Oregon hangs on -- barely

And that, my friends, is why people who've got the Ducks going past the Sweet Sixteen should be very afraid for their brackets.

I mentioned earlier that Oregon was a one-trick pony that was vulnerabe if their 3-point shots weren't falling. I stand by that analysis after Miami of Ohio -- you know, the team that needed a banked 3-pointer at the buzzer of its conference tournament just to get into the Dance -- nearly sent the Ducks home in the biggest upset of the Tournament.

Oregon shot just 29 percent from 3-point range in the unfamiliar confines of the Spokane Arena, and should feel fortunate the committee put them up to a No. 3 seed after their Pac-10 Tournament championship. Had the Ducks been a lower seed and faced a tougher team, they'd be on their way back to Eugene.

The bottom line is this: When UCLA, Washington State or USC run into rough stretches, or find themselves in close games, they can rely on their defense to help win the game. When Oregon's offense goes into hybernation, the Ducks are in trouble. They allowed the RedHawks -- not exactly known as an offensive juggernaut -- to shoot 48 percent from the field and make a late run even after Oregon held a double-digit lead late. They simply cannot get defensive stops when they need them.

I've got Oregon going to the Sweet Sixteen, but today is precisely the reason I couldn't in good concience pick them to go further. But who knows? They get hot for another couple of games, and they could make me look stupid again.

Goodness knows I've been awful good at that lately. Just look at the latest Bracket Challenge standings through 1 1/2 rounds ...

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