Ducks rose from 'tough time' to Final Four contender

OR is one of the most balanced teams in the nation with top 20 marks in adjusted efficiency on both sides of the ball per Ken Pomeroy's ratings. If the Oregon Ducks win, it will shift the conversation Nationally and Dana Altman will get some much needed recognition for what he has done in Eugene.

When he took over the OR program seven seasons ago, he hired onetime New Mexico State University assistant Tony Stubblefield, who has since been the lead recruiter and defensive strategist for the Ducks. OR then won their Elite Eight contest vs No. 1 Kansas and advanced to the Final Four for just the second time since the tournament began in 1939. This will be a huge factor against a North Carolina team that commonly plays a lineup with three traditional, big man forwards.

Sticking to a basic foundation of what he started to learn almost four decades ago in Portales isn't something that surprises Riley, who along with his brother Mike, are Altman's guests at the Final Four this weekend. Altman spent four seasons as Kansas State's head coach from 1990-94, and Williams was the coach at Kansas from 1988 to 2003. Will North Carolina make it to the championship game for the second year in a row? But he went on to become the national junior college player of the year, which led to greater exposure to major programs, which led to a change of plans. Bell is just 22 years old and a player to watch out for!

"Coach and I have talked a couple times on the phone since it's happened".

But Barcello couldn't resist the allure of staying in state to play for coach Sean Miller and the Arizona Wildcats - and he said the incoming 2017-18 recruiting class is on a mission to deliver that Final Four appearance that's still conspicuously missing from Miller's otherwise-impressive résumé.

"From a coaching perspective, maybe I didn't quite appreciate just how good he was until I started to do it myself", said University of New Mexico assistant coach Alan Huss, who played for Altman at Creighton from 1997-2001. Not only has the Canadian led his team to the best season in school history, but the personal hardware is starting to pile up for Brooks.

"I think when you get to the Final Four, all four could win it". The question has been asked throughout the NCAA Tournament, but so far, the Ducks have always had an answer. "Winning's everything to me, so I'm gonna play as hard as I can when I'm out there to get that W". It will be an impossible one if Dorsey is allowed to catch-and-shoot from deep.

Benson's junior year was his breakout moment on the Arizona high school basketball scene, leading his team with 20.7 points, 3.3 assists and 1.4 steals per game. However, if there is anything I have learned from this year's team, it is that they are confident and resilient, and the absence of one of their post players - a lost part of a dynamic duo that included 6'9 Jordan Bell - will not be an excuse for these young men. "With Chris out of the lineup, obviously Jordan has picked up his numbers dramatically". North Carolina will play OR in the Final Four in Phoenix on Saturday. Heisman Trophy victor Cam Newton and Auburn beat the Ducks 22-19 on a last-second field goal.

Dillon Brooks may be the star of stars on the OR basketball team, but you couldn't tell from his demeanor.

"Obviously, we're in the Final Four, and that's awesome, but there's still work left to be done", OR guard Casey Benson said. "Just want to be in positions like this". Oregon's Bell finished the game with eight blocks anchoring the defense, which helped the Ducks cruise to the easy victory.

  • Julie Sanders