When Oregon popped up on the NCAA Tournament selection show Sunday afternoon, men's basketball coach Dana Altman had a couple of familiar feelings.
The Ducks received a No. 12 seed in the South Region and a trip to San Jose, Calif., just as they did in 2013 when Oregon pulled off two upsets to reach the Sweet 16. The Ducks will open up Friday against fifth-seeded Wisconsin, which ended UO’s seasons in 2014 and 2015.
“Lot of familiarity with 2013 when we were a 12 (seed) and went to San Jose, so hopefully the results are the same,” Altman said. “It is Wisconsin, which has a lot of tradition and is a very good basketball program. We lost a couple of close games to them.”
The teams will tip off at approximately 1:30 p.m., after the completion of the UC Irvine-Kansas State game that begins at 11 a.m. The game will be televised on TBS.
Oregon (23-12) won four games in four days to win the Pac-12 Tournament on Saturday and clinch a spot in the NCAA field that seemed unlikely throughout most of the season. The Ducks received the NCAA Tournament draw they wanted by staying close to home and getting an extra day to recover from playing four straight nights in Las Vegas.
“I am happy about that,” Altman said. “We just played four games and if we were playing on Thursday, we would be traveling on Tuesday already. It is finals week and we have a lot to take care of. So all things considered, the four games we just played and time for travel, I think it is good for us.”
Wisconsin traditionally travels a large contingent of fans to major sporting events, but Oregon will likely have the larger contingent of fans at the SAP Center.
“Playing in Cali, hopefully all our fans will be there and it will be a great atmosphere,” Oregon junior guard Payton Pritchard said. “Playing on Friday does give us an extra day of rest to prepare for Wisconsin.”
The Badgers (23-10) won six of their last seven games before losing 67-55 to Michigan State in the Big 10 Tournament semifinals. Wisconsin went 14-6 in Big 10 play and beat Xavier, Stanford and Oklahoma in nonconference games.
Wisconsin swept two games from Iowa, which beat Oregon 77-69 in New York on Nov. 15. The Ducks and Badgers both beat the Cardinal.
“We’ll look at the last few games they played because we are a lot different than when we played Iowa, that seems like 10 months ago,” Altman said. “We will look at their last set of games, conference games. I’m sure that they will look at our last eight games and we will look at their last seven or eight.”
Six-foot-ten senior Ethan Happ, the first three-time all-Big 10 player in school history, leads the Badgers with 17.5 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Sophomore guards D’Mitrik Trice and Brad Davison average 11.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per game.
Fourth-year coach Greg Gard was an assistant under Bo Ryan when the Badgers beat Oregon in back-to-back NCAA Tournaments.
“I’m sure our coaches will draw up a good game plan and put together a scouting report so we can get a nice feel for them and who they are and what their strong suits are,” Oregon senior forward Paul White said. “As long as we stay true to what we have been doing the last few games, we should be fine.”
The Oregon-Wisconsin winner will face either fourth-seeded Kansas State or No. 13 UC Irvine on Sunday.
“It is a tough four-team bracket,” Altman said. “We scrimmaged Kansas State so we know how good they are and Wisconsin is a traditional power. We have played (UC Irvine coach Russell Turner) in the past and his teams are always physical and tough.”
When Oregon was the 12th seed in 2013, it defeated fourth-seeded Oklahoma State 68-55 in the first round before beating Saint Louis 74-57 in the second round to reach the Sweet 16 where it lost to eventual national champion Louisville.
“When we were there in ’13 we had pretty good fan support and hopefully it is close enough and it is on Friday, so that may help get people to the game,” Altman said. “We had great support last week in Las Vegas and as we went on, people got down there.”