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NCAAB: Oregon tops the Pac-12 and is No. 21 in the nation

he Oregon Ducks football program might be grabbing all the headlines, but its basketball team is perched atop the Pac-12 standings and moving up in the national rankings. The Ducks have won 7 straight games and 11 of their past 12 and currently have an overall record of 16-2, while their Pac-12 record is 5-0. The Ducks are ranked no. 21 in the nation.

In a conference that Arizona has dominated for years, the Ducks are showing they have great talent, even sooner than most observers had thought they would. One sign of that was their impressive win over the No. 4 ranked Arizona Wildcats 70-66 back on January 10 followed by big conference wins against Arizona State, USC and UCLA.

Most thought Arizona was a lock for the title in the Pac-12 after taking down Florida. Each victory seemed to put the Wildcats that much further away from their contenders. However, the Ducks are now on the top of the Pac-12 race with a 5-0 conference record, with UCLA a half game behind at 5-1, and Arizona and Washington a full game back at 4-1.

Oregon has 13 games left on his Pac-12 schedule including difficult away games at Washington, Oregon State and Utah. Nevertheless, the Ducks are proving they belong. Balanced scoring and good defense has led the way thus far. The Ducks have five players averaging in double figures with Damyean Dotson leading the way are 11.9 points per game, but Tony Woods is close behind with an average of 11.3.

The Ducks win over UCLA on Saturday broke a 10-game winning streak for the Bruins. Oregon was able to go into a packed Pauley Pavilion and send UCLA’s fans home early with their 76-67 win.

Oregon showed how they could slow down a team that loves to play transition basketball like UCLA with their tough defense.

The win put Oregon in the driver’s seat as far as the Pac-12 title race is concerned. Their wins over UCLA and earlier over Arizona, are the only meetings the Ducks will have with those two teams. UCLA however will have to play both schools from Arizona on the road, which for most observers is a tough trip.

Oregon has also started to improve their rebounding on both ends of the court and that was evident in their win on Saturday against UCLA as they held an overall edge of 40-31. That rebounding advantage led to 12 second chance points in the game, compared to just 2 for the Bruins.

Oregon now must face Washington State at home on January 23 and then a tough matchup with Washington at home on January 30 before playing on the road for two straight games against Stanford and California.

With the way the Ducks are moving up in the national rankings and perched atop the Pac-12 standings, the team could be a force to be reckoned with come tournament time and could even be one of the top seeds in the West once March Madness rolls around

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