No. 1 Oregon pulls away from No. 4 Duke for Elite Eight berth
Get all of Michael Beller’s columns as soon as they’re published. Download the new Sports Illustrated app (iOS or Android) and personalize your experience by following your favorite teams and SI writers.
Oregon slowly but surely put more and more distance between itself and Duke, turning a five-point halftime lead into an insurmountable one with five minutes left in the game. Dillon Brooks and Elgin Cook combined for 38 points, leading the Ducks to the Elite Eight with an 82–68 win over the Blue Devils.
Why it matters
Oregon is back in the Elite Eight for the first time since 2007 and sixth time in program history. Offense may be this team’s calling card, but it was its defense that really impressed, especially in the second half. The Ducks held Duke to 44.1% from the floor (26 for 59), including just 7 for 22 from behind the arc. Brandon Ingram mostly did what he wanted, but Grayson Allen really struggled, connecting on just four of his 13 field goal attempts. On the other side, Duke just didn’t have an answer for Brooks or Cook, and couldn’t keep Oregon off the glass. Oregon outrebounded the Blue Devils 42–32, and got 12 offensive boards compared with Duke’s five. Oregon’s going to need to match that defensive effort on Saturday if it wants to get to its first Final Four since winning the national championship in 1939.
Oregon will meet Oklahoma on Saturday with a berth in the Final Four on the line. Buddy Hield, Isaiah Cousins and Jordan Woodard against Brooks, Cook and Tyler Dorsey to get to college basketball’s grandest stage? Yes, please.