Oregon Ducks Return To the NCAA Tournament, Face South Carolina on Thursday in Pittsburgh

750 The Game Staff

The Oregon Ducks find themselves back in the NCAA Tournament after running the table in Las Vegas and winning the last-ever Pac-12 men’s basketball tournament.

Oregon’s only hope to make the big dance was by claiming the automatic bid in the Pac-12. They did exactly that, beating Colorado in the title game 75-68 following wins over Arizona and UCLA.

Sunday, the Ducks learned they would be in the Midwest Region as a No. 11 seed, and will face No. 6 seed South Carolina in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday afternoon at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Penn. The game will tip off at 1 p.m. on TNT.

DraftKings lists Oregon as slight 1.5-pt underdogs to the Gamecocks with a total set at 135.

The winner of Thursday’s first-round game advances to face the winner of 3-seed Creighton and 14-seed Akron, the game preceding Oregon-South Carolina in Pittsburgh. Oregon head coach Dana Altman could face his former team in the second round should the Ducks advance — Altman spent sixteen seasons as head coach of the Blue Jays from 1994-2010 before accepting the Oregon job.

With three straight wins in Las Vegas, Oregon is now 23-11 overall, and went 12-8 in conference regular season play to be the 4-seed in the Pac-12 Tournament. South Carolina is 26-7 overall, and went 13-5 in SEC play to claim the No. 5 seed in their conference tournament. The Gamecocks dispatched Arkansas 80-66 before losing to 4-seed and eventual conference tourney champ Auburn in the quarterfinals, 86-55.

South Carolina is a familiar opponent for Ducks guard Jermaine Couisnard, who played for the Gamecocks three seasons from 2019-22 before transferring to Oregon. The 25-year-old played and started each of Oregon’s 34 games this season, averaging 15.4 points a game with 4.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists.

Oregon and South Carolina each made the Final Four in 2017 in Arizona, though both lost their respective national semifinal matchups to North Carolina and Gonzaga, respectively. That was the last time South Carolina made the NCAA Tournament before snapping their seven-year drought this season.

In his fourteenth season in Eugene, Dana Altman has Oregon back in the NCAA Tournament for the eighth time in 13 tournaments. Oregon was headed for another tournament appearance as the top-seed in the Pac-12 regular season in the Covid-shortened 2019-20 season.

The Ducks have won at least 20 games in each of Altman’s fourteen seasons. They are making their first NCAA Tournament appearance in three seasons, having reached the Sweet Sixteen in the Indiana-based NCAA Tournament in 2021.