Upstart Oregon, originally seeded 12th in the brutal Midwest Region and now unofficial owners of the “Hey, selection committee, you screwed this one up” tag, enjoyed a comfortable 74-57 win over mid-major darling Saint Louis on Saturday. The Pac-12 champions now advance to the Sweet 16 in their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2008.
The celebration in San Jose continued into the locker room, as celebrations are wont to do. There’s plenty of high-fives, low-fives and people saying “let’s go.”
“Fellas, enjoy it,” Coach Dana Altman says. “Even if you didn’t play well, enjoy it. Fellas, there’s going to be 16 teams playing tomorrow, out of 347. And you are one of those teams. You are one of those teams that’s playing with 16 only playing.
“Fellas, fellas, you seniors now, this is your chance. You underclassmen, you never know what’s going to happen. Let’s band together, let’s go swing away. We’re going to have other chances, but right now, it’s this one. Live in the moment. Enjoy it. Enjoy it. Take care of yourselves. But fellas, no matter what, no matter how you played, put a smile on your face. Because fellas, we’re in the Sweet 16. Okay? Enjoy it. There’s 347, and we’re one of 16.”
After victories over the Billikens and No. 5 Oklahoma State, the Ducks appear for real. But can the fellas muster enough to get by top overall seed Louisville next weekend?
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