Welp, nobody is happy about the way Oregon advanced to the second round...
but here’s all you need to know about the matchup between 7-seed Oregon and 2-seed Iowa.
When: 3/22, Monday, 9:10 AM,
Where: Indianapolis, Indiana - Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Why: Because it’s March Madness! Duh!
THE OREGON DUCKS (20-6, 14-4): No. 28 (Kenpom)
Memories of last year’s heart-breaking postseason cancellations came flooding back to Duck fans yesterday when it was officially announced that the round one matchup between Oregon and VCU was cancelled due to COVID-19 protocol.
Fortunately for the Ducks, everyone on the team is clear to play and their March Madness journey was only delayed and not ended. Unfortunately for the Rams and their fans they join the countless teams who have been robbed of their post-season dreams. Our hearts here at ATQ go out to VCU and we hope that this is the final contest snuffed out by COVID-19.
The last time the Ducks played the Hawkeyes was at the 2018 2K Classic, a game in which Luka Garza and Jordan Bohannon scored a combined 28 points to lead the Hawkeyes to an upset of No. 13 Oregon.
THE IOWA HAWKEYES (22-8, 15-7): No. 6 (Kenpom)
The Hawkeyes dismantled the Grand Canyon Antelopes in an 86-to-74 victory that has the “Garza for Player of the Year” crowd even louder than before. At 6’11, 265 pounds, Luka Garza is exactly the kind of player that has given Oregon problems this season ever since their go-to big man, N’Faly Dante, was ruled out for the season due to a torn ACL back in December.
Garza is averaging 23.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, and is also hitting 54.7 percent of his shots from the floor, including 42.1 percent of his attempts from downtown. His rebounding capabilities combined with his powerful presence in the paint makes him the perfect weapon against a Duck D that has struggled in the battle of the boards and lacks a true shot-blocker.
What makes things worse for the under-Ducks is that Iowa’s role players and bench had a great game in the first round of the tournament, leading to the possibility that if the Ducks give too much attention to Garza then they will be burned by Joe Wieskamp, Jordan Bohannon or 6-foot-8 Keegan Murray off the bench.
What (to watch for): Though the tournament has already taken a surprising turn for the Ducks the gameplan against the Hawkeyes remains the same: outpace Iowa to the finish line and make Garza as uncomfortable as possible. Of course limiting Garza to mortal numbers is a longshot, but if one of Oregon’s offensive leaders is able to keep up with the big man on the scoreboard then the Ducks will have a great shot at the upset. But that’s easier said than done, considering Iowa has a serious height and depth advantage over Oregon.
The Ducks will not only win this contest, but win big, by at least 10 points. Everyone is quick to jump on the Garza train, but Dana Altman has built his reputation off of having his team firing on all cylinders come March. We predict Garza leads all scorers, but Oregon emerges victorious thanks to stellar play from Omoruyi, Figueroa, Richardson and Duarte.
Ducks 74 - Hawkeyes 63
And if the Ducks end up getting spanked in this one, you know which site jinxed them with a ridiculously cocky prediction.