SAN JOSE, California – The game is over. Oregon went to another Sweet 16. And if you had told these Ducks players during the mid-season that they were sticking together this shattered mess and forming an NCAA regionality, you would have called a liar.
It was Oregon 73, UC Irvine 54 on Sunday
Ducks over anteaters
No. 12 seeds over # 13.
In SAP Center witnessing Dan Fouts, the legendary Ducks quarterback. Also, Neil Everett, SportsCenter anchor, along with his wife Stephanie. An old friend from Oregon's entered the building a few minutes before tipping in a bespoke brown suit.
William Wesley ̵
Wes is back worldwide.
The ducks must feel that way too.
Nike founder Phil Ritter was not present. He was ill at home and probably watched the game on television. But Wesley, a one-time mainstay for John Calipari's teams in Memphis and Kentucky, loves a winner.
At the side of the Super Bowl with the Dallas Cowboys.
In a locker room of the NBA Finals with the Detroit Pistons.
Behind the victorious bank at the NCAA tournament.
"All," said talented and talented athletes, "knows World Wide Wes."
Wesley even appeared in the lyrics of a Drake song to Michael Jordan and LeBron James. He became known as one of the most powerful people in sports, a strong facilitator of stars, coaches and agents.
Ex-Trail Blazers guard Damon Stoudamire once told me, "Wes heads the NBA. "
Wes now performs the Ducks Pep rally.
The length of Uregon and the athleticism were too much for UC Irvine on Sunday, and the Ducks won the match, even though they had burst due to a terrible drought in the second Give the Ant stages credit They came out of the locker room where coach Russell Turner said, "Good enough is not good enough."
Then the Anteaters went 14-0 and took the lead.
Said Ducks & # 39; coach Dana Altman: "We got stuck in the mud.
But if this tournament is known for everything, then it's known for moments when talented, athletic teams remember less talented, less athletic teams when it's time to go home. And, blocked shot through blocked shot, basket for basket, stop for stop, Oregon directed UC Irvine towards Oakland International Airport.
The Anteaters may have used the airport in San Jose, but the flight path is via local neighborhoods. Laws do not allow flights to start after 10:30.
Tony Wooten should better look at his watch before jumping, or quote him.
It was Wesley's turn to play basketball in Oregon a decade ago. He was close friends with Ducks assistant Kenny Payne and closely with Malik Hairston, a six-foot-long McDonald's All-American from Detroit who had picked the Ducks over Michigan and Oklahoma. I once asked Wesley why Hairston chose Oregon to stay in his home state.
Wesley told me, "Terrorism is less of a threat."
The truth is, the country's high school talent always seemed to follow Wesley. Payne finally left Oregon for Kentucky to become Calipari's chief negotiator. Hairston became an NBA Draft pick. And Wesley accepted a job as a consultant at the Creative Artists Agency.
But before that, the Ducks reached the Elite Eight of 2007.
So it was a full-circle moment when Wesley splashed around the Ducks again, freshman Louis King and stood up when Kenny Wooten made a street sacrifice. Freshman Bol Bol, dressed in street clothes, looked excited as his team progressed.
I could not help wondering which Wesio would first embrace in this UO trio. Or who else might turn up in an Oregon uniform next.
After Kentucky won Kansas for the 2012 NCAA Tournament title, Anthony Davis, the tournament's stand-out player, stepped up to the stands.
His parents do not hug.
Rather, to put his arms around Wesley.
Usually you see a team of young, promising talents, and you wonder what it could become in a few years. But with this group, in this era of Oregon basketball, it's a sense of the moment. This time window is fleeting and the Ducks climbed on Sunday.
Next: Virginia, the No. 1 in the Louisville Regional.
This is very different from the Oregon team that had a chance two seasons ago Run to the Final Four. It is not based on hardened experience and perseverance. It is built on length, versatility and the leadership of Payton Pritchard.
Altman said, "We have nine people who can help us, they waited until late at night, but I'm glad they did and they sure are happy they did."  "You finally have fun, and it's nice to see.
If you're a Ducks fan, you need to be happy about where this season has brought you. If you are a duck player, you could pinch yourself. Oregon is again in a Sweet 16 class with "World Wide Wes" due to all the inconvenience, frustration, injuries and losses.
I'm not sure Oregon is good enough to defeat the Cavaliers. Then again, until UO won 10 victories, who believed in the ducks? And who would not want to see them swinging at Virginia's chin just to see if it's made of glass?
I will watch it. You will too.
Give Oregon credit.
They came back into the world.