Everyone is talking about Kansas, everyone is talking about North Carolina and everyone is talking about Michigan State.
But the best team that no one is talking about? It’s not even close.
“Even though they’re a 1-seed, I think if you look at all the bracket percentages at CBSSports.com, what you’re going to find is they were, by a pretty wide margin, the 1-seed that was not picked as often as the other 1-seeds to actually make the Final Four,” CBS Sports college basketball analyst Gary Parrish said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “The thing you run into with Oregon, I think, is two-fold. One, they took some really bad losses in early December to teams that were outside of the top 100 in RPI. So when you do that, here’s what happens, particularly when you don’t have pros and people didn’t think you were going be great to begin with: You drop out of the Top 25. Well, when you drop out of the Top 25, you basically drop off the face of the Earth for the casual basketball fan, and then even when you get good, you’re getting good in games that tip at 10:30 Eastern. So who’s staying up in Manhattan or anywhere on the East Coast to watch Oregon, particularly when Oregon is playing on the Pac-12 Network. Raise your hand if you’ve got the Pac-12 Network.”
Don’t worry. No one else does, either.
“So nobody’s seen them play,” Parrish said. “They don’t have a lottery pick. you’re not watching because you’re intrigued by the talent. They weren’t ranked in the Top 25, even in the month of February. So you’re not watching them because they’re a Top 25 team. You’re not watching them because it’s convenient because they’re playing while you’re asleep on a network nobody has. But they’ve really strung together wins late. They beat Utah’s brains in the Pac-12 Tournament title game. So on Selection Sunday, they had a resume that looked like a 1-seed. I had them projected as a 1-seed, but nobody knows what they are. Nobody knows anything about them. But they’re a good basketball team.”
Indeed, Dana Altman as led Oregon to 24+ wins and four NCAA Tournaments in the last four years.
“Let me be very clear: He’s one of the best coaches in America, and he’s turned that into a consistently good program,” Parrish said. “But being good doesn’t resonate with the average sports fan. You have to be great or you have to have pros, and the haven’t had that over the past few years. I guess my point would be they’ve got a 1 beside their name, so they’re obviously respect by the committee. But I bet you most people you know who have a bracket don’t have Oregon in the Final Four – and I don’t either. I have Oklahoma. But my point is, that Oregon team is deserving and worth your time.”