyond the 3-point line.
- Oregon is not blessed with great size, but the Ducks make up for it with quickness and athleticism, and they love to push the tempo and take teams out of their comfort zone.
- Their long arms, however, make the Ducks disruptive on defense.
Keys for Duke
The Blue Devils are not blessed with experience from top to bottom, but this is a mature team that has a different focus right now.
- Guards Grayson Allen and Brandon Ingram can both score inside and out, and Allen’s range forces opponents to guard him from deep, creating room to roam for his teammates.
- Ingram uses his outside game to set up his drives to the bucket, and on defense, his length makes him a disruptive presence.
- Center Marshall Plumlee was a factor in the first two rounds, and he has to stay out of foul trouble to keep Dukes’ way-too-thin bench from being stretched.
- If Duke plays solid defense and hits some early shots, the Blue Devils will be in good shape.
Oregon is exactly the kind of team that gives Duke fits. The Ducks are athletic and are willing to run with the Blue Devils, but they also can clamp down on defense when they need to. Duke is going to push Oregon to the limit, but look for Cook and Brooks to take over late and pull out a win, 85-80.