OR rides athletic advantage, opportunistic tempo to win over Wisconsin

Posted March 25, 2019

The Pac-12 has been the butt of many jokes during the college basketball season so it was a surprise to see how a conference that struggled so much produce three teams - Washington, Oregon and Arizona State - for the 2019 NCAA Tournament.

On Friday, the Badgers couldn't do either one, as fifth-seeded Wisconsin fell to 12th-seeded OR, 72-54, in the Round of 64.

The over/under of 122.5, lowest for any second-round game in this year's NCAA Tournament.

The First Round of the NCAA Tournament continues on Friday with a huge matchup between two middling squads from big conferences.

OR received the two seed out of the Portland Region after posting a 29-4 record this season.

The Badgers went 5-1 against teams seeded in the bottom half of the 68-team field. The Badgers have won six of their last eight, but are just 2-7-1 against the spread in their last 10.

The Ducks, now 24-12, advance to a Sunday game against UC Irvine, which defeated Kansas State earlier in the day. Washington is the No. 9 seed in the midwest region playing No. 8 seed Utah State (26-8) in Columbus, Ohio on Friday.

OR is also one of only three tourney teams that has pressed in over 25% of its possessions, per Synergy. The Ducks are one of only 11 schools nationally that have won 20 games in a row for at least nine consecutive seasons.

OR bounced back the next two seasons to reach the Elite Eight and, in 2017, the Final Four. Those numbers are even more impressive when you consider the Ducks lost 7-foot-2 Bol Bol (21.0 ppg, 9.6 rpg) for the season in December.

Alabama, Gonzaga, Iowa State, North Carolina, Oregon, Seton Hall and Southern Miss are the seven other participants, meaning the Maize and Blue could potentially square off with the Ducks twice in a two-week span if they happen to meet up in the Battle 4 Atlantis.

"We are going to keep on rolling, it doesn't stop and we aren't done yet", freshman Louis King said. Bol, who averaged 21.0 points and 9.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks in nine games, announced in January that his OR career was over and he'd be entering the 2019 National Basketball Association draft. He was held to 12 points, eight rebounds, zero assists and five turnovers.

"He's become what I think we thought (he would)", UW coach Greg Gard said, "a really good point guard that is smart, savvy".

Wisconsin loses All-American big man Ethan Happ as well as Khalil Iverson.