Late Saturday, ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi projected the loss puts the Ducks to the Midwest Region of the NCAA Tournament bracket.
But strangely, it was scoring that proved UCLA's downfall in the rubber match on Friday night in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals.
OR and Arizona shared the Pac-12 Regular Season Title last week despite the fact that the Ducks beat the Wildcats in their lone meeting of the regular season in Eugene.
"They're an elite team and have the type of defense that's going to keep them in games as they play championship-level basketball", Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley said. That set up transition baskets and allowed the Ducks to pull away from the eighth-seeded Sun Devils.
OR positioned itself within a potential game-tying basket with 26 seconds after a layup by junior forward Jordan Bell cut the Wildcats' lead to 79-77.
"Once you give a shooter two really good looks like that, they can get it going", OR head coach Dana Altman said. "Your players realize that, and I think they're accustomed to playing against talent - teams, coaches, individual players". They've seen OR hit buzzer-beaters, they've been together for blowouts, and they've survived - like in last year's tournament semifinal against Arizona - under tough circumstances. And our 3-point defense is one of our strengths. "And I think it was good for us". The Bruins weren't much better off, finishing at 41.2 percent from the field, but their ability to capitalize on USC mistakes kept them steadily ahead. "I just did what I was supposed to do".
The loss to the Wildcats (29-4) ends any hopes UCLA had of earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and perhaps costs them a chance at the No. 2 seed in the West Regional, where it could open in Sacramento for the first two rounds. UCLA is only giving up 70.5 points per game in their last nine games.
Markkanen, who was shooting better than 50 percent from 3-point range through 23 games, made just 5 of 28 from behind the arc in the final eight games of the regular season.
-Dave Heeke, the new Athletic Director for Arizona isn't here in Las Vegas taking in the Wildcats run. They outrebounded the Ducks 20-13 in the first half, and it kept the OR offense from having second chance opportunities.
No. 14 Duke Beats No. 6 North Carolina In ACC Tournament Semis
That comeback, combined with the energy they spent the previous two nights, should give Notre Dame an edge heading into tonight. Meanwhile, Krzyzewski was praising his team's resilience. "They were contested threes and there was just nothing we could do".
Entering halftime, Cal trailed 36-33, but OR stretched out its lead in the early minutes of the second period. He was dictating the tempo for extended stretches in the second half, as he finished with 23 overall for the game.
- USC has seven games of 10 or more steals, and its 219 steals and 7.1 steals per game lead the Pac-12.
Once the clock was under 2:42, the lead for the Wildcats never got more than four points.
"It's not added motivation, it's a game in March that we need to win, so that's enough motivation right there", Bird said. "I think he's an National Basketball Association player, personally". No. 12 Oregon State, 5:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks Game 3: No. 7 Colorado vs.
"They were offensive juggernauts", Colorado coach Tad Boyle said. He was named to the Pac-12 Tournament team after dropping a game-high 25 points in the title game.
Bennie Boatwright added 13 points for the sixth-seeded Trojans, who rallied from 10 points down in the first half and then almost blew a 14-point lead before securing a spot in Thursday's quarterfinals against No. 3 UCLA. That can't happen. Bryce Alford made only two of 10 shots.
Oregon State should be in good shape headed into next season with a young roster that loses only backup center Cheikh N'diaye.
OR faces Cal in Friday's semifinals.