Pac-10 Champs Head to Conference Tournament
March 5, 2002
WHAT'S ON TAP . . . The Pac-10 Tournament returns for the first time since 1990 and the top-seeded Ducks get the 2002 version underway by facing eighth-seeded Washington in the opening game, Thursday, March 7, at 1:00 p.m. The game will be shown live nationally by Fox Sports Net.
PAC-10 CHAMPIONS . . . By defeating UCLA 65-62 last Saturday, Oregon clinched its first outright conference championship since the 1938-39 Tall Firs, who went on to win the first NCAA Championship, won the Pacific Coast Conference -- that's a span of 63 years. Overall, it's the Ducks' first league crown since 1944-45, when Oregon tied Washington State for the Pacific Coast Conference Northern Division crown, and then defeated the Cougars in a playoff to gain entry to the NCAA Tournament.
PAC-10 CHAMPIONS PART II . . . In a season where six Pac-10 teams could be invited to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in league history, Oregon not only won the conference title, but won it by TWO GAMES. Not bad for a team picked to finish sixth in the Pac-10 preseason media poll.
PAC-10 CHAMPIONS PART III . . . For the first time in school history, the University of Oregon has a Pac-10 championship in men's basketball and football in the same academic year. In fact, having one school win the outright championship in both football and men's basketball has happened only eight times in conference history: UCLA in 1955-56, 1961-62 and 1982-83, California in 1923-24 and 1958-59, and USC in 1929-30 and 1939-40. Oregon is the first Northwest school to win outright Pac-10 titles in football and men's basketball in the same year.
TENTATIVE OREGON STARTERS
F 3 Robert Johnson 6-8 235 Jr. 7.6 ppg, 7.4 rpg, .538 FG Pct.F 33 Luke Jackson 6-7 215 So. 15.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.1 apgC 25 Chris Christoffersen 7-2 300 Sr. 8.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg, .529 FG Pct.G 13 Luke Ridnour 6-2 165 So. 15.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 5.0 apgG 20 Frederick Jones 6-4 209 Sr. 18.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 3.1 apg
THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE . . . Head coach Ernie Kent and requested players will be available for interviews at 1:15 p.m. Tuesday at Mac Court, prior to practice. Oregon will depart Eugene for Los Angeles Tuesday evening. The Ducks are scheduled to practice at the Staples Center from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday. All practice sessions during the Pac-10 Tournament are closed. Head coach Ernie Kent will conduct a 30-minute press conference beginning at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday at the Staples Center. Players will also be available for interviews for 30 minutes beginning at 11:00 a.m. at the Staples Center, location TBA.
6-1 vs. Top 25. The Ducks are now 6-1 against teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, including No. 11 Arizona (Eugene), No. 15 Arizona (Tucson), No. 14 Stanford (Eugene), No. 13 UCLA (Eugene), No. 23 USC (Eugene) and No. 19 USC (Los Angeles). It is the first time in school history that UO has beat six ranked opponents in one season. The lone loss came Feb. 7 at No. 20 Stanford.
Oregon is 9-2 against teams ranked in the top 50 of the most recent Ratings Percentage Index (RPI): wins over No. 7 Arizona (twice), No. 23 UCLA (twice), No. 27 California, No. 30 Stanford, No. 32 USC (twice), and No. 47 Pepperdine. The losses came at No. 27 California and No. 30 Stanford. Oregon is No. 28 this week.