March Madness is finally here for VCU and Oregon.
But the dream will end for one of these two schools after Saturday night.
The Oregon Ducks were 20-6 during the season to claim the Pac-12 crown but fell to rival Oregon State in the conference tournament semifinals. VCU finished 19-7 this season and is coming off of a tough, 74-65 loss to St. Bonaventure in the Atlantic-10 Conference Tournament championship game.
Oregon and VCU have met just once. The two teams played in the 2014 Legends Classic at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The Rams won that meeting 77-63.
West Region: No. 10 VCU Rams (19-7) vs. No. 7 Oregon Ducks (20-6)
Time: Sat., March 20 at approximately 9:57 p.m. ET
Where: Indiana Farmers Coliseum (Indianapolis)
Spread: Oregon -5.0
Keys for VCU
VCU makes its living on the defensive side of the ball. KenPom has the Rams as the ninth-best defensive unit in adjusted efficiency, along with them ranking second in steal percentage, fourth in block percentage, eighth in turnover percentage, and 20th in effective field goal percentage.
The Rams' offense goes through Nah'Shon Hyland, who won the A-10 Player of the Year award by averaging 19.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.1 assists as a sophomore. Hason Ward also made the A-10 All-Defensive team by averaging 3.6 defensive rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game.
The player to watch for is junior guard Vince Williams, who is averaging 10.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.
Keys for Oregon
Oregon has to use its depth to its advantage. The Ducks have five players who are averaging at least 10 points per game.
Chris Duarte, a senior guard, and Eugene Omoruyi are tied for the team lead in scoring with 16.3 points per game.
Duarte is shooting 53.3 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3-point range. LJ Figueroa is another to keep an eye on as he is third on the team in scoring with 11.8 points per game and he also is averaging 6.8 rebounds per contest.
If Oregon can get major contributions from Duarte, Omoruyi, and Figueroa, it could be a long night for VCU.
Great defense usually beats great offense. While VCU certainly has a chance to win this game, it is hard to go against Oregon here. The Ducks are sound offensively, and Oregon's depth will be hard to match.
VCU will need to slow the game down and be able to guard the perimeter shots. The Rams should keep it close throughout, but the Ducks' offense and 3-point shooting should prove to be the difference in this matchup.
Prediction: Oregon 70, VCU 66
— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, the Miami Herald and the Palm Beach Post and is a reporter for Pro Player Insiders. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.