The Pac-12 men’s basketball results have not been as good as many in the conference have hoped for. On Sunday, Utah snuck by Oregon, 80-77, in a close game between teams fighting for a spot in the NCAA tournament.
One encouraging thing for Dana Altman’s team was the play of N’Faly Dante, who did all he could to get the win for the Ducks (h/t Miles Dwyer of Ducks Wire).
“In the second half, the Ducks started running their offense through N’Faly Dante. After scoring just 2 points in the first half, Dante went for 21 in the second half. Dante also played 29 minutes in Sunday’s game, the most since his injury.”
Dante played in just his third game since returning from injury, and he showed every bit why the Ducks are excited about his potential.
He finished the game with 23 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists in a losing effort.
Oregon’s loss at Utah is not a bad loss, but it represents the failure to add a quality win to the resume. By losing to both Colorado and Utah over the past few days, Oregon remains a bubble team relative to the NCAA Tournament. With Washington State losing at Cal on Saturday, the Pac-12 did not have a good weekend in terms of boosting its number of NCAA Tournament bids. The maximum number looks like four teams, and it’s possible that the Pac-12 will get on three bids. Other than Arizona, not one team looks likely to be a higher seed in a first-round game. In other words, only one team in the conference looks likely to have a seed higher than No. 9. That means the Pac-12 has only one serious threat to make the Sweet 16, let alone the Final Four. That’s a huge disappointment in late January.
Next up for Oregon is a game against Arizona State. Utah next faces Washington State.