A quick look at Iona-Oregon in the NCAA Tournament
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — No. 3 seed Oregon (29-5) vs. No. 14 seed Iona (22-12)
First round, Midwest Regional; Sacramento, California; 2 p.m. EDT.
LOSING BOUCHER: The Ducks are counting on senior forward Chris Boucher's contributions from the sidelines now after a season-ending knee injury. He tore his ACL in a victory against California in the semifinals of last weekend's Pac-12 Tournament, quite a blow for the team's leading shot blocker and dangerous 3-point threat. Boucher was Oregon's third-leading scorer at 11.8 points, also averaging 6.1 rebounds and 2.55 blocks before getting hurt. The Ducks lost by three points to Arizona in the Pac-12 Tournament final without him.
SACRAMENTO MOMENT: Iona guard Sam Cassell Jr. did a quick YouTube search this week on his father, the former NBA star, and by chance came across a 40-point performance against the Sacramento Kings for Minnesota during the 2004 Western Conference semifinals. Now, the younger Cassell — who transferred from UConn — hopes to make his mark in the Kings' sparkling new building. "We're the underdog, there's no pressure on us," he said.
NEXT MAN UP: Oregon coach Dana Altman is now counting on more from juniors Kavell Bigby-Williams and Roman Sorkin and freshman Keith Smith to fill a void on the big stage with Boucher out.
THINKING AHEAD: If Oregon avoids the upset, the Ducks could face Altman's former Creighton program in a second-round game Sunday. The Bluejays are the No. 6 seed in the Midwest, and play 11th-seeded Rhode Island in the opener.