Hot shooting from Johnathan Loyd and Carlos Emory to start gave Oregon a nine-point lead at the half, and strong play by their big men allowed them to hold on for a Pac-12 Tournament title over a shorthanded UCLA team.HEre are snapshots of two fanbases with completely different opinions about their coaches.
For Oregon, this is thrilling. Dana Altman took charge just three years ago, and although there are plenty of important seniors on the team, it was the players he has brought in - Loyd, the 5'9 point guard from Las Vegas who won tournament MVP, freshman Damyean Dotson, who went 3-for-4 from three, and Rice transfer Arsalan Kazemi, who had a double-double - who powered the Ducks to the win Saturday night. Not only did he bring Oregon their first tournament bid since 2008, but they also have a Pac-12 title to go with it. The crew at Addicted to Quack was ecstatic in their analysis of the win last night.
Congratulations to Coach Altman. He was great the entire tourney. Trusting certain guys, challenging certain guys, letting them play, calling timeouts, and generally managing a bunch of college kids back from their lowest point of the season to their highest point in less than a week. If you would have asked any Oregon fan 3 years ago when they hired Altman if they'd take an NCAA Tourney appearance and conference championship within 3 years, I doubt you'd find one that would turn you down.
Many teams will be waiting to here [sic] whether or not their number is called on Sunday, but not the Ducks. It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when and where. If you enjoyed this week of tournament play from your Oregon Ducks, then get ready, cause it's only getting started. We're headed to the dance baby.
Conference Champs 2013! Go Ducks!
Meanwhile, for UCLA, it's hard to tell that the top-seeded Bruins ran through the conference tournament all the way to the finals and gave Oregon a run for their money despite a season-ending injury to star freshman Jordan Adams, as their recap featured doom and gloom about a squad they feel should have done better:
Unfortunately there will be no conference title for UCLA, and this was once again an example of Altman outcoaching Howland. Howland knew he was down to seven players, but this did not stop him from playing Tony Parker more than his token minutes again. This was after Parker made a man-sized aggressive move for a layup that signaled to all of the Bruin faithful that he was ready to go. On the other bench, Altman trusted his players, going legitimately 9 deep including Johnathan Loyd, who at a 4.5 PPG average became just the latest Howland Opponent Superstar, exploding for 19 points. There was a time once when Howland was known for shutting down an individual on the other team. Now he makes superstars out of scrubs.
They also lament how UCLA has likely lost a close-to-home NCAA Tournament game, and point out that a Final Four is "the only thing that should save Howland's job." There's even a relatively elaborate post about how Jamie Dixon will take the job at USC, followed by Howland being fired and returning to Pitt.