Oklahoma State faces tough 12-seed in Oregon
BY KELLY HINES World Sports Writer
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
3/19/13 at 8:03 AM
In less than a day, Oregon went from winning its conference tournament to becoming the lowest-rated of the five Pac-12 teams to make the NCAA Tournament.
The Ducks wound up 43rd of 68 teams in the field and landed a 12 seed, a controversial move by the selection committee.
"Oregon by seed would have been a slot higher," committee chairman Mike Bobinski said in a CBS interview Sunday. "During the bracketing process, there's a lot of mechanical things that happen, and both Cal and Oregon had to drop a line."
By falling to 12, Oregon (26-8) drew fifth-seeded Oklahoma State in the Midwest Regional. The teams will meet at about 3:40 p.m. Thursday in San Jose, Calif.
"I told our team (the seed is) just a number," Ducks coach Dana Altman said on ESPN Radio on Monday. "You look at all those teams between 5 and 12 and they're all pretty good basketball teams.
"It's something we can't worry about. You worry about things you can control and all we can control is how well we play against Oklahoma State, the effort we give. While our fans are disappointed, I don't want our team to be. I don't want our coaching staff to be. We've just got to go play."
On Monday, OSU coach Travis Ford said Oregon is "one of the best 12 seeds I've ever seen." The Ducks went 4-0 against top-30 opponents this season.
"They're extremely experienced, very well-balanced, great defensively, great rebounding," Ford said. "They're a very skilled team."
A season that began with much promise took a slight downturn when freshman point guard Dominic Artis missed nine games with a foot injury.
"DA had led us to a 17-2 start," Altman said. "We were ranked in the top 10 and we were playing very well."
Without Artis, the Ducks went from averaging 76 points to 61 and lost four of nine games. He has returned to action but isn't back to form.
"DA's put entirely too much pressure on himself here to bounce back and do the things he was doing when we were 17-2," Altman said. "I want him to try to relax a little bit and just make a contribution. He's trying to carry the team and he doesn't need to do that."
In Artis' stead, backup Johnathan Loyd came on strong and was the MVP of the conference tournament, scoring a season-high 19 points in a title-game win against UCLA.
Artis and Loyd will likely have their hands full with Cowboy floor general Marcus Smart, the national freshman of the year who averages almost three steals a game and was named a second-team All-American by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association on Monday.
"We're going to need both of them to play well against Marcus Smart," Altman said. "He's bigger, stronger than either one of those guys and so we're going to have to work awfully hard to get him slowed down."
Record: 481-279 (71-36 at Oregon)
Coaching experience: Marshall (1989-90), Kansas State (1990-94), Creighton (1994-2010), Oregon (2010-present)
Tournament experience: Has taken nine teams to the Big Dance, including seven while at Creighton, but has never advanced past the second round.
Accomplishments: Seven tournament championships, including six in the Missouri Valley while at Creighton; three regular-season Missouri Valley titles; five conference coach of the year awards.
Also known for: In 2007, Altman took the Arkansas job and changed his mind less than 24 hours later in favor of staying at Creighton.
NCAA: second round
(5) OSU vs. (12) Oregon
3:40 p.m. Thursday
Radio: KFAQ am1170
Original Print Headline: OSU faces tough 12-seed in experienced Oregon
Kelly Hines 918-581-8452