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Oregon (28-8) vs. Louisville (31-5)
Friday, March 29, 7:15 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Lucas Gulotta, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lucas Oil Stadium (36,000) -- Indianapolis, Indiana. Television: CBS. NCAA Tournament Record: Oregon 14-9, Louisville 66-40. Series Record: Oregon leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: Dana Altman and the Oregon Ducks hope to continue their streak of upsets as they take on the top-seeded Louisville Cardinals in the Sweet 16 at Lucas Oil Stadium on Friday.
This will be just the fourth meeting in history between these schools on the hardwood. Oregon holds a 2-1 all-time series edge. The winner of this matchup will take on either Duke or Michigan State in the Elite Eight.
Dana Altman's Ducks had a impressive season that included wins over Vanderbilt, UNLV, Arizona, UCLA and Washington, culminating in a Pac-12 Tournament title. Still, Oregon was announced as a 12-seed despite a solid 26-8 record. The low-seeding clearly didn't sit well with the Ducks, as they coasted past Oklahoma State (68-55) and Saint Louis (74-57) in their first two tournament games. Arsalan Kazemi, who transferred to Oregon from Rice before the season, made a huge impact in the win over the Billikens with 16 rebounds.
E.J. Singler (11.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg), brother of former Duke star Kyle Singler, stands as the Ducks' leading scorer and has been in double figures in three of his last four games. Damyean Dotson scored a game-high 23 points and connected on 5-of-6 shots from behind the arc for the Ducks as they advanced past the opening weekend of play in the tournament for the first time since 2007 With Carlos Emory (11.1 ppg), Kazemi (9.2 ppg, 9.9 rpg) and Tony Woods (9.1 ppg, 1.1 bpg) all playing at a very high-level, Oregon is going to be tough foe for any opponent going forward.
Rick Pitino's Cardinals advanced to the Sweet 16 for the 19th time in program history after downing North Carolina A&T, 82-56, in the second round and then defeating Colorado State, 82-56, in the round of 32. Collectively, the Cardinals are shooting 56.9 percent from the field in the tournament, while holding opponents to 44.4 percent and forcing them into an average of 23.5 turnovers so far. Creating havoc for opposing teams has been the key to the squad's success this season. The Cardinals led the Big East and rank second in the nation in steals (10.7 spg). The team recorded an NCAA record 20 steals against North Carolina A&T in the second round. On the season, the Cardinals' opposition is scoring just 58.0 points per game and shooting 38.8 percent from the field. Defense is the key for Louisville, which averages an impressive 23.2 ppg of opponents' turnovers.
Russ Smith (18.4 ppg) has no limitations as a scorer, as he has posted double figures in 33 games this year. He is virtually unguardable when his jump shot is on, averaging 25.0 ppg and 5.0 spg in the tournament thus far. Gorgui Dieng (10.0 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 70 blocks) is one of the best big men in the nation with his ability to crash the boards and protect the rim. The speedy Peyton Siva (9.9 ppg, 5.9 apg) runs the point for the Cardinals and can both score and create for others, while Chane Behanan (9.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg), Wayne Blackshear (8.0 ppg) and Luke Hancock (7.4 ppg) give Louisville plenty of depth.
Ignore the Ducks' seeding in this one as they were clearly undervalued prior to the tourney. Both these teams have seemed to be flawless in the Big Dance thus far. Oregon did commit a high number of turnovers against Saint Louis, which could be an issue against a very aggressive Louisville defense.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Louisville 73, Oregon 67
03/29 10:32:18 ET
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