This was a golden opportunity for Stanford to pick up a statement win and punch their ticket to the NCAA tournament. It just didn’t happen.
They haven’t knocked off a ranked team on the road since 2014. Oregon seemed vulnerable, being that they lost by 10 to Stanford in Maples and were without Chris Duarte. It turns out Dana Altman doesn’t need health to win in March (see: Bol Bol, Chris Boucher, etc).
In February, the Cardinal made hay by getting the ball inside to Oscar da Silva, but the Ducks sagged their defense in a bit more today. Daejon Davis turned that into 3 first half threes, but Oregon bet that they wouldn’t be punished for it in the long run. They bet right.
Oregon’s full court pressure didn’t translate into turnovers, but they made Stanford burn nearly ten seconds of clock just getting it over half court. The hurried Cardinal offense then committed a number of giveaways in the half court, and Oregon turned those into fast break hoops. Between the easy baskets and Payton Pritchard’s Lillard impression, the Ducks had a superb day offensively.
This was Stanford’s second double-figure loss of the season. It was also the second most points they’ve conceded in regulation, and the second time they’ve allowed an opponent to shoot over 50% from three.
The bracket is set for Las Vegas. Stanford’s 9-9 record is good for the 7 seed, which has them facing off against 10 seed Cal in the first round. A red-hot UCLA team awaits the winner of that game. There’s a non-trivial chance Stanford can make the tournament field with only one win in Vegas, but realistically they’ll need at least two to have favorable odds.
For Stanford to have success in the tournament, they’ll need to limit turnovers and fast break opportunities. Those two areas were killers today against a good Oregon team. They’ve proven they can beat any team in this conference, but they’ve also proven they can lose to anyone.