Rushed Reactions: #1 Oregon 82, #4 Duke 68

Posted by Andrew Murawa (@Amurawa) on March 24th, 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 @RTCWestregion

Three Key Takeaways.

Dillon Brooks and Oregon jammed their way past Duke. (Photo: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports)

Dillon Brooks and Oregon jammed their way past Duke. (Photo: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports)

  1. The Oregon Way. Threes and layups. It’s not a new concept by any means, but Oregon sure runs it to perfection. In a seven-man rotation with a true point guard, two versatile bigs and four athletes who can both shoot and attack off the bounce, the Ducks have made an art out of basing their offense around the long ball and the short ball. For the season, they take about 42 percent of their shots at the rim, and roughly 34 percent from three-point range. Tonight, they were even better than those season averages, taking 23 threes (35 percent of their FGAs) and 28 shots that were either dunks or layups (45%), leaving just 13 (20%) of those inefficient two-point jumpers (they went just 3-13 on those attempts).
  2. Fast-Paced and Fun. In a game chock full of versatile and athletic basketball players (Brandon Ingram, Dillon Brooks, Grayson Allen, Elgin Cook, and on down the line), we saw the type of entertaining basketball we expected. In the halfcourt on both ends of the court, offenses effectively shared the ball and sought out offensive mismatches to exploit. Both defenses trapped to try to slow their opponent down and force turnovers. If defenders were beat off the bounce, there were rim protectors (especially on the Oregon side) waiting to attempt to clean up the mistakes. And the dunks. My lord the dunks. Of those 28 Duck dunk or layup attempts we mentioned above, Oregon converted 19 of them, often in spectacular fashion.
  3. Casey Benson. He’s the quiet man on the Duck team. He’s not going to be playing above the rim. He’s not often going to be among the high scorers on his team (tonight’s 11-point effort was just his fifth double-digit scoring effort this season). But man, he just doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. Tonight, he had one awful first-half turnover, but other than that he was nearly perfect. Benson knocked in three threes, got to the rim for a layup for an additional hoop, handed out eight dimes while facilitating constant ball movement, and generally ran his team to perfection.

Star of the GameJordan Bell. After a foot injury sidelined Bell until mid-December, it took the sophomore big man some time to round into shape. Tonight he showed the nation the type of difference-maker he can be on both ends of the court. He rejected three shots, registered a couple steals, pulled down seven boards, and defended both at the rim and away from the basket. Oh, and he surely earned plenty of attention with his multiple thunderous dunks.

Sights & Sounds. Everybody Hates Duke, Except Duke. During the matinee game, they briefly showed on the big screen the Duke players arriving on their bus to loud disapproval from the neutral fans in the building. When the Blue Devils arrived on the floor for warmups, there was again plenty of disapproval. The handful of Oklahoma and Texas A&M fans who chose to stick around and watch the late game most definitely jumped on the West Coast team’s bandwagon.

Wildcard. Duke in Anaheim. Duke has now played in a regional semifinal game in Anaheim three times, but Duke has never played an Elite Eight game in Anaheim. In 2003, Duke ran into Kirk Hinrich, Nick Collison and Roy Williams’ Kansas team in the Sweet Sixteen. J.J. Redick’s squad came up four points short. In 2011, it was Derrick Williams and Arizona that ended the college careers of Kyrie Irving, Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith. And then tonight happened. Much like Arizona has struggled in Anaheim, Mike Krzyzewski cannot be looking forward to his next trip back to Orange County.


  • Mike Krzyzewski on Oregon: “Great athletes playing together. They knocked us back. They were always in control of the game.”
  • Krzyzewski, on Dillon Brooks: “He makes their team go. He doesn’t have a position. He plays all positions and he plays them so strong. Dana uses his versatility so well. They have a few guys like that, but he’s the best one.”
  • Krzyzewski, on the Oregon defense: “Their athleticism – where you think you’re open and then… They’re so good laterally, and then they have guys that go vertical. And if you do get by the lateral, boom, there’s a guy to go vertical.”

What’s Next? Oregon advances to its first Elite Eight since 2007 and has a chance to make its first Final Four since it won the first-ever NCAA Basketball Tournament back in 1939. The Ducks will play Oklahoma on Saturday in what should be a wildly entertaining game. For Duke, Marshall Plumlee graduates, while Brandon Ingram and Grayson Allen are expected to play for a paycheck next season. But an extremely talented freshman class, headlined by Harry Giles, arrives in Durham. Expect Duke to be back in the national title picture next season.

AMurawa (999 Posts)

Andrew Murawa Likes Basketball.

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