Joe Lunardi explains what Oregon needs to earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament
What will it take for Oregon to get into the NCAA tournament? At this point, quite a bit.
ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi joined the play-by-play crew of Dave Pasch and Bill Walton during the second half of the Oregon-UCLA game Thursday night to discuss the Ducks’ tournament résumé, which Lunardi said includes some “great wins and some head-scratching losses.”
Earlier in the broadcast, Pasch questioned why a team like Michigan State was still assured of a spot despite losses in five of its previous six games while a team like Oregon—11-4 since a Dec. 18 loss to Baylor—is on the outside looking in. “I was at Michigan State on Saturday … and seeing Oregon several times in person, I think Oregon’s a better team,” Pasch said.
But the Ducks entered Thursday night ranked 67th in the NET rankings with just a 2-4 record in Quad 1 games and three losses against Q3 opponents. Michigan State, on the other hand, ranks 36th with only one “bad” loss and one more Q1 win than Oregon.
And to make up for those rough losses, Lunardi says the Ducks have zero margin for error from here on out.
“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,” Lunardi said when asked what Oregon would need to do to earn an at-large spot.
The Ducks beat No. 12 UCLA 68-63 Thursday night to pick up their third Q1 win of the season. So, they’re on their way.