In what has almost become a rite of passage in the NCAA tournament, Oregon won their 2nd round matchup vs. Oklahoma State as a 12 seed beating a 5 seed in an impressive win. However most people felt they would fall to the number 4 seed St. Louis in the 3rd round because they had been on a roll since winning the Atlantic 10 tournament. People seemed to forget that Oregon won the Pac-12 tournament and could match up with any team in the country. Louisville has not allowed there to be any doubt as to who the number 1 overall seed in this dance is. They have been incredibly dominant throughout with blowout victories in their first 2 games.
In their win over St. Louis Oregon displayed their overall depth as freshman Damyean Dotson finished with 23 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals. Carlos Emory chipped in with 14 points in the 74-57 victory. The game was a contrast in styles as St. Louis prefers to play games in the 50’s while Oregon likes to get out and run. Needless to say this game was played at Oregon’s pace. They executed their full court press to perfection and created several easy baskets for themselves. In the half court Oregon showed that they are a drive and kick team that is fully capable of making shots from the outside on those kick out passes.
Colorado State came into their matchup with Louisville as an 8 seed that some people gave a chance to pull off an upset. Louisville quickly put any of those upset chances away when then dominated from the opening tap, had 45 points by halftime , and cruised to a 82-56 victory. Star guard Russ Smith scored 27, Peyton Siva scored 10 points and dished out 5 assists, Gorgui Dieng and Montrezl Harrell also reached double figures in the blowout.
This sets up an interesting matchup in the Sweet 16. Both teams like to apply full court pressure however they do it in different ways. Louisville likes to pick up man to man in the full court. Generally speaking if your ball handler is capable of beating man to man pressure you will be able to get the ball up the floor without having to worry about getting trapped in the backcourt. Oregon also likes to full court press however theirs is much more of a zone press that will look to double team and trap at every given opportunity. Louisville will need to pass the ball through the zone press in order to break it. Oregon has been on fire throughout the tournament shooting from the outside and if they are able to maintain that then they will be able to keep this game close. Louisville still has the best player on the court in Smith at all times. They also have a huge experience edge over Oregon.
This game should be the first in which Louisville will have to break a sweat. Oregon is a fast/quick team that can score points in bunches and puts pressure on you defensively. While Louisville will win the game and move on, 10 points is too many to give a team that is as hot as Oregon.
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