NCAA Tournament 2017: Oregon makes Final Four for first time in 78 years

#NCAA #jordanbell It hasn’t been back to the Final Four since. Until now. Seventy-eight years between, but Oregon is back to college hoops’ ultimate stage. The Pacific Northwest has done the unprecedented, sending two teams from the region to the Final Four in the same year.

The third-seeded Ducks effectively won a road game in the Elite Eight on Saturday night, pulling off a sizable stunner, knocking off No. 1 Kansas in Kansas City. This is a Jayhawks team that looked better through the first three rounds of the bracket than any other team in the field.

After cracking 90 points against their first three opponents, the Jayhawks couldn’t even score two-thirds of that, losing 74-60 in Kansas City. It was KU’s lowest-scoring and least efficient game of the season.

The Ducks are Phoenix-bound because of two players —Jordan Bell and Tyler Dorsey. Both have been monstrous in this tournament. Bell with defense, Dorsey with spirit-vanquishing 3-pointers. Dorsey had six of them against KU, finishing with 27 points. His 3 from the top of the key with 1:55 left in a six-point game (Jayhawks threatening to come back from an 18-point deficit) was a knife to the kidney. Dorsey’s averaging 25 points per game in this tournament.

Bell had 13 rebounds, 11 points and set a program record with eight blocks in a tournament game. KU has thrived on the comeback victory this season, pulling off some remarkable turnarounds, but Bell scared the Jayhawks into bad shots all night long. Oregon’s length and size won the day, but shooting 60 percent in the first half, getting an 11-point lead at the break, allowed the Ducks to have enough to hold of KU.

Hard to say who was better over the past four games for this team. Dorsey and Bell should be co-MOPs.

Oregon’s flight to Phoenix is worth a long discussion. The five-loss Ducks dropped to the No. 3 line on Selection Sunday after falling in the Pac-12 title game to Arizona, this after losing starting big man Chris Boucher for the season to a knee injury. This led many people (including yours truly) to pick Oregon as a chic upset victim in the second round to Rhode Island.

And then that almost happened. URI should have defeated Oregon, but the Ducks rallied from a double-digit second-half deficit to win 75-72 thanks to a shot in the closing seconds from — who else? — Dorsey.

Then Oregon was a betting underdog to red-hot Michigan, the darling story of the first weekend of the tournament. And the Ducks could well have lost that game, but they didn’t because Derrick Walton Jr.’s clean look at a 3-pointer in the closing seconds didn’t fall.

Against Kansas, there wasn’t much room for doubt. Oregon’s been a borderline top 10 team all season, but due to the health of Dillon Brooks (foot injury) and the weakness of the Pac-12, we weren’t quite sure how good O was.

Another fascinating factor: Oregon’s in the Final Four despite Brooks being merely OK. He was the Pac-12 Player of the Year, yet the third most important player the past two weeks. Shows you how good this Ducks starting five is.

Source : cbssports

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