Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports
Many Oregon fans believe that the Ducks are safely in the NCAA Tournament regardless of tonight's result. Those fans may be wrong.
It's no secret that the Oregon Ducks Mens' Basketball program has been sliding recently. However, the consensus has been that Oregon is safely in the NCAA Tournament. Recent play will certainly drop their seeding, but that there is nothing to think about on Selection Sunday except for who Oregon will be playing and where they will be playing at.
Are we sure this is the case?
Sure, Oregon can tout a resume that includes three very quality wins, two on the road: Arizona, at UNLV, and at UCLA. They can point to a 23-8 record, and a second place tie in a much improved Pac-12. Joe Lunardi has the Ducks safely in as a 9 seed, several spots above bubble territory.
But as promising as that sounds, there are some real holes in the Ducks' resume. Oregon ranks No. 54 in the country in RPI--a ridiculously low number for an at-large team. Outside of the UNLV and Cincinnati games, the non-conference schedule was an array of cupcakes and cream puffs that any bakery would be proud of. Furthermore, they're 5-6 in their last 11 games--including non-competitive blowouts in the final two. They can't use the Dominic Artis excuse, because they've actually been worse since he came back. They will not have had a decent win since beating UCLA on Jan. 19.
If the Ducks take care of business tonight against Washington, Oregon should have nothing to worry about. But if they end the season with another awful loss, the case becomes really dicey. The RPI will plummet lower, and they will have to deal with the prospect of being two games under .500 in their final 12, while ending the season with some horrible losses.
Basically, Oregon better win tonight, or they'll not just blow the Pac-12 title, but a trip to the big dance as well.