EUGENE — Oregon remained in the men’s basketball top 25 after a split of its two games last weekend, but the troubling rankings for the Ducks could be what the computers think of the Pac-12 co-leaders.
In those evaluations, Oregon does not fare so well, and ratings done by computers are used by the NCAA committee that selects and makes the pairings for the NCAA tournament.
In the balloting of the media for The Associated Press, Oregon was at No. 24 in the poll released Monday. That makes it seven consecutive weeks for the Ducks to be listed among the nation’s top 25 by the media, though Oregon was not in this week’s USA Today top 25, for which the voting is done by the coaches. In that poll, Oregon was second among “others receiving votes" with 37 points. Virginia Commonwealth was 25th with 52 points.
Oregon is not as highly thought of by the computers. In the NCAA’s version of the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) evaluation of teams, Oregon is 49th through the weekend games, which puts the Ducks fifth among Pac-12 teams.
The NCAA RPI lists Arizona at No. 11, Colorado at 29th, UCLA 42nd and California 45th, all in front of the Ducks.
The Sagarin Ratings use a similar computer system and have Oregon at No. 45. That listing puts the Ducks third among Pac-12 teams, with Arizona 17th and UCLA again at No. 42. Colorado is 47th and California 50th.
In a typical year, teams in the top 50 of the computer rankings are almost assured of berths in the NCAA tournament. The problem for the Ducks would be if they fell out of that grouping, which is still a possibility if the Ducks stumble in these final weeks of the Pac-12 season.
While the game at Colorado on March 7 is likely only to help the Ducks with computers, Oregon’s other two remaining foes will probably hurt the Ducks with the computers, with Oregon State at No. 183 in the NCAA RPI and Utah at No. 177. The Ducks play host to OSU tonight and then complete the regular season at Utah on March 9.
One factor that would definitely help the Ducks with the NCAA’s selection committee would be the return of freshman point guard Dominic Artis. After starting the first 19 games of the season, Artis has missed the past nine games with a stress fracture in his left foot, and the Ducks have gone 5-4 in those games after being 17-2 before his injury.
The committee has in the past made it known that it considers the impact of injuries, though how much so will also depend on how well Artis plays when he returns, and if Oregon is playing better with him back in the lineup.
It is anticipated that if the doctors give Artis clearance, he might play in a limited role tonight.
Oregon enters tonight’s game tied with UCLA for first place in the Pac-12 at 11-4, with Arizona at 11-5 and California at 10-5.
The regular-season standings are primarily used for seeding the Pac-12 tournament.
The Pac-12’s automatic berth to the NCAA tournament goes to the winner of the conference tournament, to be held March 13-16 in Las Vegas. Washington won the Pac-12 regular-season title last year with a 14-4 record but was beaten in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament and ended up in the National Invitation Tournament after being snubbed by the NCAA.