Paul White got some advanced scouting on Virginia.
“ESPN loves the ACC, so I’ve seen them play some,” White said after Oregon defeated UC Irvine 73-54 Sunday night in San Jose, Calif. to reach a Sweet 16 matchup with the Cavaliers on Thursday. “That is a veteran team. They are very well equipped on the defensive end and offense too. We have got to take one step at a time just like we have been and come out with a game plan and try to execute.”
With Oregon playing the late game each night at the Pac-12 Tournament two weeks ago in Las Vegas, its players had a chance to watch games from other conference tournaments.
“I saw Virginia in my hotel room and that is a good team,” UO sophomore Kenny Wooten said. “We will have to prepare for them when we get back and that starts Monday.”
The Ducks flew home following Sunday’s game and will be back on a plane Tuesday to fly to Louisville, Ky. for the South Region semifinal at 7 p.m.
“We are used to that by now, we played four games back-to-back in Vegas,” UO senior guard Ehab Amin said. “Even though the regular season in the Pac-12 is Thursday and Saturday, we are ready for a quick turnaround to play Thursday. We will get some rest and recovery and get a little work in and then be ready on Thursday.”
Virginia (31-3) is on a similar schedule after beating Oklahoma 63-51 Sunday in Columbia, S.C. just a couple hours before the Ducks finished off the Anteaters.
The Cavaliers lead the nation by allowing 55.0 points per game while scoring 71.6. Virginia went 16-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference to share the title with North Carolina.
“What they have accomplished is off the charts,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “We know that we have to play our best ball because they are a No. 1 seed for a reason. They don’t beat themselves so we have to find a way to beat them. We will have to play a perfect game.”
Six-foot-seven sophomore De’Andre Hunter leads Virginia with 15.2 points per game while junior guards Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome score 15.1 and 13.0 per game, respectively.
“They have got great talent,” UO junior point guard Payton Pritchard said. “I grew up playing with some of them, Kyle Guy and Braxton Key, so I know them real well. We will be ready for the matchup.”
Virginia is a No. 1 seed for the fourth time under coach Tony Bennett, but have yet to reach a Final Four during any of those years. The Cavaliers got knocked out in the Sweet 16 in 2014 and Elite Eight in 2016 before becoming the first top seed to lose in the first round last year.
Oregon (25-12) has won 10 straight games and can put its defensive numbers up against Virginia during that stretch by allowing 54.2 points.
“We’ve got to forget about this and keep trying to get the next win,” Wooten said. “All these wins don’t matter when we get to the Sweet 16 so we just have to keep doing what we do.”