Rushed Reactions: #1 Oregon 91, #16 Holy Cross 52

Posted by Kenny Ocker on March 18th, 2016

Rush the Court will be providing wall-to-wall coverage of each of the NCAA Tournament from each of the 13 sites this year. Follow our NCAA Tourney specific Twitter accounts at @RTCEastregion, @RTCMWregion,@RTCSouthregion and @RTCWestregionKenny Ocker is covering the Spokane pods of the South and West regionals this week.

Three Key Takeaways.

Oregon Methodically Took Care of Business Today (USA Today Images)

Oregon Methodically Took Care of Business Today (USA Today Images)

  1. Oregon didn’t embarrass itself, and nobody got hurt: All the Ducks needed to do was win comfortably, have nobody get hurt and try not to tax their key players before Sunday’s second-round game against the winner of Saint Joseph’s and Cincinnati. Mission accomplished. There’s not much else that can be taken from a game against what is Oregon’s second-worst opponent of the season, according to
  2. Chris Boucher is a unicorn: The Ducks’ 6’11” stringbean of a center does three things, and he does them all phenomenally. He blocks a ton of shots. He takes a lot of threes. And he finishes off spectacular alley-oops. The reigning junior college player of the year has transformed Oregon into a difficult team to attack offensively and just as much of a challenge to defend. He’s freakishly long and quick and can jump as high as anyone in college basketball. His combination of skills was on full display Friday, as Holy Cross had nobody capable of containing him. Boucher’s final stat line: 20 points on 8-12 shooting, one three-pointer, five rebounds.
  3. Bill Carmody finally got a team in purple into the NCAA Tournament: After a long, sometimes-cursed tenure at Northwestern that never saw the Wildcats experience March Madness, Carmody coaxed a struggling Holy Cross team to four consecutive road wins in the Patriot League Tournament, then won a First Four nail-biter against Southern to earn a red-eye flight to Spokane. There’s only one Crusader senior who plays major minutes — swingman/glue guy Eric Green — whose spot in the starting lineup will likely be filled next year by supersub Robert Champion. Once the Crusaders switched to their 1-3-1 zone defense, they saw significantly better results. It wouldn’t be totally surprising to see them back in the bracket next year.

Star of the Game: Holy Cross forward Robert Champion. Oregon used a team effort to win, and we already talked about Boucher above. Champion, on the other hand, had nearly half his team’s points; his ability to fit in with the first unit next year will probably dictate how much success Holy Cross has in the Patriot League. Champion finished with 22 points on 8-14 shooting. He also added four rebounds.


  • “A team like that, when you get open looks, you’ve got to knock them down, and we struggled to do that.” — Holy Cross’ Robert Champion, on playing Oregon
  • “I was kind of scared, to be honest. We’ve been making a lot of history, but I didn’t want to make that kind of history, being the first No. 1 to lose to a 16 seed,” said Oregon forward Dillon Brooks.

Sights and Sounds: Injured Oregon guard Dylan Ennis took a lap of the court before the game…on his knee scooter.

  • Chris Boucher finishing three alley-oops in the first half made him the belle of the ball, as least as far as the Oregon-heavy crowd was concerned.
  • Hey Bill Simmons: Oregon got its NCAA championship before Holy Cross did. Wikipedia is your friend!
  • Oregon’s band has played the same roster of songs since 2008, and probably far before that. “25 or 6 to 4” is a great pep band song, but chances are half the people in the Spokane Arena think Chicago is some sort of city or something.

What’s Next? Oregon gets the winner of the 8-9 game between Cincinnati and Saint Joseph’s on Sunday. Holy Cross gets an NCAA Tournament victory (technically), a participation ribbon and a one-way ticket back to Massachusetts.

Kenny Ocker (29 Posts)

Kenny Ocker is a graduate of the University of Oregon and a copy editor for The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash. He has been a contributor for Rush the Court since December 2010. He can be reached via email and you can follow him on Twitter.

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