The Oregon Ducks (22-12) accepted an invitation to 2018 NIT Tournament after missing out on the NCAA Tournament. With the invite, the Ducks will host a first-round game against the Rider Broncs (22-9) on Tuesday.
Oregon’s bid for a fifth-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament fell short after losing to the USC Trojans in the Pac-12 Tournament Semifinals. Credit goes to Kenny Wooten, who made two solid defensive plays in the first two rounds just to help the Ducks march on.
Fatigue became evident against the Trojans as the Ducks were playing for a third-straight night. Oregon could not find any rhythm, prompting USC to take full advantage.
After yesterday’s selection show for the 2018 NCAA Tournament, an argument could be made for Oregon. From the teams getting in, the Ducks went 5-3 against the opponents selected for the big dance. Oregon defeated Arizona State (twice), UCLA, Arizona, and Texas Southern. Losses came to Oklahoma, UCLA, and Arizona.
Inconsistent play by the Ducks is what likely kept them out of the tournament. Oregon could not find a consistent formula going into March which has made the Ducks a threat in recent years under coach Dana Altman.
For players, Elijah Brown and Paul White, missing out on the NCAA Tournament must sting a little. Both were transfers this season with the hopes of bringing the Ducks back after a run to the Final Four last year.
In short, Oregon’s athleticism did not match well against Pac-12 opponents during the regular season.
The NIT Tournament is nothing to be ashamed of considering the bracket features quality opponents who all have strong cases to be in the NCAA Tournament. Oregon got granted the No. Three seed and named a host site.
Rider hails from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The Broncs won the regular season title but fell in the conference tournament quarterfinals to St. Peter’s in an upset. For Rider, this is their second NIT appearance and first in over 20 years.
Kevin Baggett is in his sixth season as head coach, earning MAAC Coach of the Year for the second time. Dimencio Vaughn leads the Broncs in both points and rebounds per game. He made first-team All-MAAC.
Stevie Jordan earned second-team honors while Jordan Allen and Fredrick Scott earned third-team recognition. Scott, a redshirt freshman, received the sixth-man MAAC Player of the Year. He averaged 13 points per game.
A complete bracket of teams can be found here.
Tipoff begins at 7:00 p.m. PST and will be streaming on ESPN 3.