OREGON DUCKS (26-8)
vs. OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS (24-8)
NCAA Tournament – Second Round
San Jose, CA
Tip-off: Thursday, 4:40 p.m. ET
Line: Oklahoma State -3, Total: 135
After winning the Pac-12 Tournament, 12th-seeded Oregon will try to make it four in a row when it faces fifth-seeded Oklahoma State on Thursday afternoon in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Ducks are seeking their first win in the Big Dance since 2007 when they lost in the Elite Eight to eventual national champion Florida. They have not been invited to this tournament since 2008 when they lost to Mississippi State, 76-69. The Cowboys have played great in the second half of the season, winning 12 of their past 15 games SU, but are just 3-5-1 ATS over the past nine contests. They have won four of their past five NCAA Tournament openers, but that one loss was the most recent appearance, a 64-59 defeat to Georgia Tech in 2010. Oregon hasn't been a great wager this season at 13-18-1 ATS (42%), but the team is 3-1 SU (2-1-1 ATS) on a neutral court. Oklahoma State went 7-3-1 ATS in non-conference games this season and finished 4-1 SU (2-2-1 ATS) on a neutral court.
Can Oregon keep its win streak going with a mild upset on Thursday? For the answer, connect to 2013 NCAA Tourney Picks for all the Expert picks throughout the entire tournament. The four StatFox experts begin the NCAA Tournament on quite a roll, going a collective 75% ATS (35-12-1) in the season's final four days and 67% ATS (67-33-2) since March 9, with StatFox Gary going 75% ATS (12-4), StatFox Brian posting a 68% ATS mark (19-9-1), StatFox Dave also at 68% ATS (17-8) and StatFox Scott winning 61% ATS (19-12-1) in those final nine days. Gary has a 68% ATS record (23-11) since Feb. 27 to improve to 56.1% ATS (110-86-4) for the entire college basketball season.
Oregon is a solid offensive team with 71.7 PPG on 44.7% FG, but makes just 32.3% threes. The Ducks also have a quality defense that allows only 63.6 PPG on 41.2% FG. What helps keep these numbers low is not giving up second-chance points (+6.1 RPG margin, 22nd in nation), and playing an aggressive defense that generates 8.5 steals per game (27th in D-I). No Ducks player averages even a dozen points per game, but they have six capable scorers that all average between 8.5 and 11.6 PPG. SF E.J. Singler (11.6 PPG, 4.9 RPG) is the top point-getter for Oregon, but shoots just 41% from the field despite a strong 35% clip from three-point range. Senior SF Carlos Emory (11.0 PPG, 4.2 RPG) makes 47% of his shots for the season and is coming off a 20-point effort in the conference championship win Saturday against UCLA. After finishing the regular season with zero points (0-for-4 FG) at Utah, freshman SG Damyean Dotson (10.8 PPG, 3.6 RPG) scored in double-figures in all three Pac-12 tourney wins, averaging 14.7 PPG and nailing 8-of-15 threes. C Tony Woods (9.3 PPG, 3.7 RPG) started off the conference tournament with 19 points and eight rebounds in the overtime victory over Washington, but he scored just seven points (3-of-9 FG) in the final two games. PF Arsalan Kazemi (9.3 PPG, 9.5 RPG) is a rebounding machine, capping off the Pac-12 tourney with 12 points and 12 rebounds against UCLA. Junior PG Johnathan Loyd (4.9 PPG, 2.8 APG) had a monster game versus the Bruins with 19 points (8-of-14 FG), three assists and two steals coming off the bench.
Oklahoma State scores 72.4 PPG this season, but shoots a mediocre 44.0% from the floor and 31.6% from three-point range. The Cowboys do make their free throws though, with a 75.0% clip that ranks 22nd in the country. Defensively, this team allows just 62.8 PPG, and is not afraid to get in its opponents faces both on the perimeter (7.5 SPG) and in the paint (4.8 BPG). OSU also helps itself out with a +2.3 TO margin and just 12.4 TOPG. This team is propelled by its backcourt of Big 12 Player of the Year PG Marcus Smart (15.4 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 4.2 APG, 2.9 SPG) and SG Markel Brown (15.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG). Smart has scored at least 18 points in each of the past four games, averaging a robust 21.0 PPG, but he has shot poorly from long-range (6-of-21 threes) during this span. Brown has reached double-figures in all but four games this season, with one of those coming in Friday's loss to Kansas State when Brown scored just eight points in a foul-plagued 21 minutes of action. Sophomore swingman Le'Bryan Nash (14.1 PPG, 4.1 RPG) has seven straight games of 10+ points, but after a near-perfect 10-of-12 FG versus KSU to end the regular season, Nash scored just 12.5 PPG on 8-of-22 FG (36%) in the two Big 12 Tournament games. The team's final double-digit scorer is freshman SG Phil Forte (10.4 PPG) who is shooting just 37% FG (34% threes) this season. This includes a woeful 31% FG clip in his past eight games, which wasn't helped by his 2-of-10 FG in the most recent loss. Sophomore PF Michael Cobbins (6.9 PPG, 6.2 RPG) isn't a talented scorer, but his seven blocks over the past three games shows he has plenty of value on this team on the defensive end.