Bubble Watch 2022: Assessing Oregon's NCAA Tournament résumé
Oregon is one of the most interesting teams on the bubble in college basketball. Yes, the Ducks have done a ton over the last two months to help themselves in the hunt for a potential at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. They are also trying to undo an unsightly open to the season.
And after a one-point loss to USC Saturday night, the Ducks have now lost four of their last six games.
The first two losses in that span were killers—a 78-64 home loss to what was a 3-11 (in conference play) California squad and then a flat-footed 81-57 loss to what was a 4-9 Arizona State squad. (Arizona State has been playing much better of late, which helps from an eye test standpoint.)
The latest two losses have come by three points on the road against Arizona and now by one point at home to USC. Against the top two teams in the Pac-12, Oregon has been there at the end with a chance to win. And sandwiched in between those losses is a five-point win over No. 12 UCLA.
“Minimally, they have to get a split against the LA schools this weekend, then I think they need to sweep the Washington schools in the final week, and probably get to the championship game or at least the semifinals of the Pac-12 tournament,” ESPN’s Joe Lunardi said during the UCLA game when asked what Oregon would need to do to earn an at-large spot.
As much as it felt like Oregon’s tourney hopes were officially dashed late Saturday night, they’ve still checked the first box on that step-by-step guide to the tourney Lunardi laid out.
Oregon is playing with razor-thin margins, though. A win over the Trojans would have given a little room for air. Instead, Oregon probably needs to make light work of the Washington schools on the road to close out the regular-season schedule. A win over Washington State in Pullman would be a fourth Quad 1 victory.
More of those are needed. Few bracketologists have Oregon in the field.
Lunardi has the Ducks in the “First Four Out” category, right below a BYU team that beat them 81-49 on Nov. 16. CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm has the Ducks in the same place, behind North Carolina. Bracket Matrix shows the Ducks in only 18 brackets, and among the 10 highest-ranked bracketologists (Bracket Matrix assigns five-year weighted accuracy scores) the Ducks are only in one as a 12-seed.
Let’s take a look at the résumé:
- Overall record: 18-11 | Conference record: 11-7 | Road record: 5-3
- NET ranking: 58th
- Quad 1 record: 3-6 | Quad 2 record: 4-2 | Quad 3 record: 3-3 | Quad 4 record: 7-0
- SOS: 43rd (NET), 47th (KenPom) | Non-conference SOS: 28th (NET), 75th (KenPom)
- Best wins: 84-81 at UCLA (NET 13th), 68-63 vs. UCLA, 79-69 at USC (26th), 86-63 vs. SMU (46th)
- Worst losses: 69-67 vs. Arizona State (105th), 81-57 at Arizona State, 78-64 vs. California (131st)
If the Ducks are going to be knocked for early-season struggles (they should, to be clear), they should also get credit for a strong win over an SMU team that Palm has firmly in the tournament field. Beyond that, Oregon came within a single possession of a season sweep of the LA schools. To do that and still miss the tournament, even with a top-60 NET ranking, would be something truly unique.
Teams with a top-60 NET ranking don’t typically miss the tournament. But Oregon doesn’t have a typical résumé. Here’s a look at some other teams right in the mix for one of the final at-large bids:
North Carolina Tar Heels
- Overall record: 21-8 | Conference record: 13-5 | Road record: 7-3
- NET ranking: 40th
- Quad 1 record: 1-7 | Quad 2 record: 4-0 | Quad 3 record: 11-0 | Quad 4 record: 5-1
- SOS: 61st (NET), 54th (KenPom) | Non-conference SOS: 34th (NET), 69th (KenPom)
- Best wins: 72-51 vs. Michigan (34th), 65-57 at Virginia Tech (41st)
- Worst losses: 85-57 at Miami (60th), 76-67 vs. Pittsburgh (181st)
- Overall record: 20-7 | Conference record: 13-3 | Road record: 9-1
- NET ranking: 54th
- Quad 1 record: 3-2 | Quad 2 record: 3-4 | Quad 3 record: 9-1 | Quad 4 record: 5-0
- SOS: 93rd (NET), 85th (KenPom) | Non-conference SOS: 67th (NET), 43rd (KenPom)
- Best wins: 70-68 at Davidson (44th), 53-52 at Dayton (55th), 48-37 at Vanderbilt (75th)
- Worst loss: 58-44 vs. Wagner (132nd)
Loyola Chicago Ramblers
- Overall record: 22-7 | Conference record: 13-5 | Road record: 8-3
- NET ranking: 31st
- Quad 1 record: 3-2 | Quad 2 record: 2-4 | Quad 3 record: 7-1 | Quad 4 record: 9-0
- SOS: 114th (NET), 109th (KenPom) | Non-conference SOS: 46th (NET), 84th (KenPom)
- Best wins: 79-74 vs. San Francisco (28th), 71-62 at Missouri State (65th), 69-58 at Vanderbilt (75th)
- Worst loss: 83-76 vs. Drake (90th)
- Overall record: 15-11 | Conference record: 9-7 | Road record: 4-7
- NET ranking: 34th
- Quad 1 record: 4-7 | Quad 2 record: 2-3 | Quad 3 record: 5-1 | Quad 4 record: 4-0
- SOS: 10th (NET), 8th (KenPom) | Non-conference SOS: 26th (NET), 22nd (KenPom)
- Best wins: 82-58 vs. Purdue (12th), 84-79 at Iowa (19th), 72-58 vs. San Diego State (30th), 80-62 at Indiana (43rd)
- Worst loss: 75-65 vs. Minnesota (100th)
San Diego State Aztecs
- Overall record: 18-7 | Conference record: 10-4 | Road record: 3-5
- NET ranking: 30th
- Quad 1 record: 3-7 | Quad 2 record: 2-0 | Quad 3 record: 6-0 | Quad 4 record: 7-0
- SOS: 74th (NET), 80th (KenPom) | Non-conference SOS: 95th (NET), 91st (KenPom)
- Best wins: 63-53 vs. Saint Mary’s (20th), 79-49 vs. Colorado State (27th), 61-44 at Fresno State (61st)
- Worst loss: 75-57 at Utah State (68th)
- Overall record: 21-9 | Conference record: 9-6 | Road record: 6-5
- NET ranking: 50th
- Quad 1 record: 4-5 | Quad 2 record: 3-3 | Quad 3 record: 3-0 | Quad 4 record: 9-1
- SOS: 63rd (NET), 62nd (KenPom) | Non-conference SOS: 101st (NET), 26th (KenPom)
- Best wins: 52-43 vs. Saint Mary’s (20th), 71-69 at San Francisco (28th), 66-60 vs. San Diego State, 74-68 at Missouri State (65th)
- Worst losses: 72-65 at Utah Valley (113th), 76-73 at Pacific (294th)
- Overall record: 18-11 | Conference record: 8-8 | Road record: 3-6
- NET ranking: 51st
- Quad 1 record: 2-8 | Quad 2 record: 4-2 | Quad 3 record: 5-0 | Quad 4 record: 7-1
- SOS: 49th (NET), 51st (KenPom) | Non-conference SOS: 219th (NET), 229th (KenPom)
- Best wins: 63-62 vs. Auburn (11th), 71-68 vs. Ohio State (18th)
- Worst losses: 70-54 at Ole Miss (110th), 69-54 vs. Texas Southern (202nd)